Troublesome Topic: Solomon Was Not Like His Brothers

God wanted the expansion of the kingdom to come naturally, as families grew and needed more land. Yes, God had ordered the use of military force to subdue the land at first, partially because they needed it quickly, and partially because the people they were displacing now deserved God’s punishment. God had told Abraham that his descendants would have to wait 400 years before taking the land from its inhabitants because the sin of the people living there had not yet reached the level to merit such punishment (Gen 15:13-16).

David wanted his sons to exhibit the balance of qualities that he possessed. He was more than a warrior; he was a poet and a musician; at heart he was still a shepherd. He knew when to show mercy, a quality that is rare in warriors. But his sons only showed interest in becoming warriors. They wanted glory, fame, and women. They didn’t consider the wounds, the constant chance of being killed, the worry it brought to others. Being a fighter was a hard way to live and very few did it well. David knew that he was still alive only because God had gifted him and also protected him. For that reason he had given all of his first six sons names that pointed to God, or emphasized family, or pointed to a lifestyle other than that of a warrior.

Solomon’s brothers all wanted to be warriors like their dad, but he knew it was not only dangerous, but also a bit empty. You were a hero as long as you were healthy, strong, and winning. If not, you were dead. It was a very unforgiving activity. One minor mistake would usually cost you your life. Any miscalculation would bring the same result. David was a warrior poet. Most of his sons missed the poet side of their father; they only focused on the warrior. Their definition of manhood was far too limited. He feared that none of his sons had what it took to be mighty warriors. He knew both from experience and from being around many men of valor that being raised in a king’s palace is not conducive to becoming a mighty warrior. David had built his reputation on his ability to fight and motivate others to fight but he hoped his successor would not have to follow in those footsteps.

I imagine that David expressed these feelings to Bathsheba, but she pointed out that he was gone all the time – fighting!

But Solomon was different. He played musical instruments and wrote songs and poems. He loved to study science. He loved tools and machines and was always wanting to know how things worked. He had many more questions than answers. Even at an early age Solomon was considered wise beyond his years. He also had a tender spirit, like his father. All the other sons were so intent on becoming warriors that they failed to recognize the importance of their father’s other qualities, such as his refusal to take matters into his own hands that belonged only in God’s hands, his ability to forgive, and his wisdom to know when to show mercy and when to punish. Overall David had been a good king because he was balanced in these ways, but Solomon’s brothers and half-brothers had no balance whatsoever. All they could see was that fighting made you a hero, and everyone wants to be a hero.

The next lesson is: Solomon Was Like His Father in Several Ways