“Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying, I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and show thyself a man; And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel. Moreover thou knowest also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two captains of the hosts of Israel, unto Abner the son of Ner, and unto Amasa the son of Jether, whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war upon his girdle that was about his loins, and in his shoes that were on his feet. Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace. But show kindness unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at thy table: for so they came to me when I fled because of Absalom thy brother. And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the LORD, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword. Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood. So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David. And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem” (1 Kings 2:1-11).
We come to the final study on the Life of David. Here we have his last will and testament concerning his vision for the future. He had reigned forty years and had seen many troubles along the way, usually resulting from his sin, but there have been countless blessings too. David leaves his legacy to Solomon, the Jews and the world.
David encourages Solomon to live righteously before the Lord and the people. He urges him to be strong, to act with integrity and to obey God’s word. Maybe he was hoping that his son would not fall into the same self-made traps that he had. David is concerned for the spiritual welfare of Solomon, for if he did not put God first then his reign would be disastrous for the nation. He had already provided everything that would be needed for the building of the temple (1 Chronicles 22 – 29), so all that was necessary was for his son to follow the blueprints.
He did not only counsel Solomon, but he also called together all the people to offer them godly advice and to tell them that they must accept his son as their God-appointed king (1 Chronicles 28:1-7). He was basically exhorting them to play their part in building the kingdom so that they might inherit the blessings. We note that in 1 Chronicles 29:22-30 that there might have been some question raised about the legality of anointing Solomon, therefore once it was settled, he was made “king the second time” and then he “sat on the throne of the LORD as king instead of David his father.”
David now makes requests of Solomon regarding three people whom we have read about in our studies:
1. He commands that Joab be slain for murdering Abner (2 Samuel 3) and Amasa (2 Samuel 20). Joab had got away with his crimes for some time, but now the day of reckoning had come for him. “Time does not wear out the guilt of any sin” (Matthew Henry). Joab had also killed Absalom (2 Samuel 18) and supported Adonijah (1 Kings 1).
2. Barzillai: This man was to be blessed by Solomon because of his loyalty during coup that was instigated by Absalom (2 Samuel 17:27-29). David never forgot his deeds of kindness and so commands that he be rewarded.
3. Shimei had treated David shamefully while he was fleeing from Absalom. He both cursed and insulted the king (2 Samuel 16:5-13), but even though he appeared to apologise for this (2 Samuel 19:23), he would prove to be as worthless and untrustworthy as his word (2 Kings 2:36-46), and would be put to death by Solomon.
David died shortly after relating his wishes to Solomon, and was buried in Jerusalem (970 BC). When we take into account the facts and figures we understand that David was about seventy years old when he died, for we know he was around thirty when he began to reign (2 Samuel 5:4). If these studies have taught us anything, it is certain that they reveal that his life was far from being uneventful. We, because of his godly speeches, assume that David had repented and got himself right with the Lord. There was no dramatic or violent death for this king, but it appears he died with peace and assurance in his heart. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15).
Our text informs us that “David slept”, for the tomb was not his final resting place. This tells us that biological death is not the end of existence, for when a person sleeps it is expected that he will awake. Death is only for this side of eternity, for a person awakes to a different reality on the other side. David, despite his faults, was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will” (Acts 13:22). David finished well.
In closing, let us not forget that David left this world with Solomon on the throne, the provisions for a majestic temple, and the promise of the coming Messiah. For from David’s line would come the Saviour of the world (Matthew 21:9, Revelation 3:7, 5:5). “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star” (Revelation 22:16). “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:32-33).