I Kings 1

When men exalt themselves, God very often leaves them to themselves until they are corrected with a scourge of their own making.
He that in the morning grasps at a crown,
may before night be forced to hold to the horns of the altar and beg for life.
God will be consulted.

1 Now king David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he gat no heat.

2 Wherefore his servants said unto him, Let there be sought for my lord the king a young virgin: and let her stand before the king, and let her cherish him, and let her lie in thy bosom, that my lord the king may get heat.

3 So they sought for a fair damsel throughout all the coasts of Israel, and found Abishag a Shunammite, and brought her to the king.

4 And the damsel was very fair, and cherished the king, and ministered to him: but the king knew her not.

5 ¶ Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.

6 And his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so? and he also was a very goodly man; and his mother bare him after Absalom.

7 And he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah, and with Abiathar the priest: and they following Adonijah helped him.

8 But Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and Nathan the prophet, and Shimei, and Rei, and the mighty men which belonged to David, were not with Adonijah.

9 And Adonijah slew sheep and oxen and fat cattle by the stone of Zoheleth, which is by En-rogel, and called all his brethren the king’s sons, and all the men of Judah the king’s servants:

10 But Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah, and the mighty men, and Solomon his brother, he called not.

11 ¶ Wherefore Nathan spake unto Bath-sheba the mother of Solomon, saying, Hast thou not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith doth reign, and David our lord knoweth it not?

12 Now therefore come, let me, I pray thee, give thee counsel, that thou mayest save thine own life, and the life of thy son Solomon.

13 Go and get thee in unto king David, and say unto him, Didst not thou, my lord, O king, swear unto thine handmaid, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne? why then doth Adonijah reign?

14 Behold, while thou yet talkest there with the king, I also will come in after thee, and confirm thy words.

15 ¶ And Bath-sheba went in unto the king into the chamber: and the king was very old; and Abishag the Shunammite ministered unto the king.

16 And Bath-sheba bowed, and did obeisance unto the king. And the king said, What wouldest thou?

17 And she said unto him, My lord, thou swarest by the LORD thy God unto thine handmaid, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne.

18 And now, behold, Adonijah reigneth; and now, my lord the king, thou knowest it not:

19 And he hath slain oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and hath called all the sons of the king, and Abiathar the priest, and Joab the captain of the host: but Solomon thy servant hath he not called.

20 And thou, my lord, O king, the eyes of all Israel are upon thee, that thou shouldest tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him.

21 Otherwise it shall come to pass, when my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders.

22 ¶ And, lo, while she yet talked with the king, Nathan the prophet also came in.

23 And they told the king, saying, Behold Nathan the prophet. And when he was come in before the king, he bowed himself before the king with his face to the ground.

24 And Nathan said, My lord, O king, hast thou said, Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne?

25 For he is gone down this day, and hath slain oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and hath called all the king’s sons, and the captains of the host, and Abiathar the priest; and, behold, they eat and drink before him, and say, God save king Adonijah.

26 But me, even me thy servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and thy servant Solomon, hath he not called.

27 Is this thing done by my lord the king, and thou hast not shewed it unto thy servant, who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?

28 ¶ Then king David answered and said, Call me Bath-sheba. And she came into the king’s presence, and stood before the king.

29 And the king sware, and said, As the LORD liveth, that hath redeemed my soul out of all distress,

30 Even as I sware unto thee by the LORD God of Israel, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead; even so will I certainly do this day.

31 Then Bath-sheba bowed with her face to the earth, and did reverence to the king, and said, Let my lord king David live for ever.

32 ¶ And king David said, Call me Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada. And they came before the king.

33 The king also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule, and bring him down to Gihon:

34 And let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel: and blow ye with the trumpet, and say, God save king Solomon.

35 Then ye shall come up after him, that he may come and sit upon my throne; for he shall be king in my stead: and I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah.

36 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king, and said, Amen: the LORD God of my lord the king say so too.

37 As the LORD hath been with my lord the king, even so be he with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord king David.

38 So Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, went down, and caused Solomon to ride upon king David’s mule, and brought him to Gihon.

39 And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon.

40 And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them.

41 ¶ And Adonijah and all the guests that were with him heard it as they had made an end of eating. And when Joab heard the sound of the trumpet, he said, Wherefore is this noise of the city being in an uproar?

42 And while he yet spake, behold, Jonathan the son of Abiathar the priest came: and Adonijah said unto him, Come in; for thou art a valiant man, and bringest good tidings.

43 And Jonathan answered and said to Adonijah, Verily our lord king David hath made Solomon king.

44 And the king hath sent with him Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and they have caused him to ride upon the king’s mule:

45 And Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king in Gihon: and they are come up from thence rejoicing, so that the city rang again. This is the noise that ye have heard.

46 And also Solomon sitteth on the throne of the kingdom.

47 And moreover the king’s servants came to bless our lord king David, saying, God make the name of Solomon better than thy name, and make his throne greater than thy throne. And the king bowed himself upon the bed.

48 And also thus said the king, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which hath given one to sit on my throne this day, mine eyes even seeing it.

49 And all the guests that were with Adonijah were afraid, and rose up, and went every man his way.

50 ¶ And Adonijah feared because of Solomon, and arose, and went, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.

51 And it was told Solomon, saying, Behold, Adonijah feareth king Solomon: for, lo, he hath caught hold on the horns of the altar, saying, Let king Solomon swear unto me to day that he will not slay his servant with the sword.

52 And Solomon said, If he will shew himself a worthy man, there shall not an hair of him fall to the earth: but if wickedness shall be found in him, he shall die.

53 So king Solomon sent, and they brought him down from the altar. And he came and bowed himself to king Solomon: and Solomon said unto him, Go to thine house.

1 Kings 1:1-14 – A Self-Seeker’s Scheme

   Adonijah was the fourth son of David, but probably the oldest of those who survived. He was born after Absalom, and like him was goodly in appearance, ambitious in spirit, and equally spoiled by his father’s indulgence, I Kings 1:6. His attempt to usurp the kingdom reminds us of another great usurper. Satan, we know, in one last desperate effort, will try to secure the empire of the world. But when the people rage and the rulers devise, Psalm 2:1-2, 4, Heaven will laugh at them. The Lamb that was slain is the destined King of men, Revelation 11:15. The book of destiny is in the pierced hand. The government is upon Christ’s shoulders. He declares the decree, “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psalm 110:1).
   We look out on the world which is rent by revolt. The prince of this world is attracting to himself the Joabs and Abiathars. They make merry, but do not realize that the hour is at hand when they shall cry to the rocks and the hills to fall on them and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb, Revelation 6:16. Remember the counsel of Augustine, “If you would flee from God, flee to Him!”

1 Kings 1:15-27 – Learning the King’s Will

   The attempt of the usurper was met and defeated through Nathan’s prompt action, and by the concerted appeal that he and Bathsheba made to the king, who seems to have sunk into premature old age. Bathsheba and David probably met for the last time on this dark day, and each of them must have remembered the solemn promise given them years before, through Nathan, who was still with them as friend and counselor. Much had happened since, but, amid all the changes in human affairs, the word of God is immutable and the promise of I Chronicles 22:9 must stand.
   Probably only Bathsheba and Nathan knew of that solemn compact; and, knowing it, they at once took action. It is not enough that God should make a promise to His people; they must claim its fulfillment and put themselves at His disposal, that it may be fulfilled through them. The ancient prediction that the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord is true, but we must pray for and hasten its advent.

1 Kings 1:28-40 – Anointing the Chosen One

   David aroused himself and acted with commendable prudence and celerity. The crisis required promptness of decision and energy in execution. The whole nation was waiting to know the king’s will regarding the succession to the throne, and David left no doubt as to his choice. His orders were quickly carried out by Nathan, Zadok, and Benaiah, and the royal action was also endorsed by popular acclaim.
   What tumultuous joy burst over Jerusalem when Solomon was enthroned! The earth rang again with jubilant shouts which struck terror among the guests at Adonijah’s feast. But all such opposition shall be forgotten in that day for which the whole creation—groaning in travail, Romans 8:22—waits: when Jesus shall be manifested, and those who love Him shall be manifested with Him in glory, Colossians 3:4. Then we shall hear that new song, in which ten thousand times ten thousand voices shall acknowledge that Jesus is worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing. He must reign! Revelation 5:12.

1 Kings 1:29—As the LORD liveth, that hath redeemed my soul out of all distress.

   “In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God” (2 Samuel 22:7). Never let there be distress without its cry. He will hear your voice out of his temple, and your cry will come before Him even into his ears. He will answer, and set you in a large place. There is even a gain to be won from distress, because it brings out new phases of Christ’s redemptive help.
   God redeemed David from the calumny of those who maligned him without cause. In so many of his psalms he refers to the unjust and cruel hatred which misrepresented him and his doings. But God, to whom he committed his cause, vindicated him, so that his righteousness shone as the light, and his judgment as the noonday. So He will do for you. Those who now lay all manner of unkind charges to your door will be compelled to admit your innocence. Only leave your cause with God, and be still.
   God redeemed David from all the afflictions that shadowed his early days: from his wanderings in the wilderness; from his hairbreadth escapes in the eaves; from meeting his death on many a terrible battlefield. We hardly realize, just now, how much we owe to the Angel of God’s redemption, who is ever beside us, environing us with careful love, so that no evil may approach us, or snare take our feet. Our pathway is thick with shares and dangers, as the pilgrims found it when journeying through the valley of the shadow; but there is a way out, and in the morning we shall marvel to see how we escaped.
   God redeemed David’s life from destruction. This was the greatest miracle of all, when we consider the strong passions that slumbered within him, breaking out whenever he broke loose from God’s grace.

1 Kings 1:41-53 – Justice and Brotherhood the Foundations of the State

   According to popular usage, Adonijah was the rightful heir to the throne. He was handsome and kingly in appearance and behavior. He was also in his prime, while Solomon was just out of his teens. So plausible was his address that the nation was bewildered, and old retainers of David’s throne were seduced. We are reminded in all this of the god of this world, II Corinthians 4:4, who blinds the eyes of those who believe not, lest the light of the glorious knowledge of God should shine in upon them.
   Solomon displayed remarkable clemency in dealing with Adonijah. He was willing to let bygones be bygones. He promised that if Adonijah proved himself a worthy man, no harm should befall him. But as the following chapter records, the evil that wrought in Adonijah came out in a further plot to secure the throne, and he paid the death penalty. Let us see to it that we walk, not according to the course of this world or the spirit that works in the children of disobedience, but, remembering that we have been quickened together with Christ and made to sit with Him in heavenly places, let us walk worthy of our high calling. —Through the Bible Day by Day