The Treason of Flattery
“”Then he said, ‘Please speak to King Solomon, for he will not refuse you, that he may give me Abishag the Shunammite as a wife'” (1 Kings 2.17 NKJV).
Adonijah is still trying to steal the throne from his brother, Solomon; but instead of taking it outright this time, he tries to scheme his way onto the throne by using flattery. Adonijah goes to the king’s mother, Bathsheba, to ask if she will influence young Solomon to give him Abishag as his wife. This request seems innocent enough, but it is chock-full of indecency, trickery and deceitfulness. Abishag is a young, beautiful woman who was part of King David’s harem before his death, and now she is one of his widows. Right off the bat, Adonijah breaks one of God’s commandments by desiring his deceased father’s wife (Leviticus 18.8). This entire request parallels King David’s oldest son, Absalom, who tried to take the throne and slept with King David’s concubines as symbolic statement to that effect ( 2 Samuel 16.22). Bathsheba should have caught Adonijah’s deceit instantly since it was her son’s kingship he was trying to destroy, but two emotions probably distorted her thinking. First, Adonijah flattered her. She was now the mother of a king–which could actually be better than being the wife since there were many wives but only one mother– and he pumped up her pride by flattering her new position and the control it entailed. Second, Adonijah ignited her jealousy. Abishag was young and beautiful and more than likely stole King David’s attention away from Bathsheba while he lived. Bathsheba might have been tempted to flaunt her new found control over the young widow by dictating who she could marry. Therefore, flattery and jealously caused Bathsheba to attack the very source of her pride and authority: her son’s kingship! We must be very careful not to allow flattery and jealousy wreak havoc on our thinking, decisions and actions. Instead of acting on an emotionally foolish impulse, we can use wisdom in deciphering the best way to handle a tricky situation.
“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down” (Proverbs 14.1 NIV).