1 Kings 1:1-27

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.’