Monday, April 18, 2011

1 Kings 2: David's Final Advise to Solomon

David's dying charge to Solomon, as in 1 Kings...Image via Wikipedia
Often, just before people die, they have the opportunity to impart final advise or thoughts to their loved ones.  Shortly before my Dad's death, my husband and I were visiting him in the hospital.  Dad knew that his time was drawing to a close so he told my husband, "Take care of Kitty and Sarah, because that is important."  To me he  said, "I love you."  As it turned out, those were Dad's final words to my husband.

Anticipating his own imminent death, David counseled Solomon about how to live and how to rule.  David knew grief, heartache, betrayal, joy, success, victory, and disappointment.  But, most importantly, David knew God.  Throughout all of the vicissitudes of life,  David's anchor was always his relationship with God.  Everything that he did, both right and wrong, was ultimately filtered through his knowledge of God, Sovereign King of Israel, Creator of the world.  David understood that the success of his reign was tied to how closely he adhered to God's Word.

So, it's not surprising that the first part of David's final words are:

    "I go the way of all the earth: be strong therefore, and show yourself a man; And keep the charge of  the Lord you God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, and His commandments and His   judgements, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all that you do and where ever you turn yourself ."  
(1 Kings 2: 2, 3)

In Hebrewthe word strong, which is used in the quoted verse above, is  חָזַק (chazaq).  חָזַק implies firmness of resolution and courage, drawing from the illustration that  muscles have more strength when firmly bound together.  David was saying that to show oneself a man one needed to be bound to God's Word, particularly when it's easier to compromise; when it's more pleasant to follow one's own inclination.  Strength, or חָזַק , also implies a type of courage which doesn't come easily for man. This type of strength is a decision which entails commitment, similar to marriage.

So David was saying that being a man of God, was not for wimps or for the weak or for the spiritually compromised.  National strength is developed when nation correctly assesses its weaknesses and rectifies them.  Similarly, when a person correctly sees that he is but a  finite being, born into a world he did not create; when he sees that his abilities are limited; when he sees that his perceptions are flawed; when he understands that his power is relative, he can become wise when he looks to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to see how to live a prosperous life.  In Hebrew,  prosper is שָׂכַל (sakal), which means prudent, wise, and circumspect.  It does not necessarily mean material wealth.  To live a good and satisfying life, requires courage to place your faith in God's faithfulness to His covenant with you. When God made a statement about His character, in Numbers 23:19,  it is to be understood as true over all time.  

In light of his own life, David was really counseling Solomon to seek God's wisdom so that Solomon might be able to avoid some of the problems David had.   God's Word gave Israel a road map for living; it flagged sin which always only brings heartache and disappointment; which always and only engenders discouragement and defeat.  Though David received God's forgiveness for his sin, he knew only too well that the consequence for sin was not removed from his life.  He wanted his son Solomon to be spared some of the heartaches he himself could easily have avoided.

Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for chazaq (Strong's 2388)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 18 Apr 2011. < http://
Strongs=H2388&t=KJV >

Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for sakal (Strong's 7919)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 18 Apr 2011. < http://
Strongs=H7919&t=KJV >
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