Monday, June 06, 2011

New Year: 1 Kings 1-2 for Apr 6

1 Kings 1-2, especially chapter 2, are not exactly eulogistic of David, nor are they exalted in their praise of Solomon as they introduce him. Note the absence of interpretive comment of any kind that the Lord commended the incidents of chapter 2, describing Adonijah, Joab, and Shimei's end at the command of Solomon. Perhaps there is a faint echo of the prediction of 1 Sam 8:18 on earthly kingships instead of the heavenly one.

These chapters are a comment on the perils of power and consolidation of power by the use of pretext. They are morally messy! Are the pretexts for Solomon's actions here concocted? In 2:22, Solomon describes a motive for Bathsheba's request that is disproportionate. 2:13 hints that Adonijah has peace on his mind, but the narrative doesn't necessarily endorse this. But immediately following this, the story of the treatment of Abiathar shows that Solomon's thinking was not pure pragmatism: "you are a man of death, but I will not put you to death at this time, because you carried the ark of the Lord GOD before my father David, and because you were afflicted in everything with which my father was afflicted." What an amazing comment!

Similar ambiguities exist for Joab's life and death, and Shimei's life and death. It is instructive to compare the one-sentence comment of 1 Kings 2:46b with 2 Samuel 5:10-12, although as a single explanation, it needs to be supplemented by all the actions prior to David's ascension and consolidation as king in 2 Samuel 3-5.

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