1 Kings 1
New English Translation
Adonijah Tries to Seize the Throne
1 King David was very old;[a] even when they covered him with blankets,[b] he could not get warm. 2 His servants advised[c] him, “A young virgin must be found for our master, the king,[d] to take care of the king’s needs[e] and serve as his nurse. She can also sleep with you[f] and keep our master, the king, warm.”[g] 3 So they looked through all Israel[h] for a beautiful young woman and found Abishag, a Shunammite, and brought her to the king. 4 The young woman was very beautiful; she became the king’s nurse and served him, but the king was not intimate with her.[i]
5 Now Adonijah, son of David and Haggith,[j] was promoting himself,[k] boasting,[l] “I will be king!” He managed to acquire[m] chariots and horsemen, as well as fifty men to serve as his royal guard.[n] 6 (Now his father had never corrected[o] him[p] by saying, “Why do you do such things?” He was also very handsome and had been born right after Absalom.[q]) 7 He collaborated[r] with Joab son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they supported[s] him.[t] 8 But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and David’s elite warriors[u] did not ally themselves[v] with Adonijah. 9 Adonijah sacrificed sheep, cattle, and fattened steers at the Stone of Zoheleth near En Rogel. He invited all his brothers, the king’s sons,[w] as well as all the men of Judah, the king’s servants. 10 But he did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the elite warriors,[x] or his brother Solomon.
11 Nathan said to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, “Has it been reported to you[y] that Haggith’s son Adonijah has become king behind our master David’s back?[z] 12 Now[aa] let me give you some advice as to how[ab] you can save your life and your son Solomon’s life. 13 Visit[ac] King David and say to him, ‘My master, O king, did you not solemnly promise[ad] your servant, “Surely your son Solomon will be king after me; he will sit on my throne”? So why has Adonijah become king?’ 14 While[ae] you are still there speaking to the king, I will arrive[af] and verify your report.”[ag]
15 So Bathsheba visited the king in his private quarters.[ah] (The king was very old, and Abishag the Shunammite was serving the king.) 16 Bathsheba bowed down on the floor before[ai] the king. The king said, “What do you want?” 17 She replied to him, “My master, you swore an oath to your servant by the Lord your God, ‘Solomon your son will be king after me and he will sit on my throne.’ 18 But now, look, Adonijah has become king! But you,[aj] my master the king, are not even aware of it![ak] 19 He has sacrificed many cattle, steers, and sheep and has invited all the king’s sons, Abiathar the priest, and Joab, the commander of the army, but he has not invited your servant Solomon. 20 Now,[al] my master, O king, all Israel is watching anxiously to see who is named to succeed my master the king on the throne.[am] 21 If a decision is not made,[an] when my master the king is buried with his ancestors,[ao] my son Solomon and I[ap] will be considered state criminals.”[aq]
22 Just then,[ar] while she was still speaking to the king, Nathan the prophet arrived. 23 The king was told, “Nathan the prophet is here.” Nathan entered and bowed before the king with his face to the floor.[as] 24 Nathan said, “My master, O king, did you announce, ‘Adonijah will be king after me; he will sit on my throne’? 25 For today he has gone down and sacrificed many cattle, steers, and sheep and has invited all the king’s sons, the army commanders, and Abiathar the priest. At this moment[at] they are having a feast[au] in his presence, and they have declared, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’[av] 26 But he did not invite me—your servant—or Zadok the priest, or Benaiah son of Jehoiada, or your servant Solomon. 27 Has my master the king authorized this without informing your servants[aw] who should succeed my master the king on his throne?”[ax]
David Picks Solomon as His Successor
28 King David responded,[ay] “Summon Bathsheba!”[az] She came and stood before the king.[ba] 29 The king swore an oath: “As certainly as the Lord lives (he who has rescued me[bb] from every danger), 30 I will keep[bc] today the oath I swore to you by the Lord God of Israel: ‘Surely Solomon your son will be king after me; he will sit in my place on my throne.’” 31 Bathsheba bowed down to the king with her face to the floor[bd] and said, “May my master, King David, live forever!”
32 King David said, “Summon Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet,[be] and Benaiah son of Jehoiada.” They came before the king, 33 and he[bf] told them, “Take your master’s[bg] servants with you, put my son Solomon on my mule, and lead him down to Gihon.[bh] 34 There Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet will anoint[bi] him king over Israel; then blow the trumpet and declare, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ 35 Then follow him up as he comes and sits on my throne. He will be king in my place; I have decreed[bj] that he will be ruler over Israel and Judah.” 36 Benaiah son of Jehoiada responded[bk] to the king: “So be it![bl] May the Lord God of my master the king confirm it![bm] 37 As the Lord is with my master the king, so may he be with Solomon, and may he make him an even greater king than my master King David!”[bn]
38 So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Kerethites, and the Pelethites[bo] went down, put Solomon on King David’s mule, and led him to Gihon. 39 Zadok the priest took a horn filled with olive oil[bp] from the tent and poured it on[bq] Solomon; the trumpet was blown and all the people declared, “Long live King Solomon!” 40 All the people followed him up, playing flutes and celebrating so loudly they made the ground shake.[br]
41 Now Adonijah and all his guests heard the commotion just as they had finished eating.[bs] When Joab heard the sound of the trumpet, he asked, “Why is there such a noisy commotion in the city?”[bt] 42 As he was still speaking, Jonathan[bu] son of Abiathar the priest arrived. Adonijah said, “Come in, for[bv] an important man like you must be bringing good news.”[bw] 43 Jonathan replied[bx] to Adonijah: “No![by] Our master[bz] King David has made Solomon king. 44 The king sent with him Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Kerethites, and the Pelethites and they put him on the king’s mule. 45 Then Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anointed[ca] him king in Gihon. They went up from there rejoicing, and the city is in an uproar. That is the sound you hear. 46 Furthermore, Solomon has assumed the royal throne.[cb] 47 The king’s servants have even come to congratulate[cc] our master[cd] King David, saying, ‘May your God[ce] make Solomon more famous than you and make him an even greater king than you!’[cf] Then the king leaned[cg] on the bed 48 and said[ch] this: ‘The Lord God of Israel is worthy of praise because[ci] today he has placed a successor on my throne and allowed me to see it.’”[cj]
49 All of Adonijah’s guests panicked;[ck] they jumped up and rushed off their separate ways. 50 Adonijah feared Solomon, so he got up and went and grabbed hold of the horns of the altar.[cl] 51 Solomon was told, “Look, Adonijah fears you;[cm] see, he has taken hold of the horns of the altar, saying, ‘May King Solomon solemnly promise[cn] me today that he will not kill his servant with the sword.’” 52 Solomon said, “If he is a loyal subject,[co] not a hair of his head will be harmed, but if he is found to be a traitor,[cp] he will die.” 53 King Solomon sent men to bring him down[cq] from the altar. He came and bowed down to King Solomon, and Solomon told him, “Go home.”[cr]
- 1 Kings 1:1 tn Heb “was old, coming into the days” (i.e., advancing in years).
- 1 Kings 1:1 tn Or “garments.”
- 1 Kings 1:2 tn Heb “said to.”
- 1 Kings 1:2 tn Heb “let them seek for my master, the king, a young girl, a virgin.” The third person plural subject of the verb is indefinite (see GKC 460 §144.f). The appositional expression, “a young girl, a virgin,” is idiomatic; the second term specifically defines the more general first term (see IBHS 230 §12.3b).
- 1 Kings 1:2 tn Heb “and she will stand before the king.” The Hebrew phrase “stand before” can mean “to attend; to serve” (BDB 764 s.v. עָמַד).
- 1 Kings 1:2 tn Heb “and she will lie down in your bosom.” The expression might imply sexual intimacy (see 2 Sam 12:3 [where the lamb symbolizes Bathsheba] and Mic 7:5), though v. 4b indicates that David did not actually have sex with the young woman.
- 1 Kings 1:2 tn Heb “and my master, the king, will be warm.”
- 1 Kings 1:3 tn Heb “through all the territory of Israel.”
- 1 Kings 1:4 tn Heb “did not know her.” The verb יָדַע (yadaʿ, “to know”) is a euphemism for sexual relations.
- 1 Kings 1:5 tn Heb “son of Haggith,” but since this formula usually designates the father (who in this case was David), the translation specifies that David was Adonijah’s father.sn Haggith was one of David’s wives (2 Sam 3:4; 2 Chr 3:2).
- 1 Kings 1:5 tn Heb “lifting himself up.”
- 1 Kings 1:5 tn Heb “saying.”
- 1 Kings 1:5 tn Or “he acquired for himself.”
- 1 Kings 1:5 tn Heb “to run ahead of him.”
- 1 Kings 1:6 tn Or “disciplined.”
- 1 Kings 1:6 tn Heb “did not correct him from his days.” The phrase “from his days” means “from his earliest days,” or “ever in his life.” See GKC 382 §119.w, n. 2.
- 1 Kings 1:6 tn Heb “and she gave birth to him after Absalom.” This does not imply they had the same mother; Absalom’s mother was Maacah, not Haggith (2 Sam 3:4).
- 1 Kings 1:7 tn Heb “his words were.”
- 1 Kings 1:7 tn Heb “helped after” (i.e., stood by).
- 1 Kings 1:7 tn Heb “Adonijah.” The proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“him”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- 1 Kings 1:8 tn Or “bodyguard” (Heb “mighty men”).
- 1 Kings 1:8 tn Heb “were not.”
- 1 Kings 1:9 tc The ancient Greek version omits this appositional phrase.
- 1 Kings 1:10 tn Or “bodyguard” (Heb “mighty men”).
- 1 Kings 1:11 tn Heb “Have you not heard?”
- 1 Kings 1:11 tn Heb “and our master David does not know.”
- 1 Kings 1:12 tn Heb “now, come.” The imperative of הָלַךְ (halakh) is here used as an introductory interjection. See BDB 234 s.v. חָלַךְ.
- 1 Kings 1:12 tn Or “so that.”
- 1 Kings 1:13 tn Heb “come, go to.” The imperative of הָלַךְ (halakh) is here used as an introductory interjection. See BDB 234 s.v. חָלַךְ.
- 1 Kings 1:13 tn Or “swear an oath to.”
- 1 Kings 1:14 tn In the Hebrew text the sentence is introduced by the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”), which here draws attention to Nathan’s concluding word of assurance and support. For this use of the word, see HALOT 252 s.v. הִנֵּה.
- 1 Kings 1:14 tc The Hebrew text reads, “I will come after you.”
- 1 Kings 1:14 tn Heb “fill up [i.e., confirm] your words.”
- 1 Kings 1:15 tn Or “bedroom.”
- 1 Kings 1:16 tn Heb “bowed low and bowed down to.”
- 1 Kings 1:18 tc Instead of עַתָּה (ʿattah, “now”) many Hebrew mss, along with the Old Greek, Syriac Peshitta, and Latin Vulgate, have the similar sounding independent pronoun אַתָּה (ʾattah, “you”). This reading is followed in the present translation.
- 1 Kings 1:18 tn Heb “you do not know [about it].”
- 1 Kings 1:20 tc Many Hebrew mss have עַתָּה (ʿattah, “now”) rather than the similar sounding independent pronoun אַתָּה (ʾattah, “you”).
- 1 Kings 1:20 tn Heb “the eyes of all Israel are upon you to declare to them who will sit on the throne of my master the king after him.”
- 1 Kings 1:21 tn The words “if a decision is not made” are added for clarification.
- 1 Kings 1:21 tn Heb “lies down with his fathers.”
- 1 Kings 1:21 tn Heb “I and my son Solomon.” The order has been reversed in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- 1 Kings 1:21 tn Heb “will be guilty”; NASB “considered offenders”; TEV “treated as traitors.”
- 1 Kings 1:22 tn Heb “look.” The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) here draws attention to Nathan’s arrival and invites the audience to view the scene through the eyes of the participants.
- 1 Kings 1:23 tn Heb “ground.” Since this was indoors, “floor” is more appropriate than “ground.”
- 1 Kings 1:25 tn Heb “look.”
- 1 Kings 1:25 tn Heb “eating and drinking.”
- 1 Kings 1:25 tn Heb “let the king, Adonijah, live!”
- 1 Kings 1:27 tc Many Hebrew mss and ancient textual witnesses agree with the Qere in reading this as singular, “your servant.”
- 1 Kings 1:27 tn Heb “From my master the king is this thing done, and you did not make known to your servants who will sit on the throne of my master the king after him?”
- 1 Kings 1:28 tn Heb “answered and said.”
- 1 Kings 1:28 sn Summon Bathsheba. Bathsheba must have left the room when Nathan arrived (see 1:22).
- 1 Kings 1:28 tn Heb “she came before the king and stood before the king.”
- 1 Kings 1:29 tn Or “ransomed my life.”
- 1 Kings 1:30 tn Or “carry out, perform.”
- 1 Kings 1:31 tn Heb “bowed low, face [to] the ground, and bowed down to the king.”
- 1 Kings 1:32 sn Summon…Nathan. Nathan must have left the room when Bathsheba reentered.
- 1 Kings 1:33 tn Heb “the king.”
- 1 Kings 1:33 tn The plural form is used in the Hebrew text to indicate honor and authority.
- 1 Kings 1:33 tn Heb “mount Solomon my son on the mule that belongs to me and take him down to Gihon.”
- 1 Kings 1:34 tn Or “designate” (i.e., by anointing with oil).
- 1 Kings 1:35 tn Or “commanded.”
- 1 Kings 1:36 tn Heb “answered and said.”
- 1 Kings 1:36 tn Or “Amen.”
- 1 Kings 1:36 tn Heb “So may the Lord God of my master the king say.”
- 1 Kings 1:37 tn Heb “and may he make his throne greater than the throne of my master King David.”
- 1 Kings 1:38 sn The Kerethites and Pelethites were members of David’s royal guard (see 2 Sam 8:18). The Kerethites may have been descendants of an ethnic group originating in Crete.
- 1 Kings 1:39 tn Heb “the horn of oil.” This has been specified as olive oil in the translation for clarity.sn A horn filled with oil. An animal’s horn was used as an oil flask in the anointing ceremony.
- 1 Kings 1:39 tn Or “anointed.”
- 1 Kings 1:40 tn Heb “and all the people went up after him, and the people were playing flutes and rejoicing with great joy and the ground split open at the sound of them.” The verb בָּקַע (baqaʿ, “to split open”), which elsewhere describes the effects of an earthquake, is obviously here an exaggeration for the sake of emphasis.
- 1 Kings 1:41 tn Heb “And Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard, now they had finished eating.”
- 1 Kings 1:41 tn Heb “Why is the city’s sound noisy?”
- 1 Kings 1:42 tn The Hebrew text has “look” at this point. The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh), “look” draws attention to Jonathan’s arrival and invites the audience to view the scene through the eyes of the participants.
- 1 Kings 1:42 tn Or “surely.”
- 1 Kings 1:42 tn Heb “you are a man of strength [or “ability”] and you bring a message [that is] good.” Another option is to understand the phrase אִישׁ חַיִל (ʾish khayil) in the sense of “a worthy man,” that is “loyal.” See also 1 Kgs 1:52 and HALOT 311 s.v. חַיִל.
- 1 Kings 1:43 tn Heb “answered and said.”
- 1 Kings 1:43 tn For a similar use of אֲבָל (ʾaval), see Gen 17:19, where God rejects Abraham’s proposal and offers an alternative.
- 1 Kings 1:43 tn The plural form is used in the Hebrew text to indicate honor and authority.
- 1 Kings 1:45 tn I.e., designated by anointing with oil.
- 1 Kings 1:46 tn Heb “And also Solomon sits on the throne of the kingdom.”
- 1 Kings 1:47 tn Heb “to bless.”
- 1 Kings 1:47 tn The plural form is used in the Hebrew text to indicate honor and authority.
- 1 Kings 1:47 tc Many Hebrew mss agree with the Qere in reading simply “God.”
- 1 Kings 1:47 tn Heb “make the name of Solomon better than your name, and make his throne greater than your throne.” The term שֵׁם (shem, “name”) is used here of one’s fame and reputation.
- 1 Kings 1:47 tn Or “bowed down; worshiped.”
- 1 Kings 1:48 tn The Hebrew text reads, “and the king said.”
- 1 Kings 1:48 tn Or “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who….” In this blessing formula אֲשֶׁר (ʾasher, “who; because”) introduces the reason why the one being blessed deserves the honor.
- 1 Kings 1:48 tn Heb “and my eyes are seeing.”
- 1 Kings 1:49 tn Or “were afraid, trembled.”
- 1 Kings 1:50 sn Grabbed hold of the horns of the altar. The “horns” of the altar were the horn-shaped projections on the four corners of the altar (see Exod 27:2). By going to the holy place and grabbing hold of the horns of the altar, Adonijah was seeking asylum from Solomon.
- 1 Kings 1:51 tn Heb “King Solomon.” The name and title have been replaced by the pronoun (“you”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- 1 Kings 1:51 tn Or “swear an oath to.”
- 1 Kings 1:52 tn Heb “if he is a man of strength [or ability].” In this context, where Adonijah calls himself a “servant,” implying allegiance to the new king, the phrase אִישׁ חַיִל (ʾish khayil) probably carries the sense of “a worthy man,” that is, “loyal” (see HALOT 311 s.v. חַיִל).
- 1 Kings 1:52 tn Heb “but if evil is found in him.”
- 1 Kings 1:53 tn Heb “sent and they brought him down.”
- 1 Kings 1:53 tn Heb “Go to your house.”