Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 112

1 Kings 1–5, Proverbs 1

Bible text(s)

King David in his Old Age

1King David was now a very old man, and although his servants covered him with blankets, he could not keep warm. 2So his officials said to him, “Your Majesty, let us find a young woman to stay with you and take care of you. She will lie close to you and keep you warm.” 3A search was made all over Israel for a beautiful young woman, and in Shunem they found such a woman named Abishag, and brought her to the king. 4She was very beautiful, and waited on the king and took care of him, but he did not have intercourse with her.

Adonijah Claims the Throne

5-6Now that Absalom was dead, Adonijah, the son of David and Haggith, was the eldest surviving son. He was a very handsome man. David had never reprimanded him about anything, and he was ambitious to be king. He provided for himself chariots, horses, and an escort of fifty men. 7He talked with Joab (whose mother was Zeruiah) and with Abiathar the priest, and they agreed to support his cause. 8But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and David's bodyguard were not on Adonijah's side.

9One day Adonijah offered a sacrifice of sheep, bulls, and fattened calves at Snake Rock, near the spring of Enrogel. He invited the other sons of King David and the king's officials who were from Judah to come to this sacrificial feast, 10but he did not invite his half brother Solomon or Nathan the prophet, or Benaiah, or the king's bodyguard.

Solomon is Made King

11Then Nathan went to Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, and asked her, “Haven't you heard that Haggith's son Adonijah has made himself king? And King David doesn't know anything about it! 12If you want to save your life and the life of your son Solomon, I would advise you 13to go at once to King David and ask him, ‘Your Majesty, didn't you solemnly promise me that my son Solomon would succeed you as king? How is it, then, that Adonijah has become king?’ ” 14And Nathan added, “Then, while you are still talking with King David, I will come in and confirm your story.”

15So Bathsheba went to see the king in his bedroom. He was very old, and Abishag, the woman from Shunem, was taking care of him. 16Bathsheba bowed low before the king, and he asked, “What do you want?”

17She answered, “Your Majesty, you made me a solemn promise in the name of the LORD your God that my son Solomon would be king after you. 18But Adonijah has already become king, and you don't know anything about it. 19He has offered a sacrifice of many bulls, sheep, and fattened calves, and he invited your sons, and Abiathar the priest, and Joab the commander of your army to the feast, but he did not invite your son Solomon. 20Your Majesty, all the people of Israel are looking to you to tell them who is to succeed you as king. 21If you don't, as soon as you are dead my son Solomon and I will be treated as traitors.”

22She was still speaking, when Nathan arrived at the palace. 23The king was told that the prophet was there, and Nathan went in and bowed low before the king. 24Then he said, “Your Majesty, have you announced that Adonijah would succeed you as king? 25This very day he has gone and offered a sacrifice of many bulls, sheep, and fattened calves. He invited all your sons, Joab the commander of your army, and Abiathar the priest, and just now they are feasting with him and shouting, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ 26But he did not invite me, sir, or Zadok the priest, or Benaiah, or Solomon. 27Did Your Majesty approve all this and not even tell your officials who is to succeed you as king?”

28King David said, “Ask Bathsheba to come back in” — and she came and stood before him. 29Then he said to her, “I promise you by the living LORD, who has rescued me from all my troubles, 30that today I will keep the promise I made to you in the name of the LORD, the God of Israel, that your son Solomon would succeed me as king.”

31Bathsheba bowed low and said, “May my lord the king live for ever!”

32Then King David sent for Zadok, Nathan, and Benaiah. When they came in, 33he said to them, “Take my court officials with you; let my son Solomon ride my own mule, and escort him down to the spring of Gihon, 34where Zadok and Nathan are to anoint him as king of Israel. Then blow the trumpet and shout, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ 35Follow him back here when he comes to sit on my throne. He will succeed me as king, because he is the one I have chosen to be the ruler of Israel and Judah.”

36“It shall be done,” answered Benaiah, “and may the LORD your God confirm it. 37As the LORD has been with Your Majesty, may he also be with Solomon, and make his reign even more prosperous than yours.”

38So Zadok, Nathan, Benaiah, and the royal bodyguard put Solomon on King David's mule, and escorted him to the spring of Gihon. 39Zadok took the container of olive oil which he had brought from the Tent of the LORD's presence, and anointed Solomon. They blew the trumpet, and all the people shouted, “Long live King Solomon!” 40Then they all followed him back, shouting for joy and playing flutes, making enough noise to shake the ground.

41As Adonijah and all his guests were finishing the feast, they heard the noise. And when Joab heard the trumpet, he asked, “What's the meaning of all that noise in the city?” 42Before he finished speaking, Jonathan, the son of the priest Abiathar, arrived. “Come in,” Adonijah said. “You're a good man — you must be bringing good news.”

43“I'm afraid not,” Jonathan answered. “His Majesty King David has made Solomon king. 44He sent Zadok, Nathan, Benaiah, and the royal bodyguard to escort him. They made him ride on the king's mule, 45and Zadok and Nathan anointed him as king at the spring of Gihon. Then they went into the city, shouting for joy, and the people are now in an uproar. That's the noise you just heard. 46Solomon is now the king. 47What is more, the court officials went in to pay their respects to His Majesty King David, and said, ‘May your God make Solomon even more famous than you, and may Solomon's reign be even more prosperous than yours.’ Then King David bowed in worship on his bed 48and prayed, ‘Let us praise the LORD, the God of Israel, who has today made one of my descendants succeed me as king, and has let me live to see it!’ ”

49Then Adonijah's guests were afraid, and they all got up and left, each going his own way. 50Adonijah, in great fear of Solomon, went to the Tent of the LORD's presence and took hold of the corners of the altar. 51King Solomon was told that Adonijah was afraid of him and that he was holding on to the corners of the altar and had said, “First, I want King Solomon to swear to me that he will not have me put to death.”

52Solomon replied, “If he is loyal, not even a hair on his head will be touched; but if he is not, he will die.” 53King Solomon then sent for Adonijah and had him brought down from the altar. Adonijah went to the king and bowed low before him, and the king said to him, “You may go home.”

David's Last Instructions to Solomon

1When David was about to die, he called his son Solomon and gave him his last instructions: 2“My time to die has come. Be confident and determined, 3and do what the LORD your God orders you to do. Obey all his laws and commands, as written in the Law of Moses, so that wherever you go you may prosper in everything you do. 4If you obey him, the LORD will keep the promise he made when he told me that my descendants would rule Israel as long as they were careful to obey his commands faithfully with all their heart and soul.

5“There is something else. You remember what Joab did to me by killing the two commanders of Israel's armies, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. You remember how he murdered them in time of peace in revenge for deaths they had caused in time of war. He killed innocent men and now I bear the responsibility for what he did, and I suffer the consequences. 6You know what to do; you must not let him die a natural death.

7“But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai from Gilead and take care of them, because they were kind to me when I was fleeing from your brother Absalom.

8“There is also Shimei son of Gera, from the town of Bahurim in Benjamin. He cursed me bitterly the day I went to Mahanaim, but when he met me at the River Jordan, I gave him my solemn promise in the name of the LORD that I would not have him killed. 9But you must not let him go unpunished. You know what to do, and you must see to it that he is put to death.”

The Death of David

10David died and was buried in David's City. 11He had been king of Israel for forty years, ruling seven years in Hebron and 33 years in Jerusalem. 12Solomon succeeded his father David as king, and his royal power was firmly established.

The Death of Adonijah

13Then Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, went to Bathsheba, who was Solomon's mother. “Is this a friendly visit?” she asked.

“It is,” he answered, 14and then he added, “I have something to ask of you.”

“What is it?” she asked.

15He answered, “You know that I should have become king and that everyone in Israel expected it. But it happened differently, and my brother became king, because it was the LORD's will. 16And now I have one request to make; please do not refuse me.”

“What is it?” Bathsheba asked.

17He answered, “Please ask King Solomon — I know he won't refuse you — to let me have Abishag, the woman from Shunem, as my wife.”

18“Very well,” she answered. “I will speak to the king for you.”

19So Bathsheba went to the king to speak to him on behalf of Adonijah. The king stood up to greet his mother and bowed to her. Then he sat on his throne and had another one brought in on which she sat at his right. 20She said, “I have a small favour to ask of you; please do not refuse me.”

“What is it, mother?” he asked. “I will not refuse you.”

21She answered, “Let your brother Adonijah have Abishag as his wife.”

22“Why do you ask me to give Abishag to him?” the king asked. “You might as well ask me to give him the throne too. After all, he is my elder brother, and Abiathar the priest and Joab are on his side!” 23Then Solomon made a solemn promise in the LORD's name, “May God strike me dead if I don't make Adonijah pay with his life for asking this! 24The LORD has firmly established me on the throne of my father David; he has kept his promise and given the kingdom to me and my descendants. I swear by the living LORD that Adonijah will die this very day!”

25So King Solomon gave orders to Benaiah, who went out and killed Adonijah.

Abiathar's Banishment and Joab's Death

26Then King Solomon said to Abiathar the priest, “Go to your country home in Anathoth. You deserve to die, but I will not have you put to death now, for you were in charge of the LORD's Covenant Box while you were with my father David, and you shared in all his troubles.” 27Then Solomon dismissed Abiathar from serving as a priest of the LORD, and so he made what the LORD had said in Shiloh about the priest Eli and his descendants come true.

28Joab heard what had happened. (He had supported Adonijah, but not Absalom.) So he fled to the Tent of the LORD's presence and took hold of the corners of the altar. 29When the news reached King Solomon that Joab had fled to the Tent and was by the altar, Solomon sent a messenger to Joab to ask him why he had fled to the altar. Joab answered that he had fled to the LORD because he was afraid of Solomon. So King Solomon sent Benaiah to kill Joab. 30He went to the Tent of the LORD's presence and said to Joab, “The king orders you to come out.”

“No,” Joab answered. “I will die here.”

Benaiah went back to the king and told him what Joab had said.

31“Do what Joab says,” Solomon answered. “Kill him and bury him. Then neither I nor any other of David's descendants will any longer be held responsible for what Joab did when he killed innocent men. 32The LORD will punish Joab for those murders, which he committed without my father David's knowledge. Joab killed two innocent men who were better men than he: Abner, commander of the army of Israel, and Amasa, commander of the army of Judah. 33The punishment for their murders will fall on Joab and on his descendants for ever. But the LORD will always give success to David's descendants who sit on his throne.”

34So Benaiah went to the Tent of the LORD's presence and killed Joab, and he was buried at his home in the open country. 35The king made Benaiah commander of the army in Joab's place and put Zadok the priest in Abiathar's place.

The Death of Shimei

36Then the king sent for Shimei and said to him, “Build a house for yourself here in Jerusalem. Live in it and don't leave the city. 37If you ever leave and go beyond the brook of Kidron, you will certainly die — and you yourself will be to blame.”

38“Very well, Your Majesty,” Shimei answered. “I will do what you say.” So he lived in Jerusalem a long time.

39Three years later, however, two of Shimei's slaves ran away to the king of Gath, Achish son of Maacah. When Shimei heard that they were in Gath, 40he saddled his donkey and went to King Achish in Gath, to find his slaves. He found them and brought them back home. 41When Solomon heard what Shimei had done, 42he sent for him and said, “I made you promise in the LORD's name not to leave Jerusalem. And I warned you that if you ever did, you would certainly die. Did you not agree to it and say that you would obey me? 43Why, then, have you broken your promise and disobeyed my command? 44You know very well all the wrong that you did to my father David. The LORD will punish you for it. 45But he will bless me and he will make David's kingdom secure for ever.”

46Then the king gave orders to Benaiah, who went out and killed Shimei. Solomon was now in complete control.

Solomon Prays for Wisdom

(2 Chr 1.3–12)

1Solomon made an alliance with the king of Egypt by marrying his daughter. He brought her to live in David's City until he had finished building his palace, the Temple, and the wall round Jerusalem. 2A temple had not yet been built for the LORD, and so the people were still offering sacrifices at many different altars. 3Solomon loved the LORD and followed the instructions of his father David, but he also slaughtered animals and offered them as sacrifices on various altars.

4On one occasion he went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices because that was where the most famous altar was. He had offered hundreds of burnt offerings there in the past. 5That night the LORD appeared to him in a dream and asked him, “What would you like me to give you?”

6Solomon answered, “You always showed great love for my father David, your servant, and he was good, loyal, and honest in his relations with you. And you have continued to show him your great and constant love by giving him a son who today rules in his place. 7O LORD God, you have let me succeed my father as king, even though I am very young and don't know how to rule. 8Here I am among the people you have chosen to be your own, a people who are so many that they cannot be counted. 9So give me the wisdom I need to rule your people with justice and to know the difference between good and evil. Otherwise, how would I ever be able to rule this great people of yours?”

10The LORD was pleased that Solomon had asked for this, 11and so he said to him, “Because you have asked for the wisdom to rule justly, instead of long life for yourself or riches or the death of your enemies, 12I will do what you have asked. I will give you more wisdom and understanding than anyone has ever had before or will ever have again. 13I will also give you what you have not asked for: all your life you will have wealth and honour, more than that of any other king. 14And if you obey me and keep my laws and commands, as your father David did, I will give you a long life.”

15Solomon woke up and realized that God had spoken to him in the dream. Then he went to Jerusalem and stood in front of the LORD's Covenant Box and offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the LORD. After that he gave a feast for all his officials.

Solomon Judges a Difficult Case

16One day two prostitutes came and presented themselves before King Solomon. 17One of them said, “Your Majesty, this woman and I live in the same house, and I gave birth to a baby boy at home while she was there. 18Two days after my child was born she also gave birth to a baby boy. Only the two of us were there in the house — no one else was present. 19Then one night she accidentally rolled over on her baby and smothered it. 20She got up during the night, took my son from my side while I was asleep, and carried him to her bed; then she put the dead child in my bed. 21The next morning, when I woke up and was going to feed my baby, I saw that it was dead. I looked at it more closely and saw that it was not my child.”

22But the other woman said, “No! The living child is mine, and the dead one is yours!”

The first woman answered, “No! The dead child is yours, and the living one is mine!”

And so they argued before the king.

23Then King Solomon said, “Each of you claims that the living child is hers and that the dead child belongs to the other one.” 24He sent for a sword, and when it was brought, 25he said, “Cut the living child in two and give each woman half of it.”

26The real mother, her heart full of love for her son, said to the king, “Please, Your Majesty, don't kill the child! Give it to her!”

But the other woman said, “Don't give it to either of us; go ahead and cut it in two.”

27Then Solomon said, “Don't kill the child! Give it to the first woman — she is its real mother.”

28When the people of Israel heard of Solomon's decision, they were all filled with deep respect for him, because they knew then that God had given him the wisdom to settle disputes fairly.

Solomon's Officials

1Solomon was king of all Israel, 2and these were his high officials:

    The priest: Azariah son of Zadok
    3The court secretaries: Elihoreph and Ahijah, sons of Shisha
    In charge of the records: Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud
    4Commander of the army: Benaiah son of Jehoiada
    Priests: Zadok and Abiathar
    5Chief of the district governors: Azariah son of Nathan
    Royal adviser: the priest Zabud son of Nathan
    6In charge of the palace servants: Ahishar
    In charge of the forced labour: Adoniram son of Abda.

7Solomon appointed twelve men as district governors in Israel. They were to provide food from their districts for the king and his household, each man being responsible for one month out of the year. 8The following are the names of these twelve officers and the districts they were in charge of:

    Benhur: the hill country of Ephraim
    9Bendeker: the cities of Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth Shemesh, Elon, and Beth Hanan
    10Benhesed: the cities of Arubboth and Socoh and all the territory of Hepher
    11Benabinadab, who was married to Solomon's daughter Taphath: the whole region of Dor
    12Baana son of Ahilud: the cities of Taanach, Megiddo, and all the region near Beth Shan, near the town of Zarethan, south of the town of Jezreel, as far as the city of Abel Meholah and the city of Jokmeam
    13Bengeber: the city of Ramoth in Gilead, and the villages in Gilead belonging to the clan of Jair, a descendant of Manasseh, and the region of Argob in Bashan, sixty large towns in all, fortified with walls and with bronze bars on the gates
    14Ahinadab son of Iddo: the district of Mahanaim
    15Ahimaaz, who was married to Basemath, another of Solomon's daughters: the territory of Naphtali
    16Baana son of Hushai: the region of Asher and the town of Bealoth
    17Jehoshaphat son of Paruah: the territory of Issachar
    18Shimei son of Ela: the territory of Benjamin
    19Geber son of Uri: the region of Gilead, which had been ruled by King Sihon of the Amorites and King Og of Bashan.

Besides these twelve, there was one governor over the whole land.

Solomon's Prosperous Reign

20The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore; they ate and drank, and were happy. 21Solomon's kingdom included all the nations from the River Euphrates to Philistia and the Egyptian border. They paid him taxes and were subject to him all his life.

22The supplies Solomon needed each day were 5,000 litres of fine flour and 10,000 litres of meal; 23ten stall-fed cattle, twenty pasture-fed cattle, and a hundred sheep, besides deer, gazelles, roebucks, and poultry.

24Solomon ruled over all the land west of the River Euphrates, from Tiphsah on the Euphrates as far west as the city of Gaza. All the kings west of the Euphrates were subject to him, and he was at peace with all the neighbouring countries. 25As long as he lived, the people throughout Judah and Israel lived in safety, each family with its own grapevines and fig trees.

26Solomon had 40,000 stalls for his chariot horses and 12,000 cavalry horses. 27His twelve governors, each one in the month assigned to him, supplied the food King Solomon needed for himself and for all who ate in the palace; they always supplied everything needed. 28Each governor also supplied his share of barley and straw, where it was needed, for the chariot horses and the draught animals.

29God gave Solomon unusual wisdom and insight, and knowledge too great to be measured. 30Solomon was wiser than the wise men of the East or the wise men of Egypt. 31He was the wisest of all men: wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame spread throughout all the neighbouring countries. 32He composed 3,000 proverbs and more than a thousand songs. 33He spoke of trees and plants, from the Lebanon cedars to the hyssop that grows on walls; he talked about animals, birds, reptiles, and fish. 34Kings all over the world heard of his wisdom and sent people to listen to him.

Solomon Prepares to Build the Temple

(2 Chr 2.1–18)

1King Hiram of Tyre had always been a friend of David's, and when he heard that Solomon had succeeded his father David as king he sent ambassadors to him. 2Solomon sent back this message to Hiram: 3“You know that because of the constant wars my father David had to fight against the enemy countries all round him, he could not build a temple for the worship of the LORD his God until the LORD had given him victory over all his enemies. 4But now the LORD my God has given me peace on all my borders. I have no enemies, and there is no danger of attack. 5The LORD promised my father David, ‘Your son, whom I will make king after you, will build a temple for me.’ And I have now decided to build that temple for the worship of the LORD my God. 6So send your men to Lebanon to cut down cedars for me. My men will work with them, and I will pay your men whatever you decide. As you well know, my men don't know how to cut down trees as well as yours do.”

7Hiram was extremely pleased when he received Solomon's message, and he said, “Praise the LORD today for giving David such a wise son to succeed him as king of that great nation!” 8Then Hiram sent Solomon the following message: “I have received your message and I am ready to do what you ask. I will provide the cedars and the pine trees. 9My men will bring the logs down from Lebanon to the sea, and will tie them together in rafts to float them down the coast to the place you choose. There my men will untie them, and your men will take charge of them. On your part, I would like you to supply the food for my men.”

10So Hiram supplied Solomon with all the cedar and pine logs that he wanted, 11and Solomon provided Hiram with 2,000 tonnes of wheat and 400,000 litres of pure olive oil every year to feed his men.

12The LORD kept his promise and gave Solomon wisdom. There was peace between Hiram and Solomon, and they made a treaty with each other.

13King Solomon drafted 30,000 men as forced labour from all over Israel, 14and put Adoniram in charge of them. He divided them into three groups of 10,000 men, and each group spent one month in Lebanon and two months back home. 15Solomon also had 80,000 men in the hill country quarrying stone, with 70,000 men to carry it, 16and he placed 3,300 foremen in charge of them to supervise their work. 17At King Solomon's command they quarried fine large stones for the foundation of the Temple. 18Solomon's and Hiram's workmen and men from the city of Byblos prepared the stones and the timber to build the Temple.

The Value of Proverbs

1The proverbs of Solomon, son of David and king of Israel.

2Here are proverbs that will help you to recognize wisdom and good advice, and understand sayings with deep meaning. 3They can teach you how to live intelligently and how to be honest, just, and fair. 4They can make an inexperienced person clever and teach young people how to be resourceful. 5These proverbs can even add to the knowledge of the wise and give guidance to the educated, 6so that they can understand the hidden meanings of proverbs and the problems that the wise raise.

Advice to Young People

7To have knowledge, you must first have reverence for the LORD. Stupid people have no respect for wisdom and refuse to learn.

8Pay attention to what your father and mother tell you, my child. 9Their teaching will improve your character as a handsome turban or a necklace improves your appearance.

10When sinners tempt you, my child, don't give in. 11Suppose they say, “Come on; let's find someone to kill! Let's attack some innocent people for the fun of it! 12They may be alive and well when we find them, but they'll be dead when we're through with them! 13We'll find all kinds of riches and fill our houses with loot! 14Come and join us, and we'll all share what we steal.”

15Don't go with people like that, my child. Stay away from them. 16They can't wait to do something bad. They're always ready to kill. 17It does no good to spread a net when the bird you want to catch is watching, 18but people like that are setting a trap for themselves, a trap in which they will die. 19Robbery always claims the life of the robber — this is what happens to anyone who lives by violence.

Wisdom Calls

20Listen! Wisdom is calling out in the streets and market places, 21calling loudly at the city gates and wherever people come together:

22“Foolish people! How long do you want to be foolish? How long will you enjoy pouring scorn on knowledge? Will you never learn? 23Listen when I reprimand you; I will give you good advice and share my knowledge with you. 24I have been calling you, inviting you to come, but you would not listen. You paid no attention to me. 25You have ignored all my advice and have not been willing to let me correct you. 26So when you get into trouble, I will laugh at you. I will mock you when terror strikes — 27when it comes on you like a storm, bringing fierce winds of trouble, and you are in pain and misery. 28Then you will call for wisdom, but I will not answer. You may look for me everywhere, but you will not find me. 29You have never had any use for knowledge and have always refused to obey the LORD. 30You have never wanted my advice or paid any attention when I corrected you. 31So then, you will get what you deserve, and your own actions will make you sick. 32Inexperienced people die because they reject wisdom. Stupid people are destroyed by their own lack of concern. 33But whoever listens to me will have security. He will be safe, with no reason to be afraid.”

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