Solomon bgins his reign with four adversaries who must be dismissed. The first of these is the infamous Adonijah, who–in David’s late days–attempted to overthrow the aging government and form a coalition, despite David’s promise to Bathsheba that her son Solomon would take the throne.
Even after David’s death, and Solomon takes the throne, Adonijah attempts to marry Abishag, David’s concubine whom he lay with at the end of his life. Solomon successfully interpreted this odd request as a last-ditch effort to secure some claim to royalty, in case Solomon ever faltered. Thus, Adonijah was executed in light of his initial collusion and unrepentant conspiracy.
Abiathar, the advisor and priest who assembled with Adonijah, was not put to death, but banished from the priesthood in perpetuity for his part in the original rebellion, while Joab (David’s cousin and successful military commander) received harsher sentence–he was executed–for previous crimes in addition to his advisory role in Adonijah’s government (1 Kings 2:26-34).
Then, last of all, Shimei–a rebel who once cursed David–was promised life in exchange for probation, was executed for violating his parole (1 Kings 2:36-46).
Solomon deals shrewdly with all his enemies even before his request for wisdom, which comes in chapter three–against all his political and criminal adversaries. He seems to have asked for his natural, God-given gifts to be enhanced, not for a gift extraordinary new.
We too ask God to enhance the gifts we’ve already been given, to be good stewards of our current properties–not merely envious for Christmas puppies, gifts powerful and new (cf. 1 Cor. 12-14).