Bathsheba’s Boldness

“Wherefore Nathan spake unto Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, saying, Hast thou not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith doth reign, and David our lord knoweth it not? Now therefore come, let me, I pray thee, give thee counsel, that thou mayest save thine own life, and the life of thy son Solomon. Go and get thee in unto king David, and say unto him, Didst not thou, my lord, O king, swear unto thine handmaid, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne? why then doth Adonijah reign? Behold, while thou yet talkest there with the king, I also will come in after thee, and confirm thy words. And Bathsheba went in unto the king into the chamber: and the king was very old; and Abishag the Shunammite ministered unto the king. And Bathsheba bowed, and did obeisance unto the king. And the king said, What wouldest thou? And she said unto him, My lord, thou swarest by the LORD thy God unto thine handmaid, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne. And now, behold, Adonijah reigneth; and now, my lord the king, thou knowest it not: And he hath slain oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and hath called all the sons of the king, and Abiathar the priest, and Joab the captain of the host: but Solomon thy servant hath he not called. And thou, my lord, O king, the eyes of all Israel are upon thee, that thou shouldest tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. Otherwise it shall come to pass, when my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders. And, lo, while she yet talked with the king, Nathan the prophet also came in. And they told the king, saying, Behold Nathan the prophet. And when he was come in before the king, he bowed himself before the king with his face to the ground. And Nathan said, My lord, O king, hast thou said, Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne? For he is gone down this day, and hath slain oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and hath called all the king’s sons, and the captains of the host, and Abiathar the priest; and, behold, they eat and drink before him, and say, God save king Adonijah. But me, even me thy servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and thy servant Solomon, hath he not called. Is this thing done by my lord the king, and thou hast not showed it unto thy servant, who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?” (1 Kings 1:11-27).

Introduction

The prophet Nathan realised that he had to take control of the situation before the possibility of another civil war erupting in the nation. Why he did not go directly to the king is unknown, nevertheless his advice to Bathsheba had the desired effect.

The advice

Nathan came to Bathsheba with the news of what Adonijah had done and advised her to act quickly if she was to secure the throne for her son Solomon, the rightful heir. He further warned her that her life, as well as Solomon’s, was in danger if Adonijah was allowed to continue in his attempt to promote himself. She cannot wait until David hears about it from others since it may then be too late to remedy the situation. It is possible that he used the phrase “the son of Haggith” to induce pride in Bathsheba and so appealed to her motherly instinct to seek the best for her own child.

Wise Nathan told Bathsheba exactly what to say, and while she was informing David about Adonijah’s wickedness, he would come in to confirm it, and in doing so force the king into action. During this time Adonijah was eagerly awaiting news of David’s death.

The appeal

Bathsheba came before David as directed by Nathan. This reminds us a little of the story of how Esther saved the Jews from wicked Haman after her uncle Mordecia advised her. Bathsheba reminded her husband about the promise he had made regarding Solomon becoming the next king. Then she told him the news about how Adonijah had usurped the throne and the celebration that was even now under way. She made him see that Adonijah was working behind his back because he thought that his father was too weak to stop him. By stating that she and Solomon were excluded from the gathering was indication that Adonijah had only evil planned for them.

She boldly told David that he must proclaim publicly who would succeed him. This is a duty which he had neglected, and in some respect was the cause of the present circumstances. Though he was near death, he was still putting his entire family at risk by delaying the announcement. She understood, maybe through Nathan, that Adonijah would have no qualms about massacring them all to enforce his rule.

Nathan waited until Bathsheba finished her appeal to David before he entered the room. This did not afford David any time to think before the prophet reinforced her words. He asked why he was not informed about the change of mind concerning who would be king. He said that the lives of many people were at risk if David did not move to stop Adonijah in his tracks. We remember that it was Nathan who had originally given David God’s word regarding his successor (2 Samuel 7:1-17).

Conclusion

Neither David, Adonijah or Abiathar the priest were operating according to the will of God, which was a large part of the problem. It took a true man of God to enter the situation to get David to reconsider God’s word. Once the word of God was introduced the remedy was at hand. Good men would do their duty if they were reminded of it, and put upon it, and told what occasion there is for them to appear; and those who thus are their remembrancers do them a real kindness, as Nathan here did to David” (Matthew Henry).

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