When the most beautiful woman in Israel was given to David to keep him warm in his old age, the king’s son Adonijah, the younger brother of Absalom, coveted her for himself, so he thought that if he made himself king, he could have her. That is why the story of Adonijah begins and ends with Abishag the Shunnamite – his coveting of her sealed his fate (there is most likely a chiastic structure there). He did not go ask his father about her, he just acted in the way he thought might best secure her for himself.
He went outside the umbrella of his authority, the kingship of his father David, and went out of his way to keep the king in the dark about what he was doing. So he committed three sins: rebellion against the king; dishonoring his father; and disrespecting the elderly, by trying to take advantage of David’s advanced years for his own personal gain.
Now Solomon has not prayed for wisdom yet, but David said of him that he is wise already and will know what to do when he is king. Solomon had to have some measure of wisdom before the LORD granted it him more, because when the LORD asks him what he wants the LORD to do for him, he asks for more wisdom (as we will see). Only a wise man will ask for wisdom.
This is what I think happened: Solomon was the son of David’s old age. David was 40 when he became king in Hebron, and reigned there 7 years, then 33 years in Jerusalem. Solomon was 19 when David passed away and he became king. That means he was born when David was about 61 – already king in Jersualem for 12 or 13 or 14 years. I believe he might have raised Solomon differently than his other sons. With his other sons, his older sons, David was busy fighting wars and establishing his kingdom. He might have neglected to teach them as he ought to have, as many young fathers do. But the seed of trouble within David’s household began showing itself when Solomon was still a toddler or young child, with the rape of Tamar.
As happens in families, when the children start rebelling, the parents do some soul searching, and either harden their hearts out of pride, or soften their hearts and repent and try to make things right. I believe David saw the errors he made with his older children, and with Solomon resolved to do differently, and to be the father the LORD desired him to be.
Solomon wrote Proverbs, and throughout Proverbs it says, when I was a child, tender in the sight of my mother, then my father instructed me, saying, Love wisdom, and get understanding, and fear the LORD, etc. etc. His father who was careful to teach him the word of the LORD and the fear of the LORD, was David.
The word of God works every time it is applied. If we don’t want our children to grow up to sin and rebel as Amnon, Absalom, and Adonijah did, we don’t have to have that outcome. If we want our children to be blessed as Solomon was, we can have that outcome. The word of God says, Listen to, take heed, observe, and teach your children My word and My ways and the love of Me and the fear of Me, and it will be well with you and with your sons after you. When we obey those words ourselves, our children prosper.
The word of God imparts wisdom to everyone who will listen to it. Anyone who has regard for the LORD and the word of the LORD, who applies himself to the LORD and the word of the LORD, can receive wisdom as Solomon did. God is not a respecter of persons.
I believe Solomon did show wisdom in his dealings after he became king, but even before the LORD visited him. He first offered grace to his father’s enemies, but when they showed him that they took his grace lightly, then he executed justice on them. Adonijah, if he had let go of coveting Abishag, would have lived to old age in Solomon’s kingdom. But he perceived that the king had regard for his mother, so he manipulated Bathsheba into trying to get the thing he coveted. Solomon saw it instantly, even though Bathsheba most likely did not. So not only did Solomon have a son’s regard for protecting his mother, but as king, he recognized that Adonijah, if he was still trying to scheme and manipulate to prosper himself, had not repented, and was harboring a seed which would grow to produce the fruit of destruction if left unchecked. Out of wisdom he executed his brother for treason.
It doesn’t sit well with us, does it, that an execution can be just and therefore right and loving. In our society, we have been so brainwashed to believe that toleration for everything is what is just, that when we see an example of true justice and wisdom in the Scripture like this, it jars our thinking. This is why we must renew our minds and wash our minds with the water of the Word, and let its truth correct the misinformation we are constantly fed.
In these chapters in 1 Kings 1-2, we see that the reign of Solomon is also prophetic of the Promised Seed just as the reign of David was. Solomon is the son of David who reigns on the throne of his father David, and Messiah Yeshua is the Son of David who will reign on the throne of His father David. Solomon’s name comes from shalom, peace and well- being, and when Yeshua reigns it will be as the Prince of Peace (shalom).
Just as Solomon is seen to do, Yeshua will also reign with grace, wisdom, and justice. He will execute wrath on His enemies when they warrant it. He will rule the nations with a rod of iron. That is a scary thought for someone who is willful. But for us, it is a comforting thought. Today’s headlines are scary, because every nation is doing whatever it wants without regard to what is right, and that makes chaos in the world, and the people who always suffer the most from chaos, are the weak, the poor, and the vulnerable. When Yeshua reigns, the nations will toe His line, and He will ensure it with His rod of iron. The vulnerable will have justice instead of fear. Hallelujah! Peace will reign!