2 Kings 2:19 Bathsheba (David’s widow and Solomon’s mother) went to King Solomon, to speak to him on behalf of Adonijah (Solomon’s disgraced older brother). The king rose to meet her, and bowed down to her; then he sat on his throne, and had a throne brought for the king’s mother, and she sat on his right. 20 Then she said, “I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me.” And the king said to her, “Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you.” 21 She said, “Let Abishag (a young woman in king’s household) be given to your brother Adonijah as his wife.” 22 King Solomon answered his mother, “And why do you ask Abishag for Adonijah? Ask for him the kingdom as well! For he is my elder brother; ask not only for him but also for the priest Abiathar and for Joab son of Zeruiah!” 23 Then King Solomon swore by the LORD, “So may God do to me, and more also, for Adonijah has devised this scheme at the risk of his life! 24 Now therefore as the LORD lives, who has established me and placed me on the throne of my father David, and who has made me a house as he promised, today Adonijah shall be put to death.” 25 So King Solomon sent Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he struck him down, and he died.
Adonijah was a son who created much trouble for King David, his father. He tried to usurp his father’s throne – almost succeeding. When Adonijah was caught, King David didn’t have the heart to execute his son Adonijah, so he banished him instead. After a few years Adonijah convinced his father to allow him back in Jerusalem. When David died it was Adonijah’s younger brother Solomon who assumed the throne, not him. Here Solomon interprets Adonijah’s scheming for a wife as evidence Adonijah did not learn his lesson and would be a threat to the throne – again. So Solomon did what David likely should have done years before. He had Adonijah put to death.
I’m not in favor of capital punishment, but I do favor holding people accountable. I wonder what I would have done if I were in David’s shoes. Perhaps sentenced Adonijah to a long prison sentence, even a life sentence? Hard to know. In any case, Solomon had no qualms removing his brother and the threat he represented to his reign.
Lord I know most of us parents have soft spots for our children. As my own children have grown into young adults, give me wisdom to deal with them in ways that hold them accountable, but that also reflects the mercy and grace you first gave to me. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.