The transitions of power in these readings are particularly well-timed, with elections in the United States and, an impending coronation in the United Kingdom, not to mention a shuffle of UK prime ministers. Yet an ever present danger in biblical interpretation is the temptation to map the ancient sacred stories onto the contemporary world and current events, even though that may be a comfortable and familiar approach to the scriptures. The transition of leaders only serves to underscore that empires and nations have a life independent of their leaders. They are entities of their own though they are led by and shaped by persons. Contemporary people have much more impact on the shape of their nations and government than do the characters in these texts. It is worth asking ourselves, how we use that opportunity as an act of stewardship and community care. 

The text says that David left Solomon a secure foundation for his rule yet the nation would not survive Solomon’s death and, was disintegrating before then. David also left Solomon a complicated legacy, a complicated family legacy, including a history of violence and objectification of women. (The latter Solomon found seductive.) It is easy to focus on the foibles of celebrities and leaders, but each of us has our own family legacy and predispositions. What do we do with the legacy left us by parents and family? How do we shape our life for ourselves apart from painful or unhelpful legacies? 

The remainder of the lessons addressed judgment, the judgment of kings and other earthly rulers, the judgment of God and a surprise guest appearance at the final judgment. The presence of the Queen of the South, the Queen of Sheba, bears witness to the sovereignty and justice of God that transcends national borders. All of those monarchs and would-be monarchs, politicians, presidents and would-be presidents, prime ministers and would-be prime ministers scrambling to hold onto power will be subject to judgment on their own judgments. As will as the rest of us.