David in His Old Age
1King David was now very old, and no matter how many blankets covered him, he could not keep warm. 2 So his advisers told him, “Let us find a young virgin to wait on you and look after you, my lord. She will lie in your arms and keep you warm.”
3 So they searched throughout the land of Israel for a beautiful girl, and they found Abishag from Shunem and brought her to the king. 4 The girl was very beautiful, and she looked after the king and took care of him. But the king had no sexual relations with her.
Adonijah Claims the Throne
5 About that time David’s son Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, began boasting, “I will make myself king.” So he provided himself with chariots and charioteers and recruited fifty men to run in front of him. 6 Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, “Why are you doing that?” Adonijah had been born next after Absalom, and he was very handsome.
7 Adonijah took Joab son of Zeruiah and Abiathar the priest into his confidence, and they agreed to help him become king. 8 But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and David’s personal bodyguard refused to support Adonijah.
9 Adonijah went to the Stone of Zoheleth[a] near the spring of En-rogel, where he sacrificed sheep, cattle, and fattened calves. He invited all his brothers—the other sons of King David—and all the royal officials of Judah. 10 But he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the king’s bodyguard or his brother Solomon.
11 Then Nathan went to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, and asked her, “Haven’t you heard that Haggith’s son, Adonijah, has made himself king, and our lord David doesn’t even know about it? 12 If you want to save your own life and the life of your son Solomon, follow my advice. 13 Go at once to King David and say to him, ‘My lord the king, didn’t you make a vow and say to me, “Your son Solomon will surely be the next king and will sit on my throne”? Why then has Adonijah become king?’ 14 And while you are still talking with him, I will come and confirm everything you have said.”
15 So Bathsheba went into the king’s bedroom. (He was very old now, and Abishag was taking care of him.) 16 Bathsheba bowed down before the king.
“What can I do for you?” he asked her.
17 She replied, “My lord, you made a vow before the Lord your God when you said to me, ‘Your son Solomon will surely be the next king and will sit on my throne.’ 18 But instead, Adonijah has made himself king, and my lord the king does not even know about it. 19 He has sacrificed many cattle, fattened calves, and sheep, and he has invited all the king’s sons to attend the celebration. He also invited Abiathar the priest and Joab, the commander of the army. But he did not invite your servant Solomon. 20 And now, my lord the king, all Israel is waiting for you to announce who will become king after you. 21 If you do not act, my son Solomon and I will be treated as criminals as soon as my lord the king has died.”
22 While she was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet arrived. 23 The king’s officials told him, “Nathan the prophet is here to see you.”
Nathan went in and bowed before the king with his face to the ground. 24 Nathan asked, “My lord the king, have you decided that Adonijah will be the next king and that he will sit on your throne? 25 Today he has sacrificed many cattle, fattened calves, and sheep, and he has invited all the king’s sons to attend the celebration. He also invited the commanders of the army and Abiathar the priest. They are feasting and drinking with him and shouting, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ 26 But he did not invite me or Zadok the priest or Benaiah or your servant Solomon. 27 Has my lord the king really done this without letting any of his officials know who should be the next king?”
David Makes Solomon King
28 King David responded, “Call Bathsheba!” So she came back in and stood before the king. 29 And the king repeated his vow: “As surely as the Lord lives, who has rescued me from every danger, 30 your son Solomon will be the next king and will sit on my throne this very day, just as I vowed to you before the Lord, the God of Israel.”
31 Then Bathsheba bowed down with her face to the ground before the king and exclaimed, “May my lord King David live forever!”
32 Then King David ordered, “Call Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada.” When they came into the king’s presence, 33 the king said to them, “Take Solomon and my officials down to Gihon Spring. Solomon is to ride on my own mule. 34 There Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet are to anoint him king over Israel. Blow the ram’s horn and shout, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ 35 Then escort him back here, and he will sit on my throne. He will succeed me as king, for I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah.”
36 “Amen!” Benaiah son of Jehoiada replied. “May the Lord, the God of my lord the king, decree that it happen. 37 And may the Lord be with Solomon as he has been with you, my lord the king, and may he make Solomon’s reign even greater than yours!”
38 So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the king’s bodyguard[b] took Solomon down to Gihon Spring, with Solomon riding on King David’s own mule. 39 There Zadok the priest took the flask of olive oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon with the oil. Then they sounded the ram’s horn and all the people shouted, “Long live King Solomon!” 40 And all the people followed Solomon into Jerusalem, playing flutes and shouting for joy. The celebration was so joyous and noisy that the earth shook with the sound.
41 Adonijah and his guests heard the celebrating and shouting just as they were finishing their banquet. When Joab heard the sound of the ram’s horn, he asked, “What’s going on? Why is the city in such an uproar?”
42 And while he was still speaking, Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest arrived. “Come in,” Adonijah said to him, “for you are a good man. You must have good news.”
43 “Not at all!” Jonathan replied. “Our lord King David has just declared Solomon king! 44 The king sent him down to Gihon Spring with Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, protected by the king’s bodyguard. They had him ride on the king’s own mule, 45 and Zadok and Nathan have anointed him at Gihon Spring as the new king. They have just returned, and the whole city is celebrating and rejoicing. That’s what all the noise is about. 46 What’s more, Solomon is now sitting on the royal throne as king. 47 And all the royal officials have gone to King David and congratulated him, saying, ‘May your God make Solomon’s fame even greater than your own, and may Solomon’s reign be even greater than yours!’ Then the king bowed his head in worship as he lay in his bed, 48 and he said, ‘Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who today has chosen a successor to sit on my throne while I am still alive to see it.’”
49 Then all of Adonijah’s guests jumped up in panic from the banquet table and quickly scattered. 50 Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, so he rushed to the sacred tent and grabbed on to the horns of the altar. 51 Word soon reached Solomon that Adonijah had seized the horns of the altar in fear, and that he was pleading, “Let King Solomon swear today that he will not kill me!”
52 Solomon replied, “If he proves himself to be loyal, not a hair on his head will be touched. But if he makes trouble, he will die.” 53 So King Solomon summoned Adonijah, and they brought him down from the altar. He came and bowed respectfully before King Solomon, who dismissed him, saying, “Go on home.”
Adonijah Makes Himself King
1King David was now very old. He couldn’t keep warm even when blankets were spread over him. 2 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.”
3 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. 4 The woman was very beautiful. She took care of the king and served him. But the king didn’t have sex with her.
5 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. 6 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.
7 Adonijah talked things over with Joab, the son of Zeruiah. He also talked with Abiathar the priest. They agreed to help him. 8 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.
9 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.”