Thursday in 4th Week

I Kings 2.1-4,10-12; I Chronicles 29; Mark 6.7-13

Probably everyone in this country, whether they care much about either music or the monarchy or not, recognises the opening bars of George Frederick Handel’s anthem (written for the coronation of King George II in 1727 and sung at every coronation since) Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anointed Solomon king. [I Kings 1.38-39] It wasn’t inevitable that they should do so, of course: Solomon was neither the eldest of David’s sons nor the strongest. But in the waning days of David’s reign, the king perhaps not wholly in possession of his faculties and the kingdom ruled by the wiles and intrigues of David’s closest counsellors and his many wives, one of those wives, Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, persuaded David to signal that Solomon should succeed him.  Already Solomon’s elder brother, Adonijah, had been declared king by Abiathar the priest and Joab the commander of the army.  This ‘succession narrative’ of the first chapters of I Kings endeavours to establish Solomon’s legitimacy. (As a reward for his support, Zadok’s descendants came to hold exclusive right to the priesthood of the Temple, when it had been built by Solomon.  Known as the ‘Sadducees’, they dominated the Temple until its destruction by the Romans in AD 70.)

Posted in Daily Reflection.