1 Kings 3: Solomon the Righteous Judge
Thanks to Guy McKenzie for preaching this week. Please accept our apologies for the missing audio.
As you may remember, I am preaching through the book of kings, as it is written, as a thrilling piece of redemptive history. So lets remind ourselves just where in redemptive history this book and this chapter fits.
The redemptive story so far tells us that Adam and Eve have been deceived by the serpent, sinned and been cast out of the Garden of Eden. God has promised the first humans that one day a saviour will rescue them and their descendant’s from their sins. The flood has decimated the first world, and Abraham has been promised that the saviour will be born from his seed, out of a people as numerous as the sand on the beach, or the stars in the sky.
And this great race of people have now come into existence and they are the Israelites. The Israelites are now living in the promised land and are ruled by Solomon, the son of great king David.
When Solomon came to the throne it was against the backdrop of a palace coup. His elder half brother, and legitimate heir, Adonijah, had made a move to secure the throne for himself. His undoubted intention at the death of his father would have been to murder his rival, Solomon.
God using, the prophet Nathan and Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba thwarted the plot by getting David to anoint Solomon as his heir. In 1 Kings 1 Solomon is a type of Christ, the Lamb of God, and so he is merciful and forgives everyone their sins.
In 1 Kings 2 After Solomon gains the throne his brother Adonijah, along with Abiathar and Joab again attempt to take the throne from Solomon. But this time Solomon is a different type of Christ, he is the Lion of Judah, so he is vengeful and punishes everyone for their sins.
As we approach 1 kings chapter 3 we have to ask, is the reign of Solomon to be one of mercy or is it one of vengeance? I think that this question would also be being asked by the people Solomon ruled.
They would be thinking that the new reign of Solomon that started out so peacefully is now tainted with blood. And I think that the people of Israel are wondering if the death of Adonijah and Joab was absolutely necessary, for in their limited understanding, exactly what harm had Adonijah and Joab, really done to Solomon.
Is the reign of Solomon to be one of mercy and love, or was it to be a reign of vengeance and terror? I think the populace is a little wary of the new king. Which way will their lives be lived, will it to be under mercy or will it to be under wrath? Or were they to live on tenterhooks not knowing from one day to the next how their king would react. Is Solomon quirky and unstable? Would their new king sacrifice himself for their sakes, of would they be sacrificed for his?
And from the redemptive historical perspective we also must ask what type of king is Solomon going to be? If Solomon is sometimes merciful and Solomon is sometimes vengeful, then what type of Christ is Solomon portraying in 1 Kings chapter 3?
And perhaps Solomon is also unsure what type of king he should be. He has been merciful and he has been vengeful. Maybe Solomon thinks that because of his contradictory actions that his position as king is at risk, and so he feels the need to shore up the support of the people. And so being wise in his own eyes, Solomon makes a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt; he took Pharaohs daughter and brought her into the city of David, until he had finished building his own house and the house of the Lord and the wall around Jerusalem.