122 - David’s Last Words
May 2 - Nº 122 1 Kings 2
Just before he died, David gave Solomon some advice: “Be strong and brave. Always obey God’s commandments and follow His instructions that are written in the Laws of Moses. If you remain faithful, then you and your descendants will prosper and continue to reign.” David had learned that success was not determined by the size of an army or the strength of its weapons. Success was determined by obedience to God. David then asked Solomon to take care of some unfinished business for him. First, he advised him to get rid of Joab who had murdered both Abner and Amasa, two of David’s army commanders (see #106 - April 16 and #118 - April 28). David told Solomon, “Don’t let him grow old peacefully.” David also asked Solomon to punish Shimei, who had cursed the king and thrown rocks at him when he was fleeing from Absalom (see 2 Samuel 16:5-8). But he reminded his son to show kindness to the sons of Barzillai who had taken care of him during that same difficult time (see 2 Samuel 17:27-29 and 19:31-40). Then David died. It wasn’t long before Adonijah, who had just received mercy from Solomon (see #121 - May 1), went to Solomon’s mother (Bathsheba) with a request. “You know that all of Israel expected me to be their king,” he explained, “but things changed, and the kingdom now belongs to my brother. I accept this as God’s will, but I have one request. I know King Solomon won’t refuse anything you ask of him, so please inquire if Abishag, King David’s beautiful nurse, can become my wife.” Bathsheba agreed, but when she made the request, Solomon became very angry. “That’s like asking if he can replace me as the king!” he replied. “Abishag was my father’s concubine. This is a trick. For him to marry her would mean that he is taking my father’s place! For this treacherous scheme, I will put him to death.” Solomon gave the order, and Adonijah was killed that day. Solomon also removed Abiathar, the high priest, from his vital position since he had been loyal to Adonijah’s plans instead of God’s. Zadok, who had anointed Solomon as the new king, became the high priest instead. When Joab heard that Solomon had killed Adonijah and Abiathar, he knew that his time was short. So, he fled to the Tabernacle and clung to the altar hoping to be safe. Solomon sent a guard to get him, but he said, “No I will die here.” When Solomon heard this, he responded, “Then do exactly what he asked for. Kill him there!” So, Joab died at the altar and was buried near his home. Solomon then sent for Shimei. He instructed him to build a house in Jerusalem. Then he prohibited him from leaving the city for the rest of his life. That way, Solomon’s men could keep an eye on him. Shimei promised to abide by the king’s decree. But three years later, when two of his slaves ran away, Shimei saddled his donkey and went after them. When Solomon was informed that Shimei had left the city, he summoned him. It was time for Shimei to pay for all the wrong things he had done to King David. He, too, was put to death. Solomon proved to be a powerful young ruler.
Because he did not always obey God completely, David left behind a lot of debris for Solomon to clean up. Is the legacy you are creating neat and tidy or is it filled with clutter? The only way to avoid leaving a mess that others have to straighten out is to faithfully follow God’s instructions. David learned this the hard way.