1 Kings 1

Adonijah tries to become king

1:1David had many children. See 2 Samuel 3:2-5. Some of them had already died. Adonijah was David's oldest son who was still alive. So Adonijah thought that he should be the next king. But God had promised that Solomon should be the next king.

1 King David was now a very old man. He could not stay warm, even when people put blankets over him. 2 So his servants said to him, ‘We will look for a young woman who has never had sex, for you, our master the king. She can take care of you and she can be your nurse. She can also sleep beside you, so that our master the king will be warm.’

3 So they looked through all the land of Israel for a beautiful young woman. They chose Abishag, who lived in Shunem. They brought her to the king. 4 She was very beautiful. She took care of the king as his servant. But the king did not have sex with her.

1:3Shunem was a town near the Sea of Galilee.

5 At that time, David's son Adonijah, was telling everyone, ‘I will become the next king.’ He got for himself chariots and men who would ride on horses. He also had 50 men to run in front of him as his guards. Haggith was Adonijah's mother. 6 His father, David, had never warned him when he did something wrong. He never asked Adonijah, ‘Why are you doing that?’ Adonijah was also very handsome. He was born after Absalom as David's next son. 7 Adonijah spoke with Zeruiah's son Joab and with Abiathar, the priest. They said that they would help Adonijah.

1:5Adonijah was the fourth son of David. See 2 Samuel 3:2-5. David's first three sons were probably dead.
1:5Adonijah got the chariots, the horses and the guards to show that he was a very important man.
1:6Absalom and Adonijah had different mothers.

8 But these people did not join Adonijah's group:

  • Zadok the priest,
  • Jehoiada's son Benaiah,
  • Nathan the prophet,
  • Shimei and Rei.
  • David's own special soldiers did not join Adonijah either.
  • 9 Then Adonijah went to the Stone of Zoheleth that was near En Rogel. He killed sheep, cows and fat calves as sacrifices there. He asked these people to join him:

    1:9There was a spring of water at En Rogel. It was near Jerusalem, to the south.
  • all his brothers, who were King David's sons,
  • all the men of Judah who were the king's officers.
  • 10 But he did not ask these people to come:

  • Nathan the prophet,
  • Benaiah,
  • David's own special soldiers,
  • his brother Solomon.
  • 11 Nathan said to Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, ‘Have you heard about the things that Haggith's son Adonijah is doing? He has become king, but our master, David, does not know about it. 12 Please accept my advice so that you can save your life and the life of Solomon, your son. 13 Go to King David and say to him, “My master the king, do you remember your strong promise to me? You told me that my son Solomon would certainly become king after you. You said that he would sit on your throne. So why has Adonijah now become king?” 14 While you are still talking to the king, I will come in. I will say that your report is true.’

    15 So Bathsheba went to see the king in his bedroom. The king was very old. Abishag, the young woman from Shunem, was taking care of him. 16 Bathsheba bent down low in front of the king. The king asked her, ‘What do you want?’ 17 She replied, ‘My master, you made a strong promise to me in the name of the Lord your God. You said to me, “Your son Solomon will become king after me. He will sit on my throne.” 18 But see what has happened! Adonijah has become king. But, my master the king, you do not even know about it!

    1:17When we write Lord like this, it is a special name for God. Sometimes people write it as ‘Yahweh’, or as ‘Jehovah’. It is his own name that he told Moses. See Exodus 3:14. It means ‘I am who I am’. This shows that God has always been there and he always will be there.

    19 Adonijah has killed many cows, fat calves and sheep as sacrifices. He has asked the all the king's sons, Abiathar the priest and Joab the leader of the army to join him. But he did not ask your servant Solomon to come.

    20 My master the king, everyone in Israel is waiting for you to speak. You must tell them who you have chosen to sit on the throne after you. 21 If you do not decide this now, there will be trouble for me and my son Solomon. Soon after they bury you in the grave of your ancestors, they will punish us as bad people.’

    22 While Bathsheba was saying this to the king, Nathan the prophet arrived. 23 The king's servants told him, ‘Nathan the prophet is here.’ So Nathan went in to the king's bedroom. He bent low with his face towards the ground.

    24 Nathan said, ‘My master the king, have you decided that Adonijah will become king after you? Have you said that he will sit on your throne? 25 Today Adonijah has killed many cows, fat calves and sheep as sacrifices. He has asked all the king's sons, the leaders of the army and Abiathar the priest to join with him. Even now, they are having a big feast with him. They are saying, “May King Adonijah live for a long time!”

    26 But he did not ask me, your servant, to join him. He did not ask Zadok the priest, Jehoiada's son Benaiah, or your servant Solomon.

    27 Has my master the king decided this, but you have not told us, your servants? We must know who will sit on your throne to rule as king after you.’

    King David chooses Solomon to be king

    28 King David answered Nathan, ‘Send Bathsheba to me!’ So Bathsheba came and she stood in front of the king. 29 Then the king made a strong promise. He said, ‘The Lord has saved me from every kind of trouble. I promise this, as surely as the Lord lives! 30 I will certainly do what I already promised to you in the name of the Lord, Israel's God. Your son Solomon will become king after me. He will sit on my throne to rule.’

    31 Then Bathsheba bent down low with her face towards the ground. She said, ‘I pray that my master King David will live for ever!’

    32 King David said, ‘Send to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet and Jehoiada's son Benaiah.’ So they came to the king. 33 The king said to them, ‘Take my officers with you and put my son Solomon on my own mule. Then lead him down to Gihon, as he rides on the mule. 34 There, Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet can anoint him to be king over Israel. Make a loud noise with a trumpet and shout, “May King Solomon live for a long time!” 35 After that, you must follow him back here. He will sit on my throne as king instead of me. I have chosen him to be ruler over all Israel and Judah.’

    36 Jehoiada's son Benaiah answered the king, ‘Amen! I agree! I pray that the Lord will cause it to happen! He is the God that my master the king serves. 37 The Lord has helped you, my master the king. We pray that he will also be with Solomon. We pray that he will make Solomon's kingdom even greater than the kingdom of my master, King David!’

    38 So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet and Jehoiada's son Benaiah went to Solomon. David's own personal guards, the Kerethites and the Pelethites, went with them. They put Solomon on King David's mule and they led him to Gihon.

    39 Zadok the priest filled a horn with special olive oil from the holy tent. Then he poured it on Solomon to anoint him as king. Then they made a loud noise with a trumpet. All the people shouted, ‘May King Solomon live for a long time!’ 40 Then all the people followed Solomon up into Jerusalem. They made music with flutes and they shouted with joy. The noise caused the ground to shake!

    41 Adonijah and all the people who were with him heard the noise. They had just finished eating their feast together. When Joab heard the sound of the trumpet, he asked, ‘Why is there all that noise in the city?’ 42 While Joab was still speaking, Jonathan, the son of Abiathar the priest, arrived. Adonijah said to him, ‘Come in! You are an honest man, so I am sure that you are bringing good news.’ 43 Jonathan replied to Adonijah, ‘No, it is not good news! Our master King David has made Solomon king! 44 He sent these people to put Solomon onto the king's mule: Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Jehoiada's son Benaiah, and the king's personal guards. They took Solomon to Gihon.

    1:41Joab was the leader of Israel's army.
    1:44David's personal guards (bodyguards) were men who belonged to the Kerethite and Pelethite people.

    45 Then Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anointed Solomon at Gihon to become king. They have taken him from there into the city with happy shouts. People are shouting everywhere. That is the noise that you can hear. 46 So Solomon now sits on the king's throne. 47 The king's officers have told our master King David that he has done a good thing. They have said to him, “We pray that your God will make Solomon even more famous than you. We pray that his kingdom will be greater than your kingdom.” After they said that, the king bent his head down as he lay on his bed. 48 He said, “We should praise the Lord, Israel's God. He deserves this, because he has chosen one of my sons to become king after me. The Lord has let me see this happen.” ’

    49 When all the people with Adonijah heard Jonathan's report, they were very afraid. They got up from the feast and they ran away in different directions. 50 But Adonijah was afraid of what Solomon would do to punish him. So he ran to the holy tent. He took hold of the horns of the altar there. 51 Someone told Solomon, ‘Adonijah is afraid of you. He has taken hold of the horns of the altar. He says, “I want King Solomon to promise me today that he will not punish me with death. I am his servant.” ’ 52 Solomon said, ‘If he serves me faithfully, I will not hurt him at all. But if he turns against me, he will die.’

    1:50If someone took hold of the horns of the altar, he was safe from punishment.

    53 Then King Solomon sent men to the holy tent to bring Adonijah down from the altar. So Adonijah came. He bent down low to respect King Solomon. Solomon said to him, ‘Go to your home.’