Posted by: arieliondotcom | April 19, 2013

Silence Constitutes Consent (1 Kings 1)

Silence Constitutes Consent
(I Kings 1)

How things have changed. David the mighty king is now so old and feeble that no amount of clothing or blankets can keep him warm. So his servants arrange that the king who had sinned so boldly in adultery and murder for sex was warmed by the body of a beautiful, young virgin. But he was too feeble now to have sex with her.

But some things never change. David had many wives and children. But he didn’t pay much attention to any of them. He had never disciplined Absalom, the handsome and charismatic son who died trying to steal the kingdom. And he didn’t learn his lesson with Absalom’s younger brother, Adinijah, either. Scripture says with sarcastic irony that David never disturbed the boy with discipline. And his silence constituted consent forvthe boy to become a “wild child.” Handsome and spoiled rotten and neglected like his brother, Adonijah didn’t say a word to David or anyone close to him. Instead, Adonijah snuck off with those who would follow him and declared himself king.

David had been told by GOD 12 years ago when another wife, Bathsheba, gave birth to their son Solomon after the death of the son of their adultery, that Solomon would be king after him. But he’d only shared that news with Bathsheba and Solomon. Because of his silence in public, the people of Israel would assume David had consented to Adonijah being king.

Adonijah knew he wasn’t to be king. But with feeble old Daddy’s silence, there was no one to stop him. Like his brother Absalom he had golden chariots and footrunners before them. Yet he was careful not to invite anyone close to David to the feast where he was going to make his announcement. He only invited those who perceived that they were living on borrowed time anyway.

Joab, David’s general, was evil and treacherous. He had stayed close to Adonijah from childhood hoping to get power through him. Since he’d done his dirty work on David’s staff, David had no excuse to kill him before this. But Joab knew David would have his heir kill him if he didn’t endear himself to, and possibly kill, the heir first. Adonijah was his chance.

Abiathar the priest became a traitor along with Adonijah and Joab. Abiathar had been faithful to David in the past but knew from prophecy long ago that another priest would be chosen over him. So he joined Adonijah’s rebellion.

Adonijah’s silence to those close to David didn’t stop them from finding out, though, and they reported Adonijah’s treason to David. It’s ironic that two of these faithful to David are the prophet Nathan who broke the silence to David that his sin with Bathsheba was known to GOD, and Bathsheba herself with whom David had silently sinned. Each alone, then together, they tell him what a calamity his failure to speak up and publicly make Solomon king in his place had caused. And that soon they’d all be dead by his traitor son’s hand if he didn’t speak up.

King David is roused into action to protect his flock again. The feeble old man finds sudden strength as he had as a boy to protect those who needed his protection. He has Solomon proclaimed king before all the people, riding on his donkey and with trumpets so loud the earth cracked.

Hebrew scholars say the trumpets cracking the earth was dramatic exaggeration. But we can’t help thinking of JESUS Who would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey many years later and be greeted as King. And to be reminded of the ground shaking and cracking at the moment He claimed His eternal kingdom by releasing His Spirit from the throne of the cross.

Adonijah and the guests at his supposed kingly banquet heard the commotion of Solomon being named king. Like any good general, Joab seeks situational awareness and finds out he has been backing the wrong man. As more news, worse and worse for them, pours in the guests run like rats back to their holes…without a word Their silence now, they hope, constituting consent of Solomon and not the rebel Adonijah, as their king.

But Adonijah knows he is a dead man, silent or speaking. He runs to the altar of GOD and grabs the horns of the altar. From Exodus 21:14 we know that it was a practice for those who were doomed to die to grab the horns of the altar. It was something like the medieval practice you might remember from the movie Hunchback of Notre Dame. Inside a church even a person condemned to die would be safe as long as they stayed in the church under the Church law or tradition of Sanctuary. If Adonijah had murdered a man he could have run to a city of refuge. But all he could do was seek sanctuary from his treason by grabbing the altar until Solomon promised not to kill him.

Solomon’s answer was silence. He had his men drag Adonijah off of the altar. Adonijah threw himself at the feet of his brother the king. But no promise came from Solomon. He only told Adonijah to go home. Solomon had already told those who reported Adonijah’s whereabouts that Adonijah could live…as long as he did nothing wrong. But this was sarcasm, since he knew evil Adonijah, like evil Joab, would make a false move sooner or later. It was their nature. Adonijah had praised his friend and fellow traitor Jonathan, Abiathar’s son, for being a good man so bringing good news. But neither Jonathan nor the news were good or Jonathan wouldn’t have been with the traitors. Now this silence instead of forgiveness seemed to be good news. Solomon seemed to be consenting to let Adonijah live…for now.

What are you consenting to with your silence? We are warned to let our speech be seasoned with salt. And we are warned not to talk too much. But every Believer is called to speak in support of whatever Scripture says and tell others what JESUS says and what He does for us. This may be in simole ways. But, as GOD warned Ezekiel, to be silent when we know the Truth is to be responsible if others are harmed because we didn’t warn them.

David’s silence caused much harm, in his children and in his leadership. May each of us use the grace of Christ to speak words of Life from Scripture and our love for JESUS. And may it replace the silence in a world needing to hear GOD’s Truth.


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