1 Kings 1-2
1 1-4 King David grew old. The years had caught up with him. Even though they piled blankets on him, he couldn’t keep warm. So his servants said to him, “We’re going to get a young virgin for our master the king to be at his side and look after him; she’ll get in bed with you and arouse our master the king.” So they searched the country of Israel for the most ravishing girl they could find; they found Abishag the Shunammite and brought her to the king. The girl was stunningly beautiful; she stayed at his side and looked after the king, but the king did not have sex with her.
5-6 At this time Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, puffed himself up saying, “I’m the next king!” He made quite a splash, with chariots and riders and fifty men to run ahead of him. His father had spoiled him rotten as a child, never once reprimanding him. Besides that, he was very good-looking and the next in line after Absalom.
7-8 Adonijah talked with Joab son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they threw their weight on his side. But neither the priest Zadok, nor Benaiah son of Jehoiada, nor Nathan the prophet, nor Shimei and Rei, nor David’s personal bodyguards supported Adonijah.
9-10 Next Adonijah held a coronation feast, sacrificing sheep, cattle, and grain-fed heifers at the Stone of Zoheleth near the Rogel Spring. He invited all his brothers, the king’s sons, and everyone in Judah who had position and influence—but he did not invite the prophet Nathan, Benaiah, the bodyguards, or his brother Solomon.
11-14 Nathan went to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, “Did you know that Adonijah, Haggith’s son, has taken over as king, and our master David doesn’t know a thing about it? Quickly now, let me tell you how you can save both your own life and Solomon’s. Go immediately to King David. Speak up: ‘Didn’t you, my master the king, promise me, “Your son Solomon will be king after me and sit on my throne”? So why is Adonijah now king?’ While you’re there talking with the king, I’ll come in and corroborate your story.”
15-16 Bathsheba went at once to the king in his palace bedroom. He was so old! Abishag was at his side making him comfortable. As Bathsheba bowed low, honoring the king, he said, “What do you want?”
17-21 “My master,” she said, “you promised me in God’s name, ‘Your son Solomon will be king after me and sit on my throne.’ And now look what’s happened—Adonijah has taken over as king, and my master the king doesn’t even know it! He has thrown a huge coronation feast—cattle and grain-fed heifers and sheep—inviting all the king’s sons, the priest Abiathar, and Joab head of the army. But your servant Solomon was not invited. My master the king, every eye in Israel is watching you to see what you’ll do—to see who will sit on the throne of my master the king after him. If you fail to act, the moment you’re buried my son Solomon and I are as good as dead.”
22-23 Abruptly, while she was telling the king all this, Nathan the prophet came in and was announced: “Nathan the prophet is here.” He came before the king, honoring him by bowing deeply, his face touching the ground.
24-27 “My master the king,” Nathan began, “did you say, ‘Adonijah shall be king after me and sit on my throne’? Because that’s what’s happening. He’s thrown a huge coronation feast—cattle, grain-fed heifers, sheep—inviting all the king’s sons, the army officers, and Abiathar the priest. They’re having a grand time, eating and drinking and shouting, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ But I wasn’t invited, nor was the priest Zadok, nor Benaiah son of Jehoiada, nor your servant Solomon. Is this something that my master the king has done behind our backs, not telling your servants who you intended to be king after you?”
28 King David took action: “Get Bathsheba back in here.” She entered and stood before the king.
29-30 The king solemnly promised, “As God lives, the God who delivered me from every kind of trouble, I’ll do exactly what I promised in God’s name, the God of Israel: Your son Solomon will be king after me and take my place on the throne. And I’ll make sure it happens this very day.”
31 Bathsheba bowed low, her face to the ground. Kneeling in reverence before the king she said, “Oh, may my master, King David, live forever!”
32 King David said, “Call Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada.” They came to the king.
33-35 Then he ordered, “Gather my servants, then mount my son Solomon on my royal mule and lead him in procession down to Gihon. When you get there, Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet will anoint him king over Israel. Then blow the ram’s horn trumpet and shout, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ You will then accompany him as he enters and takes his place on my throne, succeeding me as king. I have named him ruler over Israel and Judah.”
36-37 Benaiah son of Jehoiada backed the king: “Yes! And may God, the God of my master the king, confirm it! Just as God has been with my master the king, may he also be with Solomon and make his rule even greater than that of my master King David!”
38-40 Then Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the king’s personal bodyguard (the Kerethites and Pelethites) went down, mounted Solomon on King David’s mule, and paraded with him to Gihon. Zadok the priest brought a flask of oil from the sanctuary and anointed Solomon. They blew the ram’s horn trumpet and everyone shouted, “Long live King Solomon!” Everyone joined the fanfare, the band playing and the people singing, the very earth reverberating to the sound.
41 Adonijah and his retinue of guests were just finishing their “coronation” feast when they heard it. When Joab heard the blast of the ram’s horn trumpet he said, “What’s going on here? What’s all this uproar?”
42 Suddenly, in the midst of the questioning, Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest, showed up. Adonijah said, “Welcome! A brave and good man like you must have good news.”
43-48 But Jonathan answered, “Hardly! Our master King David has just made Solomon king! And the king has surrounded him with Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, with the Kerethites and Pelethites; and they’ve mounted Solomon on the royal mule. Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king at Gihon and the parade is headed up this way singing—a great fanfare! The city is beside itself! That’s what you’re hearing. Here’s the crowning touch—Solomon is seated on the throne of the kingdom! And that’s not all: The king’s servants have come to give their blessing to our master King David saying, ‘God make Solomon’s name even more honored than yours, and make his rule greater than yours!’ On his deathbed the king worshiped God and prayed, ‘Blessed be God, Israel’s God, who has provided a successor to my throne, and I’ve lived to see it!’”
49-50 Panicked, Adonijah’s guests got out of there, scattering every which way. But Adonijah himself, afraid for his life because of Solomon, fled to the sanctuary and grabbed the horns of the Altar.
51 Solomon was told, “Adonijah, fearful of King Solomon, has taken sanctuary and seized the horns of the Altar and is saying, ‘I’m not leaving until King Solomon promises that he won’t kill me.’”
52-53 Solomon then said, “If he proves to be a man of honor, not a hair of his head will be hurt; but if there is evil in him, he’ll die.” Solomon summoned him and they brought him from the Altar. Adonijah came and bowed down, honoring the king. Solomon dismissed him, “Go home.”
2 1-4 When David’s time to die approached, he charged his son Solomon, saying, “I’m about to go the way of all the earth, but you—be strong; show what you’re made of! Do what God tells you. Walk in the paths he shows you: Follow the life-map absolutely, keep an eye out for the signposts, his course for life set out in the revelation to Moses; then you’ll get on well in whatever you do and wherever you go. Then God will confirm what he promised me when he said, ‘If your sons watch their step, staying true to me heart and soul, you’ll always have a successor on Israel’s throne.’
5-6 “And don’t forget what Joab son of Zeruiah did to the two commanders of Israel’s army, to Abner son of Ner and to Amasa son of Jether. He murdered them in cold blood, acting in peacetime as if he were at war, and has been stained with that blood ever since. Do what you think best with him, but by no means let him get off scot-free—make him pay.
7 “But be generous to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite—extend every hospitality to them; that’s the way they treated me when I was running for my life from Absalom your brother.
8-9 “You also will have to deal with Shimei son of Gera the Benjaminite from Bahurim, the one who cursed me so viciously when I was on my way to Mahanaim. Later, when he welcomed me back at the Jordan, I promised him under God, ‘I won’t put you to death.’ But neither should you treat him as if nothing ever happened. You’re wise, you know how to handle these things. You’ll know what to do to make him pay before he dies.”
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10-12 Then David joined his ancestors. He was buried in the City of David. David ruled Israel for forty years—seven years in Hebron and another thirty-three in Jerusalem. Solomon took over on the throne of his father David; he had a firm grip on the kingdom.
13-14 Adonijah son of Haggith came to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother. She said, “Do you come in peace?”
He said, “In peace.” And then, “May I say something to you?”
“Go ahead,” she said, “speak.”
15-16 “You know that I had the kingdom right in my hands and everyone expected me to be king, and then the whole thing backfired and the kingdom landed in my brother’s lap—God’s doing. So now I have one request to ask of you; please don’t refuse me.”
“Go ahead, ask,” she said.
17 “Ask King Solomon—he won’t turn you down—to give me Abishag the Shunammite as my wife.”
18 “Certainly,” said Bathsheba. “I’ll speak to the king for you.”
19 Bathsheba went to King Solomon to present Adonijah’s request. The king got up and welcomed her, bowing respectfully, and returned to his throne. Then he had a throne put in place for his mother, and she sat at his right hand.
20 She said, “I have a small favor to ask of you. Don’t refuse me.”
The king replied, “Go ahead, Mother; of course I won’t refuse you.”
21 She said, “Give Abishag the Shunammite to your brother Adonijah as his wife.”
22 King Solomon answered his mother, “What kind of favor is this, asking that Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah? Why don’t you just ask me to hand over the whole kingdom to him on a platter since he is my older brother and has Abiathar the priest and Joab son of Zeruiah on his side!”
23-24 Then King Solomon swore under God, “May God do his worst to me if Adonijah doesn’t pay for this with his life! As surely as God lives, the God who has set me firmly on the throne of my father David and has put me in charge of the kingdom just as he promised, Adonijah will die for this—today!”
25 King Solomon dispatched Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he struck Adonijah and he died.
26 The king then told Abiathar the priest, “You’re exiled to your place in Anathoth. You deserve death but I’m not going to kill you—for now anyway—because you were in charge of the Chest of our ruling God in the company of David my father, and because you shared all the hard times with my father.”
27 Solomon stripped Abiathar of his priesthood, fulfilling God’s word at Shiloh regarding the family of Eli.
28-29 When this news reached Joab, this Joab who had conspired with Adonijah (although he had remained loyal in the Absalom affair), he took refuge in the sanctuary of God, seizing the horns of the Altar and holding on for dear life. King Solomon was told that Joab had escaped to the sanctuary of God and was clinging to the Altar; he immediately sent Benaiah son of Jehoiada with orders, “Kill him.”
30 Benaiah went to the sanctuary of God and said, “King’s orders: Come out.”
He said, “No—I’ll die right here.”
Benaiah went back to the king and reported, “This was Joab’s answer.”
31-33 The king said, “Go ahead then, do what he says: Kill him and bury him. Absolve me and my father’s family of the guilt from Joab’s senseless murders. God is avenging those bloody murders on Joab’s head. Two men he murdered, men better by far than he ever was: Behind my father’s back he brutally murdered Abner son of Ner, commander of Israel’s army, and Amasa son of Jether, commander of Judah’s army. Responsibility for their murders is forever fixed on Joab and his descendants; but for David and his descendants, his family and kingdom, the final verdict is God’s peace.”
34-35 So Benaiah son of Jehoiada went back, struck Joab, and killed him. He was buried in his family plot out in the desert. The king appointed Benaiah son of Jehoiada over the army in place of Joab, and replaced Abiathar with Zadok the priest.
36-37 The king next called in Shimei and told him, “Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and live there, but you are not to leave the area. If you so much as cross the Brook Kidron, you’re as good as dead—you will have decreed your own death sentence.”
38 Shimei answered the king, “Oh, thank you! Your servant will do exactly as my master the king says.” Shimei lived in Jerusalem a long time.
39-40 But it so happened that three years later, two of Shimei’s slaves ran away to Achish son of Maacah, king of Gath. Shimei was told, “Your slaves are in Gath.” Shimei sprang into action, saddled his donkey, and went to Achish in Gath looking for his slaves. And then he came back, bringing his slaves.
41 Solomon was told, “Shimei left Jerusalem for Gath, and now he’s back.”
42-43 Solomon then called for Shimei and said, “Didn’t I make you promise me under God, and give you a good warning besides, that you would not leave this area? That if you left you would have decreed your own death sentence? And didn’t you say, ‘Oh, thank you—I’ll do exactly as you say’? So why didn’t you keep your sacred promise and do what I ordered?”
44-45 Then the king told Shimei, “Deep in your heart you know all the evil that you did to my father David; God will now avenge that evil on you. But King Solomon will be blessed and the rule of David will be a sure thing under God forever.”
46 The king then gave orders to Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he went out and struck Shimei dead.
The kingdom was now securely in Solomon’s grasp.