Through the Bible Day by Day
Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying,
NEW RESPONSIBILITIES FOR THE NEW KING
1Ch_28:1-21; 1Ch_29:1-30 should be read as coming between this and the preceding chapter. It was with a ripe knowledge of life that David urged Solomon to keep God’s charge, to walk in His ways and do His commandments, as the sure road to prosperity. The guiding-star of David’s life- 2Sa_7:25 -shone over him in death. God never goes back on a word that he has once spoken. He continues His word-only we must walk before Him in obedience and faith, that it may have free course.
At first sight, we might suppose that the old king cherished bitter feelings against those named in this parting charge; but it should be remembered that he speaks here from a public, rather than a private, standpoint. He knew that these men constituted a grave peril to the peace and stability of the State; and indeed his fears were abundantly justified, for each of them was discovered in acts of treachery, on account of which, and not because of David’s words, he suffered death. David held that the claims of gratitude were not less binding than those of justice; hence his warm recommendation of Barzillai. “Show thyself a man” was good advice to a youth called to rule in turbulent times.
BREAKING THREE COMMANDMENTS
1Ki_21:1-29; 1Ki_1:1-53; 1Ki_2:1-46; 1Ki_3:1-28; 1Ki_4:1-34; 1Ki_5:1-18; 1Ki_6:1-38; 1Ki_7:1-51; 1Ki_8:1-66; 1Ki_9:1-28; 1Ki_10:1-29; 1Ki_11:1-43; 1Ki_12:1-33; 1Ki_13:1-34; 1Ki_14:1-31; 1Ki_15:1-34; 1Ki_16:1-34
From a worldly point of view Naboth might have done a good stroke of business by selling his estate to. Ahab. A royal price and assured favor might have been his-but he had a conscience! Above the persuasive tones of the monarch’s offer sounded the voice of God: “The land shall not be sold for ever, for the land is mine.” See Lev_25:23; Num_36:7; Eze_46:18.
Ahab knew perfectly well that Jezebel could not give him the property of another except by foul means, but he took pains not to inquire. Though the direct orders for Naboth’s death did not come from him, yet, by his silence, he was an accomplice and an accessory; and divine justice penetrates all such specious excuses. God holds us responsible for wrongs which we do not arrest, though we have the power. The crime was blacker because of the pretext of religion, as suggested by a fast. See also 2Ki_9:26. The blood of murdered innocence cries to God, and his requital, though delayed, is inevitable. See Rev_6:9-10.
So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.
A FOOLISH AND FATAL PETITION
So David’s troubled life came to a close, but he has never ceased to lead the praises of the saints.
At the very beginning of his reign Solomon was confronted by a difficult problem. There was so close a connection in public opinion between the title to the crown and the possession of a deceased monarch’s harem, that it would have been impossible to grant Adonijah’s request without giving strong encouragement to his pretensions. Solomon treated Bathsheba with profound respect, but his love for her did not blind him to his duty to his realm, Pro_20:26.
Notice that solemn declaration, “As Jehovah liveth,” 1Ki_2:24. It was common to the godly of those days. See 1Ki_17:1. They would not use the phrase lightly nor flippantly, but with a profound realization of standing in the presence of God. Let us recall those words of our Lord, “As the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father,” Joh_6:57, and let us draw daily on His life, so that we may live-yet not we, but he in us and we in Him, Gal_2:20.
And unto Abiathar the priest said the king, Get thee to Anathoth, unto thine own fields; for thou art worthy of death: but I will not at this time put thee to death, because thou barest the ark of the Lord GOD before David my father, and because thou hast been afflicted in all wherein my father was afflicted.
PAYING PENALTY FOR BLOODY DEEDS
The removal of Abiathar from the office of high priest and the execution of Joab quenched the last faint hopes of the house of Saul. In the case of Abiathar, note the remarkable fulfillment of the divine prediction, 1Sa_2:31-35. God does not fail to keep His word, whether of threatening or of promise.
Joab fled to the altar. Men who, throughout their life, have disregarded or despised religion will often turn to it in their extremity. Those who blaspheme when the seas are smooth, will be the first to cry for mercy when the storm-winds lash the waters into foam.
Joab’s attempt to find mercy through the altar was futile; but no sinner ever flees to the Cross in vain. If he fulfills the conditions of repentance and faith, the sword of the avenger cannot touch him there. If we confess and forsake our sins, and humbly trust in the mercy of the Redeemer, no weapon that is formed against us can prosper, and every tongue that rises in judgment is condemned. “This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,” Isa_54:17.
And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Build thee an house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and go not forth thence any whither.
PRESUMING AND PERISHING THEREFORE
Shimei broke the one condition on which his life had been given back to him, and could have no just cause of complaint against the king. It may be argued that his offense was a trifling and excusable one, but we must remember that it was committed not only against the royal commandment, but against the oath of God, 1Ki_2:43. By this one act he forfeited all claim upon Solomon’s clemency.
We are here reminded of the parable of the two debtors in Mat_18:28, etc. The debtor who owed the most had been released, and we naturally look to see the forgiven man’s glad forgiveness of his brother, who was, in turn, indebted to him. But, so far from forgiveness, there was rough retaliation. This canceled the first offer of pardon and it was withdrawn. So this act on the part of Shimei was fatal in its effect. The Jews were doubtful as to the forgivableness of presumptuous sins, and our Lord also taught that there is a sin against the Holy Spirit which cannot be forgiven. May God’s Holy Spirit Himself preserve us from this!