Adonijah sets himself up as king
1When King David was very old, he could not keep warm even when they put covers over him. 2So his attendants said to him, ‘Let us look for a young virgin to serve the king and take care of him. She can lie beside him so that our lord the king may keep warm.’
3Then they searched throughout Israel for a beautiful young woman and found Abishag, a Shunammite, and brought her to the king. 4The woman was very beautiful; she took care of the king and waited on him, but the king had no sexual relations with her.
5Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, ‘I will be king.’ So he got chariots and horses1:5 Or charioteers ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him. 6(His father had never rebuked him by asking, ‘Why do you behave as you do?’ He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom.)
7Adonijah conferred with Joab son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they gave him their support. 8But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei and Rei and David’s special guard did not join Adonijah.
9Adonijah 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 royal officials of Judah, 10but he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the special guard or his brother Solomon.
11Then Nathan asked Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, ‘Have you not heard that Adonijah, the son of Haggith, has become king, and our lord David knows nothing about it? 12Now then, let me advise you how you can save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. 13Go 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?” 14While you are still there talking to the king, I will come in and add my word to what you have said.’
15So Bathsheba went to see the aged king in his room, where Abishag the Shunammite was attending him. 16Bathsheba bowed down, prostrating herself before the king.
‘What is it you want?’ the king asked.
17She said to him, ‘My lord, you yourself swore to me your servant by the Lord your God: “Solomon your son shall become king after me, and he will sit on my throne.” 18But now Adonijah has become king, and you, my lord the king, do not know about it. 19He 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. 20My 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. 21Otherwise, as soon as my lord the king is laid to rest with his ancestors, I and my son Solomon will be treated as criminals.’
22While she was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet arrived. 23And the king was told, ‘Nathan the prophet is here.’ So he went before the king and bowed with his face to the ground.
24Nathan said, ‘Have you, my lord the king, declared that Adonijah shall be king after you, and that he will sit on your throne? 25Today 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. At this very moment they are eating and drinking with him and saying, “Long live King Adonijah!” 26But me your servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and your servant Solomon he did not invite. 27Is 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?’
David makes Solomon king
28Then King David said, ‘Call in Bathsheba.’ So she came into the king’s presence and stood before him.
29The king then took an oath: ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble, 30I will surely carry out this very day 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.’
31Then Bathsheba bowed down with her face to the ground, prostrating herself before the king, and said, ‘May my lord King David live for ever!’
32King David said, ‘Call in Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet and Benaiah son of Jehoiada.’ When they came before the king, 33he said to them: ‘Take your lord’s servants with you and put Solomon my son on my own mule and take him down to Gihon. 34There shall Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel. Blow the trumpet and shout, “Long live King Solomon!” 35Then 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.’
36Benaiah son of Jehoiada answered the king, ‘Amen! May the Lord, the God of my lord the king, so declare it. 37As 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!’
38So 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 they escorted him to Gihon. 39Zadok 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!’ 40And all the people went up after him, playing pipes and rejoicing greatly, so that the ground shook with the sound.
41Adonijah 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?’
42Even 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.’
43‘Not at all!’ Jonathan answered. ‘Our lord King David has made Solomon king. 44The 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, 45and 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. 46Moreover, Solomon has taken his seat on the royal throne. 47Also, 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 48and said, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has allowed my eyes to see a successor on my throne today.” ’
49At this, all Adonijah’s guests rose in alarm and dispersed. 50But Adonijah, in fear of Solomon, went and took hold of the horns of the altar. 51Then 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.” ’
52Solomon replied, ‘If he shows himself to be worthy, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground; but if evil is found in him, he will die.’ 53Then 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.’
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.”