Focal Passage: 1 Kings
This lesson is a cautionary
warning to advocacy and gives balance to last Sunday’s lesson. There is a time
to be an advocate and there is a time to refuse the inappropriate request for
Bathsheba has a difficult
time distinguishing between appropriate and inappropriate advocacy.
Today’s passage easily
divides into three parts: (1) the dialogue between Adonijah and Bathsheba (v.
13-18); (2) the dialogue between Bathsheba and King Solomon (v. 24); and (3)
the death edict for Adonijah (v. 25) which is later followed by the banishment
of the priest Abiathar (v. 27) and the death of the general Joab (v. 34). The
end of chapter 2 states it succinctly: “So the kingdom was established in the
hand of Solomon” (v. 46).
Adonijah makes a new move
against Solomon but only after the death of King David (2:10-13).
Tragically a time of
mourning becomes a time for posturing and maneuvering for power, a time of raw
Adonijah recruits Bathsheba
as his advocate or intercessor before King Solomon.
In last week’s lesson,
Nathan had recruited Bathsheba as an advocate. Adonijah’s request, however,
does not come from God.
Adonijah is the “son of
Haggith” while Bathsheba is the “mother of Solomon.” There is some sensitivity
to the fact here are two women who were part of King David’s harem.
Bathsheba’s opening query,
“Is this a friendly visit?” (v. 13, CEV) underlies the feeling of uneasiness
about Adonijah’s presence.
However, his words that
affirm the Lord’s involvement in Solomon becoming king persuade Bathsheba that
he has changed. Adonijah even calls Solomon “my brother” (v. 15).
He requests that Abishag be
given to him (a consolation prize for his loss of the kingdom even though “all
Israel” had expected he to be king?). The language is one of property
Bathsheba naively sees no
threat in Adonijah’s words and approaches her son, King Solomon, with the
request. He shows her great deference and public respect.
He rises to greet her, bows
to her, orders that a seat be brought, and has her seated on his right (v. 19).
That she commands his love
and respect is beyond dispute. She does, indeed, have enormous influence over
She asks permission to make
a request, and using Adonijah’s words, she concludes, “Do not refuse me” (v. 16, 20). King Solomon responds with the words of a loving son, calling
Bathsheba “my mother” and promising, “I will not refuse you” (v. 20).
Bathsheba’s request infuriates Solomon as he realizes that his mother does not
understand the possible consequences of her request. Both Adonijah as well as
any male child born of the union could lay claim to the throne.