1 Kings 1: The King to Come

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“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
— Psalm 119:103

**Want to know why I'm talking about Scripture? Start here!**

One of my favorite things about reading the Old Testament is the hidden shadows and types of Christ, waiting to be found like buried treasure.

There are so many shadows of good things to come, and I often struggle to see them.

But as I read 1 Kings 1, I pray that the Lord would illuminate his Word and bring me clarity: that the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart would be pleasing in his sight (Psalm 19:14).

And while 1 Kings can be intimidating (so. much. history.), it's dripping with honey.

Before diving in, I have to remember who David is. He is, after all, one of the clearest types of Christ (Ezekiel 37:24). Typology is a special kind of symbolism that connects us with Jesus in the Old Testament.

While I can get pretty nerdy about this, I do want to reiterate something my pastor once said as a kind of warning: sometimes, it's easy to play Where's Waldo? with the shadows of Jesus in the Old Testament. We must be careful.

Oswald Allis once said,

"The Bible student should be careful to distinguish between the possible, the probable and the certain."

So, in light of this, who was David?

  • He was a shepherd from Bethlehem whom God chose to be the king of Israel.

  • He was a mighty warrior king. Jesus is the mighty warrior king.

  • David was loved by God, and as a king, he ruled over God's people in faithfulness.

  • He defeated many of his people's enemies. Christ defeated our ultimate enemies of sin and death.

  • David had a betrayer; Jesus had a betrayer.

  • David suffered greatly and was rejected by his brothers. Jesus was rejected; he suffered more than we can imagine and was humiliated at the cross.

There's so much more we could go into, but I want to talk about Solomon.

In the first few chapters of 1 Kings, David has grown old, and his son Adonijah exalted himself as king. When David heard word of this, he told Zadok (a priest) and Nathan (a court prophet) to anoint his son Solomon as king. There's a lot of history here, violence, politics, discord.

What I want to sit in, however, is Solomon being confirmed as king. What a moment!

In 1 Kings 1:28, King David swore an oath and said:

"As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life from every difficulty, just as I swore to you by the Lord God of Israel: Your son Solomon is to become king after me, and he is the one who is to sit on my throne in my place, that is exactly what I will do this very day."

David is urging all to see how God is the great promise keeper. Because of what the Lord declared in 2 Samuel 7:12, 13, David would have understood God to mean the "crown" would stay in his family line. Solomon will be the "offspring" through whom God will fulfill his promise of establishing "the throne of his kingdom forever."

David longed to build a house for God (2 Samuel 6–7). But God builds a house for David:

The Lord is with you . . . 

The Lord declares . . .

I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom . . . 

I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

When Solomon became king, people wondered, Could this be the promised, eternal king? I'm going to give you a little spoiler—because we have the end of the story. Later on in 1 Kings 11:6, we learn the following:

“So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and did not wholly follow the LORD, as David his father had done.”

If Solomon was not the one, then there must be another.

Although Solomon received God's promises to David, those promises were fully realized only in the coming of Jesus Christ. And oh, it gives me goosebumps to think of Solomon's coronation and how it mirrored Jesus's.

David proclaimed Solomon as his designated heir by having him ride on a donkey. In Matthew 21:1–11, in his triumphal entry, Jesus chose to make the fulfillment of the prophesy unmistakable by riding on a donkey.

When the prophet Nathan anoints Solomon as king over Israel, we know the weight of it. Priests, kings, and occasionally prophets were anointed in ancient Israel, and the Hebrew word for anointed took on royal connotation, translating to mean Christos or Messiah.

Another son of David would come. The perfect prophet, priest, and king:

  • Unlike Solomon, this king would not chase after wealth. He would be rich, and yet for our sake, he would become poor. He would lower himself in the mess and muck of our world to make us rich, that we might inherit all that is his (2 Corinthians 8:9).

  • Unlike Solomon, this king would not own an excess of horses. He would have to borrow a donkey to ride into Jerusalem (John 12:14).

  • Unlike Solomon, this king would not have many wives. His bride would be the church—his only bride—and he would give up his own life for her sake, that he might sanctify her and present her in splendor, holy and blameless before him forever (Ephesians 5:25–27).

Our God is the ultimate promise keeper and poet. I'm thankful I can read 1 Kings 1 and know with forward-looking hope the end of this story. I know the King that Israel longed for—the King in whom I live and move and have my being—would come, and he will come again. And he will reign forever.

What a picture of glory.