King David was very old, and getting ready to pass on to the next world, but he was not dead yet. He was still King.
This story comes to us from 1 Kings Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.
Adonijah delcared himself to be King. This was not King David’s choice, nor was it time yet for a new King.
(as usual my comments are in bold.)
Adonijah Presumes to Be King
1 Now King David was old, advanced in years; and they put covers on him, but he could not get warm. 2 Therefore his servants said to him, “Let a young woman, a virgin, be sought for our lord the king, and let her stand before the king, and let her care for him; and let her lie in your bosom, that our lord the king may be warm.” 3 So they sought for a lovely young woman throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king. 4 The young woman was very lovely; and she cared for the king, and served him; but the king did not know her.
When I first read this, I’m like, “why are they telling us about this girl that he did NOT sleep with?” Stay tuned, we find out later.
5 Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will be king”; and he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.
Adonijah sees that King David is dying, and he decides he will be king. He gathers up a small army and goes forward with his plan. Adonijah exalts himself.
6 (And his father had not rebuked him at any time by saying, “Why have you done so?” He was also very good-looking. His mother had borne him after Absalom.)
I interpret this to mean that he was not disciplined while he was growing up. He did not know right from wrong. He was a good-looking man, and we know that men like that get away with things that the average guy doesn’t.
7 Then he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they followed and helped Adonijah. 8 But Zadok the priest, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and the mighty men who belonged to David were not with Adonijah.
Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet were men who who worked for David. Adonijah did not follow proper protocol, and picked his own priest and followers instead, who were not sanctioned by the rule of law.
(More on Shimei later)
9 And Adonijah sacrificed sheep and oxen and fattened cattle by the stone of Zoheleth, which is by En Rogel; he also invited all his brothers, the king’s sons, and all the men of Judah, the king’s servants. 10 But he did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the mighty men, or Solomon his brother.
Adonijah decides to get the proceedings underway. Again, he did not follow protocol, he made up his own rules. He did not invite the correct people to attend his party where he sacrificed sheep, oxen, and cattle.
Zoheleth means serpent. Adonijah didn’t even go to the correct place to make his offerings– he was offering to satan and not God.
11 So Nathan spoke to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, saying, “Have you not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith has become king, and David our lord does not know it? 12 Come, please, let me now give you advice, that you may save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. 13 Go immediately to King David and say to him, ‘Did you not, my lord, O king, swear to your maidservant, saying, “Assuredly your son Solomon shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne”? Why then has Adonijah become king?’ 14 Then, while you are still talking there with the king, I also will come in after you and confirm your words.”
Nathan the prophet was still his in place of authority. He tells Bathsheba to go to David and tell him Adonijah has become king, and remind David that he chose Solomon to be king. Nathan will come in to confirm her words. “By two or three witnesses, let everything be established.” –Matthew 18:16
15 So Bathsheba went into the chamber to the king. (Now the king was very old, and Abishag the Shunammite was serving the king.) 16 And Bathsheba bowed and did homage to the king. Then the king said, “What is your wish?”
Bathsheba goes to speak to David. Abishag is still there, so she will witness the conversation.
17 Then she said to him, “My lord, you swore by the Lord your God to your maidservant, saying, ‘Assuredly Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne.’ 18 So now, look! Adonijah has become king; and now, my lord the king, you do not know about it. 19 He has sacrificed oxen and fattened cattle and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the sons of the king, Abiathar the priest, and Joab the commander of the army; but Solomon your servant he has not invited. 20 And as for you, my lord, O king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, that you should tell them who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. 21 Otherwise it will happen, when my lord the king rests with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon will be counted as offenders.”
Bathsheba makes her case to David. Adonijah has stolen the throne behind David’s back. He did not do things decently and in order. If David does not correct this injustice, Bathsheba and Solomon are in danger of being killed.
22 And just then, while she was still talking with the king, Nathan the prophet also came in. 23 So they told the king, saying, “Here is Nathan the prophet.” And when he came in before the king, he bowed down before the king with his face to the ground. 24 And Nathan said, “My lord, O king, have you said, ‘Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne’? 25 For he has gone down today, and has sacrificed oxen and fattened cattle and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the king’s sons, and the commanders of the army, and Abiathar the priest; and look! They are eating and drinking before him; and they say, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ 26 But he has not invited me—me your servant—nor Zadok the priest, nor Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, nor your servant Solomon. 27 Has this thing been done by my lord the king, and you have not told your servant who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?”
Nathan came in as he promised and declares the news. Adonijah has set himself up as king, the people he invited are rejoicing. Is this what you wanted David? Have you not appointed someone else?
David Proclaims Solomon King
28 Then King David answered and said, “Call Bathsheba to me.” So she came into the king’s presence and stood before the king. 29 And the king took an oath and said, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life from every distress, 30 just as I swore to you by the Lord God of Israel, saying, ‘Assuredly Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,’ so I certainly will do this day.”
King David reiterates, that he has chosen Solomon, not Adonijah to sit on the throne, and he will make it right TODAY.
31 Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the earth, and paid homage to the king, and said, “Let my lord King David live forever!”
“Whew, what a relief!”
32 And King David said, “Call to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada.” So they came before the king. 33 The king also said to them, “Take with you the servants of your lord, and have Solomon my son ride on my own mule, and take him down to Gihon. 34 There let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel; and blow the horn, and say, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ 35 Then you shall come up after him, and he shall come and sit on my throne, and he shall be king in my place. For I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah.”
“Take Solomon on my own mule, and take him down to Gihon. Blow the trumpet! Then he shall sit on my throne. I have appointed him.”
Gihon was a spring of water, which represents life.
36 Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king and said, “Amen! May the Lord God of my lord the king say so too. 37 As the Lord has been with my lord the king, even so may He be with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David.”
38 So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon ride on King David’s mule, and took him to Gihon. 39 Then Zadok the priest took a horn of oil from the tabernacle and anointed Solomon. And they blew the horn, and all the people said,“Long live King Solomon!” 40 And all the people went up after him; and the people played the flutes and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth seemed to split with their sound.
The correct people took Solomon on King David’s mule to the correct place, and followed the correct protocol and Zadok anointed Solomon with oil. Solomon was pronounced king.
The Horn/Trump/Shofar was sounded. This is traditional to seal the words spoken in the spirit realm.
There was music and rejoicing.
The earth seemed to split with their sound. The righteous cry of the people carries spiritual power.
41 Now Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard it as they finished eating. And when Joab heard the sound of the horn, he said, “Why is the city in such a noisy uproar?” 42 While he was still speaking, there came Jonathan, the son of Abiathar the priest. And Adonijah said to him, “Come in, for you are a prominent man, and bring good news.”
Meanwhile, at Adonijah’s party, the guests heard the cry and uproar of the people honoring the real king. Joab heard the sound of the horn and knew something of importance was going on. Jonathan came in, and Adonijah asked him to give him good news.
43 Then Jonathan answered and said to Adonijah, “No! Our lord King David has made Solomon king. 44 The king has sent with him Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites; and they have made him ride on the king’s mule. 45 So Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king at Gihon; and they have gone up from there rejoicing, so that the city is in an uproar. This is the noise that you have heard. 46 Also Solomon sits on the throne of the kingdom. 47 And moreover the king’s servants have gone to bless our lord King David, saying, ‘May God make the name of Solomon better than your name, and may He make his throne greater than your throne.’ Then the king bowed himself on the bed. 48 Also the king said thus, ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who has given one to sit on my throne this day, while my eyes see it!’ ”
Jonathan tells Adonijah, “No. There’s no good news for you. King David has made Solomon king. All David’s people have gone with Solomon. Solomon rode on the king’s mule.” This is the proper transfer of power. Solomon sits on the throne.
49 So all the guests who were with Adonijah were afraid, and arose, and each one went his way.
Whoops. They got caught. Now they scatter.
50 Now Adonijah was afraid of Solomon; so he arose, and went and took hold of the horns of the altar. 51 And it was told Solomon, saying, “Indeed Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon; for look, he has taken hold of the horns of the altar, saying, ‘Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.’ ”
Adonijah was rightly afraid of Solomon, so he went and took hold of the horns of the altar to ask for mercy. Adoniah sends the word to Solomon, asking him to spare his life.
52 Then Solomon said, “If he proves himself a worthy man, not one hair of him shall fall to the earth; but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die.” 53 So King Solomon sent them to bring him down from the altar. And he came and fell down before King Solomon; and Solomon said to him, “Go to your house.”
Solomon answers back, if he is worthy, he is safe, if he’s wicked, he shall die. King Solomon sent for Adonijah who came and fell down before him. King Solomon tells him to go home.
David’s Instructions to Solomon. 1 Kings 2
1 Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: 2 “I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. 3 And keep the charge of the Lord your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; 4 that the Lord may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,’ He said, ‘you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’
David knew that he was going to die soon, so he charged Solomon to keep the Lord’s ways so that it would go well with him and he would prosper.
5 “Moreover you know also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two commanders of the armies of Israel, to Abner the son of Ner and Amasa the son of Jether, whom he killed. And he shed the blood of war in peacetime, and put the blood of war on his belt that was around his waist, and on his sandals that were on his feet. 6 Therefore do according to your wisdom, and do not let his gray hair go down to the grave in peace.
David reminded Solomon what Joab had done to him, and that he killed commanders of David’s army. He shed blood during peacetime. David asks Solomon to kill him.
7 “But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be among those who eat at your table, for so they came to me when I fled from Absalom your brother.
David reminds Solomon that the sons of Barzillai protected David during the time when Absalom wanted to kill him, and to continue to show kindness to them.
8 “And see, you have with you Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a malicious curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim. But he came down to meet me at the Jordan, and I swore to him by the Lord, saying, ‘I will not put you to death with the sword.’ 9 Now therefore, do not hold him guiltless, for you are a wise man and know what you ought to do to him; but bring his gray hair down to the grave with blood.”
David asks Solomon to avenge him against Shimei. Shimei was still among David’s army because although he at one time cursed David, he helped him later on. David had promised not to kill him. But that didn’t mean David’s son wouldn’t kill him.
Death of David
10 So David [b]rested with his fathers, and was buried in the City of David. 11 The period that David reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years he reigned in Hebron, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years. 12 Then Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established.
David died and Solomon established his kingdom.
13 Now Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. So she said, “Do you come peaceably?”
And he said, “Peaceably.” 14 Moreover he said, “I have something to say to you.”
And she said, “Say it.”
15 Then he said, “You know that the kingdom was mine, and all Israel had set their expectations on me, that I should reign. However, the kingdom has been turned over, and has become my brother’s; for it was his from the Lord. 16 Now I ask one petition of you; do not deny me.”
Adonijah goes to King Solomon’s mother to ask a favor. He pleads his case by saying the kingdom WAS HIS, and ALL ISRAEL had decided that he should reign. We know this is not the truth. He continues to say that his kingdom was taken away and is now his brother’s kingdom. Then he changes position again, saying it was from the Lord that Solomon reigns. Talk about talking out of both sides of his mouth. He’s trying to get sympathy for his situation by means of manipulation.
And she said to him, “Say it.”
17 Then he said, “Please speak to King Solomon, for he will not refuse you, that he may give me Abishag the Shunammite as wife.”
Oh Abishag, we meet again. Adonijah would like her for his wife. Remember she was with David at the end and would know his secrets. Seems Adonijah still has hopes to take the throne!
18 So Bathsheba said, “Very well, I will speak for you to the king.”
Bathsheba will talk to her son.
19 Bathsheba therefore went to King Solomon, to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her and bowed down to her, and sat down on his throne and had a throne set for the king’s mother; so she sat at his right hand. 20 Then she said, “I desire one small petition of you; do not refuse me.”
King Solomon rose up, and then bowed down to his mother. He sat down on his throne, and had a throne at his right hand for his mother, a place of influence. Bathsheba does not realize what Adonijah was asking.
And the king said to her, “Ask it, my mother, for I will not refuse you.”
Anything for you, Mom.
21 So she said, “Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah your brother as wife.”
Bathsheba was blinded to Adonijah’s motive, or she would have never asked Solomon for this.
22 And King Solomon answered and said to his mother, “Now why do you ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Ask for him the kingdom also—for he is my older brother—for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah.” 23 Then King Solomon swore by the Lord, saying, “May God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah has not spoken this word against his own life! 24 Now therefore, as the Lord lives, who has confirmed me and set me on the throne of David my father, and who has established a [e]house for me, as He promised, Adonijah shall be put to death today!”
King Solomon knew immediately what his brother was asking. He knew that Abishag would know kingly secrets. He knew this was not just about Adonijah wanted to take care of Abishag, but to use her for information. Treason. So Solomon decrees that Adonijah stall die that very day.
25 So King Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he struck him down, and he died.
Adonijah is executed for treason.
26 And to Abiathar the priest the king said, “Go to Anathoth, to your own fields, for you are deserving of death; but I will not put you to death at this time, because you carried the ark of the Lord God before my father David, and because you were afflicted every time my father was afflicted.” 27 So Solomon removed Abiathar from being priest to the Lord, that he might fulfill the word of the Lord which He spoke concerning the house of Eli at Shiloh.
Abiathar the priest was removed from his office.
28 Then news came to Joab, for Joab had defected to Adonijah, though he had not defected to Absalom. So Joab fled to the tabernacle of the Lord, and took hold of the horns of the altar. 29 And King Solomon was told, “Joab has fled to the tabernacle of the Lord; there he is, by the altar.” Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, “Go, strike him down.” 30 So Benaiah went to the tabernacle of the Lord, and said to him, “Thus says the king, ‘Come out!’ ”
Tick Tock. Joab knew his time was up as well. He also went to the tabernacle and took hold of the horns of the altar, asking for mercy. Solomon tells Benaiah to bring Joab to him.
And he said, “No, but I will die here.” And Benaiah brought back word to the king, saying, “Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me.”
Joab does not want to face Solomon; he would rather die there.
31 Then the king said to him, “Do as he has said, and strike him down and bury him, that you may take away from me and from the house of my father the innocent blood which Joab shed.
Solomon decides: Fine, kill him there. Bury him so he is away from us.
32 So the Lord will return his blood on his head, because he struck down two men more righteous and better than he, and killed them with the sword—Abner the son of Ner, the commander of the army of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, the commander of the army of Judah—though my father David did not know it. 33 Their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab and upon the head of his descendants forever. But upon David and his descendants, upon his house and his throne, there shall be peace forever from the Lord.”
We don’t talk about blood like this in our “modern” culture. Solomon knows that innocent blood must be answered for. To say that blood shall return on the head of Joab and his descendants is a curse, a curse Joab brought upon himself by shedding innocent blood.
34 So Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up and struck and killed him; and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness. 35 The king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada in his place over the army, and the king put Zadok the priest in the place of Abiathar.
Benaiah killed Joab, and Joab was buried in the wilderness. Benaiah was put in his rightful place over the army and Zadok the priest was put in his rightful place.
36 Then the king sent and called for Shimei, and said to him, “Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and dwell there, and do not go out from there anywhere. 37 For it shall be, on the day you go out and cross the Brook Kidron, know for certain you shall surely die; your [h]blood shall be on your own head.”
Solomon tells Shimei to build a house, but do not leave Jerusalem, for the day you do, you shall die.
(Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.)
38 And Shimei said to the king, “The saying is good. As my lord the king has said, so your servant will do.” So Shimei dwelt in Jerusalem many days.
Shimei is quite happy that he will live in Jerusalem and will not be killed.
39 Now it happened at the end of three years, that two slaves of Shimei ran away to Achish the son of Maachah, king of Gath. And they told Shimei, saying, “Look, your slaves are in Gath!” 40 So Shimei arose, saddled his donkey, and went to Achish at Gath to seek his slaves. And Shimei went and brought his slaves from Gath. 41 And Solomon was told that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and had come back. 42 Then the king sent and called for Shimei, and said to him, “Did I not make you swear by the Lord, and warn you, saying, ‘Know for certain that on the day you go out and travel anywhere, you shall surely die’? And you said to me, ‘The word I have heard is good.’ 43 Why then have you not kept the oath of the Lord and the commandment that I gave you?” 44 The king said moreover to Shimei, “You know, as your heart acknowledges, all the wickedness that you did to my father David; therefore the Lord will return your wickedness on your own head. 45 But King Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the Lord forever.”
Shemei took off after his runaway slaves, leaving Jerusalem and breaking his agreement with Solomon.
46 So the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he went out and struck him down, and he died. Thus the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.
Shimei was killed, and Solomon reigned.
So we remember the words of Solomon in Ecclesiates 1:9 There is nothing new under the sun.
New Living Translation
History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.