It is amazing what we inherit from those who have gone before us. I look in the mirror and see there the faces of my father's and mother's families. I open my mouth and my father's voice comes out. I find as I get older that many of the passions and joys, and the challenges in life decline from my ancestors. Remarkable.
Look in the mirror, you will see yourself. Actually, an image of yourself reflected back to you...but that image tells a story of where, and who, you come from in this life. Pondering that reflection, both the image and the words, deeds and reactions you have toward events in life, reveals not only who you are...but it also reveals a bit about who the people you come from are as well.
Solomon faces some remarkable challenges as he ascends to the throne of his father David. First, he has to deal with a brother who assumes that he, and not Solomon, will be the next king. Next he has to deal with unfinished business from his father's reign. Things were done, choices were made and people took actions that even with David's innate ability to not be in the wrong place at the wrong time still attach to him and to his scion.
It is bloodguilt. People killed people in order to protect, or promote the person and interests of King David. Those threads are still hanging, loose, from the hem of the monarch's garment that Solomon is now wearing. They have to be dealt with, and soon; but they must be resolved without 1) generating MORE bloodguilt and 2) they must work to Solomon's advantage. Paying debts out only benefits him if in the end he is able to emerge with the upper hand in the game.
It takes time, and it also reveals that he has a lot of his father in him...and apparently enough of his mother as well in order to avoid some of his father's mistakes.
Solomon's job is to build up a dynasty, and to walk on the world's stage as a king among kings. He does just that...impressing even God with his request for discernment when God offers him ANYTHING. Discernment, wisdom is his choice. Again...what a master...he has learned to use the strengths of his ancestors with wisdom as the primary method of application.
I wonder if Shimei, or the his other opponents, admired him for this success...
Growing up means coming to terms with not only ourselves; but also the selves we derive from our generational predecessors. It means embracing the "good" and the "bad" in them, not as hindrances, but as tools for us to live in the world today. For Solomon, it meant using those tools to expunge the stains of bloodguilt on his reign left over by his father's long history of doing away (masterfully) with his opponents.
What will you use the legacy of your ancestors for when it comes to facing the challenges of the present day? How can those gifts bring a brighter future to those who will follow us?