1 Kings 1-2; Psalms 39, 65, 68, 89

The initial scenes of the record of the kings of Israel underscore the transition of the throne from David to Solomon. The rise of the latter would not go unchallenged, but in the end the Lord confirmed Solomon as king.

David’s last days were characterized by failing health (1 Kgs 1:1-4). While their father was in decline, two of David’s sons were thought to be heirs to the throne of Israel, Adonijah and his younger brother, Solomon. Adonijah “kept exalting himself, saying, ‘I will be king!’” (1 Kgs 1:5). Adonijah was persuasive; both Joab and Abiathar the priest were won over. Yet, when Nathan and Bathsheba intervened (1 Kgs 1:11-27), the king was persuaded, and he ordered that Solomon be recognized as his successor (1 Kgs 1:29-53).

David’s last words included some pointed instruction for Israel’s new king (1 Kgs 2:1-12). David directed Solomon to fear God (1 Kgs 2:2-4). David’s words echo themes covered by Moses when he was ready to be gathered to his fathers (Deuteronomy 28-33), telling Solomon that if he would keep God’s commands he would live and be blessed, but if not it would be to his own peril. David told Solomon to remove Joab from military leadership (1 Kgs 2:5-7) and banish Shimei (1 Kgs 2:8-9) who had mocked David when he was on the run from Absalom (2 Sam 16:5-13).

Upon David’s death, Adonijah once again sought to usurp the throne—even employing Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, in the ruse (1 Kgs 2:13-21). Yet Solomon was already endowed with a measure of shrewdness befitting a king. He saw through Adonijah’s request that Abishag the Shunammite, the beautiful virgin who had ministered to David on his death bed (1 Kgs 1:1-4), be given to him as a wife. The older brother’s request was tantamount to requesting the scepter of Israel. Solomon acted wisely; he had his older brother killed (1 Kgs 2:25). Unrivaled, Solomon straightaway carried out his father’s advice, even having Joab executed while he held onto the horns of the altar (1 Kgs 2:28-35) and Shimei killed (1 Kgs 2:43). As a result, “the kingdom was established in Solomon’s hand” (1 Kgs 2:46).

Psalm 89 is a complex poem. The author recounts God’s promises to David (Ps 89:19-37), then laments that the Lord has not fulfilled them (Ps 89:38-48), and concluded with a petition for the Lord to remember His word to the king and act (Ps 89:49-52). The record of promises in Ps 89:19-37 provides a framework for understanding the life and ministry of Jesus, making the Psalm prominent in the New Testament.

(1) The anointing of David established a pattern for Jesus as God’s anointed Son. In the psalmist’s mind, the anointing of David confirmed God’s choice of Jesse’s son to be king (Ps 89:19-20). In Heb 1:8-9, the author quoted Ps 45:6-7 to describe Jesus as God’s anointed Son.

(2) David addressed God as his Father and was the firstborn of God (Ps 89:26-27)—the relational framework Jesus enjoys with the Father eternally (Mark 15:39; Luke 1:35; 2:49; John 1:14, 18; 17:1, 11, 21, 24-25; 20:17).

(3) God promised David that his descendants would sit on his throne forever (Ps 89:29)—a promise confirmed to Jesus (Matt 1:1-14; Luke 1:30-33).

(4) God’s promise to David that he would have an eternal dynasty was likened to God swearing an oath (Ps 89:35-37)—a pattern recognized in God’s oath that Jesus would be an eternal priest in the new covenant (Heb 6:13-19; 7:20-28).