Dealing with Dominion
(1 Kings 2:13-46; 3:1, 9:16)
Solomon Crowned King
From Treasures of the Bible
By Henry Davenport Northrop
International Publishing Company, 1894
Leadership positions require boldness and often difficult decisions. As the new King of Israel, succeeding his father, David, Solomon certainly faced trying times. From his earliest days on the throne, Solomon was challenged by direct and indirect threats.
A Traitor’s Test
First, Solomon’s own half-brother Adonijah asked him for permission to marry the late King David’s own attendant, Abishag the Shunammite. Having just been prevented (by Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, and the prophet Nathan) from usurping the throne of Israel, Adonijah had the nerve to recruit Bathsheba as his royal emissary.
Still, Solomon declined the request and ordered the execution of Adonijah.
A Priest’s Removal
Next, Solomon sent the priest Abiathar into exile for his support of Adonijah. Mercifully, Solomon did not order the priest killed. Because Abiathar had carried the Lord’s ark into battle and served David faithfully, Solomon allowed him to live.
However, Solomon did depose Abiathar the priest and banish him from the kingdom. Solomon appointed Zadok as priest.
A Defector’s Death
Although Joab had led David’s army, he had later defected to Adonijah’s camp. Solomon ordered the execution of Joab. Joab hid in the tent of the Lord, clutching the horns on the altar and pleading for sanctuary, but Solomon insisted upon his death. By doing so, Solomon obeyed the final instructions of his father David (see 1 King 2:6).
Joab was slain, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada became head of King Solomon’s army.
A Curser’s Consequence
Shimei, the Levite son of Gershon, had taunted King David with curses and pelted him with rocks. David had prophesied Shimei’s downfall and destruction. David even instructed his son Solomon, in his final communication with him, to deal harshly with Shimei (see 1 Kings 2:8-9).
Solomon offered to allow Shimei to survive, if he would agree to stay in Jerusalem for the rest of his life. This situation would keep Shimei under close watch and prevent him from pursuing disloyal or traitorous plans.
After three years, Shimei did leave the city to retrieve some errant slaves. Because of Shimei’s disobedience, breaking his vow to King Solomon, the king ordered his execution.
At this point, the Bible sums up these difficult decisions and actions with one simple statement:
“The kingdom was now firmly established in Solomon's hands.”
What does all of this mean to us today?
Of course, God is not likely to call us to order executions or exiles for those who oppose us. The Lord will probably not instruct us to call down judgment upon detractors or difficult people.
Even so, Solomon’s actions demonstrated an important principle of godly leadership.
A wise leader will seek to remove any dangerous distractions, disloyal dissenters and unfaithful followers. What sorts of harmful influences might we be allowing in our ministries or even our minds?
How strong are our personal boundaries? How faithfully do we pray for God’s protection upon our hearts and the hearts of those we love? Are we willing to take bold, or even drastic, steps to remove elements that seek to destroy the Lord’s work in our lives or the lives of those He has called us to serve?
May God grant us a balance of discernment and tenderness, justice and mercy, so that we may serve Him with wisdom and faithfulness.
Will you pray with me?
How wise and wonderful You are.
We cannot fathom the depths of Your mercy
Or the extent of Your love.
Teach us Your ways.
School us in Your holiness.
Give us hearts that hunger for righteousness
And eyes to see temptation
Before they penetrate our souls.
We only want to serve You
And honor You.
Clothe us in Your righteousness,
And equip us with Your Spirit
To serve You
Wherever You lead us.