Israel reached the height of her power during the reigns of David and Solomon, though the transition between these two kings was not seamless. On top of having a rebellious son try to usurp his authority again, David has to deal with prior injustices once and for all. David commissions Solomon to deal wisely with Joab and Shimei and to ensure they experience just retribution for their crimes before they die.

In all these events surrounding the sad end of David’s life, I want to ask as an aside: Can any person handle power well? David’s rise to kingship was good for Israel, but ultimately the crown seemed to corrupt David. Solomon will get his chance with great power and wealth without the same level of opposition his father faced. As king, Solomon promotes equity and justice at first. But will he be corrupted by the crown like David? Perhaps more importantly, is it even possible for any person born of human flesh to rule well without being tainted by power’s corrosive work? Answers to the first question will appear in future chapters, but the answers to the second question will take some time to resolve as we read the story of the Bible.