The Message

1 Kings 1

David

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.”

New International Reader's Version

1 Kings 1

Adonijah Makes Himself King

1King David was now very old. He couldn’t keep warm even when blankets were spread over him. So his attendants spoke to him. They said, “You are our king and master. Please let us try to find a young virgin to serve you. She can take care of you. She can lie down beside you to keep you warm.”

So David’s attendants looked all over Israel for a beautiful young woman. They found Abishag. She was from the town of Shunem. They brought her to the king. The woman was very beautiful. She took care of the king and served him. But the king didn’t have sex with her.

Adonijah was the son of David and his wife Haggith. He came forward and announced, “I’m going to be the next king.” So he got chariots and horses ready. He also got 50 men to run in front of him. His father had never tried to stop him from doing what he wanted to. His father had never asked him, “Why are you acting the way you do?” Adonijah was also very handsome. Now that Absalom was dead, Adonijah was David’s oldest son.

Adonijah talked things over with Joab, the son of Zeruiah. He also talked with Abiathar the priest. They agreed to help him. But Zadok the priest and Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, didn’t join Adonijah. Nathan the prophet didn’t join him. Shimei and Rei didn’t join him. And neither did David’s special guard.

Adonijah sacrificed sheep, cattle and fat calves. He sacrificed them at the Stone of Zoheleth near En Rogel. He invited all his brothers, the king’s sons, and all the royal officials of Judah. 10 But he didn’t invite Benaiah or Nathan the prophet. He didn’t invite the special guard or his brother Solomon either.

11 Nathan asked Solomon’s mother Bathsheba, “Haven’t you heard? Adonijah, the son of Haggith, has made himself king. And King David doesn’t know anything about it. 12 So let me tell you what to do to save your life. It will also save the life of your son Solomon. 13 Go in and see King David. Say to him, ‘You are my king and master. You promised me, “You can be sure that your son Solomon will be king after me. He will sit on my throne.” If that’s really true, why has Adonijah become king?’ 14 While you are still talking to the king, I’ll come in and support what you have said.”

15 So Bathsheba went to see the old king in his room. Abishag, the Shunammite, was taking care of him there. 16 Bathsheba bowed low in front of the king.

“What do you want?” the king asked.

17 She said to him, “My master, you made a promise in the name of the Lord your God. You promised me, ‘Your son Solomon will be king after me. He will sit on my throne.’ 18 But now Adonijah has made himself king. And you don’t even know about it. 19 He has sacrificed large numbers of cattle, fat calves and sheep. He has invited all the king’s sons. He has also invited Abiathar the priest and Joab, the commander of the army. But he hasn’t invited your son Solomon. 20 You are my king and master. All the Israelites are watching to see what you will do. They want to find out from you who will sit on the throne after you. 21 If you don’t do something, I and my son Solomon will be treated like people who have committed crimes. That will happen as soon as you join the members of your family who have already died.”

22 While she was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet arrived. 23 The king was told, “Nathan the prophet is here.” So Nathan went to the king. He bowed down with his face toward the ground.

24 Nathan said, “You are my king and master. Have you announced that Adonijah will be king after you? Have you said he will sit on your throne? 25 Today he has gone down outside the city. He has sacrificed large numbers of cattle, fat calves and sheep. He has invited all the king’s sons. He has also invited the commanders of the army and Abiathar the priest. Even now they are eating and drinking with him. They are saying, ‘May King Adonijah live a long time!’ 26 But he didn’t invite me. He didn’t invite Zadok the priest or Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada. He didn’t invite your son Solomon either. 27 King David, have you allowed all of that to happen? Did you do it without letting us know about it? Why didn’t you tell us who is going to sit on your throne after you?”

David Makes Solomon King

28 King David said, “Tell Bathsheba to come in.” So she came and stood in front of the king.

29 Then the king made a promise. He said, “The Lord has saved me from all my troubles. You can be sure that he lives. 30 And you can be just as sure I will do what I promised. This is the day I will do what I promised in the name of the Lord. He is the God of Israel. I promised you that your son Solomon would be king after me. He will sit on my throne in my place.”

31 Then Bathsheba bowed down in front of the king. Her face was toward the ground. She said, “King David, you are my master. May you live forever!”

32 King David said, “Tell Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet to come in. Also tell Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, to come.” So they came to the king. 33 He said to them, “Take my officials with you. Have my son Solomon get on my own mule. Take him down to the Gihon spring. 34 Have Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him as king over Israel there. Blow a trumpet. Shout, ‘May King Solomon live a long time!’ 35 Then come back up to the city with him. Have him sit on my throne. He will rule in my place. I’ve appointed him ruler over Israel and Judah.”

36 Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, answered the king. “Amen!” he said. “May the Lord your God make it come true. 37 You are my king and master. The Lord has been with you. May he also be with Solomon. King David, may the Lord make Solomon’s kingdom even greater than yours!”

38 So Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet left the palace. Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, went with them. So did the Kerethites and Pelethites. They had Solomon get on King David’s mule. And they brought him down to the Gihon spring. 39 Zadok the priest had taken an animal horn from the sacred tent. The horn was filled with olive oil. He anointed Solomon with the oil. A trumpet was blown. All the people shouted, “May King Solomon live a long time!” 40 Then they went up toward the city. Solomon was leading the way. The people were playing flutes. They were filled with great joy. The ground shook because of all the noise.

41 Adonijah and all his guests heard it. They were just finishing their meal. Joab heard the sound of the trumpet. So he asked, “What does all this noise in the city mean?”

42 While Joab was still speaking, Jonathan arrived. Jonathan was the son of Abiathar the priest. Adonijah said, “Come in. I have respect for you. You must be bringing good news.”

43 “No! I’m not!” Jonathan answered. “Our master King David has made Solomon king. 44 David sent Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet along with Solomon. He also sent Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, with him. He sent the Kerethites and Pelethites with him too. They put him on the king’s mule. 45 They took him down to the Gihon spring. There Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anointed him as king. Now they’ve gone back up to the city. They were cheering all the way. The city is filled with the sound of it. That’s the noise you hear. 46 And that’s not all. Solomon has taken his seat on the royal throne. 47 The royal officials came to give their blessing to our master King David. They said, ‘May your God make Solomon’s name more famous than yours! May he make Solomon’s kingdom greater than yours!’ While King David was sitting on his bed, he bowed in worship. 48 He said, ‘I praise the Lord. He is the God of Israel. He has let me live to see my son sitting on my throne today as the next king.’ ”

49 When all Adonijah’s guests heard that, they were terrified. So they got up and scattered. 50 Adonijah was afraid of what Solomon might do to him. So he went and grabbed the horns of the altar for burnt offerings. Those horns stuck out from its upper corners. 51 Then Solomon was told, “King Solomon, Adonijah is afraid of you. He’s holding onto the horns of the altar. He says, ‘I want King Solomon to make a promise today. I want him to promise that he won’t kill me with his sword.’ ”

52 Solomon replied, “Let him show that he’s a man people can respect. Then not even one hair on his head will fall to the ground. But if I find out he’s done something evil, he will die.” 53 King Solomon got some men to bring Adonijah down from the altar. He came and bowed down to King Solomon. Solomon said, “Go on home.”