In our final look at the life of David, we see that David successfully transitioned the kingdom to Solomon. By the end of his kingdom, David had well-organized nation, including those who served in the temple (1 Chron 23–26), treasury caretakers and those overseeing external duties (i.e., overseeing labor) (1 Chron 26:20–32), the military (1 Chron 27:1–15), the tribal leaders (1 Chron 27:16–24), and stewards of the king’s property and maintenance (1 Chron 27:25–34).
Perhaps waiting too long to transition the kingdom to Solomon, David experienced once last attempt to unlawfully dethrone him by his son Adonijah. His plan was foiled, and, thanks to Nathan and Bathsheba, David installed Solomon as king (1 Kings 1:1–53).
David counseled Solomon to be faithful to God and how to deal with some of the characters involved in his kingship—Joab and Shimei especially (1 Kgs 2:1–9).
David also gave his final charges to Israel and Solomon concerning the temple (1 Chron 28:1–8, 9–21). He appealed to Israel for temple materials, the people gladly responded, and David thanked God (1 Chron 29:1–22a).
Finally, David gave Solomon a second and more fitting installation as king (1 Chron 29:22b–25; cf. 23:1). David died after forty years of ruling in Hebron and Jerusalem, and Solomon’s kingdom was established (1 Kgs 2:10–12; 1 Chron 29:26–30).
In bringing David’s life to a close, we do well to remember a couple of the greater biblical themes tied into these stories:
First, David had a son on the throne, just as God promised to him through the covenant in 2 Samuel 7:8–16.
Second, David was a great king, but he was not a perfect king. Only Jesus can perfectly rule and bring justice to Israel and all nations.
When it comes to searching the above for something practical, I cannot help but notice many lessons about leadership as the above involves the kingdom going from one king to the next. While Christian leaders are obviously not kings, there are a number of helpful lessons to gather from the end of David’s life as he passed the kingdom to Solomon:
Put your house in order before you finish. David had a well-organized kingdom by the time of his death, including everything from a well-oiled military to who watched over the donkeys. Having the right resources and people in place, it is no wonder that the kingdom thrived under the wisdom of Solomon.
You cannot solve every problem, but at least warn your successor of problems that he will inherit. David had quite a bit of trouble with Joab during his kingship, and Joab supported Adonijah’s attempted coup. Shimei heaped coals of fire on David’s head by cursing him when he was already on the run from Absalom. After his second installation as king, Solomon killed Joab immediately and then Shimei only after he had violated the terms that Solomon had set for him.
Pass off projects well. God did not allow David to build the temple, but he did gather much of its materials for Solomon and gave him the plans as well. David knew the task that Solomon had before him and left him well-prepared.
Don’t wait too long to pass the baton. Adonijah thought he saw an opening to take his aging father’s throne. Thankfully, with some frantic persuading by Nathan and Bathsheba, David was still able to hand over the kingdom to Solomon.
Off the heels of the last thought, give people a proper transition from one leader to the next. Though Solomon was able to safely become king instead of Adonijah, David gave him a second installation, something more proper and public to help solidify the transfer of kingship from him to Solomon.