Introduction to Solomon
We left off in our journey through the Bible with King David. We are about to pick up our journey with his son…Solomon.
Remember, David took Bathsheba from a married man, got her pregnant, killed her husband and then married her. The child born from that was taken by God as punishment.
The NEXT child they had was a son named Solomon.
And David had other sons. Some tried to take his throne, some killed others. It was a mess. David wrecked a household when he took Bathsheba, and God punished David by wrecking his household [read 2 Sam 11-12]
God’s punishment did not negate his promises.
Though Adonijah rose up and tried to take David’s throne. David was going to keep his promise of putting Solomon on the throne.
What I love about this section of verses is that it shows the grace of God. David sinned and was punished. But David repented. God followed through with the punishment and then followed up with grace. God gave David and Bathsheba a son that would be a great king, and God chose to bless Solomon.
This is how God is with all our sins because of Jesus. [Isaiah 43:25, Psalm 103:12, 1 John 1:9] While we might be punished, we can be restored. While we might have a hard time getting over the past, God wipes it clean and does not bring it back up.
If we are to understand the fullness of the grace of God, we must also understand the big picture of where we are when we enter 1 Kings and the life of Solomon. There are a few themes that we want to trace back so you can see the faithfulness of God.
Remember that God, at the very beginning, created humans ¬as his emissaries on earth, with the purpose of ruling the earth as representatives of God, while being in a loving relationship with God and with each other.
They were in a bountiful, idyllic garden, which was shared by the presence of God Himself. However, when the humans rebelled against God, they were kicked out of the garden, into a harsh and chaotic world, living a life tarnished by sin. They now faced violence, pain, destruction, and death. As humans multiplied they got worse and worse, and tried to become gods themselves, rather than seeking God’s presence and rule in their lives. But God
Fast-forwarding thousands of years, when we get to Solomon, whom God has appointed king over Israel…there is a lot of backstory leading up to that. A lot has happened in the story between Adam & Eve in the garden and Solomon, and we get a reminder of that when we read through genealogies like the one we find at the beginning of Matthew:
Matthew 1:2–6 || Abraham fathered Isaac, Isaac fathered Jacob, Jacob fathered Judah and his brothers, Judah fathered Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez fathered Hezron, Hezron fathered Aram, Aram fathered Amminadab, Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon, Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab, Boaz fathered Obed by Ruth, Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered King David. David fathered Solomon by Uriah’s wife. [CSB]
That list of names is packed with the stories that are attached to those names!
Even though God knew humans would always be wicked and rebellious (as we see in the story of Noah), he STILL wanted to bless and care for people, which is why he called one man, Abraham, to be a seed who would become a large family, and a whole nation, chosen by God to represent Him to the rest of the world.
God made a few promises to Abraham. He would make his name great, he would bless him, through him all the people of the earth would be blessed. One of those promises took place as Abraham was traveling under God’s guidance:
Genesis 12:4–8 || 4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated, and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, 6 Abram passed through the land to the site of Shechem, at the oak of Moreh. (At that time the Canaanites were in the land.) 7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him. 8 From there he moved on to the hill country east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. He built an altar to the LORD there, and he called on the name of the LORD. [CSB]
God promised Abraham the land of Canaan, thus referred to as the Promised Land. God reminded Abraham of this promise several times. Abraham had Isaac, who had Jacob whose name is changed to Israel. Israel and his family ended up in Egypt – NOT the Promised land. After about 400 years of bondage they were led out by Moses to the wilderness for 40 years. THEN, under the leadership of Joshua they crossed the Jordan River and conquered their first city, Jericho. This was the first conquest of the land that God promised to Abraham!
While the people messed up by not destroying all the enemies as God told them, we also see them taking much of the land from the Canaanites. David was the king that really extended and unified the kingdom, and under him, Jerusalem was established as the city of the king, the new capital city.
By the time Solomon arrives on the scene, it appears as though the promise of God to Abraham that he would inherit the land has been fulfilled. Solomon is not going to be a conquering king; he is going to reign over the already conquered kingdom.
God spoke to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob. Then, it seemed like God went dark while Israel was in Egypt. Then, God spoke to Moses and called the people out of Egypt.
While they were in the wilderness, God settled in among them! This is the first time God dwelled among humans since the garden.
Moses built a tabernacle (a special tent) for God according to God’s design. In it was the ark of the presence. This is where God symbolically dwelled among his people. The ark was placed in the center of the camp as they traveled. Once they entered the promised land, the ark was placed in Shiloh.
It then had a bout with the Philistines, and then was returned to Beth-shemesh and then to Abinadab’s house in Kiriath-jearim.
However, after David established Jerusalem as the center of his rule, he had the ark moved to Jerusalem. First time failed. Second attempt, doing it God’s way, was successful.
And then there is this thing about kings!
GOD was the king of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, etc. BUT, after the people entered the land they demanded a king. Their FIRST king was good looking and tall – Saul. That was about all we can say about him. The second king was David, who got our hopes up that the nation would finally experience the full blessing and presence of God – and he failed. Now, we await Solomon.
Though God was disappointed that the people wanted a person to be king instead of him, he allowed it. We find out that God anticipated it! When God gave Moses the laws, there are some regarding kings – and those laws will be significant for Solomon. [spoiler alert]
So, this nation that Solomon was about to lead, had been led by the promises of God to a land. They have been blessed by the presence of God in the ark. They had been ruled by the kings appointed by God.
This is the closest we have come to a restored Eden! God among his people in a land chosen by God. Solomon was “living the dream”!
Remember, though, that there was another promise – that of the Messiah who would restore things back to the way they were once and for all! [Gen 3:15]
WHEN will the Messiah come and restore Eden and the fellowship with God that once was there?
This time that Solomon is ruling in will become a foreshadowing, and taste of what is yet to come. It will also paint a skewed picture in the mind of the Jews regarding the “kingdom of God”.
When we reach the NT, the Jews are still looking for a Messiah who will be king, restored them to the land and bring the very presence of God among the people.
These 4 themes: land, presence, kingship and the Messiah, are all theme that we will continue to trace through the Bible. They are a part of the DNA of the Jews and help us understand their perception of the Messiah. They are also part of God’s plan, so we will eventually hear Jesus talk about these things.
When you read the overview, you can easily get swept away with the awesomeness of God and the fulfilled promises! And we should!
However, as we go back to our story, Solomon is going to be crowned king, but not without conflict. David’s life brought about 2 stories that will collide:
1 Kings 1 || 1 Now King David was old and advanced in age. Although they covered him with bedclothes, he could not get warm.
1 Kings 1 || 5 Adonijah son of Haggith kept exalting himself, saying, “I will be king!” He prepared chariots, cavalry, and fifty men to run ahead of him. 6 But his father had never once infuriated him by asking, “Why did you do that?” In addition, he was quite handsome and was born after Absalom. 7 He conspired with Joab son of Zeruiah and with the priest Abiathar. They supported Adonijah, 8 but the priest Zadok, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the prophet Nathan, Shimei, Rei, and David’s royal guard did not side with Adonijah. 9 Adonijah sacrificed sheep, goats, cattle, and fattened cattle near the stone of Zoheleth, which is next to En-rogel. He invited all his royal brothers and all the men of Judah, the servants of the king, 10 but he did not invite the prophet Nathan, Benaiah, the royal guard, or his brother Solomon.
1 Kings 1 || 11 Then Nathan said to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, “Have you not heard that Adonijah son of Haggith has become king and our lord David does not know it? 12 Now please come and let me advise you. Save your life and the life of your son Solomon. 13 Go, approach King David and say to him, ‘My lord the king, did you not swear to your servant: Your son Solomon is to become king after me, and he is the one who is to sit on my throne? So why has Adonijah become king?’ 14 At that moment, while you are still there speaking with the king, I’ll come in after you and confirm your words.”
1 Kings 1 || 15 So Bathsheba went to the king in his bedroom. Since the king was very old, Abishag the Shunammite was attending to him. 16 Bathsheba knelt low and paid homage to the king, and he asked, “What do you want?” 17 She replied, “My lord, you swore to your servant by the LORD your God, ‘Your son Solomon is to become king after me, and he is the one who is to sit on my throne.’ 18 Now look, Adonijah has become king. And, my lord the king, you didn’t know it. 19 He has lavishly sacrificed oxen, fattened cattle, and sheep. He invited all the king’s sons, the priest Abiathar, and Joab the commander of the army, but he did not invite your servant Solomon. 20 Now, my lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are on you to tell them who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. 21 Otherwise, when my lord the king rests with his fathers, I and my son Solomon will be regarded as criminals.”
1 Kings 1 || 22 At that moment, while she was still speaking with the king, the prophet Nathan arrived, 23 and it was announced to the king, “The prophet Nathan is here.” He came into the king’s presence and paid homage to him with his face to the ground. 24 “My lord the king,” Nathan said, “did you say, ‘Adonijah is to become king after me, and he is the one who is to sit on my throne’? 25 For today he went down and lavishly sacrificed oxen, fattened cattle, and sheep. He invited all the sons of the king, the commanders of the army, and the priest Abiathar. And look! They’re eating and drinking in his presence, and they’re saying, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ 26 But he did not invite me—me, your servant—or the priest Zadok or Benaiah son of Jehoiada or your servant Solomon. 27 I’m certain my lord the king would not have let this happen without letting your servant know who will sit on my lord the king’s throne after him.”
1 Kings 1 || 28 King David responded by saying, “Call in Bathsheba for me.” So she came into the king’s presence and stood before him. 29 The king swore an oath and said, “As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my life from every difficulty, 30 just as I swore to you by the LORD God of Israel: Your son Solomon is to become king after me, and he is the one who is to sit on my throne in my place, that is exactly what I will do this very day.” 31 Bathsheba knelt low with her face to the ground, paying homage to the king, and said, “May my lord King David live forever!” 32 King David then said, “Call in the priest Zadok, the prophet Nathan, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada for me.” So they came into the king’s presence. 33 The king said to them, “Take my servants with you, have my son Solomon ride on my own mule, and take him down to Gihon. 34 There, the priest Zadok and the prophet Nathan are to anoint him as king over Israel. You are to blow the ram’s horn and say, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ 35 You are to come up after him, and he is to come in and sit on my throne. He is the one who is to become king in my place; he is the one I have commanded to be ruler over Israel and Judah.” 36 “Amen,” Benaiah son of Jehoiada replied to the king. “May the LORD, the God of my lord the king, so affirm it. 37 Just as the LORD was with my lord the king, so may he be with Solomon and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David.”
1 Kings 1 || 38 Then the priest Zadok, the prophet Nathan, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites went down, had Solomon ride on King David’s mule, and took him to Gihon. 39 The priest Zadok took the horn of oil from the tabernacle and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the ram’s horn, and all the people proclaimed, “Long live King Solomon!” 40 All the people went up after him, playing flutes and rejoicing with such a great joy that the earth split open from the sound.
1 Kings 1 || 41 Adonijah and all the invited guests who were with him heard the noise as they finished eating. Joab heard the sound of the ram’s horn and said, “Why is the town in such an uproar?” 42 He was still speaking when Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest, suddenly arrived. Adonijah said, “Come in, for you are an important man, and you must be bringing good news.” 43 “Unfortunately not,” Jonathan answered him. “Our lord King David has made Solomon king. 44 And with Solomon, the king has sent the priest Zadok, the prophet Nathan, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and they have had him ride on the king’s mule. 45 The priest Zadok and the prophet Nathan have anointed him king in Gihon. They have gone up from there rejoicing. The town has been in an uproar; that’s the noise you heard. 46 Solomon has even taken his seat on the royal throne. 47 “The king’s servants have also gone to congratulate our lord King David, saying, ‘May your God make the name of Solomon more well known than your name, and may he make his throne greater than your throne.’ Then the king bowed in worship on his bed. 48 And the king went on to say this: ‘Blessed be the LORD God of Israel! Today he has provided one to sit on my throne, and I am a witness.’ ” 49 Then all of Adonijah’s guests got up trembling and went their separate ways.
1 Kings 1 || 50 Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, so he got up and went to take hold of the horns of the altar. 51 It was reported to Solomon: “Look, Adonijah fears King Solomon, and he has taken hold of the horns of the altar, saying, ‘Let King Solomon first swear to me that he will not kill his servant with the sword.’ ” 52 Then Solomon said, “If he is a man of character, not a single hair of his will fall to the ground, but if evil is found in him, he dies.” 53 So King Solomon sent for him, and they took him down from the altar. He came and paid homage to King Solomon, and Solomon said to him, “Go to your home.” [CSB]
Over the next couple weeks, we will continue to look at the life and legacy of Solomon. This week we only got up to how he was introduced as the new king, but we also wanted to remind you of the whole backstory of Israel and humanity, and their relationship with God leading up to this.
To understand the significance of Solomon’s rule, his accomplishments, and what he came to symbolize, it’s important to understand the context in which his reign existed.
Solomon, a son born out of a violent relationship, was blessed by God to be the leader of His people, in the place God gave them and where God himself chose to dwell. What an honor!
Friend: you and I were called in that garden to reign with God. We were given that as a command, and only kings reign. We were created to rule with God, called and placed by God in a specific place, with Him with us to lead people to follow Him. What an honor!