In our study of 1 Kings chapter one, we will look at the family battle to be the successor to King David. We will look into this battle and apply it to our lives today.
When King David was old and well advanced in years, he could not keep warm even when they put covers over him. So his servants said to him, 'Let us look for a young virgin to attend the king and take care of him. She can lie beside him so that our lord the king may keep warm.'
The books 1 Samuel & 2 Samuel give us the details of the rise of David to be the king of Israel and recount his days in office. Here, we see that David is getting up in years and cannot even stay warm. His servants decided to get him a young servant girl to provide body heat to keep him warm. We might ask ourselves the question of: Why didn't the queen do it? and we have to understand that she was probably running the affairs of the kingdom as the king had become old and senile.
Then they searched throughout Israel for a beautiful girl and found Abishag, a Shunammite, and brought her to the king. The girl was very beautiful; she took care of the king and waited on him, but the king had no intimate relations with her.
A beautiful young virgin girl was found in the city of Shunem which was located in the land given to the tribe of Issachar. The girl became the king's servant but they did not have a physical intimacy.
Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, 'I will be king.' So he got chariots and horses ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him. (His father had never interfered with him by asking, 'Why do you behave as you do?' He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom.)
In this passage, we see what happens when a father does not discipline his children. We see that David had never corrected Adonijah and so Adonijah was proud and conceited. He decided that he had the right to be king since he was the oldest and so he went about exalting himself. The same type of thing is happening more and more today as children are not being disciplined and so grow up thinking that they are entitled to whatever their heart desires. Like it was with King David, this is a failure on the part of the parents.
Adonijah conferred with Joab son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they gave him their support.
Joab was the commander of the army and was David's right hand man. He probably would not have picked Solomon to replace David and, together with the priest, they supported Adonijah's power grab. This combination of the political and the religious leaders joining forces to go against the will of God happens today in many countries. It will become worldwide in the last days with the emergence of the unholy trinity (see Revelation 13).
But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei and Rei and David's special guard did not join Adonijah.
Not everyone went along with Adonijah's plan. Zadok was descended from Aaron and would become the first high priest. Benaiah was one of the most famous and fearless soldiers in Israel. Nathan whose name means "He has given" was a prophet who was always willing to speak the truth as he had been the one to confront David with his sin with Bathsheba. These men were willing to go against the tide and stand firm because they were strong men of God. All of them were close to the king and it is a reminder to us that we all need to have strong men and women of God close to us in our walk in this world.
Adonijah then sacrificed sheep, cattle and fattened calves at the Stone of Zoheleth near En Rogel. He invited all his brothers, the king's sons, and all the men of Judah who were royal officials, but he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the special guard or his brother Solomon.
Adonijah threw a party to announce himself as king but we can tell that it was not God's will as he offered sacrifices near En-Rogel instead of in Jerusalem. The Stone of Zoheleth (the serpent-stone) was a rocky plateau overlooking the Kidron Valley. The Gihon Spring was located there and was the main source of water for Jerusalem. The spring did not continuously flow and so a pool was built in Jerusalem to store water for the time when the fountain did not flow. The spring is also called the Virgin's Fountain as many believe that Mary washed Jesus' swaddling clothes there.
Then Nathan asked Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, 'Have you not heard that Adonijah, the son of Haggith, has become king without our lord David's knowing it? Now then, let me advise you how you can save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. Go in to King David and say to him, "My lord the king, did you not swear 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? While you are still there talking to the king, I will come in and confirm what you have said.'
King David had promised Bathsheba that her son would be the next king but he had not made it official. In his old age, David evidently became forgetful (if not senile) and so he had not even thought about making his selection of successor public. The resulting power grab by Adonijah would mean death to other potential kings such as Solomon. Therefore, Nathan and Bathsheba decided to remind the king of his promise and by so doing save their lives as well as the life of Solomon.
So Bathsheba went to see the aged king in his room, where Abishag the Shunammite was attending him. Bathsheba bowed low and knelt before the king. 'What is it you want?' the king asked. She said to him, 'My lord, you yourself swore to me your servant by the Lord your God: "Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne." But now Adonijah has become king, and you, my lord the king, do not know about it. He has sacrificed 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. 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. Otherwise, as soon as my lord the king is laid to rest with his fathers, I and my son Solomon will be treated as criminals.'
Bathsheba went to the king and reminded him of his promise to her. She also informed him of what was happening in his kingdom. Finally, she plead for him to take action to make his choice of heir to the throne public. She reminds him of his responsibility and that, if he fails to do so, she and Solomon will probably be killed.
While she was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet arrived. And they told the king, 'Nathan the prophet is here.' So he went before the king and bowed with his face to the ground. Nathan said, 'Have you, my lord the king, declared that Adonijah shall be king after you, and that he will sit on your throne? 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!" But me your servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah son of Jehoida, and your servant Solomon he did not invite. 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?'
Nathan had earned the trust of the king as he had been the one to go to the king and call him to repent for his adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband. Now, he confirms the power grab that she had told him about and asks if this is on orders from the king or not.
Then King David said, 'Call in Bathsheba.' So she came into the king's presence and stood before him. The king then took an oath: 'As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble, I will surely carry out today what I swore 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.' Then Bathsheba bowed low with her face to the ground and, kneeling before the king said, 'May my lord King David live forever!'
The king came to his senses and restated his promise to Bathsheba that Solomon would be king.
King David said, 'Call in Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet and Benaiah son of Jehoiada.' When they came before the king, he said to them: 'Take your lord's servants with you and set Solomon my son on my own mule and take him down to Gihon. There have Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel. Blow the trumpet and shout, "Long live King Solomon!" 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.'
David backed up his promise with action as he ordered that they announce Solomon as the new king of Israel.
Benaiah son of Jehoiada answered the king, 'Amen! May the Lord, the God of my lord the king, so declare it. As the Lord was with my lord the king, so may he be with Solomon to make his throne even greater than the throne of my lord King David!'
The military man pledged his loyalty to Solomon the son of David and asked a blessing upon him.
So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Kerethites and the Pelethites went down and put Solomon on King David's mule and escorted him to Gihon. Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon. Then they sounded the trumpet and all the people shouted, 'Long live King Solomon!' And all the people went up after him, playing flutes and rejoicing greatly, so that the ground shook with the sound.
David's pick for king was made known as it was his own bodyguards that escorted them to Gihon. It was all done in the open so that the people could see and know that Solomon was the chosen king unlike Adonijah who had thrown a party for the upper class. This is a picture of the fact that Jesus, the King of Kings, was for all people and not just a select group of privileged people.
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?' Even as he was speaking, Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest arrived. Adonijah said, 'Come in. A worthy man like you must be bringing good news.' 'Not at all!' Jonathan answered. 'Our lord King David has made Solomon king.'
Adonijah received the news that he was not the chosen king. His attempt to seize power has failed and the party is over. We are reminded that, even if we do not like the leaders that are in place, they are there by the will of God. In many cases today, Christians forget this lesson and get caught up in politics instead of trusting the fact that God is in control.
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, 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 with it. That's the noise you hear.
As Jonathan tells Adonijah of the events of Solomon's coronation, you can imagine the shock and horror that was building in those that were at this party. With the mention of the mule, he would have known that it had the seal of David's authority. We often hear the story of Jesus' triumphal entry and the fact that He was riding on a donkey. Many say that this was a sign of His humility but, as we see here, it was kings that normally rode on donkeys during peacetime. The average person did not have a donkey to ride. Just like the procession with Solomon, the fact that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey was a statement that He was a king.
'Moreover, Solomon has taken his seat on the royal throne. 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 than yours!" And the king bowed in worship on his bed and said, "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has allowed my eyes to see a successor on my throne today."'
Jonathan completes his report with the fact that the king and all of the royal officials have asked a blessing from God on Solomon and his reign. Have you ever came to realize that you are on the wrong side of God's plan? That is what it must have been like for Adonijah as he realized it was a no win situation.
At this, all Adonijah's guests rose in alarm and dispersed. But Adonijah, in fear of Solomon, went and took hold of the horns of the altar.
When they heard of Solomon's coronation, the people scattered but Adonijah went to the tabernacle and grabbed onto the horns of the altar. From what we know, he was not a religious man but grabbing hold of the altar was a plea for mercy.
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."' Solomon replied, 'If he shows himself to be a worthy man, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground; but if evil is found in him, he will die.' 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.'
Unlike Adonijah, King Solomon was a man of God and so he showed mercy upon Adonijah.He came and bowed down to Solomon and it was finished as it was apparent to all that there was only one king and it was Solomon.