1 Kings 2:26-27 (KJV) And unto Abiathar the priest said the king, Get thee to Anathoth, unto thine own fields; for thou art worthy of death: but I will not at this time put thee to death, because thou barest the ark of the Lord God before David my father, and because thou hast been afflicted in all wherein my father was afflicted. So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto the Lord; that he might fulfil the word of the Lord, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.
Sometimes, people do things without fear of any repercussions. This may be because there are those moments that we believe a consequence is warranted, but nothing ever happens. So, because they have gotten away with the act the first, maybe even the second time, they continue to engage in the act. Could it be that they somehow believe that they are untouchable because of their statuses? Or could it be because they believe that no one saw them commit the act? Who knows what went through their minds. What we do know is that there is Someone whose “eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him…” (2 Chr. 16:9). If we think we have gotten away, think again. Justice will be served.
Understanding The Text
In the text, we can observe the new king Solomon is beginning to consolidate his power by eliminating any possible threat to the kingdom. When his father, David, was on his death bed, he had given Solomon a charge to bring about justice for the sins committed by others. This act was necessary because those sins (although not committed by him) were attached to his reign because they happened during his administration. The only way to remove them from his legacy was to exact justice on those who committed the act themselves (i.e. Joab and Shimei). However, Solomon added two additional names to his agenda, Adonijah and Abiathar the priest, for their role in attempting to usurp the throne prior to David’s death. In our previous study, we saw Solomon bring Adonijah to justice (1 Kgs. 2:13-25). In today’s study, we see Abiathar the priest being brought to justice.
Although the narrative is not long and extensive, there is a lot of history behind Solomon’s judgment on Abiathar the priest. Abiathar’s participation in Adonijah’s act of treason made him guilty by association (1 Kgs. 1:5-9). Solomon elected to preserve Abiathar’s life solely based upon his history of serving during David’s reign. However, Abiathar’s alignment with Adonijah still required justice to be served. Instead of putting Abiathar to death, Solomon removed him from the priesthood and caused him to return to his home in Anathoth (v. 26).
This move by Solomon is significant because in 1 Sam. 2:27-36, God sends a prophetic word to Eli the priest condemning his lineage because of the actions of his sons (Hophni and Phinehas) in the tabernacle. Eli’s sons were having adulterous relationships with the women who were assembled at the door of the tabernacle (1 Sam. 2:22). It was reported to Eli about what his sons were doing, and he did speak to them about it. However, he did nothing to correct their behavior as they ignored him and continued in their practices (vv. 23-25).
In 1 Sam. 2:31-35, through the prophetic voice, God promises to “cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father’s house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house forever…And I will raise Me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in Mine heart and in My mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before Mine anointed forever…” In this passage, God promises to remove Eli’s progeny from the priesthood and replace them with a lineage of faithful and obedient priests. This removal of Eli’s progeny from the priesthood takes place in today’s text when Solomon removes Abiathar from the priesthood. The installment of Zadok the priest returns the priesthood to the house of Eleazar, Aaron’s son as recorded in 1 Chr. 6:1-8.
Every act of disobedience is measured in the scales of God’s justice by His standard of holiness.
Why Is This Important To Us?
This is important to us because it is a reminder that we may not always see the consequences of our actions immediately. However, it does not mean that they are not imminent. We must remember that God does things in His timing and according to His will and plan. Kingdom living demands us to subscribe to total obedience and surrender to what God requires from us. This means that we must stand up for what is right, even in the face of rejection and danger because the outcome is just as important as the process.
We must begin to practice obedience and walking in accordance with the Word of God on a daily basis. When we fall short, we must run immediately to the Father to be placed back on track. When we lose our focus, we must turn our eyes to Him to helps us refocus upon His plan. When we lose hope, we must pour our hearts out to Him and trust that He will provide comfort and strength we need to keep moving forward on our journey.
God’s love will surround us. God’s grace and mercy will cover us from the judgment we deserve. The Blood of Jesus will cover a multitude of sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. However, if we do not seek His face for restoration and reconciliation, then we can be sure that although justice may be a long way off, it is indeed coming. It may happen in our lifetime, but then again, it may not. One thing is for certain if we do not set our houses in order, it is coming.