Bathsheba's innocent mistake

Sixth in the Solomon Series

David warned Solomon to beware of Joab and Shimei. These were men who had committed deep offenses against the Crown. If David could not trust them, neither could King Solomon. However, it may not be the matter we fear that shatters our peace, but the one we little suspect.

The first attempt on the throne came through a half-brother, Adonijah, who wanted a certain gift, and his deceitful proposition was relayed by, of all people, Bathsheba, his own mother!

Adonijah is known in Scripture as David's son by Haggith (2 Sa 3:4), but nothing is stated about her origins. As the fourth son, he was not likely to become king, but after the deaths of Absalom and Amnon, only Chileab, also called Daniel (1 Ch 3:1) preceded him. Easton's Bible Dictionary suggests Chileab died young. If so, Adonijah was thinking logically when he determined to name himself king. He was next in line.

Many went along with him, including Joab, David's military leader, and Abiathar the priest, so he appeared to have a credible claim. His sedition forced King David to name Solomon king — and fast, to honor the prophecy stated in 1 Ch 22:9, Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. Solomon was God's choice for Israel, David's seventh son. (2 Sam 3:4, 5 lists the first six.)

The military leader Benaiah, Zadok the priest, and the prophet Nathan supported Solomon, anointing and proclaiming him King, so Adonijah thought up a new approach: He tried to lay claim to David's "wife" Abishag.

As King David grew older and since there were no electric blankets back then, a young virgin, Abishag, became his comfort in bed, only for warmth, not as a wife. Adonijah came to Bathsheba to ask that she request Abishag as a consolation prize for him, since he understood now he would never be king. His words to her were: Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine, and [that] all Israel set their faces on me, that I should reign: howbeit the kingdom is turned about, and is become my brother's: for it was his from the LORD… Speak, I pray thee, unto Solomon the king, (for he will not say thee nay,) that he give me Abishag the Shunammite to wife. And Bathsheba said, Well; I will speak for thee unto the king. 1 Ki 2:15, 17, 18

It was a treasonous request because the harem of a king became the possession of the new one.

Evidently, this custom was unknown to the ladies, since Bathsheba had no problem in passing the request to her son. Or perhaps she wanted to be rid of a lass who had been in bed with her husband. Why should her son also be bothered by her?

Solomon easily saw through the plot and took swift action. Benaiah was sent to deal with Adonijah.

No doubt Bathsheba was in shock. We must be careful not to carry tales... or requests that ought not to be granted.

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