While David was a great king in many ways, we have seen that David was not perfect and that his sins affected his kingdom for the worse. One of the punishments for his sin with Bathsheba was that David would have evil against him in his house. In carrying out this theme further from last week, we will look at Joab and Adonijah, two men in David’s house who were evil from time to time.
First, we see that David’s nephew (cf. 1 Chron 2:13–16) Joab vengefully murdered multiple people. Joab murdered Abner to avenge the death of his brother Asahel (2 Sam 3:26–30). Then, Joab killed Absalom against David’s orders (2 Sam 18:1–8). Finally, Joab killed Amasa, his own cousin (cf. 1 Chron 2:17). Absalom had set Amasa over his army (2 Sam 17:25), Amasa was kept as general by David (2 Sam 19:13), and Joab murdered him in order to take back his position over David’s army (2 Sam 19:41–20:23).
Second, we see that David’s fourth son Adonijah attempted to usurp the throne. Seeing that David was old and near death, Adonijah conspired with others to usurp the throne (1 Kgs 1:1–10). Nathan and Bathsheba approached David about Adonijah and asked for Solomon to be declared king (1 Kgs 1:11–26). David confirmed Solomon to be king, sent out a procession to do so, and Adonijah was granted mercy by Solomon (1 Kgs 1:27–53).
The deaths of these men go together. After David’s death, Adonijah requested to marry David’s concubine Abishag. Along with being Solomon’s older brother and his alliance with Abiathar and Joab, this was an attempt to take the throne again. For this, Solomon put Adonijah to death (1 Kings 2:13–25). Linked to Adonijah’s conspiracy, Joab pled for mercy but was likewise put to death (1 Kings 2:28–35). As with other areas in life, violence can come back to haunt the aggressor. “The violence of the wicked will sweep them away, because they refuse to do what is just” (Proverbs 21:7 ESV).