1 Kings 2-3
David’s final instructions to Solomon seem odd. Why didn’t David kill Joab if he was so upset that Joab killed his two commanders? Why didn’t David go back and kill Shimei? He certainly had the power and the men (Benaiah the assassin was one of David’s men before he was leader of Solomon’s army). I think David knew that he had the upper hand on Joab because he was known as God’s anointed and he had the support of the people. I think Joab spent most of his life waiting for David to make a mistake to stage a coup. He certainly desired power.
Solomon, however, did not have near the political or royal pedigree that David had. Solomon wasn’t the oldest
son. He didn’t lead the army on great conquests. He was not chosen by a prophet like David. His mom used to be married to a Hittite. It would have been easy for David’s enemies to overthrow Solomon if he didn’t secure his thrown quickly. Solomon need to solidify his grip on the thrown.
When Adonijah requested to marry Abishag, it was a powerplay. Abishag had laid with David to keep him warm in his old age (although he did not have sexual relations with her). That means that as a wife, she would have all of the political benefits of being close to David, without having lost her virginity. Many in Israel would assume that the one who married her would also be heir to the throne. Solomon sees right through this plot and has Benaiah kill Adonijah. On a side note, some scholars thing Abishag could be the female protagonist in Song of Solomon, but there’s not really any way to know.
Solomon goes on to remove any other threats to his reign and solidifies the kingdom once his enemies are dead. Since he isn’t the warrior his father was, he forms an alliance with Egypt to make sure they have the military backing of one of the strongest nations in the world.
This passage is only loosely about money. Barnabas has just been given the nickname “Son of Encouragement” in a passage that references his generosity. Suddenly another couple wants to gain notoriety with their generosity. The only problem is, they aren’t generous. They want their money. They decide to seek all of the glory for half the price. This deception results in their deaths. That, in turn, terrifies many people who were involved in the church.
There’s a lot going on here. They are too worried about wealth and image. They lie to God and to the church.
They still lie after questioned, so they even failed at their second chance. I think that Christianity is also becoming so popular and trendy that the cool kids want the benefit of being “in” without have to be committed. My personal opinion is that the deaths of Annanias and Sapphira had as much to do with getting people to count the cost as it had to do with money and honesty. I think God wanted people to quit jumping on the bandwagon and actually evaluate if they were willing to give what it takes to be one of these new Christians.
I think it’s a problem we have today as well. It’s too often too easy, even beneficial at times, to be a Christian. In fact, Christianity is so popular where I live, we often talk about people “church shopping” to find the church that best meets their needs. With Annanias and Sapphira, it was never about what they were putting in, but what they could get out of Christianity, and that’s a really dangerous place to be.