II Sam. 23:1-7; I Kin. 1:1-2:12; I Chron. 29:10-30
David, “the sweet psalmist of Israel” was an inspired writer. He is said to have written seventy-three of the psalms recorded in the Scriptures. As his life was nearing its end at about seventy years, he concluded his writing by attributing his words to the God of Israel. He stated that the rulers of God’s people must rule in the fear of the Lord. God had made an everlasting covenant with him. It would be fulfilled many years later with the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Even after living a life of turmoil, David found the end also surrounded in controversy. His oldest surviving son, Adonijah proclaimed himself to be the king succeeding his father. Other prominent men, including Abiathar the priest and Joab, David’s army commander followed him in his proclamation.
Nathan the prophet conferred with Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba and after meeting with David, it was confirmed that Solomon was indeed to be his successor as king. Solomon at about nineteen years of age was placed upon David’s mule, symbolizing royalty as Zadok, the priest and Nathan, the prophet took him to be anointed. At the blowing of the horn the people said, “Long live King Solomon!”
With Solomon sitting on David’s throne, Adonijah and his followers realized that their lives were in great peril. They all went their own way and Adonijah sought refuge by holding the horns of the altar. After hearing of his plea, Solomon stated that if he proved himself worthy, he would live, but otherwise, he would die. Adonijah fell at the feet of Solomon and was told to, “Go to your house.”
David had lived a long life in service to God and to the nation of Israel. At the end of his forty year reign as king, seven over Judah and thirty-three over all of Israel and Judah, he issued a final charge to Solomon, the new king. His instructions are worthy for us today. “…Keep the charge of the Lord your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies,…that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn…”
However, the king who had shed much blood during his lifetime had some unfinished business for Solomon to attend. His cousin, Joab had been his friend and army commander, but he had killed Abner and Amasa, two of David’s other army commanders. Shimei had cursed him during Absalom’s rebellion. David suggested that these two men should be punished severely for their actions. Barzillai had been very helpful to him during Absalom’s rebellion and David wanted him to continue to receive special care from the new king.
“So David rested with his fathers, and was buried in the City of David. Then Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established.”