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Bible Commentaries

The Biblical Illustrator
1 Kings 1

 

 

Verses 1-4

1 Kings 1:1-4

Now King David was old and stricken in years.

The Winter of Life

I. Overtakes men in the highest rank.

II. Chills the vital sources of the naturally robust. “And they covered him with clothes, and he gat no heat.”

III. Is but temporarily alleviated by the best considered human devices. The cherishing of Abishag was--

1. Advised by the court physicians. An expedient not unusual in similar cases, when internal cordials failed, and with the limited skill of the faculty in the use of warmth-creating potions.

2. Was innocent. Suggested for no other than purely medical reasons. Sophocles lauded old age as a deliverance from the tyranny of the passions, as an escape from some furious and savage master.

3. Suspended only for a brief season the inevitable progress of decay. Medical skill is no more efficacious for the monarch than for the humblest subject. David died within the year. A moment comes in the winter of life when the warm pulse is stilled, and the once stalwart frame is locked in the icy embrace of death. (J. Barlow.)


Verses 1-4

1 Kings 1:1-4

Now King David was old and stricken in years.

The Winter of Life

I. Overtakes men in the highest rank.

II. Chills the vital sources of the naturally robust. “And they covered him with clothes, and he gat no heat.”

III. Is but temporarily alleviated by the best considered human devices. The cherishing of Abishag was--

1. Advised by the court physicians. An expedient not unusual in similar cases, when internal cordials failed, and with the limited skill of the faculty in the use of warmth-creating potions.

2. Was innocent. Suggested for no other than purely medical reasons. Sophocles lauded old age as a deliverance from the tyranny of the passions, as an escape from some furious and savage master.

3. Suspended only for a brief season the inevitable progress of decay. Medical skill is no more efficacious for the monarch than for the humblest subject. David died within the year. A moment comes in the winter of life when the warm pulse is stilled, and the once stalwart frame is locked in the icy embrace of death. (J. Barlow.)


Verses 1-53

Verses 5-53

1 Kings 1:5-53

Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself.

Usurpation

David is “old and stricken in years.” Round about him there are certain proceedings which are almost always associated with the death of great men. There are persons who are wondering who will succeed to the throne. One man has made up his mind that he will be the king. Could we understand all that is going on in the minds of our friends when we ourselves arc approaching the hour and article of death, we should be surprised by some revelations of character which we had little suspected. Adonijah said, “I will be king” (1 Kings 1:5). How certainly, then, he will not! “Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself.” He did not hear the voice sounding far away in the coming time which said, “Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased.” You will find that Adonijah was a spoiled child, for “his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so?” (1 Kings 1:6). That is the explanation. Every will has to be broken, and it ought to be broken as soon as possible; it is not as if the will could go on always having its own way, marching from conquering to conquer, going on from throne to throne; it is the law of life, and it is the most solemn fact in personal history, that the will must be broken, in the sense of being subdued, chastened, made to feel that there are other wills in creation, and that peace can only come by mutual understanding and concession. How cruel, then, are parents! They think they are kind, but their kindness is the worst form of cruelty. How would it be in physical matters? You say that a man’s hand is out of action, and the doctor says that hand might have been as good as the other if the infirmity or accident had been attended to when the child was young. That we call reason. A child does not see straightly; its eye is somewhat askance; and the doctor again says that eye could have been made perfectly right if it had been attended to when the child was young. When the doctor says that, everybody looks upon him as a wise man. So many things ought to have been done when we were young! Yet we ourselves will not do them to those who are young, and who depend upon us for discipline, education, and general training. When Adonijah said, “I will be king,” he carried to its logical issue the training which he had received, or lacked, at home. How will he set about this business? Exactly like a spoiled child. There is a striking consistency in all the parts of his character and action. If you ask for his programme, you may yourself write it for him; them is no need to make inquiry as to what he will do. Spoiled children can only do one thing. They are absolutely destitute of originality. What, then, does Adonijah do? He copied, Absalom,. whom in some degree he resembled, being also “a very goodly man.” That is to say, a well-favoured man physically; good to look upon, a handsome, noble figure. What will Adonijah do? The answer is in the fifth verse: “He prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.” How will Adonijah proceed? quite consistently. In the seventh verse we find him still pursuing the same level of thought and purpose: “And he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah, and with Abiathar the priest.” What was Abiathar the priest? the priest of the tent in which the ark of God was kept? or was he but some subordinate, good and honest in his own way, hut a little tempted to believe in chariots and horses and forerunners and outriders? Alas! it is possible for a priest even to be so demented. This was the bound of Adonijah’s counsel; the crafty Joab and Abiathar. Not the people. The people were to be taken by a storm of music. That was Adonijah’s great plan for taking the nation! But the people are wiser than they are often thought to be. Have faith in the people. You cannot easily measure them. Taken one by one, they do not seem to amount to much; but when they touch one another, and feel the contagion of sympathy and the inspiration of common interests; when they listen as one man to the voice of the declaimer or the charmer, the reasoner and the statesman, they know who is right and who is wrong. Why these signs of masonry? Why this desire to get away from the society of pure women and frank children, question-asking youth, and unsuspecting love! Why did you not call Zadok and Nathan and Solomon? Out of thine own month I condemn thee. The honest man would have said, Let all come; this thing shall not he done in a corner; it is right, sound, clear-hearted, through and through--come one, come all, and guide me if I am wrong. The right man need not be in any hurry. He will be sent for in due time. What became of Adonijah? He “feared because of Solomon, and arose, and went, and caught hold on the horns of the altar”--the projecting pieces of wood overlaid with gold, to which the sacrifices were fastened with bands or ropes. Laying hold of these, he thought he had the right of asylum; and he feared Solomon, saying, “Let King Solomon swear unto me to-day that he will not slay his servant with the sword” (1 Kings 1:50-51). “Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased.” Adonijah, who began by saying, “I will be king,” ended by saying, I am a servant. See the end of all vanity, foolish conceit, mistaken and selfish ambition; so Solomon, being a king in very deed, said: He shall have a conditional pardon--If he will shew himself a worthy man, there shall not an hair of him fall to the earth: but if wickedness shall be found in him, he shall die” (1 Kings 1:52-53). So Adonijah became a ticket-of-leave man. What a fame! but right. Do not let us mistake this: for we are all ticket-of-leave men. Let there be no boasting. We are all out of hell conditionally. (J. Parker, D. D.)

Adonijah

I. Beware of ambition. When regulated, restrained, and guided, ambition serves a good end. It rouses to activity, and it tends to produce a generous and noble character. But when it is inspired only by selfishness, by the desire simply to attain to a certain position, so that vanity may be indulged and pride gratified--by the determination to outstrip your fellows and win certain prizes for which they too are toiling;--when, in short, there is nothing but self to be consulted and flattered and appeased, it is dangerous. It may lead you to do much that is evil, to trample on that which is sacred, to break through and cast down the barriers which God’s law has erected around you, to despise the nearest and dearest relationships of human life. Under its withering influence he loses sight of the eternal in the temporal, ignores the spiritual in the carnal, and forgets God in self! There is no ban laid by God on advancement or “getting on.” You are not forbidden to attain earthly honours, to acquire what are called the world’s “good things.” But then, recollect, you must regard them only as subordinate to higher things. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

II. Beware of disobedience to parents. It may be an old, but it is a permanent command, “Honour thy father and thy mother,” etc.

III. Beware of evil associations. The unholy alliance at Enrogel broke up, immediately on the arrival of adverse tidings. Joab, Abiathar, and their confederates disappeared, and left Adonijah to his own devices. There was no deep affection, and no bond of pure love to keep them together; selfishness was at the root of the association. They fawned, and flattered, and fled. Wicked men do not care for their companions beyond the point of advantage. They have no interest in each other’s welfare, and they are suspicious of each other’s designs and of each other’s fidelity. Accomplices and partners in guilt indulge in mutual accusations and revelations which show the slender nature of the tie which binds them together. There is no love--no true, deep, self-sacrificing love--such as dwells in the hearts of Christian brethren, united in Jesus Christ. (A. Williamson.)

When the play is out

Honour must put off the robes when the play is done, make it never so glorious a show on this world’s stage; it hath but a short part to act. A great name of worldly glory is but like a peal rung on the bells, the common people are the clappers, the rope that moves them is popularity; if you once let go your hold and leave pulling, the clapper lies still, and farewell honour. (T. Adams.)

Ambition, destructive

The principal thing that excited the public hatred, and at last caused the death of Julius Caesar was his passion for the title of king. It was the first thing that gave offence to the multitude, and it afforded his inveterate enemies a very plausible plea. (Plutarch.)


Verses 5-53

1 Kings 1:5-53

Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself.

Usurpation

David is “old and stricken in years.” Round about him there are certain proceedings which are almost always associated with the death of great men. There are persons who are wondering who will succeed to the throne. One man has made up his mind that he will be the king. Could we understand all that is going on in the minds of our friends when we ourselves arc approaching the hour and article of death, we should be surprised by some revelations of character which we had little suspected. Adonijah said, “I will be king” (1 Kings 1:5). How certainly, then, he will not! “Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself.” He did not hear the voice sounding far away in the coming time which said, “Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased.” You will find that Adonijah was a spoiled child, for “his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so?” (1 Kings 1:6). That is the explanation. Every will has to be broken, and it ought to be broken as soon as possible; it is not as if the will could go on always having its own way, marching from conquering to conquer, going on from throne to throne; it is the law of life, and it is the most solemn fact in personal history, that the will must be broken, in the sense of being subdued, chastened, made to feel that there are other wills in creation, and that peace can only come by mutual understanding and concession. How cruel, then, are parents! They think they are kind, but their kindness is the worst form of cruelty. How would it be in physical matters? You say that a man’s hand is out of action, and the doctor says that hand might have been as good as the other if the infirmity or accident had been attended to when the child was young. That we call reason. A child does not see straightly; its eye is somewhat askance; and the doctor again says that eye could have been made perfectly right if it had been attended to when the child was young. When the doctor says that, everybody looks upon him as a wise man. So many things ought to have been done when we were young! Yet we ourselves will not do them to those who are young, and who depend upon us for discipline, education, and general training. When Adonijah said, “I will be king,” he carried to its logical issue the training which he had received, or lacked, at home. How will he set about this business? Exactly like a spoiled child. There is a striking consistency in all the parts of his character and action. If you ask for his programme, you may yourself write it for him; them is no need to make inquiry as to what he will do. Spoiled children can only do one thing. They are absolutely destitute of originality. What, then, does Adonijah do? He copied, Absalom,. whom in some degree he resembled, being also “a very goodly man.” That is to say, a well-favoured man physically; good to look upon, a handsome, noble figure. What will Adonijah do? The answer is in the fifth verse: “He prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.” How will Adonijah proceed? quite consistently. In the seventh verse we find him still pursuing the same level of thought and purpose: “And he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah, and with Abiathar the priest.” What was Abiathar the priest? the priest of the tent in which the ark of God was kept? or was he but some subordinate, good and honest in his own way, hut a little tempted to believe in chariots and horses and forerunners and outriders? Alas! it is possible for a priest even to be so demented. This was the bound of Adonijah’s counsel; the crafty Joab and Abiathar. Not the people. The people were to be taken by a storm of music. That was Adonijah’s great plan for taking the nation! But the people are wiser than they are often thought to be. Have faith in the people. You cannot easily measure them. Taken one by one, they do not seem to amount to much; but when they touch one another, and feel the contagion of sympathy and the inspiration of common interests; when they listen as one man to the voice of the declaimer or the charmer, the reasoner and the statesman, they know who is right and who is wrong. Why these signs of masonry? Why this desire to get away from the society of pure women and frank children, question-asking youth, and unsuspecting love! Why did you not call Zadok and Nathan and Solomon? Out of thine own month I condemn thee. The honest man would have said, Let all come; this thing shall not he done in a corner; it is right, sound, clear-hearted, through and through--come one, come all, and guide me if I am wrong. The right man need not be in any hurry. He will be sent for in due time. What became of Adonijah? He “feared because of Solomon, and arose, and went, and caught hold on the horns of the altar”--the projecting pieces of wood overlaid with gold, to which the sacrifices were fastened with bands or ropes. Laying hold of these, he thought he had the right of asylum; and he feared Solomon, saying, “Let King Solomon swear unto me to-day that he will not slay his servant with the sword” (1 Kings 1:50-51). “Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased.” Adonijah, who began by saying, “I will be king,” ended by saying, I am a servant. See the end of all vanity, foolish conceit, mistaken and selfish ambition; so Solomon, being a king in very deed, said: He shall have a conditional pardon--If he will shew himself a worthy man, there shall not an hair of him fall to the earth: but if wickedness shall be found in him, he shall die” (1 Kings 1:52-53). So Adonijah became a ticket-of-leave man. What a fame! but right. Do not let us mistake this: for we are all ticket-of-leave men. Let there be no boasting. We are all out of hell conditionally. (J. Parker, D. D.)

Adonijah

I. Beware of ambition. When regulated, restrained, and guided, ambition serves a good end. It rouses to activity, and it tends to produce a generous and noble character. But when it is inspired only by selfishness, by the desire simply to attain to a certain position, so that vanity may be indulged and pride gratified--by the determination to outstrip your fellows and win certain prizes for which they too are toiling;--when, in short, there is nothing but self to be consulted and flattered and appeased, it is dangerous. It may lead you to do much that is evil, to trample on that which is sacred, to break through and cast down the barriers which God’s law has erected around you, to despise the nearest and dearest relationships of human life. Under its withering influence he loses sight of the eternal in the temporal, ignores the spiritual in the carnal, and forgets God in self! There is no ban laid by God on advancement or “getting on.” You are not forbidden to attain earthly honours, to acquire what are called the world’s “good things.” But then, recollect, you must regard them only as subordinate to higher things. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

II. Beware of disobedience to parents. It may be an old, but it is a permanent command, “Honour thy father and thy mother,” etc.

III. Beware of evil associations. The unholy alliance at Enrogel broke up, immediately on the arrival of adverse tidings. Joab, Abiathar, and their confederates disappeared, and left Adonijah to his own devices. There was no deep affection, and no bond of pure love to keep them together; selfishness was at the root of the association. They fawned, and flattered, and fled. Wicked men do not care for their companions beyond the point of advantage. They have no interest in each other’s welfare, and they are suspicious of each other’s designs and of each other’s fidelity. Accomplices and partners in guilt indulge in mutual accusations and revelations which show the slender nature of the tie which binds them together. There is no love--no true, deep, self-sacrificing love--such as dwells in the hearts of Christian brethren, united in Jesus Christ. (A. Williamson.)

When the play is out

Honour must put off the robes when the play is done, make it never so glorious a show on this world’s stage; it hath but a short part to act. A great name of worldly glory is but like a peal rung on the bells, the common people are the clappers, the rope that moves them is popularity; if you once let go your hold and leave pulling, the clapper lies still, and farewell honour. (T. Adams.)

Ambition, destructive

The principal thing that excited the public hatred, and at last caused the death of Julius Caesar was his passion for the title of king. It was the first thing that gave offence to the multitude, and it afforded his inveterate enemies a very plausible plea. (Plutarch.)


Verse 8

1 Kings 1:8

But Zadok the priest . . . went not with Adonijah.

Steadfast when others falter

So Cranmer and Ridley, and some few other conscientious persons, afterwards ill rewarded by Queen Mary, refused to subscribe the letters patent for Lady Jane Grey’s succession to the crown, after the death of King Edward VI.; which yet were subscribed by the most of the statesmen, who were guided with respect to their particular interest, for that they were possessed of divers lands which once pertained to monasteries, chanteries, etc., which they foresaw they should lose, m case religion should change under Queen Mary. (J. Trapp.)


Verses 22-27

1 Kings 1:22-27

Nathan the prophet also came in.

Solomon succeeding David

I. The trouble arising from lack of home discipline. Many a parent sows seeds of sorrow by over-indulgence of the children. Nothing is more prophetic of grief to come, for the parent, and calamity, for the child, than failure to insist upon obedience. There is to be a throne and something of parental sovereignty in every home. God requires of all parents, for their own sakes, the children’s sake, and the sake of society, that they should govern their household.

II. The sin of disregard for parents. Adonijah knew that his father had designated Solomon as his successor. Finding his father feeble and at the point of death, he conspired against him, influenced all he could to join him in the conspiracy, and aid him in accomplishing his purpose. In the ambition of his heart to reign over Israel he was ready for any intrigue, any injustice. Ambition is the cause of much of this world’s crime. It consumes all the better feelings of our nature; makes men regardless of tenderest relations and deepest obligations. There are no duties diviner than those we owe to our parents. In their old age, especially, parents have supreme claim on the affection and protection of their children. None but he who is lost to all sense of the claims of love, and is far gone in sin, can wilfully make sad a parent’s heart. In all tenderness, and all solicitation for the joy and comfort of their parents, children should hand them down to their graves, making, if it may be, their last days the sunniest and most restful.

III. The sacredness of human pledges. David had assured Bathsheba that her son Solomon should succeed to the throne. Human pledges are sacred, especially when made in the fear of God, and according to His conscious will. No difficulties should ever turn men aside from fulfilling their vows. There should be no delay when danger threatens. All men have many interests in their hands. It will cost, of time, strength, and exposure, it may he, to guard these interests; but they should be guarded, whatever the cost. David acted promptly, thus he succeeded. Delays are often fatal. Decision is demanded for emergencies. While men fear and hesitate it often becomes too late. Truth is to be done. Neither God nor man excuses falsehood. Faithlessness is full of annoyance. Our lives should be worthy of trust. There may be impossibilities in the way; these alone should prevent the keeping of our pledges.

IV. The faithfulness of friends. Adonijah would have been crowned as king, had not the friends of David and Solomon revealed the conspiracy. But these friends were true; and their haste in acquainting the king of what was transpiring gave him time to avert the calamity. Faithfulness to friends is one great want of the world. None is safe from attack on the part of the ambitious and designing. Neighbours are in danger of being injured in person or position without knowing it, or being able to avoid the snare. Society is full of secret schemings to rise on the ruin of others. Character is assailed; property imperilled; all sacred things put in jeopardy by the unscrupulous. Often serious and irreparable injury is done before the parties affected dream of anything evil in the air. In business, in politics, in the whole range of human plan’s for personal advancement, or right doing on any line, men are liable to be maligned and harmed. It is duty in all cases and at all hazard to give warning or counsel, and to interpose for the protection of others. We are not to be busybodies, but we are to be our brother’s keeper.

V. The patience of faith. Solomon likely knew of the conspiracy of Adonijah; but he was as a deaf man that heard not. He seems to have quietly composed himself, leaving it to God and his friends to order all. God had a will as to that succession to the throne. Solomon understood it, and he could wait. Faith is patient. There may be delays and disasters. Enemies may seem to succeed against us. Providence may seem to be opposing. It may be wholly dark and ominous. But we are to compose ourselves and wait.

VI. The sovereignty of God. Adonijah considered the kingdom his by birthright, after the death of Absalom. He had, however, been set aside by Divine appointment. He had been welcomed with the cry: “God save King Adonijah!” Shall that conspiracy succeed? God had planned otherwise. No plan formed against the Almighty can permanently prosper. Wickedness may prevail for a time. Wicked men may come to crowning. There may be long bafflings and delayings in the fulfilment of prophecy. But God reigns. His word shall be accomplished. Here is our hope in reference to this lost world. We have only to find our place and do our work. The day is to dawn. There are to be turnings and overturnings. Kingdoms and empires are to rise and fall--all unto the end of the setting up of the kingdom of Christ on the earth. The day of jubilee is to be ushered in. (Monday Club Sermons.)

Solomon’s succeeding David

This presents before us the last of those three equal reigns, of forty years each, which seem to be typical of the three dispensations: the Hebrew Church with its apostasy; the Christian Church during its militant period; and the millennial reign with its triumphant glory. If Solomon was thus the type of the “Prince of Peace,” the fact that he ascended his throne only by displacing a usurper may find its correspondence in the usurpation of authority over this world, Christ’s rightful realm, by the prince of darkness. Yet how sure stands the unchanging word, “I have set my King upon my holy hill of Zion”! Adonijah, who is mentioned fourth among David’s sons, as his mother, Haggith, is fourth among David’s wives, was a curious compound of physical beauty and grace with boundless conceit and impudence, arrogance, and ambition. He was a spoiled child: we are quaintly told in this chapter that “his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so?” Of his mother, Haggith, we get no glimpse, except as the record reveals that at Hebron, not long after Absalom’s birth, she became the mother of this her only child, Adonijah. Her name in the Hebrew tongue means “dancer,” and she was probably a gay, light, unprincipled woman, lacking both intellectual force and moral depth of character. This son certainly resembled this probable portrait of his mother. He was a “goodly man”; that is, of attractive personal presence--what, in our corruption of pure English, we would call a “handsome man.” Yet his youthful passions were stronger than his principles, and his impulses trampled upon his convictions. As often happens in such cases, this son, who by reason of his mother’s laxity and his own waywardness, needed a father’s restraint the more, was subject to no parental authority or discipline whatever, and under no sceptre of family government. His ambition was reckless. Ordinarily, however much the favourite of his father, he could not have aspired to succeed him on the throne, for Ammon, Chileab, and Absalom would each in turn prefer the clash of primogeniture; but the death of these three elder brothers left Adonijah the eldest living son, and therefore a claimant to the royal succession. The throne was, however, pledged to Solomon, his younger brother, a child of promise, “beloved of the Lord,” and better qualified every way for a wise and just ruler. Adonijah’s ambition was not to be so easily thwarted. He saw with secret exultation the visible and rapid decline of his father’s strength, and that the time had come to seize by force a crown which he could not secure by favour or procure by merit. Let us not forget the lesson’s moral, which touches both parents and children. Parental authority and filial obedience are among God’s unchanging decrees. A Divine curse for ever alienated from Eli’s house the sacred privilege of the priesthood; and this is the ground of the curse: “Because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.” Yet he did inquire into their conduct and severely rebuked it, and so was a better father than David, who did not even investigate Adonijah’s course. How grand is the contrast of Abraham, who commanded his children and his household after him to do justice and judgment! There may be an indulgence which is innocent. To deny to a child the gratification of a proper and natural desire whose indulgence would work no harm to the child nor injustice to others may be unjust; capricious refusal may provoke to wrath a child who is disposed to obedience, and stir up mischief, if not malice. But promiscuous indulgence leaves children to grow up selfish, sensual, and reckless. One of the laws of the Mosaic code required every builder of a house to put a battlement around the roof; and that battlement, in the building of the household, is parental law. Where that exists a child falls into ruin only as he climbs over the battlement. Without pressing this lesson to the extreme of a fanciful typical interpretation, we may lawfully find in it illustrations of some most important truths: first of all, the secret of prevailing prayer. Bathsheba went before King. David with confidence, for he had given his royal word of promise: “Surely Solomon thy son shall sit on my throne.” There was no presumption in her plea; she was emboldened by the king’s word: it was the confidence and courage of faith. And so she got her request, and the answer was immediate as well as sure: “Even so will I certainly do this day.” What is our encouragement in prayer? The promise of the immutable God. No capricious moods make Him liable to repent or change His mind; no old age and failing faculties render Him liable to forget. We have to do with the eternal, unchanging God, whose word is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. A second illustration may be gathered from this lesson as to the providence of God overruling the evil designs of men and accomplishing His purposes. Everything seemed against Solomon when Adonijah, surrounded by his fellow-conspirators, was saluted as king. His throne was at risk, and even his life was in peril But there was an old man, not yet dead, in whose feeble hands the sceptre still rested, and who had sworn that Solomon should be heir to the kingdom. A few words spoken by him unseated the usurper, dispersed his minions, and placed the child of promise upon the throne. How often “all things” seem against us, while “all things work together for our good.” The god of this world has usurped the kingdom, and a host of followers rally round his standard. The apparent successes of the god of this world in seizing the reins of empire and oppressing the saints of the Most High shall make his ultimate defeat only the more overwhelming, complete, and final (A. T. Pierson, D. D.)

Solomon succeeding David

I. A royal advising.

1. Visiting the king

2. Honouring the king.

II. A royal usurper.

1. Treacherous sacrifices.

2. Treacherous treatment.

3. Treachery suspected.

III. A royal ruler.

1. His mother summoned.

2. His father promising.

3. His mother rejoicing.

4. His reign established.


Verse 36

1 Kings 1:36

And Benaiah . . . said Amen.

The “Amen” of God and of man

Benaiah recognises the necessity that God shall ratify and effectuate man’s desires and purposes. Man’s “Amen” means “May it be so.” Jehovah’s “Amen” alone means “It shall be so.” His words are the expression of--

I. Human helplessness. Man’s plans only succeed when in the way of God’s Providence, and when carried out in His strength. The true, broad view of His Providence shows us a government of the world’s affairs, which takes in the life of the highest and humblest, their aims, their work, their wants, their very sins and opposition, and, as here, makes all contribute to the revelation of His Son and the setting up of His kingdom. At the same time He can fulfil David’s narrower plan, and secure Solomon’s elevation. He can secure my private wish and His own will; He can harmonise the course, and aims, and wants, of two lives, or twenty, or a hundred, even if not to converge for many years to come. If they harmonise, it is because “He says so too.” Men must strive in vain against God’s purposes; or for their own, without Jehovah’s “Amen.” Men are, and are not, “architects of their own fortune.” “Except the Lord build the house” of David, or Benaiah, or any other, “they labour in vain that build it.” Babel-builders leave God out of their counsel; they must have Him in their work. Napoleon’s fall dates from his words at Berlin: “ I propose, and I dispose.” “Man proposes, God disposes.”

II. Hope. Human effort is not to be paralysed: “I cannot make my plan absolutely secure, or any plan, therefore I will do nothing.” This is fatalism. There is a responsibility for effort lying on every man. David and Benaiah must propose. This done prayerfully and submissively, man may hope for a blessing on his effort, The godly man proposes, and may hope that God will “say so too.”

III. Humility. Not the sullen submission which bows, and bears, and yields, because there is no choice, if He does not “say so too.” But the reverent acknowledgment of a superior will to which a man loves to bow; the glad submission of every plan to the scrutiny and revision of a wise Father.

1. Let all our plans in life be conceived in this spirit. Write “D.V.” upon every record of purpose and desire.

2. All must be conceived and carried out in His strength. In our vows--

Thou art not only to perform Thy part,

Thou also mine: as when the league was made,

Thou didst at once Thyself indite

And hold my hand, while I did write.

--(Herbert.)

(H. J. Foster.)


Verse 48

1 Kings 1:48

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel.

The joy of aged and dying saints

It is matter of great joy and thankfulness to aged Christians, when they are dying, to leave their families in prosperous and peaceful circumstances; and especially, rising up in their stead to serve God and support religion.

I. To illustrate this observation.

1. It is a pleasure to an aged, dying Christian to leave his family in prosperous circumstances. It is the character of a good man, that he is not a lover of this world, nor anxiously solicitous about future events. Nevertheless, he considers himself as obliged, by the laws of nature, reason, and the gospel, to provide for those of his own house. He is not solicitous to heap up so much wealth for them as may be likely to make them idle, proud, and luxurious; but only so much as may fix them comfortably in the world; in that middle station which may be most friendly to their piety and happiness. He rejoiceth in that declaration of Solomon, “The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him”; and he dieth with a full persuasion that it will be confirmed to his children.

2. It is a greater pleasure to him to leave his descendants in unity and love. Contentions and quarrels, between whomsoever they happen, are grievous to all the sons of peace, dishonourable to religion and injurious to its power; but between those of the same stock and family they are most shameful and pernicious. The aged saint, when he is going to the world of peace, is delighted to see his descendants loving as brethren, courteous and kind one to another.

3. It is his greatest joy to leave his descendants in the way of holiness, and zealous for the support of religion. “A wise son,” saith Solomon, “maketh a glad father. The father of a wise child rejoiceth in him”: especially when he is quitting the stage of life, and can do no more for the Church of God than pour out his prayers for its prosperity.

II. Why such a prospect giveth so much joy to aged and dying Christians.

1. This joy ariseth, in part, from their natural love to their descendants. God hath implanted in all creatures a strong affection to their offspring, in order that they may preserve and sustain them till they are capable of providing for themselves. This natural instinct or affection is, in good men, sanctified by religion.

2. The concern which aged Christians feel for the honour of God and Christ, and for the continuance and spread of religion, increaseth this joy. The great object of a good man’s desire is, “that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ”; that His perfections may be seen and manifested in the world, especially by the spread of His glorious gospel; and that He may receive that reverence, homage, and love, which is due to Him from all His rational, especially His redeemed, creatures.

3. His prospect of meeting his pious descendants again in the heavenly world. It is a most reviving and glorious consolation which the gospel affords to dying saints, that when they part with pious friends and relatives, it is not an eternal separation; it is indeed but a short one. For when Christ shall be revealed from heaven, there shall be “a gathering together of all His saints unto Him”; and He will so range and dispose them in the heavenly mansions, that those who were united in the bonds of pious friendship here, shall be happy in the renewed acquaintance and society of each other, and shall be ever with one another and with the Lord.

III. Inferences.

1. It should be the earnest desire, and diligent care, of all parents, that they may have this joy.

2. Aged Christians who have this joy ought to be very thankful. Bless the Lord God of Israel, as David did, that He hath given you dutiful and religions children, and spared you to be witnesses of their holy conversation.

3. It is the duty of young persons to fulfil their parents’ joy. Let them be solicitous to cherish and manifest those graces and dispositions which will afford their parents much comfort, especially when they are aged and dying. “The father of the righteous,” saith Solomon, “shall greatly rejoice, and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.” (J. Orton, S. T. P.)


Verse 50

1 Kings 1:50

Adonijah feared because of Solomon.

The best way of overcoming

David did not directly attack this false kingdom of Adonijah’s. He did set up the true kingdom in the place of the false. So the false fell because there was no room for it in the presence of the true. Here is admirable illustration of the best way of overcoming. Deduce the principle--crown the right, the true, the trustful, and these, thus resolutely set up, will crowd out and take the place of the bad and the false. Apply the principle--

1. To the overcoming of evil thoughts. They are a common trouble. From the evil nature within us, the evil world without us, from the suggestions of Satan, from the laws of association under the action of which much of our thinking emerges, it is not surprising that evil thoughts should assault. What is to be done with them? How are they to be overcome? A frequent attempt is that of the sheer set of the will against them. But this is wearying, and frequently unsuccessful. A better way is to simply enthrone the true. Crown Solomon. Summon attention to the right. And thus in the presence of the crowned right thought and pure, the evil thought will fade and fail. Here is a test for the right sort of reading--a book which suggests evil is a book which ought not to be read. Here we can see the importance of daffy devotion--study of the Bible and prayer These things suggest and crown right thoughts and pure, and the mind, being occupied with these, will have no room or care for evil thoughts.

2. Apply this principle to the overcoming of despondency. Even the bravest and most hopeful are sometimes despondent--Moses, Elijah A simple determination not to be despondent wilt not much help one. But there is a way of overcoming The opposite of despondency is action. Crown that opposite. Set yourself, however despondent you may feel, bravely at the duty next you. The doing the duty will scatter the despondency.

3. Apply this principle to the overcoming of care and worry. Take hold of a promise. Crown that. The promise is the antidote for worry.

4. Apply this principle in the direction of social reform. It is not enough simply to attack the bad. Positively set up the good. A merely negative tearer-down is a poor sort of a reformer.

5. Let us sum up the whole thing--the best way to overcome the bad is to crown the good; and the Solomon for us to crown over thought, motive, deed, is Jesus Christ. The Christ-crowned in us will vanquish Adonijah. (Homiletic Review.)

The triumph of truth

The way to preach down error is to preach up truth. Never tackle Satan unless you are sure you can lay him. A great many men by opposing error have magnified it, have glorified it, have given dignity to a hitherto unseen and comparatively unknown foe. The most that churchgoing people have learned of some forms d error, they have learned from Christian pulpits. Now, the Christian pulpit is not erected to preach evils, but to preach the glory of God. Infidelity is noisy, but it is shallow. It is a failure, an ignominious failure. A little time ago in the history of New York, Thomas Paine said, “In five years there will not be a Bible in America.” How we smile to-day when we read his words! Truth is to triumph just in proportion as we preach Christ, for as we liberate truth we will oppose error. (R. S. Storrs.)
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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Kings 1:4". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/1-kings-1.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, June 25th, 2019
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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