In Parshat Vayechi (Breisheet 47:29) we read the words: “The days of Yisrael’s death drew near, and he called for his son Yosef…”
This verse sound very similar to the opening verse of the Haftara (Melachim 2:1) “David’s days drew near to die and he instructed his son Solomon saying…”
Maharam points out that what Yaakov (Yisrael) and David had in common was that they both had a son who ruled during their lifetime, Yosef (who ruled over Egypt) and Shlomo (who ruled over Israel).
The difference in the two stories is that finally, at the end of Yaakov’s life, all of his sons united and each received a blessing from their father. Each was destined to become a tribe. They will all be leaders. In David’s case, only one son, Shlomo was chosen to be the continuation of David’s dynasty.
While Yaakov was able to give his sons poetic blessings, David gave Shlomo the practical information of how to succeed as king. According to Seder Olam, Shlomo was twelve years old when he became king, Abarbanel believes that he was closer to twenty. In any case, Shlomo began to rule at a very young age. He had a lot of responsibility to take on and he needed as much guidance as possible. David had to lay down the facts of who Shlomo’s friends would be and who would turn out to be his enemies.
David’s most important advice that Shlomo unfortunately did not follow throughout his life was (Melachim 2:3-4) “Safeguard the charge of Hashem, your God, to walk in His ways, to observe his decrees, commandments, ordinances and testimonies as written in the Torah of Moshe, so that you will succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn; so that Hashem will uphold his word that He spoke to me saying, ‘If your children will safeguard their way, to walk before me sincerely, with all their heart and with all their soul,’ saying, ‘no man of yours will ever be cut off from upon the throne of Israel.’”
If only Shlomo had followed David’s advice, we would not have been stuck with the terrible kings that were to follow.