1 Kings 2-3 and Psalm 51
Psalm 51 is one of my favorites, forever implanted in my memory. Nathan revealed King David’s horrible transgressions with Bathsheba and against Uriah (2 Samuel 11ff) and David confessed. A man after God’s heart, this psalm is attributed to David as his plea for forgiveness.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.” Psalm 51:10-13
Such great words! The tune is still in my mind from years ago when our high school a cappella choir sang these words…yes, a public high school with over 100 students in the choir singing these words in competitions throughout the state. Those were the days. Even today I reflect and request of God to restore the joy of my salvation, which he does every day as I sit and read and write these words. Thank you Lord for your love and your great desire to forgive, we would all be lost indeed without both!
Chapter 2 begins with David’s charge to Solomon to “be strong, act like a man” (1 Kings 2:2). I’ve seen this phrase in other places…interesting translation, but I don’t want to read too much into it, simply put: don’t be a child. David implores Solomon to wrap up a few loose ends he was never able to tie: Joab and Shimei. These two, David encourages Solomon to announce their death. For his friends during his escape from Absalom, peace.
Adonijah has one more card to play. He’s given up the idea that he can be the king, so he makes a move for the woman sent to comfort David in his last days by asking Bathsheba to ask Solomon. She doesn’t appear to appreciate the weight of the request when she asks, but Solomon immediately responds and Adonijah is killed for his foolishness–he violated the principal and Solomon removes him before any insurrection arises.
Joab gets the news and heads for the tent of the Lord and grabs the horns of the altar. This is the first time Joab has ever shown any fear. Interesting, though not for long, that is, Benaiah was dispatched to kill Joab. Done.
Shimei is next on the list. Solomon calls him in and gives him some strict orders, essentially allows him to live in Jerusalem, but not to leave and cross the Kidron Valley. Shimei agrees to the plan, but 3 years later he defied the orders and Benaiah strikes again. Shimei is dead.
Chapter 2 ends: “The kingdom was now established in Solomon’s hands.”
Solomon enters a pact with Egypt and marries one of Pharaoh’s daughters (strange customs in those days). Interesting to note:
Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places. 1 Kings 3:3
Even with this exception, the Lord meets with Solomon and said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” (1 Kings 3:5) Solomon’s answer is beyond wise:
So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. 1 Kings 3:9
The Lord is pleased with his answer and grants his desire and then some: “both wealth and honor.”
Solomon begins his governing with a wise ruling over two prostitutes arguing over a baby. The women both claim the child is theirs, so Solomon provides a solution: let’s cut the baby in half and you can each have your share! This, of course, identifies the true mother and the child is returned.
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