Now King David was old and stricken in years.I. OVERTAKES MEN IN THE HIGHEST RANK.
II. CHILLS THE VITAL SOURCES OF THE NATURALLY ROBUST. "And they covered him with clothes, and he gat no heat."
III. IS BUT TEMPORARILY ALLEVIATED BY THE BEST CONSIDERED HUMAN DEVICES. The cherishing of Abishag was —
1. Advised by the court physicians. An expedient not unusual in similar cases, when internal cordials failed, and with the limited skill of the faculty in the use of warmth-creating potions.
2. Was innocent. Suggested for no other than purely medical reasons. Sophocles lauded old age as a deliverance from the tyranny of the passions, as an escape from some furious and savage master.
3. Suspended only for a brief season the inevitable progress of decay. Medical skill is no more efficacious for the monarch than for the humblest subject. David died within the year. A moment comes in the winter of life when the warm pulse is stilled, and the once stalwart frame is locked in the icy embrace of death.
Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
I. BEWARE OF AMBITION. When regulated, restrained, and guided, ambition serves a good end. It rouses to activity, and it tends to produce a generous and noble character. But when it is inspired only by selfishness, by the desire simply to attain to a certain position, so that vanity may be indulged and pride gratified — by the determination to outstrip your fellows and win certain prizes for which they too are toiling; — when, in short, there is nothing but self to be consulted and flattered and appeased, it is dangerous. It may lead you to do much that is evil, to trample on that which is sacred, to break through and cast down the barriers which God's law has erected around you, to despise the nearest and dearest relationships of human life. Under its withering influence he loses sight of the eternal in the temporal, ignores the spiritual in the carnal, and forgets God in self! There is no ban laid by God on advancement or "getting on." You are not forbidden to attain earthly honours, to acquire what are called the world's "good things." But then, recollect, you must regard them only as subordinate to higher things. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."
II. BEWARE OF DISOBEDIENCE TO PARENTS. It may be an old, but it is a permanent command, "Honour thy father and thy mother," etc.
III. BEWARE OF EVIL ASSOCIATIONS. The unholy alliance at Enrogel broke up, immediately on the arrival of adverse tidings. Joab, Abiathar, and their confederates disappeared, and left Adonijah to his own devices. There was no deep affection, and no bond of pure love to keep them together; selfishness was at the root of the association. They fawned, and flattered, and fled. Wicked men do not care for their companions beyond the point of advantage. They have no interest in each other's welfare, and they are suspicious of each other's designs and of each other's fidelity. Accomplices and partners in guilt indulge in mutual accusations and revelations which show the slender nature of the tie which binds them together. There is no love — no true, deep, self-sacrificing love — such as dwells in the hearts of Christian brethren, united in Jesus Christ.
But Zadok the priest... went not with Adonijah.Cranmer and Ridley, and some few other conscientious persons, afterwards ill rewarded by Queen Mary, refused to subscribe the letters patent for Lady Jane Grey's succession to the crown, after the death of King Edward VI.; which yet were subscribed by the most of the statesmen, who were guided with respect to their particular interest, for that they were possessed of divers lands which once pertained to monasteries, chanteries, etc., which they foresaw they should lose, in case religion should change under Queen Mary.
Nathan the prophet also came in.
Monday Club Sermons.I. THE TROUBLE ARISING FROM LACK OF HOME DISCIPLINE. Many a parent sows seeds of sorrow by over-indulgence of the children. Nothing is more prophetic of grief to come, for the parent, and calamity, for the child, than failure to insist upon obedience. There is to be a throne and something of parental sovereignty in every home. God requires of all parents, for their own sakes, the children's sake, and the sake of society, that they should govern their household.
II. THE SIN OF DISREGARD FOR PARENTS. Adonijah knew that his father had designated Solomon as his successor. Finding his father feeble and at the point of death, he conspired against him, influenced all he could to join him in the conspiracy, and aid him in accomplishing his purpose. In the ambition of his heart to reign over Israel he was ready for any intrigue, any injustice. Ambition is the cause of much of this world's crime. It consumes all the better feelings of our nature; makes men regardless of tenderest relations and deepest obligations. There are no duties diviner than those we owe to our parents. In their old age, especially, parents have supreme claim on the affection and protection of their children. None but he who is lost to all sense of the claims of love, and is far gone in sin, can wilfully make sad a parent's heart. In all tenderness, and all solicitation for the joy and comfort of their parents, children should hand them down to their graves, making, if it may be, their last days the sunniest and most restful.
III. THE SACREDNESS OF HUMAN PLEDGES. David had assured Bathsheba that her son Solomon should succeed to the throne. Human pledges are sacred, especially when made in the fear of God, and according to His conscious will. No difficulties should ever turn men aside from fulfilling their vows. There should be no delay when danger threatens. All men have many interests in their hands. It will cost, of time, strength, and exposure, it may he, to guard these interests; but they should be guarded, whatever the cost. David acted promptly, thus he succeeded. Delays are often fatal. Decision is demanded for emergencies. While men fear and hesitate it often becomes too late. Truth is to be done. Neither God nor man excuses falsehood. Faithlessness is full of annoyance. Our lives should be worthy of trust. There may be impossibilities in the way; these alone should prevent the keeping of our pledges.
IV. THE FAITHFULNESS OF FRIENDS. Adonijah would have been crowned as king, had not the friends of David and Solomon revealed the conspiracy. But these friends were true; and their haste in acquainting the king of what was transpiring gave him time to avert the calamity. Faithfulness to friends is one great want of the world. None is safe from attack on the part of the ambitious and designing. Neighbours are in danger of being injured in person or position without knowing it, or being able to avoid the snare. Society is full of secret schemings to rise on the ruin of others. Character is assailed; property imperilled; all sacred things put in jeopardy by the unscrupulous. Often serious and irreparable injury is done before the parties affected dream of anything evil in the air. In business, in politics, in the whole range of human plan's for personal advancement, or right doing on any line, men are liable to be maligned and harmed. It is duty in all cases and at all hazard to give warning or counsel, and to interpose for the protection of others. We are not to be busybodies, but we are to be our brother's keeper.
V. THE PATIENCE OF FAITH. Solomon likely knew of the conspiracy of Adonijah; but he was as a deaf man that heard not. He seems to have quietly composed himself, leaving it to God and his friends to order all. God had a will as to that succession to the throne. Solomon understood it, and he could wait. Faith is patient. There may be delays and disasters. Enemies may seem to succeed against us. Providence may seem to be opposing. It may be wholly dark and ominous. But we are to compose ourselves and wait.
VI. THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD. Adonijah considered the kingdom his by birthright, after the death of Absalom. He had, however, been set aside by Divine appointment. He had been welcomed with the cry: "God save King Adonijah!" Shall that conspiracy succeed? God had planned otherwise. No plan formed against the Almighty can permanently prosper. Wickedness may prevail for a time. Wicked men may come to crowning. There may be long bafflings and delayings in the fulfilment of prophecy. But God reigns. His word shall be accomplished. Here is our hope in reference to this lost world. We have only to find our place and do our work. The day is to dawn. There are to be turnings and overturnings. Kingdoms and empires are to rise and fall — all unto the end of the setting up of the kingdom of Christ on the earth. The day of jubilee is to be ushered in.
(Monday Club Sermons.)
(A. T. Pierson, D. D.)
Sunday School Times.I. A ROYAL ADVISING.
1. Visiting the king
2. Honouring the king.(1) In advancing a good cause a little quiet planning may accomplish excellent results, and not be dishonest. Nathan and Bathsheba had made their arrangements beforehand.(2) In advancing a good cause, a good. action or good advice wins much in efficacy by being skilfully performed or given.(3) In advancing a good cause a respectful demeanour toward those in authority costs nothing, and usually accomplishes much.(4) In advancing a good cause a good name is of the first importance. David knew at once that Nathan's plea was not for anything bad.
II. A ROYAL USURPER.
1. Treacherous sacrifices.
2. Treacherous treatment.
3. Treachery suspected.(1) In advancing a bad cause, it is natural to have good things to eat.(2) In advancing a bad cause, its promoters are always forward in appealing to the Divine protection, "God save King Adonijah."(3) In advancing a bad cause, its promoters are generally exclusive in their friendships. Of course, Nathan was not admitted to a share m proceedings upon which he would have frowned.(4) In combating a bad cause, it is always best to come to a clear understanding of exactly who are its friends, and who its enemies. That is what Nathan sought in questioning David.(5) In combating a bad cause, the more care that is exercised the better. Every bad cause has at least one very skilful promoter, whose mere tools Adonijah and Abiathar and all the rest of them are. The devil keeps a close watch over his own interests.
III. A ROYAL RULER.
1. His mother summoned.
2. His father promising.
(1) (2) 3. His mother rejoicing. (1) (2) 4. His reign established.(1) When a man must go forth to leave the duties of his earthly station, it is becoming that he should carefully consider in whose hands he shall leave them.(2) When a man has an important question to decide, he seldom loses anything by inviting his wife to assist at the conference.(3) When a man is called to the test, he ought not to be long in making good his promises, if it is in his power to do so.(4) When a man is nearing the point of death, it is folly to defer doing as he has promised until the future. "So will I certainly do, this day."(5) When a man has humbled himself to do, it will seldom harm his wife to humble herself to thank him.(6) When a man is nearing the point of death, such a cry as "Let my lord King David live for ever," has its very serious aspects. (Sunday School Times.)
(2) 3. His mother rejoicing. (1) (2) 4. His reign established.(1) When a man must go forth to leave the duties of his earthly station, it is becoming that he should carefully consider in whose hands he shall leave them.(2) When a man has an important question to decide, he seldom loses anything by inviting his wife to assist at the conference.(3) When a man is called to the test, he ought not to be long in making good his promises, if it is in his power to do so.(4) When a man is nearing the point of death, it is folly to defer doing as he has promised until the future. "So will I certainly do, this day."(5) When a man has humbled himself to do, it will seldom harm his wife to humble herself to thank him.(6) When a man is nearing the point of death, such a cry as "Let my lord King David live for ever," has its very serious aspects. (Sunday School Times.)
3. His mother rejoicing.
(1) (2) 4. His reign established.(1) When a man must go forth to leave the duties of his earthly station, it is becoming that he should carefully consider in whose hands he shall leave them.(2) When a man has an important question to decide, he seldom loses anything by inviting his wife to assist at the conference.(3) When a man is called to the test, he ought not to be long in making good his promises, if it is in his power to do so.(4) When a man is nearing the point of death, it is folly to defer doing as he has promised until the future. "So will I certainly do, this day."(5) When a man has humbled himself to do, it will seldom harm his wife to humble herself to thank him.(6) When a man is nearing the point of death, such a cry as "Let my lord King David live for ever," has its very serious aspects. (Sunday School Times.)
(Sunday School Times.)
(Sunday School Times.)
And Benaiah... said Amen.
I. HUMAN HELPLESSNESS. Man's plans only succeed when in the way of God's Providence, and when carried out in His strength. The true, broad view of His Providence shows us a government of the world's affairs, which takes in the life of the highest and humblest, their aims, their work, their wants, their very sins and opposition, and, as here, makes all contribute to the revelation of His Son and the setting up of His kingdom. At the same time He can fulfil David's narrower plan, and secure Solomon's elevation. He can secure my private wish and His own will; He can harmonise the course, and aims, and wants, of two lives, or twenty, or a hundred, even if not to converge for many years to come. If they harmonise, it is because "He says so too." Men must strive in vain against God's purposes; or for their own, without Jehovah's "Amen." Men are, and are not, "architects of their own fortune." "Except the Lord build the house" of David, or Benaiah, or any other, "they labour in vain that build it." Babel-builders leave God out of their counsel; they must have Him in their work. Napoleon's fall dates from his words at Berlin: " I propose, and I dispose." "Man proposes, God disposes."
II. HOPE. Human effort is not to be paralysed: "I cannot make my plan absolutely secure, or any plan, therefore I will do nothing." This is fatalism. There is a responsibility for effort lying on every man. David and Benaiah must propose. This done prayerfully and submissively, man may hope for a blessing on his effort, The godly man proposes, and may hope that God will "say so too."
III. HUMILITY. Not the sullen submission which bows, and bears, and yields, because there is no choice, if He does not "say so too." But the reverent acknowledgment of a superior will to which a man loves to bow; the glad submission of every plan to the scrutiny and revision of a wise Father.
1. Let all our plans in life be conceived in this spirit. Write "D.V." upon every record of purpose and desire.
2. All must be conceived and carried out in His strength. In our vows —
Thou art not only to perform Thy part,
Thou also mine: as when the league was made,
Thou didst at once Thyself indite
And hold my hand, while I did write. — (Herbert.)
(H. J. Foster.)
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel.
I. TO ILLUSTRATE THIS OBSERVATION.
1. It is a pleasure to an aged, dying Christian to leave his family in prosperous circumstances. It is the character of a good man, that he is not a lover of this world, nor anxiously solicitous about future events. Nevertheless, he considers himself as obliged, by the laws of nature, reason, and the gospel, to provide for those of his own house. He is not solicitous to heap up so much wealth for them as may be likely to make them idle, proud, and luxurious; but only so much as may fix them comfortably in the world; in that middle station which may be most friendly to their piety and happiness. He rejoiceth in that declaration of Solomon, "The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him"; and he dieth with a full persuasion that it will be confirmed to his children.
2. It is a greater pleasure to him to leave his descendants in unity and love. Contentions and quarrels, between whomsoever they happen, are grievous to all the sons of peace, dishonourable to religion and injurious to its power; but between those of the same stock and family they are most shameful and pernicious. The aged saint, when he is going to the world of peace, is delighted to see his descendants loving as brethren, courteous and kind one to another.
3. It is his greatest joy to leave his descendants in the way of holiness, and zealous for the support of religion. "A wise son," saith Solomon, "maketh a glad father. The father of a wise child rejoiceth in him": especially when he is quitting the stage of life, and can do no more for the Church of God than pour out his prayers for its prosperity.
II. WHY SUCH A PROSPECT GIVETH SO MUCH JOY TO AGED AND DYING CHRISTIANS.
1. This joy ariseth, in part, from their natural love to their descendants. God hath implanted in all creatures a strong affection to their offspring, in order that they may preserve and sustain them till they are capable of providing for themselves. This natural instinct or affection is, in good men, sanctified by religion.
2. The concern which aged Christians feel for the honour of God and Christ, and for the continuance and spread of religion, increaseth this joy. The great object of a good man's desire is, "that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ"; that His perfections may be seen and manifested in the world, especially by the spread of His glorious gospel; and that He may receive that reverence, homage, and love, which is due to Him from all His rational, especially His redeemed, creatures.
3. His prospect of meeting his pious descendants again in the heavenly world. It is a most reviving and glorious consolation which the gospel affords to dying saints, that when they part with pious friends and relatives, it is not an eternal separation; it is indeed but a short one. For when Christ shall be revealed from heaven, there shall be "a gathering together of all His saints unto Him"; and He will so range and dispose them in the heavenly mansions, that those who were united in the bonds of pious friendship here, shall be happy in the renewed acquaintance and society of each other, and shall be ever with one another and with the Lord.
1. It should be the earnest desire, and diligent care, of all parents, that they may have this joy.
2. Aged Christians who have this joy ought to be very thankful. Bless the Lord God of Israel, as David did, that He hath given you dutiful and religions children, and spared you to be witnesses of their holy conversation.
3. It is the duty of young persons to fulfil their parents' joy. Let them be solicitous to cherish and manifest those graces and dispositions which will afford their parents much comfort, especially when they are aged and dying. "The father of the righteous," saith Solomon, "shall greatly rejoice, and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice."
(J. Orton, S. T. P.)
Adonijah feared because of Solomon.
Homiletic Review.David did not directly attack this false kingdom of Adonijah's. He did set up the true kingdom in the place of the false. So the false fell because there was no room for it in the presence of the true. Here is admirable illustration of the best way of overcoming. Deduce the principle — crown the right, the true, the trustful, and these, thus resolutely set up, will crowd out and take the place of the bad and the false. Apply the principle —
1. To the overcoming of evil thoughts. They are a common trouble. From the evil nature within us, the evil world without us, from the suggestions of Satan, from the laws of association under the action of which much of our thinking emerges, it is not surprising that evil thoughts should assault. What is to be done with them? How are they to be overcome? A frequent attempt is that of the sheer set of the will against them. But this is wearying, and frequently unsuccessful. A better way is to simply enthrone the true. Crown Solomon. Summon attention to the right. And thus in the presence of the crowned right thought and pure, the evil thought will fade and fail. Here is a test for the right sort of reading — a book which suggests evil is a book which ought not to be read. Here we can see the importance of daffy devotion — study of the Bible and prayer These things suggest and crown right thoughts and pure, and the mind, being occupied with these, will have no room or care for evil thoughts.
2. Apply this principle to the overcoming of despondency. Even the bravest and most hopeful are sometimes despondent — Moses, Elijah A simple determination not to be despondent wilt not much help one. But there is a way of overcoming The opposite of despondency is action. Crown that opposite. Set yourself, however despondent you may feel, bravely at the duty next you. The doing the duty will scatter the despondency.
3. Apply this principle to the overcoming of care and worry. Take hold of a promise. Crown that. The promise is the antidote for worry.
4. Apply this principle in the direction of social reform. It is not enough simply to attack the bad. Positively set up the good. A merely negative tearer-down is a poor sort of a reformer.
5. Let us sum up the whole thing — the best way to overcome the bad is to crown the good; and the Solomon for us to crown over thought, motive, deed, is Jesus Christ. The Christ-crowned in us will vanquish Adonijah.
(R. S. Storrs.).