1 Kings 1-4
New International Version
Adonijah Sets Himself Up as King
1 When King David was very old, he could not keep warm even when they put covers over him. 2 So his attendants said to him, “Let us look for a young virgin to serve the king and take care of him. She can lie beside him so that our lord the king may keep warm.”
3 Then they searched throughout Israel for a beautiful young woman and found Abishag,(A) a Shunammite,(B) and brought her to the king. 4 The woman was very beautiful; she took care of the king and waited on him, but the king had no sexual relations with her.
5 Now Adonijah,(C) whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, “I will be king.” So he got chariots(D) and horses[a] ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him. 6 (His father had never rebuked(E) him by asking, “Why do you behave as you do?” He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom.)
7 Adonijah conferred with Joab(F) son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar(G) the priest, and they gave him their support. 8 But Zadok(H) the priest, Benaiah(I) son of Jehoiada, Nathan(J) the prophet, Shimei(K) and Rei and David’s special guard(L) did not join Adonijah.
9 Adonijah then sacrificed sheep, cattle and fattened calves at the Stone of Zoheleth near En Rogel.(M) He invited all his brothers, the king’s sons,(N) and all the royal officials of Judah, 10 but he did not invite(O) Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the special guard or his brother Solomon.(P)
11 Then Nathan asked Bathsheba,(Q) Solomon’s mother, “Have you not heard that Adonijah,(R) the son of Haggith, has become king, and our lord David knows nothing about it? 12 Now then, let me advise(S) you how you can save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. 13 Go in to King David and say to him, ‘My lord the king, did you not swear(T) to me your servant: “Surely Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne”? Why then has Adonijah become king?’ 14 While you are still there talking to the king, I will come in and add my word to what you have said.”
15 So Bathsheba went to see the aged king in his room, where Abishag(U) the Shunammite was attending him. 16 Bathsheba bowed down, prostrating herself before the king.
“What is it you want?” the king asked.
17 She said to him, “My lord, you yourself swore(V) to me your servant by the Lord your God: ‘Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne.’ 18 But now Adonijah has become king, and you, my lord the king, do not know about it. 19 He has sacrificed(W) great numbers of cattle, fattened calves, 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 Solomon your servant. 20 My lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, to learn from you who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. 21 Otherwise, as soon as my lord the king is laid to rest(X) with his ancestors, I and my son Solomon will be treated as criminals.”
22 While she was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet arrived. 23 And the king was told, “Nathan the prophet is here.” So he went before the king and bowed with his face to the ground.
24 Nathan said, “Have you, my lord the king, declared that Adonijah shall be king after you, and that he will sit on your throne? 25 Today he has gone down and sacrificed great numbers of cattle, fattened calves, and sheep. He has invited all the king’s sons, the commanders of the army and Abiathar the priest. Right now they are eating and drinking with him and saying, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ 26 But me your servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and your servant Solomon he did not invite.(Y) 27 Is this something my lord the king has done without letting his servants know who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?”
David Makes Solomon King(Z)
28 Then King David said, “Call in Bathsheba.” So she came into the king’s presence and stood before him.
29 The king then took an oath: “As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble,(AA) 30 I will surely carry out this very day what I swore(AB) to you by the Lord, the God of Israel: Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne in my place.”
31 Then Bathsheba bowed down with her face to the ground, prostrating herself before the king, and said, “May my lord King David live forever!”
32 King David said, “Call in Zadok(AC) the priest, Nathan the prophet and Benaiah son of Jehoiada.” When they came before the king, 33 he said to them: “Take your lord’s servants with you and have Solomon my son mount my own mule(AD) and take him down to Gihon.(AE) 34 There have Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint(AF) him king over Israel. Blow the trumpet(AG) and shout, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ 35 Then you are to go up with him, and he is to come and sit on my throne and reign in my place. I have appointed him ruler over Israel and Judah.”
36 Benaiah son of Jehoiada answered the king, “Amen! May the Lord, the God of my lord the king, so declare it. 37 As the Lord was with my lord the king, so may he be with(AH) Solomon to make his throne even greater(AI) than the throne of my lord King David!”
38 So Zadok(AJ) the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Kerethites(AK) and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon mount King David’s mule, and they escorted him to Gihon.(AL) 39 Zadok the priest took the horn of oil(AM) from the sacred tent(AN) and anointed Solomon. Then they sounded the trumpet(AO) and all the people shouted,(AP) “Long live King Solomon!” 40 And all the people went up after him, playing pipes(AQ) and rejoicing greatly, so that the ground shook with the sound.
41 Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard it as they were finishing their feast. On hearing the sound of the trumpet, Joab asked, “What’s the meaning of all the noise in the city?”(AR)
43 “Not at all!” Jonathan answered. “Our lord King David has made Solomon king. 44 The king has sent with him Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Kerethites and the Pelethites, and they have put him on the king’s mule, 45 and Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king at Gihon. From there they have gone up cheering, and the city resounds(AU) with it. That’s the noise you hear. 46 Moreover, Solomon has taken his seat(AV) on the royal throne. 47 Also, the royal officials have come to congratulate our lord King David, saying, ‘May your God make Solomon’s name more famous than yours and his throne greater(AW) than yours!’ And the king bowed in worship on his bed 48 and said, ‘Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has allowed my eyes to see a successor(AX) on my throne today.’”
49 At this, all Adonijah’s guests rose in alarm and dispersed. 50 But Adonijah, in fear of Solomon, went and took hold of the horns(AY) of the altar. 51 Then Solomon was told, “Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon and is clinging to the horns of the altar. He says, ‘Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.’”
52 Solomon replied, “If he shows himself to be worthy, not a hair(AZ) of his head will fall to the ground; but if evil is found in him, he will die.” 53 Then King Solomon sent men, and they brought him down from the altar. And Adonijah came and bowed down to King Solomon, and Solomon said, “Go to your home.”
David’s Charge to Solomon(BA)
2 When the time drew near for David to die,(BB) he gave a charge to Solomon his son.
2 “I am about to go the way of all the earth,”(BC) he said. “So be strong,(BD) act like a man, 3 and observe(BE) what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper(BF) in all you do and wherever you go 4 and that the Lord may keep his promise(BG) to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully(BH) before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’
5 “Now you yourself know what Joab(BI) son of Zeruiah did to me—what he did to the two commanders of Israel’s armies, Abner(BJ) son of Ner and Amasa(BK) son of Jether. He killed them, shedding their blood in peacetime as if in battle, and with that blood he stained the belt around his waist and the sandals on his feet. 6 Deal with him according to your wisdom,(BL) but do not let his gray head go down to the grave in peace.
8 “And remember, you have with you Shimei(BP) son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, who called down bitter curses on me the day I went to Mahanaim.(BQ) When he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore(BR) to him by the Lord: ‘I will not put you to death by the sword.’ 9 But now, do not consider him innocent. You are a man of wisdom;(BS) you will know what to do to him. Bring his gray head down to the grave in blood.”
10 Then David rested with his ancestors and was buried(BT) in the City of David.(BU) 11 He had reigned(BV) forty years over Israel—seven years in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. 12 So Solomon sat on the throne(BW) of his father David, and his rule was firmly established.(BX)
Solomon’s Throne Established
He answered, “Yes, peacefully.” 14 Then he added, “I have something to say to you.”
“You may say it,” she replied.
15 “As you know,” he said, “the kingdom was mine. All Israel looked to me as their king. But things changed, and the kingdom has gone to my brother; for it has come to him from the Lord. 16 Now I have one request to make of you. Do not refuse me.”
“You may make it,” she said.
17 So he continued, “Please ask King Solomon—he will not refuse you—to give me Abishag(CA) the Shunammite as my wife.”
18 “Very well,” Bathsheba replied, “I will speak to the king for you.”
19 When Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, the king stood up to meet her, bowed down to her and sat down on his throne. He had a throne brought for the king’s mother,(CB) and she sat down at his right hand.(CC)
20 “I have one small request to make of you,” she said. “Do not refuse me.”
The king replied, “Make it, my mother; I will not refuse you.”
21 So she said, “Let Abishag(CD) the Shunammite be given in marriage to your brother Adonijah.”
22 King Solomon answered his mother, “Why do you request Abishag(CE) the Shunammite for Adonijah? You might as well request the kingdom for him—after all, he is my older brother(CF)—yes, for him and for Abiathar(CG) the priest and Joab son of Zeruiah!”
23 Then King Solomon swore by the Lord: “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely,(CH) if Adonijah does not pay with his life for this request! 24 And now, as surely as the Lord lives—he who has established me securely on the throne of my father David and has founded a dynasty for me as he promised(CI)—Adonijah shall be put to death today!” 25 So King Solomon gave orders to Benaiah(CJ) son of Jehoiada, and he struck down Adonijah and he died.(CK)
26 To Abiathar(CL) the priest the king said, “Go back to your fields in Anathoth.(CM) You deserve to die, but I will not put you to death now, because you carried the ark(CN) of the Sovereign Lord before my father David and shared all my father’s hardships.”(CO) 27 So Solomon removed Abiathar from the priesthood of the Lord, fulfilling(CP) the word the Lord had spoken at Shiloh about the house of Eli.
28 When the news reached Joab, who had conspired with Adonijah though not with Absalom, he fled to the tent of the Lord and took hold of the horns(CQ) of the altar. 29 King Solomon was told that Joab had fled to the tent of the Lord and was beside the altar.(CR) Then Solomon ordered Benaiah(CS) son of Jehoiada, “Go, strike him down!”
But he answered, “No, I will die here.”
Benaiah reported to the king, “This is how Joab answered me.”
31 Then the king commanded Benaiah, “Do as he says. Strike him down and bury him, and so clear me and my whole family of the guilt of the innocent blood(CV) that Joab shed. 32 The Lord will repay(CW) him for the blood he shed,(CX) because without my father David knowing it he attacked two men and killed them with the sword. Both of them—Abner son of Ner, commander of Israel’s army, and Amasa(CY) son of Jether, commander of Judah’s army—were better(CZ) men and more upright than he. 33 May the guilt of their blood rest on the head of Joab and his descendants forever. But on David and his descendants, his house and his throne, may there be the Lord’s peace forever.”
34 So Benaiah(DA) son of Jehoiada went up and struck down Joab(DB) and killed him, and he was buried at his home out in the country. 35 The king put Benaiah(DC) son of Jehoiada over the army in Joab’s position and replaced Abiathar with Zadok(DD) the priest.
36 Then the king sent for Shimei(DE) and said to him, “Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and live there, but do not go anywhere else. 37 The day you leave and cross the Kidron Valley,(DF) you can be sure you will die; your blood will be on your own head.”(DG)
38 Shimei answered the king, “What you say is good. Your servant will do as my lord the king has said.” And Shimei stayed in Jerusalem for a long time.
39 But three years later, two of Shimei’s slaves ran off to Achish(DH) son of Maakah, king of Gath, and Shimei was told, “Your slaves are in Gath.” 40 At this, he saddled his donkey and went to Achish at Gath in search of his slaves. So Shimei went away and brought the slaves back from Gath.
41 When Solomon was told that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and had returned, 42 the king summoned Shimei and said to him, “Did I not make you swear by the Lord and warn(DI) you, ‘On the day you leave to go anywhere else, you can be sure you will die’? At that time you said to me, ‘What you say is good. I will obey.’ 43 Why then did you not keep your oath to the Lord and obey the command I gave you?”
44 The king also said to Shimei, “You know in your heart all the wrong(DJ) you did to my father David. Now the Lord will repay you for your wrongdoing. 45 But King Solomon will be blessed, and David’s throne will remain secure(DK) before the Lord forever.”
The kingdom was now established(DN) in Solomon’s hands.
Solomon Asks for Wisdom(DO)
3 Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married(DP) his daughter.(DQ) He brought her to the City of David(DR) until he finished building his palace(DS) and the temple of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem. 2 The people, however, were still sacrificing at the high places,(DT) because a temple had not yet been built for the Name(DU) of the Lord. 3 Solomon showed his love(DV) for the Lord by walking(DW) according to the instructions(DX) given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.(DY)
4 The king went to Gibeon(DZ) to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared(EA) to Solomon during the night in a dream,(EB) and God said, “Ask(EC) for whatever you want me to give you.”
6 Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful(ED) to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son(EE) to sit on his throne this very day.
7 “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child(EF) and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen,(EG) a great people, too numerous to count or number.(EH) 9 So give your servant a discerning(EI) heart to govern your people and to distinguish(EJ) between right and wrong. For who is able(EK) to govern this great people of yours?”
10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked(EL) for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment(EM) in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked.(EN) I will give you a wise(EO) and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not(EP) asked for—both wealth and honor(EQ)—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal(ER) among kings. 14 And if you walk(ES) in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”(ET) 15 Then Solomon awoke(EU)—and he realized it had been a dream.(EV)
A Wise Ruling
16 Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17 One of them said, “Pardon me, my lord. This woman and I live in the same house, and I had a baby while she was there with me. 18 The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us.
19 “During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him. 20 So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. 21 The next morning, I got up to nurse my son—and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.”
22 The other woman said, “No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.”
But the first one insisted, “No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.” And so they argued before the king.
23 The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’”
24 Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. 25 He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”
26 The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved(EZ) out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”
But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”
27 Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”
28 When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom(FA) from God to administer justice.
Solomon’s Officials and Governors
4 So King Solomon ruled over all Israel. 2 And these were his chief officials:(FB)
Azariah(FC) son of Zadok—the priest;
3 Elihoreph and Ahijah, sons of Shisha—secretaries;(FD)
Jehoshaphat(FE) son of Ahilud—recorder;
4 Benaiah(FF) son of Jehoiada—commander in chief;
Zadok(FG) and Abiathar—priests;
5 Azariah son of Nathan—in charge of the district governors;
Zabud son of Nathan—a priest and adviser to the king;
6 Ahishar—palace administrator;(FH)
7 Solomon had twelve district governors(FK) over all Israel, who supplied provisions for the king and the royal household. Each one had to provide supplies for one month in the year. 8 These are their names:
Ben-Hur—in the hill country(FL) of Ephraim;
11 Ben-Abinadab—in Naphoth Dor(FQ) (he was married to Taphath daughter of Solomon);
13 Ben-Geber—in Ramoth Gilead (the settlements of Jair(FV) son of Manasseh in Gilead(FW) were his, as well as the region of Argob in Bashan and its sixty large walled cities(FX) with bronze gate bars);
14 Ahinadab son of Iddo—in Mahanaim;(FY)
15 Ahimaaz(FZ)—in Naphtali (he had married Basemath daughter of Solomon);
16 Baana son of Hushai(GA)—in Asher and in Aloth;
17 Jehoshaphat son of Paruah—in Issachar;
18 Shimei(GB) son of Ela—in Benjamin;
Solomon’s Daily Provisions
20 The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand(GE) on the seashore; they ate, they drank and they were happy.(GF) 21 And Solomon ruled(GG) over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River(GH) to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt.(GI) These countries brought tribute(GJ) and were Solomon’s subjects all his life.
22 Solomon’s daily provisions(GK) were thirty cors[b] of the finest flour and sixty cors[c] of meal, 23 ten head of stall-fed cattle, twenty of pasture-fed cattle and a hundred sheep and goats, as well as deer, gazelles, roebucks and choice fowl.(GL) 24 For he ruled over all the kingdoms west of the Euphrates River, from Tiphsah(GM) to Gaza, and had peace(GN) on all sides. 25 During Solomon’s lifetime Judah and Israel, from Dan to Beersheba,(GO) lived in safety,(GP) everyone under their own vine and under their own fig tree.(GQ)
27 The district governors,(GS) each in his month, supplied provisions for King Solomon and all who came to the king’s table. They saw to it that nothing was lacking. 28 They also brought to the proper place their quotas of barley and straw for the chariot horses and the other horses.
29 God gave Solomon wisdom(GT) and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand(GU) on the seashore. 30 Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East,(GV) and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt.(GW) 31 He was wiser(GX) than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite—wiser than Heman, Kalkol and Darda, the sons of Mahol. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations. 32 He spoke three thousand proverbs(GY) and his songs(GZ) numbered a thousand and five. 33 He spoke about plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop(HA) that grows out of walls. He also spoke about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. 34 From all nations people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings(HB) of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.[f]
- 1 Kings 1:5 Or charioteers
- 1 Kings 4:22 That is, probably about 5 1/2 tons or about 5 metric tons
- 1 Kings 4:22 That is, probably about 11 tons or about 10 metric tons
- 1 Kings 4:26 Some Septuagint manuscripts (see also 2 Chron. 9:25); Hebrew forty
- 1 Kings 4:26 Or charioteers
- 1 Kings 4:34 In Hebrew texts 4:21-34 is numbered 5:1-14.