David in Old Age
1Now King David was [a]old, advanced in years; they covered him with clothes, but he could not get warm. 2 So his servants said to him, “Let a young virgin be found for my lord the king and let her attend him and become his nurse; let her lie against your chest, so that my lord the king may feel warm.” 3 So they searched for a beautiful girl throughout the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the [b]Shunammite, and brought her to the king. 4 The girl was very beautiful; and she became the king’s nurse and served him, but the king [c]was not intimate with her.
5 Then Adonijah the son of [David’s wife] Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I [the eldest living son] will be king.” So [following Absalom’s example] he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. 6 His father [David] had [d]never rebuked him at any time by asking, “Why have you done this?” Adonijah was also a very handsome man, and he was born after Absalom. 7 He had conferred with [e]Joab the son of Zeruiah [David’s half sister] and with Abiathar the priest; and they followed Adonijah and helped him. 8 But Zadok the priest, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and David’s [f]most formidable warriors did not side with Adonijah [in his desire to become king].
9 Adonijah sacrificed sheep and oxen and fattened steers by the Stone of Zoheleth, which is beside [the well] En-rogel; and he invited all his brothers, the king’s sons, and all the men of Judah, the king’s servants [to this feast]. 10 But he did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the most formidable warriors, or his brother Solomon.
Nathan and Bathsheba
11 Then Nathan spoke to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, “Have you not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith has become king, and David our lord does not know about it? 12 Come now, please let me advise you and save your life and the life of your son Solomon. 13 Go at once to King David and say to him, ‘Did you not, my lord, O king, swear to your maidservant, saying, “Solomon your son shall certainly be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne”? Why then has Adonijah become king?’ 14 Behold, while you are still there speaking with the king, I will come in after you and confirm your words.”
15 So Bathsheba went to the king in his bedroom. Now the king was very old and weak, and Abishag the Shunammite was attending the king. 16 So Bathsheba bowed down and paid respect to the king. And the king said, “[g]What do you wish?” 17 She said to him, “My lord, you swore by the Lord your God to your maidservant, saying, ‘Solomon your son shall certainly be king after me and he shall sit on my throne.’ 18 But now, behold, Adonijah is [acting as] king; and now [as things stand], my lord the king, you do not know it. 19 He has sacrificed oxen and fattened steers and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the king’s sons and Abiathar the priest and Joab the commander of the army [to a feast], but he did not invite your servant Solomon. 20 Now as for you, my lord the king, the eyes of all [h]Israel are on you [waiting for you] to tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. 21 Otherwise it will come about when my lord the king lies down [in death] with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon will be considered [i]political enemies.”
22 While she was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet came in. 23 The king was told, “Here is Nathan the prophet.” And when he came before the king, he bowed before the king with his face to the ground. 24 Then Nathan said, “My lord the king, have you said, ‘Adonijah shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne’? 25 Because he has gone down today [to En-Rogel] and has sacrificed oxen and fattened steers and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the king’s sons, the commanders of the army and Abiathar the priest [to this feast]; and [right now] they are eating and drinking in his presence; and they say, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ 26 But he has not invited me, your servant, nor Zadok the priest, nor Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, nor your servant Solomon. 27 If this thing has been done by my lord the king, why have you not shown your servants who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?”
28 King David answered, “Call Bathsheba to me.” And she came into the king’s presence and stood before him. 29 Then the king swore an oath and said, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my soul from all distress, 30 even as I swore to you by the Lord, the God of Israel, saying, ‘Solomon your son shall certainly be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place’; I will indeed do so this very day.” 31 Bathsheba bowed down with her face to the ground, and laid herself face down before the king and said, “May my lord King David live forever!”
32 Then King David said, “Call Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada to me.” And they came before the king. 33 The king told them, “Take the [j]servants of your lord with you and have Solomon my son [k]ride on my own mule, and bring him down to [the spring at] [l]Gihon [in the Kidron Valley]. 34 Let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there as king over Israel. Then blow the trumpet and say, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ 35 Then you shall come up [to Jerusalem] after him, and he shall come and sit on my throne and he shall reign as king in my place; for I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah.” 36 Benaiah [the overseer of the king’s bodyguards], the son of Jehoiada answered the king and said, “Amen! (So be it!) May the Lord, the God of my lord the king, say so too. 37 [m]Just as the Lord has been with my lord the king, so may He be with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David!”
Solomon Anointed King
38 So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites [the king’s bodyguards] went down [from Jerusalem] and had Solomon ride on King David’s mule, and brought him to [the spring at] Gihon. 39 Zadok the priest took a horn of [olive] oil from the [sacred] tent and anointed Solomon. They blew the trumpet, and all the people said, “Long live King Solomon!” 40 All the people went up after him, and they were playing on flutes and rejoicing with great joy, so that the earth shook and seemed to burst open with their [joyful] sound.
41 Now Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard it as they finished eating. When Joab heard the trumpet sound, he said, “[n]Why is the city in such an uproar?” 42 While he was still speaking, behold, Jonathan the son of Abiathar the priest arrived. And Adonijah said, “Come in, for you are a valiant and trustworthy man and you bring good news.” 43 But Jonathan replied to Adonijah, “No, on the contrary, our lord King David has made Solomon king! 44 The king has sent him with Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites; and they have had him ride on the king’s [own royal] mule. 45 Also, Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king in Gihon, and they have come up from there celebrating, so the city is in an uproar. This is the noise which you have heard. 46 Besides, Solomon has taken his seat on the throne of the kingdom. 47 Moreover, the king’s servants came to bless (congratulate) our lord King David, saying, ‘May [o]your God make the name of Solomon better (more famous) than your name and make his throne greater than your throne.’ And the king bowed himself [before God] upon the bed. 48 The king has also said this: ‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who has granted one [of my descendants] to sit on my throne today and allowed my eyes to see it.’”
49 Then all Adonijah’s guests were terrified [of being branded as traitors] and stood up and left the feast, and each one went on his way. 50 And Adonijah feared Solomon, and he got up and went [to the tabernacle on Mt. Zion] and took hold of the horns of the altar [seeking asylum]. 51 Now Solomon was told, “Behold, Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon, and behold, he has grasped the horns of the altar [seeking God’s protection], saying, ‘King Solomon must swear to me today that he will not kill his servant with the sword.’” 52 Solomon said, “If he [proves he] is a worthy man, not even one of his hairs shall fall to the ground; but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die.” 53 So King Solomon sent [soldiers], and they brought Adonijah down from the altar [that was in front of the tabernacle]. And he came and bowed down to King Solomon, and Solomon said to him, “Go to your house.”
Notas al pie
- 1 Kings 1:1 I.e. about seventy years old.
- 1 Kings 1:3 The town of Shunam was located within the territory of Issachar.
- 1 Kings 1:4 Lit did not know her.
- 1 Kings 1:6 David’s failure to discipline his sons always resulted in tragedy.
- 1 Kings 1:7 The commander of Israel’s army.
- 1 Kings 1:8 Lit mighty men and so throughout the chapter.
- 1 Kings 1:16 Lit What to you.
- 1 Kings 1:20 In general, sons of Israel or Israel or Israelites refers to all the people (males and females) of the various tribes descended from the twelve sons (Gen 35:23-26) of Jacob (later renamed Israel by God). In verses concerning things such as warfare or circumcision sons of Israel or Israel or Israelites usually refers only to the males. Tribes of ancient people were identified by the name of their founding ancestor. Therefore, this same general rule applies when referring to individual tribal groups, e.g. sons of Reuben, Reuben, Reubenites and so throughout.
- 1 Kings 1:21 Lit sinners.
- 1 Kings 1:33 This group would have included David’s personal bodyguards.
- 1 Kings 1:33 Placing Solomon on his royal mule announced to the people that David had chosen Solomon as his successor.
- 1 Kings 1:33 This was near En-rogel, the site of Adonijah’s celebration.
- 1 Kings 1:37 This was a declaration of support for David and his choice of Solomon.
- 1 Kings 1:41 Gihon was nearby, but because of the topography it was not visible.
- 1 Kings 1:47 See note v 37.
11-4 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 rocking! 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.”