Dovid Hamelech had suddenly aged, and basically withdrew from the affairs of his kingdom. This development created a significant void in the parliament and opened the door to minority groups and conspiracy. One of the king’s own sons, Adoniyahu, seized the moment and began grooming himself for the throne. This was in direct opposition to the king’s will, for he had repeatedly stated that his son Shlomo would be his successor. In fact, Dovid Hamelech had actually received prophecy regarding this matter, which specifically informed him that Shlomo would be the next king. Dovid even swore to BasSheva, the mother of Shlomo, that her son would rule.
Now, in Dovid’s aged state this matter took a mean turn and Adoniyahu was rapidly developing a following. The king’s closest advisors discovered the plan, and in cooperation with Shlomo’s mother, appealed to the king to put down the uprising. Dovid Hamelech acquiesced and ordered the coronation of his own son, Shlomo, immediately upon discovering the grave situation. In response to these pressing developments a most unique event transpired, and Shlomo was anointed king even during his father’s lifetime.
Our Chazal, our Sages (Breishis Rabba 76:2), reflect upon this situation and raise a very perplexing question. The Scriptures reveal to us that Dovid Hamelech’s order to anoint his son was met with great trepidation. B’nayahu, the son of Yehoyada responded to it and said, “Let it be Hashem’s will that our mission is successful.” “Why,” ask Chazal “was so much concern and doubtfulness present? Didn’t Hashem promise that Shlomo would succeed his father? Now that this prophecy was in its final stages of fulfillment what could possibly affect things?” Chazal answer that many obstructions and impediments could indeed occur prior to the actual fulfillment of the prophet’s words.
This insight teaches us a significant perspective regarding divine providence. Although it was ordained for Shlomo to succeed his father, and the prophet had even assured Dovid of this fact, the subject was far from being closed. Every effort had to be exerted to secure the realization of this prophecy. There was no guarantee regarding the amount of attempts that would be executed before Shlomo would successfully rule over the Jewish nation. Prophecy did not preclude attempts of conspiracy against Shlomo, and it was demanded of Dovid that he thwart all such attempts. True, it was meant for Shlomo to rule, but interference could certainly present itself. Therefore, Dovid and his men were required to do their part – and then and only then would Hashem see to it that the matter was accomplished and completed.
This same lesson appears throughout this week’s reading. At the end of Parshas Vayeira we learn (see Rashi 22:20) of Avrohom Aveinu’s prophecy that Yitzchok’s partner in life was just born. Avrohom waited three years and then proceeded immediately to facilitate this marriage. He called on Eliezer, his devoted student and most trustworthy servant, to fulfill this important mission. He obligated Eliezer to take an oath that he would carefully adhere to his master’s will. Avrohom insisted that Eliezer go directly to Avrohom’s family in pursuit of a proper match for Yitzchok. Avrohom warned Eliezer that under no conditions would Yitzchok be permitted to marry a Canaanite lady or leave the land of Israel. Although Avrohom already knew through prophecy that Rivka was ordained to marry Yitzchok he nevertheless went to great lengths to secure that this would truly happen.
Our Chazal (see Rashi 24:55) reveal to us that in fact Eliezer had an eligible daughter and that he was considering the option of circumventing Avrohom’s wishes for his daughter’s sake. Avrohom realized this and instead of merely relying on Hashem that His will would materialize Avrohom understood that it was his responsibility to secure matters. Who knows what could stand in the way and interfere with Hashem’s plan?! Therefore Avrohom insisted that his own most trustworthy servant take an oath to complete his mission faithfully.
This lesson repeats itself when Eliezer encounters Yitzchok’s proposed father in law. After Eliezer related an amazing display of clear evidence that this match was heavenly ordained, Besual, Rivka’s father properly responded, “If Hashem willed it so there would certainly be no interference.” Yet, as Rashi reveals (24:55), Besual subsequently attempted to poison Eliezer and put a stop to the marriage. Hashem sent an angel who exchanged the cup of poison and Besual became the victim himself. Even after clear revelations from Hashem, there was still room for interception and it was therefore necessary to eradicate Besual from the picture. We see once again that although Hashem makes the plan, it does not go on automatic pilot. There is still room for intervention and the final outcome is far from being realized. We must therefore do all we can to secure that the proper outcome materializes and then with the help of Hashem the process will be completed.