Lesson 1

Rough Start

(1 Kings 1)
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Introduction: Have you had enough of studying dragons and beasts? We now turn to the study of kings! This quarter we are essentially studying the books of First and Second Kings. Because First and Second Chronicles gives us a parallel account to Kings, we will compare Chronicles from time to time. Let's put on our armor and jump into the history of the Kings of Israel and Judah!

  1. David's Decline

    1. Read 1 Kings 1:1. Anyone understand David's condition?

      1. About a week ago I was at a ski resort in Utah. Although it was summer, and very warm outside, I noticed an old guy walking around wearing a coat! Ever notice that some old people wear jackets in summer? (David, like many old people, was suffering from a circulation problem.)

    2. Read 1 Kings 1:2-3. Where can you find servants like this? Can you imagine your doctor prescribing this for circulatory problems in your old age?

    3. Read 1 Kings 1:4. The Bible is really quite short. A lot of details I would like to know are left out. Why do you think this little story about the ancient substitute for an electric blanket for King David is in the Bible?

      1. If you were writing this story, would you include this detail?

      2. Did you notice the quarterly jumps right over this part of the story? (This sets the stage for the account of the kings in two ways. First, it reveals that we are going to get an honest and open account. If I were writing about King David, I would certainly leave this detail out of the story. Second, this tells us in a very clear way that David was at the end of his life. It was time for a new king.)

  2. Adonijah For King

    1. Read 1 Kings 1:5-6. Tell me what you learn about this young man Adonijah? Describe his character for me. (He is a proud opportunist. Since his father David, is not dead, but only sick, he has no right to the throne. The text suggests his behavior has not been appropriate. He is, however, good looking. 2 Samuel 3:4 tells us he was David's fourth son.)

      1. What do these verses tell us about David as a father? (He never disciplined Adonijah.)

      2. Consider this situation for a moment. How might things have been different if David had disciplined Adonijah as he was growing up? (Discipline probably would have caused the son to respect the authority of his father. This rebellion might not have happened if David had properly raised his son.)

    2. Read 1 Kings 1:7-8. Joab was David's general of the army and Abiathar was Priest. (It appears that Abiathar and Zadok were both "High Priest" during this time. See 2 Samuel 20:23-25.) Why would Adonijah go to these two men for support and why would they give it?

      1. Do you think Zadok, Benaiah and Nathan were asked to support Adonijah?

    3. Read 1 Kings 1:9-10. Why do you have "visitors' dinner" or "fellowship dinner" after church? (Adonijah understood that if you feed them they will come!)

      1. What do you think Nathan, Benaiah and Solomon thought about not being invited? (The battle lines had been drawn. These people did not support Adonijah's quest to become king and was not excluding them.)

        1. Were the lives of Nathan and the other "objectors" in danger?

  3. Solomon for King

    1. Read 1 Kings 1:11. Why would Nathan go to Bathsheba first? Why not go to King David or Solomon first? (Nathan thought that Bathsheba would have a great interest in what was happening and she apparently was the best one to approach King David.)

      1. Read 1 Kings 1:12. Was Bathsheba's interest merely for the success of her son? (No. Nathan suggests that both Bathsheba and Solomon will be killed if Adonijah takes the throne.)

        1. Why would they be killed?

    2. Read 1 Kings 1:13-14. How does Nathan know what King David had said about Solomon becoming king? (Either Bathsheba had been talking about this promise to her son, or it was well-known.)

      1. Read 1 Chronicles 22:7-10. Who decided that Solomon should be the next king? (God decided this. It is likely that Nathan, the prophet, would know what God had decreed.)

    3. Recall that Bathsheba became David's wife because they committed adultery, she became pregnant, and David arranged to have Bathsheba's husband killed. (For this account see 2 Samuel 11.) Why would God "honor" this arrangement by making their son the next king?

      1. I remember a woman once telling me about how she became married to her current husband. She committed adultery and married the fellow with whom she had been having an affair. It was now many years and several children later. I could tell that even now she was troubled about whether God approved of her still being married to the fellow with whom she had the affair. Was it still sin for her to be married to her current husband?

      2. What does God's selection of Solomon say about his willingness to forgive and forget sexual sins? (God had obviously forgiven David and Bathsheba. God was willing to honor their son by making him the next king. However, we should not forget that this sin caused a tremendous problem in David's life which led to the death of his two oldest sons. (See 2 Samuel 13 & 18.))

    4. Let's go back to 1 Kings 1:12-13. If Nathan knew about God's promise to David about Solomon, do you think Solomon knew? (It seems certain.)

      1. Where is Solomon in all of this? Surely he noticed that he did not get invited to Adonijah's coronation party! Surely he realized the danger to himself and his mother. How do you explain that Nathan the prophet is the moving party here instead of Solomon?

        1. How does Solomon's approach to his future differ from Adonijah's approach? (Solomon seems completely content to rely on God's promise he will be the next king. The Biblical account gives no indication that Solomon did anything to promote himself as king.)

        2. Is this an example to us in our daily work?

        3. Is it an example only if God promised us a promotion?

          1. Read Psalms 75:6-7 (and also read it in the KJV)and tell me what you think it is saying about your job?

  4. The Contest for King Ended

    1. Just as Nathan has suggested, Bathsheba approaches David followed by Nathan. Their entire conversation can be found in 1 Kings 1:15-27. Let's focus on a few of these verses. Read 1 Kings 1:17-18, 20-21. How would you describe Bathsheba's appeal to King David? (It has several elements. First, she reminds David of the Lord's will and David's solemn oath supporting God's direction (v.17). She then suggests that God's will and David's promise are not being fulfilled either because David is not doing his job or because he simply is unaware of events (v.18). Next she suggests David still has control and has not become irrelevant with age and weakness (v.20). Finally, she appeals to David's love and pity for his wife and son (v.21).)

      1. What do you think about Bathsheba's "legal argument" to the King?

    2. Let's focus on the key part of Nathan's argument. Read 1 Kings 1:24, 26-27. How would you describe Nathan's argument? (Nathan speaks as if David has the same power he had when he was young and clearly in charge. A king need not tell everyone what he decides, and Nathan acts as if David might have agreed to Adonijah becoming King. The idea is that David still has the authority to make these decisions (vv. 24, 27). Nathan also tells David that he and others are faithful to him and suggests they might meet a bad end if David does nothing (v.26).)

      1. What do you think about Nathan's "legal argument?"

      2. Joab, the Commander of the army, supported Adonijah. What do you think he had decided on the issue of David's authority to make the decision on who would be the next king?

        1. If you were looking at this as a disinterested outsider, whose opinion would you accept - the old, weak King's opinion or the opinion of the commander of the army?

    3. Read 1 Kings 1:28-30. How does David solve the obvious problem of his weakness and Joab's defection? ("As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble." David depended upon God.)

      1. Are those words for you to live by?

    4. Read 1 Kings 1:32-35. What do you think about David's solution to the problem? Why not mount a military campaign against Adonijah? How much good is blowing trumpets?

    5. David's instructions are followed, Solomon is anointed King, and his ascension to the throne is announced. Read 1 Kings 1:40. How do the people respond?

    6. Read 1 Kings 1:41-43, 49. How does the matter end? Why doesn't Adonijah summon his supporter, Joab, to call out the army? (The text says that all the guests were alarmed (frightened). Joab was one of those frightened guests. It seems that everyone, including the new "king" Adonijah were afraid. Adonijah realized that he did not have the support of the people. Verses 50 and 51 tell us that Adonijah ran and grabbed "hold of the horns of the altar." Grabbing hold of the horns of the altar was a historic method of finding a "safe harbor" from those who sought to punish you. See, 1 Kings 2:28, Exodus 27:2 and Exodus 21:14. Thus, Adonijah feared that Solomon would kill him.)

    7. Read 1 Kings 1:53. Would you have reacted the same King Solomon reacted? Would you say, "It's OK, go just go home?"

    8. Friend, this story shows the importance of relying on God instead of man. Adonijah had lined up on his side the power of men. Solomon just relied on God's promise. As a result, God came through and made Solomon King. Are you willing to put your trust in God?

  5. Next Week: The Wisdom of Solomon.

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Lessons on Rebellion and Reformation: A History of the Divided Monarchy

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