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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: August 22, 2023


Solomon is famous for his wisdom, but you don’t need the wisdom of Solomon to understand what his brother Adonijah is doing when he asks for Abishag the Shunammite as a wife. In the ancient world, including the ancient biblical world, one of the ways a wannabe king would announce a coup was by invading the current king’s harem and raping the king’s concubines. Much like storming the palace and sitting on the throne, it’s a way of saying to the current ruler “everything that was yours is now mine. Death to you. Long live me.” This is what Adonijah does when he tries to steal the kingdom from his father David. And it’s all rather obvious that Adonijah has insurrectionist intent when he asks to receive as his wife this beautiful young woman who has been sharing his father’s bed to keep him warm.


If you’d pressed Adonijah, I’m sure he’d have had a good excuse for this request, something like “I simply want to honor this young woman who honored my father, this woman whom other men might now worry is impure.” I imagine this is why Bathsheba is fooled by him, having once been in similarly vulnerable circumstances after David defiled and widowed her.


But Solomon sees things clearly. He sees that Adonijah has not given up trying to steal his throne. Even though Solomon showed him mercy after the first attempt, Adonijah’s greed and sinful ambition make him think he can fool Solomon with this request that clearly reveals the desires of his heart. But foolishness never fools wisdom, something we should always remember.


When you try to pass off your gossip as genuine concern for someone caught up in sin, God is not fooled. When you try to pass off your hatred of your neighbor as a love for justice, God is not fooled. When you pretend that your lust is really just admiration for beauty, God is not fooled. When you clothe your sinful desires in righteous intent, God will never fall for it.


So repent and return to Him. Don’t have the false repentance of Adonijah but the true repentance of his father David who cried out, ‘create in my a clean heart, O God.” And when you do, you will see that the wisdom of God always delivers the mercy of God to those who ask for it. Don’t ask for Abishag in order to gain an earthly kingdom. Ask for Christ, and He will clothe you in the kingdom of forgiveness, life, and salvation.


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