In this section, we see Adonijah, the eldest son of David, make a selfish and transparent bid for power by asking for a woman associated with David to be given to him as a wife. In the ancient world, a new king’s power was validated when he took the wives of the former king. Adonijah’s request was not merely to obtain a spouse but a brazen attempt to grasp the throne. We might miss this nuance, but Solomon didn’t. He saw through this power play, and Adonijah paid for it with his life.
In contrast to Adonijah’s self-centered actions, Solomon would not ask God for anything self-serving when God invited him to ask for anything he desired (3:5). Eventually Solomon would be led astray by his own wives later on in his reign, as he struggled to use his wisdom (see 1 Kings 11:1), but here at the outset, he was more interested in displaying God’s justice to the people than he was serving his own interests.
What does the world see when they look at your life? Do you display your own ambitions or do you display God’s character?