So Bathsheba went to the king in his bedroom. The king was very old, and Abishag from Shunem was serving the king. Bathsheba bowed down on her face before the king. The king asked, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Your Majesty, you swore by the Lord your God to your servant, ‘Your son Solomon will certainly rule after me. He will sit on my throne.’ But now, look, Adonijah has become king, and my master the king doesn’t know about it. He has prepared large quantities of oxen, fattened cattle, and lamb. He has invited all the royal princes as well as Abiathar the priest and Joab the general. However, he didn’t invite your servant Solomon. As for you, my master the king, the eyes of all Israel are upon you to tell them who will follow you on the throne of my master the king. When my master the king lies down with his ancestors, then I and my son Solomon will become outlaws.”
While she was still speaking with the king, the prophet Nathan arrived. The king was informed, “The prophet Nathan is here.” Then Nathan came in before the king and bowed his face to the ground. He said, “My master the king, you must have said, ‘Adonijah will become king after me and will sit on my throne.’ Indeed, today he went down and prepared oxen, fattened cattle, and lamb in large numbers. He invited all the royal princes, the generals, and Abiathar the priest. They are eating and drinking with him, and they said, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ Adonijah didn’t invite me, your servant, Zadok the priest, Jehoiada’s son Benaiah, or your servant Solomon. If this message was from my master the king, you didn’t make it known to your servant. Who should follow you on the throne of my master the king?”
King David answered, “Bring me Bathsheba.” She came and stood before the king. The king made a solemn pledge and said, “As surely as the Lord lives, who rescued me from every trouble, regarding what I swore to you by the Lord, Israel’s God, ‘Your son Solomon will certainly succeed me; he will sit on the throne after me’—I’ll see that it happens today.”
Bathsheba bowed down with her face to the ground. She honoured the king and said, “May my master King David live forever!”
As the mother of small children I often find myself hearing tales of who did what; to whom; and why. I also find myself from time to time reminding them that there is a time and place for telling tales. Do I want to know that she picked the first pink sweet again – no! Do I want to know that Joey’s mum is poorly and he is sad – yes!
In 1st Kings we see a mother arriving at King David’s bed chambers to seemingly tell tales. “You said” – “did you mean it?” “well let me tell you what’s happening”. Before she is finished Nathan arrives, the same tale, the same assumptions that something is afoot and King David needs to know about it, explain himself or act quickly.
King David acts and Solomon is to be made King. Adonijah, and those gathered around him, face an unknown future.
Bathsheba ensured her son would be King, protecting him and herself, ensuring their place in the ancestry of Jesus. In Mary, particularly at this time, we often reflect on the emotions, reactions and actions Mary took when she became pregnant with Jesus. Eventually culminating with them seeking refuge in a foreign land to ensure Jesus would be safe, their precious son protected.
Agatha Christie once said “A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.” At this time we remember the women who played their part in our Biblical heritage. We remember their bravery and boldness in a harsh society. We reflect on how they nurtured their young and often how they experienced turmoil and strife as God’s plan played out.
we pray for and remember those parents
who are struggling to protect their children
due to conflict, poverty or natural disaster at this time.
Be with them.
we pray for parents today
who need your strength, support and guidance
to bring up their children with love and respect.
we pray for those who will tell tales that are needed today.
Tales that will bring an end to suffering,
tales that will demonstrate your love
and tales that will bring your peace.
The Rev’d Carole Marsden is the minister of Cornerstone United Church in Sedbergh, Cumbria.