Solomon is now on the throne, “So the Lord exalted Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed on him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.” One of Solomon’s first acts as king is that he serves justice to the wicked: 1) his brother, Adonijah, for attempting to take the throne, 2) the priest, Abiathar, for supporting Adonijah as the next king instead of the Lord’s chosen king, 3) Joab, for his ruthless murders of Abner and Amasa, and 4) Shimei, for cursing David as he fled from his son Absalom.
- Adonijah, Solomon’s older brother, attempted to take the throne for himself so David quickly gave it to Solomon. Adonijah then feared Solomon, but Solomon said nothing would happen to him if he proved to be a worthy man (1 Kings 1:52). Today Adonijah proves not to be a worthy man as he asks to marry Abishag, the lovely woman who cared for King David in his old age. This was another shot at the kingdom because back then men would make claims to the throne by sleeping with the king’s concubines like Absalom did with his father, King David’s, ten concubines on the rooftop (2 Samuel 16). However, Solomon sees right through to Adonijah’s true wicked motives and has him killed.
- Solomon removes Abiathar as priest for supporting Adonijah, “that he might fulfill the word of the Lord which He spoke concerning the house of Eli at Shiloh” (1 Samuel 2:27-36, 1 Samuel 3:11-14). Abiathar is the last descendant of Eli’s to be High Priest of Israel.
- Solomon has Joab killed per David’s final instructions to him (1 Kings 2). Solomon instructs his servant Benaiah to “strike him down and bury him, that you may take away from me and from the house of my father the innocent blood which Joab shed. So the Lord will return his blood on his head, because he struck down two men more righteous and better than he, and killed them with the sword—Abner the son of Ner, the commander of the army of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, the commander of the army of Judah—though my father David did not know it. Their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab and upon the head of his descendants forever. But upon David and his descendants, upon his house and his throne, there shall be peace forever from the Lord.”
- Shimei, from the clan of Saul, cursed David while on the run from Absalom, so David instructed Solomon not to allow Shimei to die in peace (1 Kings 2). Solomon first shows mercy to Shimei by telling him he would live if he didn’t leave Jerusalem. However, Shimei breaks their agreement, and Solomon has him killed.
Solomon places Benaiah over the army in place of Joab and Zadok as the priest in place of Abiathar. Once “the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon,” Solomon makes a treaty with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and marries his daughter; “then he brought her to the City of David until he had finished building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall all around Jerusalem. Meanwhile the people sacrificed at the high places, because there was no house built for the name of the Lord until those days. And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David, except that he sacrificed and burned incense at the high places.”
Remember, the Lord has given Israel five rules for kings (Deuteronomy 17:14-20):
- Shall not be a foreigner
- Shall not multiply horses for himself or return to Egypt to multiply horses
- Shall not have multiple wives, lest his heart turn from God
- Shall not multiply silver and gold for himself
- Shall write his own copy of the Book of the Law and read it all the days of his life so that he does not elevate himself above his brethren.
Solomon is on a slippery slope by making a treaty with Egypt and acquiring more wives, foreign wives who worship false gods. However, at this time Solomon is worshiping the Lord extravagantly by offering a thousand burnt offerings to Him at Gibeon. The Lord tolerates the worship on the high place at Gibeon because this is where the tent of the tabernacle of meeting with God is currently located. After the temple is built and Solomon moves the tabernacle to the temple, along with the ark of the covenant which is currently in Jerusalem, the worship at Gibeon will not be acceptable. The temple will be the one place that the Lord chose for His people to worship Him (Deuteronomy 12).
After the corporate worship, the Lord appears to Solomon in a dream and says, “Ask! What shall I give you?” Solomon humbly responds, “Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore, give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”
Solomon knows the responsibilities of a king are too much for him to handle on his own — he needs help from a higher power! This request pleases the Lord so much that He not only gives him wisdom but also riches and honor. Then He says to Solomon, “There shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days. So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”
How will Solomon steward the gifts and promises he has received from the Lord? Keep reading to find out. ( Psalm 83, 1 Chronicles 29:23-25, 2 Chronicles 1:1, 1 Kings 2:13-3:4, 2 Chronicles 1:2-6, 1 Kings 3:5-15, 2 Chronicles 1:7-13)