Still another shadow was to gather over my last years. I had reached the age of 70 years. The hardships and exposures of my early wanderings, my many wars, the cares and afflictions of my later years, had sapped the fountain of life.
Though my mind retained its clearness and strength, feebleness and age, with their desire for seclusion, prevented a quick apprehension of what was passing in the kingdom, and again rebellion sprang up in the very shadow of the throne.
Again the fruit of my parental indulgence was manifest. The one who now aspired to the throne was Adonijah, “a very goodly man” in person and bearing, but unprincipled and reckless.
In his youth he had been subjected to but little restraint; for “I had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why have you done so?” He now rebelled against the authority of God, who had appointed Solomon to the throne.
Both by natural endowments and religious character Solomon was better qualified than his elder brother to become ruler of Israel; yet although the choice of God had been clearly indicated, Adonijah did not fail to find sympathizers. Joab, though guilty of many crimes, had heretofore been loyal to the throne; but he now joined the conspiracy against Solomon, as did also Abiathar the priest.
The rebellion was ripe; the conspirators had assembled at a great feast just without the city to proclaim Adonijah king, when their plans were thwarted by the prompt action of a few faithful persons, chief among whom were Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Bathsheba the mother of Solomon.
They represented the state of affairs the state reminding him of the divine direction that Solomon should succeed to the throne. I at once abdicated in favour of Solomon, who was immediately anointed and proclaimed king.
The conspiracy was crushed. Its chief actors had incurred the penalty of death. Abiathar’s life was spared, out of respect to his office and his former fidelity to David; but he was degraded from the office of high priest, which passed to the line of Zadok.
Joab and Adonijah were spared for the time, but after the death of David they suffered the penalty of their crime. The execution of the sentence upon my son completed the fourfold judgment that testified to God’s abhorrence of the father’s sin.
From the very opening of my reign one of my most cherished plans had been that of erecting a temple to the Lord. Though he had not been permitted to execute this design, I had manifested no less zeal and earnestness in its behalf.
He had provided an abundance of the costliest material—gold, silver, onyx stones, and stones of divers colours; marble, and the most precious woods. And now these valuable treasures that he had collected must be committed to others; for other hands must build the house for the ark, the symbol of God’s presence.
Seeing that my end was near, I summoned the princes of Israel, with representative men from all parts of the kingdom, to receive this legacy in trust. I desired to commit to them my dying charge and secure their concurrence and support in the great work to be accomplished.
Because of my physical weakness, it had not been expected that I would attend to this transfer in person; but the inspiration of God came upon me, and with more than my wonted fervour and power, I was able, for the last time, to address my people.
I told them of my own desire to build the temple, and of the Lord’s command that the work should be committed to Solomon my son. The divine assurance was,
‘It is your son Solomon who shall build My house and My courts; for I have chosen him to be My son, and I will be his Father.
1Ch 28:7 Moreover I will establish his kingdom forever, if he is steadfast to observe My commandments and My judgments, as it is this day.’
1Ch 28:8 Now therefore, in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the LORD, and in the hearing of our God, be careful to seek out all the commandments of the LORD your God, that you may possess this good land, and leave it as an inheritance for your children after you forever.
I had learned by own experience how hard is the path of him who departs from God. I had felt the condemnation of the broken law and had reaped the fruits of transgression.
My whole soul was moved with solicitude that the leaders of Israel should be true to God, and that Solomon should obey God’s law, shunning the sins that had weakened my authority, embittered my life, and dishonoured God.
I knew that it would require humility of heart, a constant trust in God, and unceasing watchfulness to withstand the temptations that would surely beset Solomon in his exalted station. Such prominent characters are a special mark for the shafts of Satan.
Turning to his son, already acknowledged as his successor on the throne, David said:
1Ch 28:9 “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. 1Ch 28:10 Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong, and do it.”
I gave Solomon minute directions for building the temple, with patterns of every part, and of all its instruments of service, as had been revealed to him by divine inspiration. Solomon was still young and shrank from the weighty responsibilities that would devolve upon him in the erection of the temple and in the government of God’s people.
1Ch 28:20 And I said to my son Solomon, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.
Again I appealed to the congregation: “1Ch 29:1 Furthermore King David said to all the assembly: “My son Solomon, whom alone God has chosen, is young and inexperienced; and the work is great, because the temple is not for man but for the LORD God.”
I said, “I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God,” and I went on to enumerate the materials I had gathered. More than this, I said,
Moreover, because I have set my affection on the house of my God, I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, my own special treasure of gold and silver: three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses;
“Who then,” he asked of the assembled multitude that had brought their liberal gifts—“who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?”
There was a ready response from the assembly.
“The chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king’s work, offered willingly, and gave, for the service of the house of God, of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron.
And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the Lord…. Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord: and I the king also rejoiced with great joy. 1Ch 29:10 Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever.
1Ch 29:11 Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.
1Ch 29:12 Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.
1Ch 29:13 Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.
1Ch 29:14 But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.
1Ch 29:15 For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.
1Ch 29:16 O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own.
1Ch 29:17 I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness.
As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.
1Ch 29:18 O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee:
1Ch 29:19 And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision.
1Ch 29:20 And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the LORD your God. And all the congregation blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the LORD, and the king.
With deepest interest I had gathered the rich material for building and beautifying the temple. I had composed the glorious anthems that in future should echo through its courts. Now my heart was made glad in God, as the chief of the fathers and the princes of Israel so nobly responded to his appeal, and offered themselves to the important work before them.
And as they gave their service, they were disposed to do more. They swelled the offerings, giving of their own possessions into the treasury. I had felt deeply my own unworthiness in gathering the material for the house of God, and the expression of loyalty in the ready response of the nobles of his kingdom, as with willing hearts they dedicated their treasures to Jehovah and devoted themselves to His service, filled him with joy.
But it was God alone who had imparted this disposition to His people. He, not man, must be glorified. It was He who had provided the people with the riches of earth, and His Spirit had made them willing to bring their precious things for the temple.
It was all of the Lord; if His love had not moved upon the hearts of the people, the king’s efforts would have been vain, and the temple would never have been erected.
All that man receives of God’s bounty still belongs to Him. Whatever God has bestowed in the valuable and beautiful things of earth is placed in the hands of men to test them—to sound the depths of their love for Him and their appreciation of His favours.
Whether it be the treasures of wealth or of intellect, they are to be laid, a willing offering, at the feet of Jesus; the giver saying, meanwhile, with David, “All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee.”
When I felt that death was approaching, the burden of my heart was still for Solomon and for the kingdom of Israel, whose prosperity must so largely depend upon the fidelity of her king.
I charged Solomon my son, saying,
1Ki 2:2 I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man;
1Ki 2:3 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 you do, and whithersoever you turn yourself:
1Ki 2:4 That the LORD may continue his word which he spoke concerning me, saying, If your 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 you (said he) a man on the throne of Israel.
1Ki 2:7 “But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be among those who eat at your table, for so they came to me when I fled from Absalom your brother.
1Ki 2:8 “And see, you have with you Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a malicious curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim. But he came down to meet me at the Jordan, and I swore to him by the LORD, saying, ‘I will not put you to death with the sword.’
1Ki 2:9 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.
David’s “last words,” as recorded, are a song—a song of trust, of loftiest principle, and undying faith:
“David the son of Jesse said,
2Sa 23:1 Now these are the last words of David. Thus says David the son of Jesse; Thus says the man raised up on high, The anointed of the God of Jacob, And the sweet psalmist of Israel:
2Sa 23:2 “The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue.
2Sa 23:3 The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spoke to me: ‘He who rules over men must be just, Ruling in the fear of God.
2Sa 23:4 And he shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises, A morning without clouds, Like the tender grass springing out of the earth, By clear shining after rain.’
2Sa 23:5 “Although my house is not so with God, Yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant, Ordered in all things and secure. For this is all my salvation and all my desire; Will He not make it increase?
Great had been David’s fall, but deep was his repentance, ardent was his love, and strong his faith. He had been forgiven much, and therefore he loved much. Luke 7:47.
The psalms of David pass through the whole range of experience, from the depths of conscious guilt and self-condemnation to the loftiest faith and the most exalted communing with God. His life record declares that sin can bring only shame and woe.
But that God’s love and mercy can reach to the deepest depths, that faith will lift up the repenting soul to share the adoption of the sons of God. Of all the assurances which His word contains, it is one of the strongest testimonies to the faithfulness, the justice, and the covenant mercy of God.
Job 14:1 “Man who is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble.
Job 14:2 He comes forth like a flower and fades away; He flees like a shadow and does not continue. “
Isa 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”
Psa 103:17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children,
Psa 103:18 To such as keep His covenant, And to those who remember His commandments to do them. “The mercy of Jehovah is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him, and His righteousness unto children’s children; to such as keep His covenant, and to those that remember His commandments to do them.” Job 14:2; Isaiah 40:8; Psalm 103:17, 18.
Ecc 3:14 I know that whatever God does, It shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, And nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him. “Whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever.” Ecclesiastes 3:14.
Glorious are the promises made to David and his house, promises that look forward to the eternal ages, and find their complete fulfilment in Christ. The Lord declared:
“I have sworn unto David My servant … with whom My hand shall be established: Mine arm also shall strengthen him…. My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him: and in My name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. He shall cry unto Me, Thou art my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation. Also I will make him My first-born, higher than the kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep for him forevermore, and My covenant shall stand fast with him.” Psalm 89:3-28.
“His seed also will I make to endure forever,
And his throne as the days of heaven.” Psalm 89:29.
Psa 72:4 He will bring justice to the poor of the people; He will save the children of the needy, And will break in pieces the oppressor.
Psa 72:5 They shall fear You As long as the sun and moon endure, Throughout all generations.
Psa 72:6 He shall come down like rain upon the grass before mowing, Like showers that water the earth.
Psa 72:7 In His days the righteous shall flourish, And abundance of peace, Until the moon is no more.
Psa 72:8 He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.
Psa 72:7 In His days the righteous shall flourish, And abundance of peace, Until the moon is no more.
Psa 72:17 His name shall endure forever; His name shall continue as long as the sun. And men shall be blessed in Him; All nations shall call Him blessed.
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” “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 forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” Isaiah 9:6; Luke 1:32, 33.