There are always times in life when we need to make difficult decisions that we really do not want to make. We know that it might be the best thing for us, but it is very difficult to do. I think that is what we find in 1 Kings 2:13-46 as the newly anointed King Solomon has to execute some radical justice to establish his kingdom. After dealing with four individuals, we are told in vs. 46 that "the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon."
Solomon Deals With Adonijah (vs. 13-25)
All Adonijah had to do was prove himself to be a worthy man and not one hair would fall from his head. He would live. This is the mercy that Solomon extended to him after his attempt at the throne in the first chapter. But now, he tries to make another attempt, by asking for Abishag (David's last and certainly very popular concubine) for a wife. And it is this attempt at the throne that costs him his life as he shows himself to be an enemy of the state.
He tries to make a covert ploy for the kingdom through his sense of entitlement. He thought he deserved to be king. It was his throne. If you think about it, this is a very prevalent attitude in our country. The dad thinks he is entitled to sit in his chair without being distracted after a hard day's work. The mom thinks she deserves some peace and quiet. The kid thinks they deserve the next gaming system.
And it is probably the heart of religion. Most people think they are good enough and deserve to go to heaven when they die. But the heart of the gospel says just the opposite. Nobody is good enough. Nobody deserves eternal life. Our unworthiness is why Jesus had to come and die!
Solomon Deals With Abiathar (vs. 26-27)
Abiathar was a priest that sided with Adonijah. Solomon once again offers mercy, but strips him of his ministry and sends him to his hometown. Unlike the other cases, this apparently worked. For in just a few chapters later, we are told that he is once again a priest ministering to the people of Israel. Let us never forget that while we have made some really stupid decisions in life, there is always time to repent and make things right.
Solomon Deals With Joab (vs. 28-35)
Joab thought he was going to die because he had sided with Adonijah. In reality, he was going to die because he had committed cold-blooded murder earlier in his life. The lesson to be learned from Joab is that no amount of running to religious things (like grabbing the horns of the altar) is going to save us from our sins. Our only hope is to grab hold of Jesus. [I would highly recommend reading THIS sermon by Charles Spurgeon on this topic].
Solomon Deals With Shimei (vs. 36-46)
Once again, Solomon responds with mercy. Even though Shimei deserved death, Solomon allowed him to build a house and then put him under a house arrest. If he stays in the house, he lives. If he leaves, he will die. After three years of living by this commitment, we see him leave the house for financial reasons. I wonder as he was looking for his servants, if he was looking over his shoulder to see if he would be exposed for disobeying the king? It is so easy to make a commitment in some area of our life and then have it slowly fade from our life. It cost him his life!
In the end, Solomon represents a man who was fighting for the Kingdom. These four men represent others who were fighting against the Kingdom. The question for us is simply: Are we for or against the Kind and His Kingdom?