Have you ever wondered why the Old Testament tells stories of Israeli kings who killed the other members of their royal families? In ages past it was a practice used to prevent other family members, usually brothers or other male members, from attempting to seize the throne from the reigning brother. However, it was not always done with Israeli kings. Only when the ruling brother was evil, or the brother(s) did something deserving of death, was the family member executed.
But there’s a more important reason why these stories appear in the Old Testament, and especially one story, the story of Solomon and his brother Adonijah.
If you remember the story about Adonijah, he tried to seize the throne from Solomon just before King David’s death (I Kings 1:5-53). Adonijah’s effort failed and almost cost him his life. In graciousness, Solomon allowed Adonijah to live. But after a time, Adonijah asked Solomon’s mother to grant him his father’s nurse as his wife. Solomon recognized this for what it was, an attempt to get closer to the throne by slyly trying to marry his father’s nurse, which would have given Adonijah the appearance of royal right, if not actual (I Kings 2:25). In essence, Adonijah was again scheming a way to seize the throne from Solomon.
This story is important because it pre-figures the reign of Jesus Christ when he comes to claim his kingdom. You see, in this picture, Solomon is a type for Jesus and Adonijah is a type for Satan. Jesus is the king to whom the Father has given the kingdom. Satan is the one who has attempted to seize the kingdom. Remember Satan’s ultimate objective—he wants to replace God on his throne (Isaiah 14:12-16). Indeed, for a time the world system is under the control of Satan. John tells us that, “The whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (I John 5:19). But Satan’s success is limited.
Just as Solomon was at first gracious to his brother, so too Jesus has allowed Satan to remain until the day comes, when like Solomon, Jesus executes his judgment against Satan and throws him into a prison for a thousand years.
Just like Solomon, and a few other kings, Jesus will one day wipe away all opposition and nothing will remain that threatens his rule, and all power and authority will rest in his hands (Ephesians 1:21, I Corinthians 15:24, Colossians 2:10).
So what does this mean for you and I? Here’s a point of application I hope you will consider. Who sits on the throne of your life? Are you like Adonijah, always seeking to do things your way, under your own assumed authority? Or is Jesus Christ sitting on the throne of your life? Is God gracious to you, patiently waiting for you to surrender control as Solomon waited for Adonijah’s pledge of obedience (I Kings 1:53)? Or have you already surrendered your entire life to him, letting him have the rule that is due him?
Are you Adonijah?