1 Kings 1
The day Israel had three kings
A warm young woman for old King David1King David grew old and cold. No matter how many covers they put on him, it wasn’t enough to keep him warm. 2His servants told him, “You need something more to warm you. We would like to find a young woman to help you with whatever you need. She would also lie with you in bed, warming you with her body.” 
3They searched in Israel and found young Abishag, from the town of Shunem.  They brought her to the king. 4She was stunningly beautiful, but David did not have sex with her. She took care of him as his personal attendant. 5One of David’s sons decided not to wait for his dad to die. Adonijah, David’s son with Haggith, said, “I want to go ahead and become king.”  So he created for himself a royal entourage: horse-drawn chariots along with 50 honor guards to run in front of him when he traveled. 6David never confronted Adonijah about this. Adonijah was good looking and born after Absalom. 
7Adonijah convinced two important people to support what he was doing: David’s army commander, Joab the son of Zeruiah, along with the priest Abiathar. 8But others refused to join. They included the priest Zadok, along with David’s royal bodyguards and their commander, Benaiah. 
9Adonijah hosted a ceremony for the occasion. He sacrificed sheep and cattle at Snake Rock,  near Rogel Spring.  He invited his brothers and all the royal officials from his own tribe of Judah. 10He did not invite one brother, Solomon. He didn’t invite Nathan, either, or Benaiah and David’s royal bodyguards.
Nathan works to stop the coup11Nathan tells Solomon’s mother, Bethsheba,  “Have you heard Adonijah is telling everyone he’s the king now? He hasn’t even bothered to tell our master, David. 12Let me give you some advice that might keep you and your son Solomon alive. 
13I want you to go right now to the king. Tell David, ‘Didn’t you give me your word? Didn’t you say, “Your son Solomon will sit on the throne after me?” So, who made Adonijah the king now?’ 14Then, while you’re still talking, I’ll come in and back you up.” 
Bathsheba steers David to Solomon15Bethsheba went right to the king’s room. He was quite old. And Abishag of Shuman was taking care of him. 16Bethsheba bowed to the king. He asked, “What can I do for you?”
17She said, “Dear master, you gave me your word. You swore on the name of the LORD your God. You said, ‘Your son Solomon will sit on the throne after me.’ 18But now Adonijah says he’s king. He didn’t bother to tell you, my king.
19He has already sacrificed a lot of sheep and cattle. He invited all your children, but Solomon. And he invited the priest Abiathar and your military commander, Joab. 20Now, my king, all of Israel waits to hear from you. They want you to tell them who will sit on your throne. 21If you don’t speak up, once you’ve gone to your ancestors, my son and I will get tagged as enemies of the kingdom.”
Nathan backs up Bathsheba22Right on cue, Natham arrived while Bathsheba was still talking. 23Someone announced his arrival, “Here is the prophet, Nathan.” He came in and bowed low before the king.
24Nathan told David, “My king and master, did you tell someone, ‘Adonijah will follow me and take my throne now?’ 25Because that’s what he did. He went down to the valley and sacrificed a lot of sheep and cattle. He invited a lot of people to his ceremony. All your children. Joab, commander of your army. The priest Abiathar. They’re all having a party, eating, and drinking and cheering, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’”
26But he sure didn’t invite me, your devoted servant. He didn’t invite the priest Zadok, either. Or Benaiah son of Jehoiada. Or your son Solomon. 27Did you make him king without telling your servants who would become their next king?"
David kings Solomon28King David said, “Bring Bathsheba back in here.” She came and stood by the king. 29David said, “As sure as there’s a God who saved me from every enemy I ever faced, 30I’m going to do what I said I would do. I swore in the good name of the Good Lord, God of Israel, ‘Your son Solomon will sit on my throne.’ And I’m doing it right now.”
31Bathsheba bowed low before the king and said, “May you live forever, my dear master and King.”
David plans an instant coronation for Solomon32King David told her, “Tell the priest Zadok, the prophet Nathan, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada to come here now.” They came.
33The king told them, “I want you to do something for me. Take my servants with you. Have Solomon get on my mule. Then I want you to go with him as he rides the mule down to Gihon Spring.  34When you get there, I want the priest Zadok and the prophet Nathan to anoint him king of Israel. Then blow the ram’s horn and yell, “Long live King Solomon!”
35After that, follow him back up the hill and into the palace. I want him to park himself on my throne as the new king in my place. He is my pick. I chose him as the new ruler over the tribes of Israel and Judah.”
David gets an “Amen!”36Benaiah son of Jehoiada said, “Amen to that! May the LORD do what my king has just said. 37The LORD has always been there for my master. May he do the same for Solomon and make the nation even stronger than it has been for King David.”
38So, Solomon rode the king’s mule to Gihon Spring. He led the way for the priest Zadok, the prophet Nathan, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the king’s own royal bodyguards. 39The priest brought oil from the tent worship center. He carried it in a ram’s horn. He used the oil to anoint  Solomon. Then they blew a horn and all the people cheered, “Long live King Solomon!”
Adonijah gets dreadful news40The crowd followed Solomon back up into the city, playing their flutes and celebrating with so much joyful noise that it shook the ground. 41Adonijah and the people partying with him heard a distant noise as they finished eating. When Joab heard the horn blast he said, “What’s going on over there?” 42He was still talking when Jonathan arrived. He was a son of the priest Abiathar. Adonijah said, “Come on in. I know you. You’re a good man and I’ll bet you’re bringing good news.”
43Jonathan said, “No, I’m afraid I’m not. Our master, King David, made Solomon king. 44King David had Solomon ride his mule, followed by the priest Zadok, the prophet Nathan, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the royal bodyguards.
45The priest Zadok and the prophet Nathan anointed Solomon king at Gihon Spring. Everybody’s back up in the city now, cheering. The town is celebrating like you wouldn’t believe. That’s what you’re hearing. 46Solomon’s sitting on the king’s throne right now, as I’m talking.
David’s prayer thanking God47Officials have already started going to see our master, King David, to congratulate him on his choice for king. They’re saying, ‘May God make Solomon even more famous than you, and his kingdom even stronger than yours.’ King David, lying in his bed, bowed his head and prayed.
48He said ‘Thank you LORD, God of Israel. Today, you have honored me. You let one of my sons become king of Israel. And you let me live long enough to see it.’”
Adonijah’s party poops out49Adonijah’s guests, shaking with fear, scattered to their homes. 50Adonijah, suddenly terrified of Solomon, rushed to the altar at the worship tent. He grabbed onto the horns  along the corners of the altar.
51Someone told Solomon about it. “Adonijah is afraid you’re going to kill him. So, he’s at the altar, holding onto the horns. He’s saying, ‘Tell King Solomon to swear he won’t kill me, his servant.’”
52Solomon said, “If he shows that he’s a good human being, he won’t lose a hair on this head. But if he turns out to be to be a wicked person, that’s going to kill him.” 53King Solomon sent for Adonijah to climb down from the altar. Adonijah went to see King Solomon and bowed in honor. Solomon told him, “Go on home now.”
Without objection, so ordered. It would seem.
Shunem—Sulam today—was a town in northern Israel, in the Jezreel Valley. It was roughly 60 miles (100 km) north of King David’s capital, Jerusalem.
David had already dealt with a son who launched a coup. Absalom died in a battle for the kingdom, even though David had given orders for his soldiers not to harm him (2 Samuel 18:14-15). David’s oldest son was Amnon, whom Absalom killed. So, Adonijah may have been the logical next son in line for the throne.
Long-haired Absalom was a looker, too (2 Samuel 14:25). The writer seems to be reminding readers about Absalom’s coup.
Benaiah was one of David’s famous leading soldiers and the commander of the royal bodyguards (2 Samuel 23:20-24).
It’s Zoheleth in Hebrew, a word that refers to crawling critters like snakes and worms.
It’s En-Rogel or Ein-Rogel in Hebrew and in many Bible translations. The spring is most often associated with a well that is near where the Kidron Valley meets the Hinnom Valley. It’s called Job’s Well, a site today known in Arabic as Bir Ayyub. In Bible times, it was a deep well, 125 feet (38 meters). Some scholars say this is probably not Rogel Spring because it’s a well and not a spring. Virgin’s Fountain is another contender. It’s a spring close to Jerusalem.
This is “The Bathsheba,” the former wife of a soldier with whom David had an affair and got her pregnant (2 Samuel 11:4). David later ordered her husband killed so he could marry her and hide his sin.
No exaggeration here. Kings were known to secure their right to the throne by executing the perceived competition. Solomon will later order Adonijah executed for that very reason (1 Kings 2:25).
Okay, this doesn’t sound kosher, some scholars say. It sounds like Nathan is making up a story for Bathsheba to use to convince David that he made a promise he never really made. If that’s right, Nathan is taking advantage of an old man’s failing memory—exploiting it to help God get the right man on the throne. Perhaps as though God should thank him. On the other hand, God may have given Nathan the idea. Solomon became a great king until he wasn’t (1 Kings 11:4).
Gihon Spring was at the base of the ridge where Jerusalem was located. This was a short mule ride down into the Kidron Valley where Adonijah was celebrating what he thought was his coronation party.
Pouring olive oil on people was an ancient Jewish tradition known as anointing. It was a way of showing people that they had a connection with God. A prophet named Samuel anointed young David as the future king of Israel. “Samuel poured the olive oil out of the horn and onto David’s head while his older brothers watched. The LORD’s Spirit poured into David and stayed with him for the rest of his life” (1 Samuel 16:13). Christians picked up that tradition and used it in a ritual that included praying for the sick and placing hands on them. “Do you have any sick people there? If so, ask the church leaders to pray over them and to anoint them with oil. Do this in the name of the Lord, invoking the Lord’s authority” (James 5:14).
The sacrificial altar at the first tent worship center included four corners, each shaped “like an animal horn” (Exodus 27:2). Archaeologists have uncovered many “horned altars” in Israel and Palestinian Territories. Bible writers never explained why altars were built with the corners turned up like animal horns. Perhaps the horns were a tribute to the livestock sacrificed on the altar. One more common guess is that the horns gave priests something to which they could tie the dead animal. This could help keep the sacrificed animal from rolling off the fire before it was burned. Psalm 118:27 seems to add credibility to that theory: “Go ahead and tie the festival sacrifice to the four corners of the altar.” Consider how it might feel for a worshiper to watch the sacrificed animal roll off the flaming altar before the animal had even caught fire. We might understand that the animal fell off because the burning wood pile shifted as wood disintegrated in the fire. But someone offering a sacrifice to seek forgiveness for sin might think God had just rejected the offering.
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