Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 1-2
Today’s Reflection: 1 Kings 1:49
Then all the guests of Adonijah trembled and rose, and each went his own way.
As King David lay near death, his son Adonijah conspired to have himself named the next king of Israel. But clearly he knew very well that Solomon was supposed to be the next king, a proclamation not only from man but from God Himself. Adonijah assembled his brothers and royal officials, but did not invite Solomon, the prophet Nathan or any of King David’s most trusted advisors.
Adonijah was hoping to gain favour and acceptance as king among the people of Israel before Solomon could act. Unfortunately for him Nathan caught wind of his plot and King David named Solomon king of Israel. Adonijah was actually holding a feast for his supporters, all of whom were hoping to have esteemed positions in his kingdom, when word reached them that Solomon had been named king. After hearing this, one by one Adonijah’s so-called friends left. The reality struck them that being associated with Adonijah at best might result in being left out of the riches of the next King’s administration—at worst it might be regarded as treason worthy of death.
It’s amazing when people conspire to do things they know are wrong, they can always find people who are happy to join them, who present themselves as loyal friends while hoping to ultimately gain from the spoil of evil doing. But as soon as their plot is discovered and the consequences are before them, friendship proves to be a frail thing indeed. People turn on each other, abandon each other, make confessions to save themselves and condemn each other. This behaviour isn’t limited by race or class: it happens in gangs and organized crime despite supposed loyalty to oaths like omerta; it happens among chief executives in the corporate world when financial malfeasance is uncovered.
There truly is no honour among thieves. And it makes sense. If someone is willing to break laws or take something that is not theirs in order to benefit themselves, what rules of friendship or loyalty would they ever be bound by?
When we desire to do wrong, surrounding ourselves with a crowd may give us the feeling that we’re making something wrong right. But the story of Adonijah eaches us that conspiring with others to do things that are illegal or immoral only sets us up for abandonment. The faithfulness of your co-conspirators, who you may regard as friends and who may appear to be loyal while your plot succeeds, will disappear as soon as they stand to suffer the consequences of your actions. No matter how large the crowd around you may appear, when you sin you stand alone.