So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David, and his rule was firmly established. (1 Kings 2:12 NIV)
Before David left this mortal coil, he saw the need to give his successor some important words. Here was the man after God’s heart telling his son how to have a good reign. Yet some of those instructions are remarkably brutal. See Joab? Kill him. See Shimei? Kill him. David couches it in terms that appeals to the wisdom he knows his son has, but the message is clear – to settle some old scores and establish the throne there were some who needed to be permanently dealt with.
Solomon goes about establishing the throne, however, with a swiftswift piece of punishment for a significant perceived insult from his brother who had sought the throne before. The request for their father’s concubine was seen as a move on the throne again and Solomon put an end to that. On a roll, he then kicked out the priest he saw as a part of the revolt against him. It’s intriguing how Joab gets windwind of these moves and knows his number’s up.
The real kicker is how he deals with Shimei. Here is a guy that cursed his dad and pelted him when he was on the run from Absalom. David had said he wouldn’t kill him, but David did not forget and neither did his son on the throne. The house arrest that Solomon put Shimei in was a play for the long game that Absalom would have admired. It was as if Solomon knew no matter how long it took, there would be one time when Shimei would slip. Years later, lo and behold the circumstances presented themselves and Solomon fulfilled his father’s instructions ensuring Shimei’sShimei’s gray head went down to the grave in blood.
This is not a chapter for the squeamish, neither is it a great advert for those who think that being after God’s heart is all pleasant and cheerful. It does highlight, however, the pattern that appears often in God’s dealings with His peoplepeople. To establish the right, you sometimes have to be clinical in dealing with wrong. Being established in the light means getting rid of the dark. Sometimes it’s our acceptance and tolerance of the wrong that will compromise, undermine and eventually corrupt whatever good we hope to achieve.
Solomon started his reign well by paying heed to his father’s instructions in being ruthless in dealing with the wrong. May that standard be noted by those who follow the Father today.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden