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Distorting the Facts

By Elie Nessim, November 27, 1999 Printer Friendly Version

It is a snare for a man to devote rashly something as holy, And afterward to reconsider his vows.
In 1 Kings chapter 2, verses 14 to 17, Adonijah says to Bathsheba, 'I have something to say to you,' and she said, 'Say it.'" And now comes his first falsehood in verse 15: "Then he said, 'You know that the kingdom was mine.'" It was not. It never had been meant for him. He laid claim to it; he thought that he could take the kingdom; he had exalted himself. That was the first falsehood. He had neither been designated by GOD, nor by his father, David. And just because he was the oldest surviving brother, does not make him eligible.

We read later on in the Book of Chronicles that the genealogy is not to be reckoned by birthright, because although the tribe of Reuben was the tribe of the first born, the chief ruler came from the tribe of Judah, who was fourth down the line. The first born doesn't automatically succeed to the throne. GOD never says anywhere there that the first born is the one who gets the preeminence. In fact, GOD delighted always in choosing the second over the first. "The older shall serve the younger." It seems to be a pattern in the Scriptures. So he was wrong there.

And then he also says something else: "And all Israel had set their expectations on me, that I should reign." Why was it then that the people of Israel had hesitated, and were looking to David to see him ratify this? He had not. "All Israel had set their expectations upon me." That was the second falsehood. There had been considerable hesitation. Chapter 1 and verse 20: "And as for you," (this is Bathsheba speaking to David), "and as for you, my lord O king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, that you should tell them who will sit on the throne of my lord, the king, after him."

Adonijah had exalted himself, but the people of Israel were saying, 'Wait a minute, we haven't heard from the king. Something is wrong here.' A third falsehood he makes. Do you notice how people establish their claim by bending the truth, as someone put it; or being economical with the truth; or by deliberately understating, or overstating? Do you know how you can make some one an object of ridicule? Draw their portrait, and then make their nose a little too big, or the ears too big, or something like that; and you've got a caricature. It is the person, generally speaking. You can recognize the person; but it is a caricature. And what he was doing here was caricaturing the truth; exaggerating; minimizing; twisting things.

He says, 'All Israel had set their expectation on me that I should reign, however, the kingdom has been turned over.'  Do you notice the words there?  Very clever; but very sly.  Charging Solomon with having usurped him.  That's what he's saying.  'The kingdom has been turned over and has become my brother's.' 'It was mine!  My brother took it from me!'  That's really what he is saying in very genteel language.  And lastly, 'For it was his from the LORD.' Paying lip service to the will of GOD, but really saying, 'You know, really, GOD is not being fair to me.  GOD has not done right by me.  He has, GOD, the Holy GOD, has acknowledged this usurper'; and in doing so, he is manipulating the facts, and making GOD appear unjust.

We have another example of that in Eli, the priest.  People think he was a very Godly man, at least what he said was a very Godly thing.  When the LORD said, through Samuel, ''I will judge him and his house forever, for his sin which he has committed against Me, because his sons make themselves vile and he restrained them not.'  When Eli heard it he said, 'It is the LORD, let Him do what seemeth Him good.''Let Him do what seems good to Him.  Very pious.  Sounds like the language of submission.  But it came from a man who had demonstrated anything but submission.  GOD had sent him warning after warning.  'Your sons are unGodly.  Do something about it while you can.'  He did nothing, and GOD had to say to them, 'You prefer your sons above Me, and therefore, I will judge you.'  And then, when it was out of his hands and he could do nothing more about it, he made a virtue out of necessity, and he said, 'It is the LORD, let Him do what seemeth Him good.' Poor me, I can't do anything about it.  Phoney!  Phoney piety!

Well, that was Adonijah's pitch here.  And now, having carefully softened up the opposition, and having appealed to Bathsheba's kind heart, he says in verse 16: ''Now I ask one petition of you, do not deny me.'  And she said to him, 'Say it.'''Just give me one little thing; poor little me; you see how much I've been deprived of; now please, will you give me just this little crumb of comfort?'  Hypocrite!  Masked wickedness behind those words; behind his complaint, using moral pressure.  This kind of moral pressure was used against Nehemiah.  His enemies wanted to lure him away from Jerusalem, and from building the wall.  'It has been reported of you, and Gashmu, the Arabian has said it too.'  Who cares about Gashmu?  Gashmu, shmashnu!  But they said to Nehemiah, 'It has been reported that you are plotting.  Come now and let us speak together.  Let's have a little pow wow.'

If Nehemiah had given in to that, he would have given credibility to their accusations.  But he said, 'I am doing a great work; I cannot come down.  Why should I leave the work of GOD and come down to talk to you?'  Where were they going to talk together?  In one of the villages of? ....'Oh, no! Oh, no!  Oh, no, Nehemiah!  You're not to do this!  Oh no, Nehemiah, you've got to stop building the wall.  Oh no, Nehemiah, stop all this work of GOD!'  One of the villages of....Ohno!  Well named, isn't it? 

Well, he came to her, and he said, (verse 17), 'Then he said, 'Please speak to King Solomon for he will not refuse you, that he may give me Abishag, the Shunammite, as wife.''And she melted.  She thought, 'This poor fellow, is madly in love with this beautiful young woman, and, the truth is, although she had been David's wife, he had never had any physical relationship with her. So it looked as though he just wanted this beautiful woman; that he was madly in love with her.  He was pulling strings, like satan did with Eve; as satan deceived Eve through his subtlety.

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