David’s Last Days

Now King David was old and advanced in age.(A) Although they covered him with bedclothes, he could not get warm.(B) So his servants said to him, “Let us[a] search for a young virgin for my lord the king.(C) She is to attend the king and be his caregiver. She is to lie by your side so that my lord the king will get warm.” They searched for a beautiful girl throughout the territory of Israel; they found Abishag(D) the Shunammite[b](E) and brought her to the king. The girl was of unsurpassed beauty,(F) and she became the king’s caregiver. She attended to him, but he was not intimate with[c] her.

Adonijah’s Bid for Power

Adonijah son of Haggith(G) kept exalting himself, saying, “I will be king!” He prepared chariots, cavalry, and fifty men to run ahead of him.[d](H) But his father had never once infuriated(I) him by asking, “Why did you do that?” (J) In addition, he was quite handsome(K) and was born after Absalom.(L) He conspired[e] with Joab son of Zeruiah(M) and with the priest Abiathar.(N) They supported(O) Adonijah, but the priest Zadok,(P) Benaiah son of Jehoiada,(Q) the prophet Nathan,(R) Shimei,(S) Rei, and David’s royal guard[f](T) did not side with Adonijah.

Adonijah sacrificed sheep, goats, cattle, and fattened cattle near the stone of Zoheleth, which is next to En-rogel.(U) He invited all his royal brothers and all the men of Judah, the servants of the king,(V) 10 but he did not invite the prophet Nathan, Benaiah, the royal guard, or his brother Solomon.(W)

Nathan’s and Bathsheba’s Appeals

11 Then Nathan(X) said to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother,(Y) “Have you not heard that Adonijah son of Haggith has become king(Z) and our lord David does not know it?(AA) 12 Now please come and let me advise you.(AB) Save your life and the life of your son Solomon.(AC) 13 Go, approach King David and say to him, ‘My lord the king, did you not swear to your servant: Your son Solomon is to become king after me, and he is the one who is to sit on my throne?(AD) So why has Adonijah become king?’ 14 At that moment, while you are still there speaking with the king, I’ll come in after you and confirm your words.”(AE)

15 So Bathsheba went to the king in his bedroom. Since the king was very old, Abishag the Shunammite was attending to him.(AF) 16 Bathsheba knelt low and paid homage to the king, and he asked, “What do you want?”

17 She replied, “My lord, you swore to your servant by the Lord your God, ‘Your son Solomon is to become king after me, and he is the one who is to sit on my throne.’ 18 Now look, Adonijah has become king. And,[g] my lord the king, you didn’t know it. 19 He has lavishly sacrificed oxen, fattened cattle, and sheep. He invited all the king’s sons, the priest Abiathar, and Joab the commander of the army, but he did not invite your servant Solomon. 20 Now, my lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are on you to tell them who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. 21 Otherwise, when my lord the king rests with his ancestors,(AG) I and my son Solomon will be regarded as criminals.”(AH)

22 At that moment, while she was still speaking with the king, the prophet Nathan arrived,(AI) 23 and it was announced to the king, “The prophet Nathan is here.” He came into the king’s presence and paid homage to him with his face to the ground.

24 “My lord the king,” Nathan said, “did you say, ‘Adonijah is to become king after me, and he is the one who is to sit on my throne’? 25 For today he went down and lavishly sacrificed oxen, fattened cattle, and sheep. He invited all the sons of the king, the commanders of the army, and the priest Abiathar. And look! They’re eating and drinking in his presence, and they’re saying, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ 26 But he did not invite me—me, your servant—or the priest Zadok or Benaiah son of Jehoiada or your servant Solomon. 27 I’m certain my lord the king would not have let this happen without letting your servant[h] know who will sit on my lord the king’s throne after him.”

Solomon Confirmed King

28 King David responded by saying, “Call in Bathsheba for me.” So she came into the king’s presence and stood before him. 29 The king swore an oath and said, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life from every difficulty,(AJ) 30 just as I swore to you by the Lord God of Israel: Your son Solomon is to become king after me, and he is the one who is to sit on my throne in my place,(AK) that is exactly what I will do this very day.”(AL)

31 Bathsheba knelt low with her face to the ground, paying homage to the king,(AM) and said, “May my lord King David live forever!” (AN)

32 King David then said, “Call in the priest Zadok, the prophet Nathan, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada for me.”(AO) So they came into the king’s presence. 33 The king said to them, “Take my servants(AP) with you, have my son Solomon ride on my own mule,(AQ) and take him down to Gihon.(AR) 34 There, the priest Zadok and the prophet Nathan are to anoint him as king over Israel.(AS) You are to blow the ram’s horn(AT) and say, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ (AU) 35 You are to come up after him, and he is to come in and sit on my throne. He is the one who is to become king in my place; he is the one I have commanded to be ruler(AV) over Israel and Judah.”(AW)

36 “Amen,” Benaiah son of Jehoiada replied to the king. “May the Lord, the God of my lord the king, so affirm it.(AX) 37 Just as the Lord was with my lord the king,(AY) so may he[i] be with Solomon and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David.”(AZ)

38 Then the priest Zadok, the prophet Nathan, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites(BA) went down, had Solomon ride on King David’s mule, and took him to Gihon. 39 The priest Zadok took the horn of oil from the tabernacle and anointed Solomon.(BB) Then they blew the ram’s horn,(BC) and all the people proclaimed, “Long live King Solomon!” (BD) 40 All the people went up after him, playing flutes and rejoicing with such a great joy(BE) that the earth split open from the sound.[j]

Adonijah Hears of Solomon’s Coronation

41 Adonijah and all the invited guests who were with him(BF) heard the noise as they finished eating. Joab heard the sound of the ram’s horn and said, “Why is the town in such an uproar?” (BG) 42 He was still speaking when Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest,(BH) suddenly arrived. Adonijah said, “Come in, for you are an important man, and you must be bringing good news.”(BI)

43 “Unfortunately not,” Jonathan answered him. “Our lord King David has made Solomon king. 44 And with Solomon, the king has sent the priest Zadok, the prophet Nathan, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and they have had him ride on the king’s mule. 45 The priest Zadok and the prophet Nathan have anointed him king in Gihon.(BJ) They have gone up from there rejoicing. The town has been in an uproar; that’s the noise you heard. 46 Solomon has even taken his seat on the royal throne.(BK)

47 “The king’s servants have also gone to congratulate our lord King David, saying, ‘May your God make the name of Solomon more well known than your name, and may he make his throne greater than your throne.’(BL) Then the king bowed in worship on his bed.(BM) 48 And the king went on to say this: ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel! Today he has provided one to sit on my throne,(BN) and I am a witness.’”[k]

49 Then all of Adonijah’s guests got up trembling and went their separate ways. 50 Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, so he got up and went to take hold of the horns of the altar.(BO)

51 It was reported to Solomon, “Look, Adonijah fears King Solomon, and he has taken hold of the horns of the altar, saying, ‘Let King Solomon first[l] swear to me that he will not kill his servant with the sword.’”

52 Then Solomon said, “If he is a man of character, not a single hair of his will fall to the ground,(BP) but if evil is found in him, he dies.”(BQ) 53 So King Solomon sent for him, and they took him down from the altar. He came and paid homage to King Solomon, and Solomon said to him, “Go to your home.”

David’s Dying Instructions to Solomon

As the time approached for David to die,(BR) he ordered his son Solomon, “As for me, I am going the way of all of the earth.(BS) Be strong and be a man,(BT) and keep your obligation to the Lord your God to walk in his ways and to keep his statutes, commands, ordinances, and decrees. This is written in the law of Moses, so that you will have success in everything you do(BU) and wherever you turn, and so that the Lord will fulfill his promise that he made to me: ‘If your sons take care to walk faithfully before me with all their heart and all their soul,(BV) you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’(BW)

“You also know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me(BX) and what he did to the two commanders of Israel’s army, Abner son of Ner(BY) and Amasa son of Jether.(BZ) He murdered them in a time of peace to avenge blood shed in war. He spilled that blood on his own waistband and on the sandals of his feet.[m] Act according to your wisdom, and do not let his gray head descend to Sheol in peace.

“Show kindness to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite and let them be among those who eat at your table(CA) because they supported me when I fled from your brother Absalom.(CB)

“Keep an eye on Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim who is with you. He uttered malicious curses against me the day I went to Mahanaim.(CC) But he came down to meet me at the Jordan River, and I swore to him by the Lord, ‘I will never kill you with the sword.’(CD) So don’t let him go unpunished, for you are a wise man. You know how to deal with him to bring his gray head down to Sheol with blood.”

10 Then David rested with his ancestors(CE) and was buried in the city of David.(CF) 11 The length of time David reigned over Israel was forty years: he reigned seven years in Hebron and thirty-three years in Jerusalem.(CG) 12 Solomon sat on the throne of his father David, and his kingship was firmly established.(CH)

Adonijah’s Foolish Request

13 Now Adonijah son of Haggith(CI) came to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother. She asked, “Do you come peacefully?”

“Peacefully,” he replied,(CJ) 14 and then asked, “May I talk with you?” [n]

“Go ahead,” she answered.

15 “You know the kingship was mine,”(CK) he said. “All Israel expected me to be king, but then the kingship was turned over to my brother,(CL) for the Lord gave it to him.(CM) 16 So now I have just one request of you; don’t turn me down.”[o]

She said to him, “Go on.”

17 He replied, “Please speak to King Solomon since he won’t turn you down. Let him give me Abishag the Shunammite(CN) as a wife.”

18 “Very well,” Bathsheba replied. “I will speak to the king for you.”

19 So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him about Adonijah. The king stood up to greet her, bowed to her, sat down on his throne, and had a throne placed for the king’s mother.(CO) So she sat down at his right hand.(CP)

20 Then she said, “I have just one small request of you. Don’t turn me down.”

“Go ahead and ask, mother,” the king replied, “for I won’t turn you down.”

21 So she said, “Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to your brother Adonijah as a wife.”

22 King Solomon answered his mother, “Why are you requesting Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Since he is my elder brother,(CQ) you might as well ask the kingship for him,(CR) for the priest Abiathar, and for Joab son of Zeruiah.”[p](CS) 23 Then King Solomon took an oath by the Lord: “May God punish me and do so severely(CT) if Adonijah has not made this request at the cost of his life. 24 And now, as the Lord lives—the one who established me, seated me on the throne of my father David, and made me a dynasty as he promised(CU)—I swear Adonijah will be put to death today!” 25 Then King Solomon dispatched Benaiah son of Jehoiada,(CV) who struck down Adonijah, and he died.

Abiathar’s Banishment

26 The king said to the priest Abiathar,(CW) “Go to your fields in Anathoth.(CX) Even though you deserve to die, I will not put you to death today, since you carried the ark of the Lord God in the presence of my father David(CY) and you suffered through all that my father suffered.”(CZ) 27 So Solomon banished Abiathar from being the Lord’s priest, and it fulfilled the Lord’s prophecy he had spoken at Shiloh against Eli’s family.(DA)

Joab’s Execution

28 The news reached Joab. Since he had supported Adonijah(DB) but not Absalom,(DC) Joab fled to the Lord’s tabernacle and took hold of the horns of the altar.(DD)

29 It was reported to King Solomon, “Joab has fled to the Lord’s tabernacle and is now beside the altar.”

Then Solomon sent[q] Benaiah son of Jehoiada(DE) and told him, “Go and strike him down!” (DF)

30 So Benaiah went to the tabernacle and said to Joab, “This is what the king says: ‘Come out!’” (DG)

But Joab said, “No, for I will die here.”

So Benaiah took a message back to the king, “This is what Joab said, and this is how he answered me.”

31 The king said to him, “Do just as he says. Strike him down and bury him in order to remove from me and from my father’s family the blood that Joab shed without just cause.(DH) 32 The Lord will bring back his own blood on his head because he struck down two men more righteous and better than he, without my father David’s knowledge. With his sword, Joab murdered Abner(DI) son of Ner, commander of Israel’s army, and Amasa(DJ) son of Jether, commander of Judah’s army. 33 The responsibility for their deaths will come back to Joab and to his descendants[r] forever, but for David, his descendants, his dynasty, and his throne, there will be peace from the Lord forever.”(DK)

34 Benaiah son of Jehoiada(DL) went up, struck down Joab, and put him to death. He was buried at his house in the wilderness.(DM) 35 Then the king appointed Benaiah son of Jehoiada in Joab’s place over the army,(DN) and he appointed the priest Zadok in Abiathar’s place.

Shimei’s Banishment and Execution

36 Then the king summoned Shimei(DO) and said to him, “Build a house for yourself in Jerusalem and live there, but don’t leave there and go anywhere else. 37 On the day you do leave and cross the Kidron Valley,(DP) know for sure that you will certainly die. Your blood will be on your own head.”(DQ)

38 Shimei said to the king, “The sentence is fair; your servant will do as my lord the king has spoken.” And Shimei lived in Jerusalem for a long time.

39 But then, at the end of three years, two of Shimei’s slaves ran away to Achish(DR) son of Maacah, king of Gath.(DS) Shimei was informed, “Look, your slaves are in Gath.” 40 So Shimei saddled his donkey and set out to Achish at Gath to search for his slaves. He went and brought them back from Gath.

41 It was reported to Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and had returned. 42 So the king summoned Shimei and said to him, “Didn’t I make you swear by the Lord and warn you, saying, ‘On the day you leave and go anywhere else, know for sure that you will certainly die’? And you said to me, ‘The sentence is fair; I will obey.’ 43 So why have you not kept the Lord’s oath and the command that I gave you?” 44 The king also said, “You yourself know all the evil that you did to my father David.(DT) Therefore, the Lord has brought back your evil on your head, 45 but King Solomon will be blessed, and David’s throne will remain established before the Lord forever.”(DU)

46 Then the king commanded Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and he went out and struck Shimei down, and he died. So the kingdom was established in Solomon’s hand.(DV)


  1. 1:2 Lit them
  2. 1:3 Shunem was a town in the hill country of Issachar at the foot of Mt. Moreh; Jos 19:17–18.
  3. 1:4 Lit he did not know
  4. 1:5 Heralds announcing his procession
  5. 1:7 Lit His words were
  6. 1:8 Lit David’s warriors
  7. 1:18 Some Hb mss, LXX, Vg, Syr; other Hb mss read And now
  8. 1:27 Some Hb mss, LXX; alt Hb tradition reads servants
  9. 1:37 Alt Hb tradition reads so he will
  10. 1:40 LXX reads the land resounded with their noise
  11. 1:48 Lit and my eyes are seeing
  12. 1:51 Some Hb mss, LXX, Syr, Vg read today
  13. 2:5 LXX, Old Lat read on my waistband and... my feet; v. 31
  14. 2:14 Lit then said, “I have a word for you.”
  15. 2:16 Lit don’t make me turn my face
  16. 2:22 LXX, Vg, Syr read kingship for him, and on his side are Abiathar the priest and Joab son of Zeruiah
  17. 2:29 LXX adds Joab a message: “What is the matter with you, that you have fled to the altar?” And Joab replied, “Because I feared you, I have fled to the Lord.” And Solomon the king sent
  18. 2:33 Lit Their blood will return on the head of Joab and on the head of his seed

Bible Gateway Recommends

CSB Pew Bible, Black Hardcover
CSB Pew Bible, Black Hardcover
Retail: $14.99
Our Price: $10.99
Save: $4.00 (27%)
5.0 of 5.0 stars
CSB Apologetics Study Bible, Mahogany LeatherTouch, Thumb-Indexed
CSB Apologetics Study Bible, Mahogany LeatherTouch, Thumb-Indexed
Retail: $69.99
Our Price: $48.99
Save: $21.00 (30%)
5.0 of 5.0 stars
CSB Military Bible, Green LeatherTouch for Soldiers
CSB Military Bible, Green LeatherTouch for Soldiers
Retail: $24.99
Our Price: $18.99
Save: $6.00 (24%)
5.0 of 5.0 stars
CSB Apologetics Study Bible for Students, Softcover
CSB Apologetics Study Bible for Students, Softcover
Retail: $27.99
Our Price: $16.49
Save: $11.50 (41%)
4.5 of 5.0 stars
CSB Study Bible, Brown Genuine Leather
CSB Study Bible, Brown Genuine Leather
Retail: $89.99
Our Price: $65.99
Save: $24.00 (27%)
4.5 of 5.0 stars