Summary: The message looks at Solomon’s rise to the throne of Israel.
Folk sayings are easily remembered, but not always understood. People talk about "walking the walk" and "following in the footsteps" of others, about "taking a stand," "standing firm," and "standing tall." These sayings, along with many traditional proverbs, are all commonly expressed folk wisdom about social change, and they condense and preserve the experiences of many who have gone before. Such folklore passes on basic values. When we talk about having "big shoes to fill," we are remembering larger-than-life heroes and holding ourselves accountable to them. This is the case as Israel waits for their beloved, aged king to let them know who will succeed him on the throne of Israel. David has fought hard his whole life and now that his days are winding down this great warrior is weary. He is plagued by numerous health issues and is apparently out of touch with what is happening in his kingdom. Weary and at the end of his life, he discovers that he has one last task. He needs to publicly name his successor, but there was one problem: Adonijah. Adonijah was ambitious, and wanted to become king. Never mind that his father David had not yet died. Never mind that it was by no means clear in this kingdom that the crown is passed from father to son – after all, David himself did not get it that way. And never mind, most of all, that David had not promised the throne to Adonijah, but to another son, Solomon. None of that mattered to this crafty and ambitious young man. He wanted to be king and he went about gathering support. The Kingdom of Israel was about to go into full-fledged crisis. David’s wife Bathsheba and her son, Solomon, along with Nathan the prophet, intervened, so that David could keep his word and put Solomon on the throne. Today let’s get more acquainted with Solomon.
I. Assuming the throne in his father’s shadow.
A. The circumstances surrounding his birth and name.
1. After the dust had settled on David’s adultery with Bathsheba and the ensuing attempt to cover it up. David comes to terms with God’s grace and judgment which allowed him to find comfort. Having been comforted by God, he was able to bring comfort to “his wife Bathsheba”.
2. Eventually she becomes pregnant a second time by David. The son who was born was named Solomon. The name Solomon means “the peaceful”. David regarded the birth of this child as a pledge that he should now become a partaker again of peace with God.
3. Now Yahweh loved this child. He sent the prophet Nathan to bestow on the infant a special name: Jedidiah, which means “beloved of Yahweh.”
4. Following the agony of death, the Lord had given him peace. The contrasts between the first child of David and Bathsheba’s union and the second were sharp. Whereas the Lord fatally judged the first, “the Lord loved” the second
5. Nathan’s ministry with respect to David and Solomon is not yet finished. During David’s last days Nathan would play a key role in making sure that Solomon would succeed his father as king of Israel. In fact, Nathan would share in Solomon’s anointing, the most solemn act of all.
B. Prosperity, loyalty and majesty were the main characteristics of Solomon’s reign.
1. All Israel gathered in a holy assembly to acknowledge Solomon as king. The author emphasizes all Israel by noting that David’s officers, mighty men, and sons all pledged their submission (literally: “gave the hand under”) to Solomon.
2. Theologically, Solomon did not sit on David’s throne. Chronicles places him on the throne of the Lord. The kingdom belongs to God, and the one who sits on the throne does so by grace rather than right. Solomon’s kingdom is a manifestation of the kingdom of God on earth.
3. The Lord prospered him, and Israel obeyed him. Solomon was exalted in the sight of all Israel over his rivals and enjoyed royal splendor such as no king over Israel ever had before him or after him, which includes David.
4. Solomon sat on the throne of a united Israel for 40 years (970-940 BC) and the people enjoyed safety, peace and prosperity.
II. Solomon was showered with blessings by God during his reign.
A. God blessed Solomon with wisdom and knowledge.
1. God appears to Solomon in a dream at Gibeon and offers to give him anything he desires.
2. Solomon offers two petitions: let your promise to my father David be confirmed and give me wisdom and knowledge.
3. Solomon’s request for “wisdom and knowledge” to lead and govern “this great people of yours” is an acknowledgment of his own weakness in the tasks of government and of the fact that Israel was God’s people, not Solomon’s.