The final hours of David’s life are encapsulated in the early portion of this chapter; in which we read of the king’s final words to Solomon concerning a number of characters, as well as an admonition to the young monarch as how to live and reign.
Death, for the Christian has no sting; yet each will face it one day if the Lord doesn’t return before then. When David declares, “I go the way of all the earth”, he refers to mankind regardless of their public station in life. Death knows no barrier; wealth, recognition, or popularity to name a few. For saints of God, it is but a doorway into the eternal presence of Almighty God forever. Death’s sting is removed by faith in Jesus as Lord & Savior. David understood this and realized what was about to occur.
Recognizing his soon departure; he admonishes Solomon to 1) be strong, 2) prove his manhood, obey the Lord, live in “His ways” keep His statutes, commandments, judgments and testimonies. The net result would be he would “prosper in all that” he did. This was all fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to David for his seed; provided they took heed of their ways and walked in truth (God’s Word).
There is no greater way to prove manhood than to be a man of the Word. It is in the Word that strength is found. Jesus responded to the disciples on at least one occassion we have record of that “I have food to eat you don’t know about”. His strength and nutrition came from heeding the Word of His Father.
To keep the “charge of the Lord” refers to personal directives given individually in a variety of circumstances. Walking in “His ways” means to live as Hs has given reference to. The statutes speak of every decision the Lord has made as being righteous and good. “His commandments” deals again with the individual, whether easy or tough, seemingly good or bad directives. To keep “His judgments” means that which inherently (a result of Divine wisdom) is either good or bad. “His testimonies” refer to whatever He has mandated or determined as a “Witness”, let that be our testimony as well.
David must have carried hurt and revenge as he exhorts Solomon to eliminate all but one of the three referenced in verses 5 – 7; that being Barzillai. Joab was to be killed for the murders of Abner and Amasa, as well as his complicity in Urijah’s death. Shimei’s death was a consequence of his own, full knowledge of his disobedience, disrespect and dishonoring David and Solomon.
The obvious question is why didn’t David deal with these men and others during his life time? One of the most plausible reasons would seem that David was concerned about potential political consequences such activities on his reign; in particular with Joab.
Solomon dealt with these three as David had requested, as well as Adonijah, banishing Abithar from the priesthood; which fulfilled a prophetic word by Samuel years earlier. What possessed Bathsheba to make a request on behalf of Adonijah for David’s concubine of his old age, it almost incomprehensible. Solomon understood that such a move would like position him to usurp the throne, with Abithar and Joab being reinstated to their previous positions.
Men, we need to heed David’s exhortation to Solomon more so today than ever before, “prove yourself a man” or “MAN UP” and be men of the Word!