Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Conversation Continues: Solomon or Jedidiah?

This is an ongoing series featuring responses to questions that were submitted for our summer 2008 Church Family fellowship discussion that we did not get time to discuss.


In 2 Samuel 12:24-25, it says the Lord sent word through the prophet Nathan to name the son of David and Bathsheba "Jedidiah." So, why was he called "Solomon"?


Here’s the passage in question:

2 Samuel 12:24 Then David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in to her and lay with her. So she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. Now the LORD loved him, 25 and He sent word by the hand of Nathan the prophet: So he called his name Jedidiah, because of the LORD.

It appears that the son of David and Bathsheba was given two names. The first was the name "Solomon" given him by his parents. The second was the name "Jedidiah" given him by the Lord through the mediation of the prophet Nathan.

The second name has spiritual significance. In Hebrew it literally means "Beloved by the LORD." The name was likely given by God as a sign of assurance to David in particular. David had committed adultery with Bathsheba and arranged the murder of her former husband (see 2 Samuel 11). Nathan had confronted David in his sin, saying, "You are the man!" (2 Samuel 12:7). David then repented: "I have sinned against the LORD" (2 Samuel 12:13). Psalm 51 was written by David to express his repentance for his sin. Still, however, there were consequences for David’s actions. The Lord "struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became ill" (2 Samuel 12:15). Eventually, the child died. The name God gave to Solomon through Nathan was, therefore, an expression of assurance to David. This child would be beloved by the Lord. God would preserve this child’s life and even, one day, set him on the throne of Israel.

It is not uncommon in the Bible for the Lord to give a spiritually significant name to a person. Jacob, for example, is given the new name of "Israel" in Genesis 32:28 ("Your name shall no longer be called Jacob but Israel, for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed."). The Lord also gave spiritually significant names to the sons of the prophet Hosea (cf. Hosea 1:4, 6, 9).

2 Samuel 12:25 is the only place in the Bible where Solomon is referred to by the name "Jedidiah," and it is the only place where this word appears in Scripture. "Solomon" obviously became the name by which the child was primarily known.



Anonymous said...

Amen. I had been doing a study on 2 Samuel 12, and came upon this, and thought David was in rebelion, or that there had to be an answer! You answered it for me. Answered from Scripture, was a question about Scripture... God's Will be done

Ari said...

The comparison doesn't sound that accurate. Jacob had his name changed with understanding of it given to him an he received the name Israel gladly. 2 names were given to one child by 2 different people in referring to solomon/jedidiah.

Unknown said...

Typically, Jewish parents named their children based on the birth experience or their current circumstances in life (Esau & Jacob; the prior is named because he was unusually hairy and the latter, heel catcher, because he came out right behind his brother).
It's possible David, having gone through a stage of rebellion and separation to the Lord, was just wanting to be near the heart of God again. And the text says in 2Samuel 12:25 that God sent a message to David and he called his son Jedidiah because of the Lord. It is possible that having gone through all of this that David was now at peace, like a sheep before his shepherd.
Therefore naming his child Shelomoh or Peace in Hebrew, because he now has peace WITH God and is walking in the peace OF God.

(Also go read psalm 51, the song he wrote in light of his sin with Bathsheba. At one point he begged God not cast him away from His presence... now he has peace)

Anonymous said...

Dear Jeff,

I amppositive I read a long time ago that Solomon died by being killed by one of his sons.

I have not been able to find it again.

But once I was asked to prove my knowledge and faith by answering this question.
The man who asked me said yes.
Please can you help me find the portion that tells of this.

Thank you so very much.


ADF said...

Years later...

What's weird is that he is not called Jedidiah throughout the rest of Scripture, which runs counter to the example of God re-naming people.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that is weird. Perhaps David, though grateful that his son would be "beloved of the Lord", didn't want "Jedidiah" to be his son's actual, official name, for reasons that might not reflect well on David.