Adonijah Makes Himself King
1King David was now very old. He couldn’t keep warm even when blankets were spread over him. 2So 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.”
3So 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. 4The woman was very beautiful. She took care of the king and served him. But the king didn’t have sex with her.
5Adonijah 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. 6His 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.
7Adonijah talked things over with Joab, the son of Zeruiah. He also talked with Abiathar the priest. They agreed to help him. 8But 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.
9Adonijah 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. 10But he didn’t invite Benaiah or Nathan the prophet. He didn’t invite the special guard or his brother Solomon either.
11Nathan 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. 12So let me tell you what to do to save your life. It will also save the life of your son Solomon. 13Go 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?’ 14While you are still talking to the king, I’ll come in and support what you have said.”
15So Bathsheba went to see the old king in his room. Abishag, the Shunammite, was taking care of him there. 16Bathsheba bowed low in front of the king.
“What do you want?” the king asked.
17She 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.’ 18But now Adonijah has made himself king. And you don’t even know about it. 19He 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. 20You 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. 21If 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.”
22While she was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet arrived. 23The king was told, “Nathan the prophet is here.” So Nathan went to the king. He bowed down with his face toward the ground.
24Nathan 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? 25Today 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!’ 26But 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. 27King 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
28King David said, “Tell Bathsheba to come in.” So she came and stood in front of the king.
29Then the king made a promise. He said, “The Lord has saved me from all my troubles. You can be sure that he lives. 30And 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.”
31Then 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!”
32King 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. 33He said to them, “Take my officials with you. Have my son Solomon get on my own mule. Take him down to the Gihon spring. 34Have 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!’ 35Then 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.”
36Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, answered the king. “Amen!” he said. “May the Lord your God make it come true. 37You 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!”
38So 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. 39Zadok 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!” 40Then 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.
41Adonijah 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?”
42While 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. 44David 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. 45They 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. 46And that’s not all. Solomon has taken his seat on the royal throne. 47The 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. 48He 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.’ ”
49When all Adonijah’s guests heard that, they were terrified. So they got up and scattered. 50Adonijah 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. 51Then 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.’ ”
52Solomon 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.” 53King Solomon got some men to bring Adonijah down from the altar. He came and bowed down to King Solomon. Solomon said, “Go on home.”