This sermon is part of the sermon series "The King Takes His Throne: Solomon's Rise to Power". See series.
According to ancient custom, the death of a ruler is greeted with the following words: "The king is dead; long live the king!" This may seem like a contradictory thing to say. If the king is dead, then what point is there in wishing him long life? But the point is that the kingdom will endure. Even though one king is dead, another king lives to take his place. The kingship will survive, and therefore people who hope for the continuity of the monarchy say, "The king is dead. Long live the king!"
This custom helps to explain something Queen Bathsheba said to King David. The old king was having trouble getting warm, so everyone thought he was on his deathbed. His oldest son Adonijah had gone so far as to proclaim himself the next king. Meanwhile, the prophet Nathan was doing everything he could do to secure the throne for Solomon, whom God had promised would sit on David's throne. Once David had promised to crown Solomon king, Bathsheba proclaimed, "'May my lord King David live forever!'" (1 Kings 1:31).
Under the circumstances, this may seem like a strange thing to say. The very reason David and Bathsheba were having this conversation was because they both knew that the king wouldn't live forever; he was about to die. So why did she say this? Bathsheba has hopes for David's eternal life and everlasting kingdom, and her hopes were not misplaced. The king still lives, and so does his dynasty, to the everlasting joy of all the people of God.
Instructions for a coronation
David may have been dying, but he was not dead yet. As soon as he finished his audience with Bathsheba, he started giving out orders. David knew that it was now or never: if he did not act immediately and decisively to put his son on the throne, God's ...
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