Sunday, January 28, 2018

Joab and Military Power (7) Succession

Succession is important for the security of the kingdom, but David seemed to be reluctant to deal with the issue. He should have appointed one of his sons in his place to keep the kingdom.

The time of uncertainty when David was weak and dying was a dangerous time for his kingdom. An enemy kingdom could take advantage of the opportunity and attack. With David unable to get out of bed, organising the defence of the kingdom would be difficult. Joab was loyal to the kingdom, so he tried to resolve the problem by acting to have one of David’s sons recognised as king.

Joab also knew that David had a dozen sons who would all like to become king. If these men spent several years jockeying for power, the kingdom would be vulnerable. If a successor was not established, the kingdom could be divided, as happened after Solomon died.

David had not clarified his intentions, so Adonijah put himself forward.

Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, “I will be king.” So he got chariots and horses ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him. (His father had never rebuked him by asking, “Why do you behave as you do?” He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom (1 Kings 1:5-6).
David gave no indication that he did not support Adonijah as his successor, and Joab knew that the first person to make a claim to the throne would probably be successful. He and Abiathar the High Priest gave him their support (1 Kings 1:5-6), because they knew that the kingdom needed a successor in place to be safe.

Unfortunately for Joab, Bethsheba pushed forward her own son and gained David’s support. Nathan the prophet probably knew who God wanted to be David’s successor, whereas Joab a man of war did not (1 Kings 1:11-27). Solomon was appointed as king and the security of the kingdom was established. So Joab got what he wanted for the kingdom, even though it cost him his life.

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