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Adonijah Wants to be King

1 King David was very old. He could not keep warm. His servants covered him with blankets, but he was still cold. 2So his servants said to him, “We will find a young woman to care for you. She will lie close to you and keep you warm.” 3So the king’s servants began looking everywhere in the country of Israel for a beautiful young woman to keep the king warm. They found a girl named Abishag. She was from the city of Shunem. They brought the young woman to the king. 4The girl was very beautiful. She cared for the king and served him. But King David did not have sexual relations with her. 5–6Adonijah was the son of King David and his wife Haggith. Adonijah was a very handsome man. King David never corrected his son Adonijah. David never asked him, “Why are you doing these things?” Adonijah was born after his brother Absalom, but Adonijah became very proud and decided that he would be the next king. Adonijah wanted very much to be the king, so he got himself a chariot, horses, and 50 men to run ahead of him. 7Adonijah talked with Joab son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest. They decided to help make him the new king. 8But several men did not agree with what Adonijah was doing. These men remained loyal to David. They were Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and King David’s special guard.* So these men did not join with Adonijah. 9One day, at Zoheleth Rock near En Rogel,* Adonijah sacrificed some sheep, cows, and fat calves as a {fellowship offering}. Adonijah invited his brothers (the other sons of King David) and all of the officers from Judah. 10But Adonijah did not invite the men in his father’s special guard, his brother Solomon, Benaiah, or Nathan the prophet.

Nathan and Bathsheba Speak for Solomon

11But Nathan heard about this and went to Solomon’s mother Bathsheba. Nathan asked her, “Have you heard what Haggith’s son, Adonijah, is doing? He is making himself king. And our master, King David, knows nothing about it. 12Your life and the life of your son Solomon may be in danger. But I will tell you what you should do to save yourself. 13Go to King David and say to him, ‘My lord and king, you made a promise to me. You promised that my son Solomon would be the next king after you. So why is Adonijah becoming the new king?’ 14Then while you are still talking with him, I will come in. After you leave, I will tell the king what has happened. And that will show that what you said is true.” 15So Bathsheba went in to see the king in his bedroom. The king was very old. Abishag, the girl from Shunem, was caring for him there. 16Bathsheba bowed down before the king. The king asked, “What can I do for you?” 17Bathsheba answered, “Sir, you used the name of the Lord your God and made a promise to me. You said, ‘Your son Solomon will be the next king after me. Solomon will sit on my throne.’ 18Now, you don’t know this, but Adonijah is making himself the king. 19Adonijah {is giving a big fellowship meal. He} has killed many cows and the best sheep {for a fellowship offering}. Adonijah invited all of your sons. And he invited Abiathar the priest and Joab, the commander of your army. But he did not invite your faithful son Solomon. 20Now, my lord and king, all the people of Israel are watching you. They are waiting for you to decide who will be the next king after you. 21{You must do something before you die.} If you don’t, then after you are buried with your fathers, those men will say that Solomon and I are criminals.” 22While Bathsheba was still talking with the king, Nathan the prophet came to see him. 23The servants told the king, “Nathan the prophet is here.” Nathan went in to speak to the king. Nathan bowed down before the king 24and said, “My lord and king, did you announce that Adonijah will be the new king after you? Have you decided that Adonijah will rule the people now? 25Because today he went down {into the valley} to offer many cows and the best sheep as {fellowship} offerings. And he invited all your other sons, the commanders of the army, and Abiathar the priest. They are now eating and drinking with him. And they are saying, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ 26But he did not invite me, or Zadok the priest, or Benaiah son of Jehoiada, or your son Solomon. 27My lord and king, did you do this without telling us? Please tell us, who will be the next king after you?” 28Then King David said, “Tell Bathsheba to come in!” So Bathsheba came in before the king. 29Then the king made a promise: “The Lord God has saved me from every danger. As sure as the Lord is alive, I make this promise to you. 30Today I will do what I promised you in the past. I made that promise by the power of the Lord God of Israel. I promised that your son Solomon would be the next king after me. And I promised that he would take my place on my throne. I will keep my promise!” 31Then Bathsheba bowed down on the ground before the king. She said, “Long live King David!”

Solomon Chosen as the New King

32Then King David said, “Tell Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada to come in here.” So the three men came in to meet with the king. 33Then the king said to them, “Take my officers with you. Put my son Solomon on my own mule. Take him to Gihon Spring.* 34At that place, Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet will anoint* him to be the new king of Israel. Blow the trumpet and announce, ‘This is the new king, Solomon!’ 35Then come back here with him. Solomon will sit on my throne and be the new king in my place. I have chosen Solomon to be the ruler of Israel and Judah.” 36Benaiah son of Jehoiada answered the king, “Amen! The Lord God himself said it, my lord and king! 37My lord and king, the Lord has been with you. And now I hope the Lord will be with Solomon! And I hope King Solomon’s kingdom will grow and become even more powerful than yours, my lord and king.” 38So Zadok, Nathan, Benaiah, and the king’s officers obeyed King David. They put Solomon on King David’s mule and went with him to Gihon Spring. 39Zadok the priest carried the oil from the Holy Tent. Zadok poured the oil on Solomon’s head to show that he was the king. They blew the trumpet and all the people shouted, “Long live King Solomon!” 40Then all of the people followed Solomon into the city. The people were very happy and excited. They were playing flutes and making so much noise that the ground shook. 41Meanwhile, Adonijah and his guests with him were just finishing their meal. They heard the sound from the trumpet. Joab asked, “What is that noise? What is happening in the city?” 42While Joab was still speaking, Jonathan, son of Abiathar the priest, arrived. Adonijah said, “Come here! You are a good man.* You must be bringing good news to me.” 43But Jonathan answered, “No, it is not good news for you! King David has made Solomon the new king. 44King David sent Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and all the king’s officers with him. They put Solomon on the king’s own mule. 45Then Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anointed* Solomon at Gihon Spring. And then they went into the city. People followed them and now the people in the city are very happy. That is the noise that you hear. 46–47Solomon is even sitting on the king’s throne! Even the king’s officers are congratulating King David. They are saying, ‘King David, you are a great king! And now we pray that your God will make Solomon a great king too. We hope your God will make Solomon even more famous than you. And we hope that Solomon’s kingdom will be an even greater kingdom than yours is!’ Even King David was there! From his bed, King David bowed before Solomon 48and said, ‘Praise the Lord God of Israel. The Lord put one of my own sons on my throne. And he let me live to see it.” 49All of Adonijah’s guests were scared and left very quickly. 50Adonijah was also afraid of Solomon. So he went to the altar and held the horns of the altar.* 51Then someone told Solomon, “Adonijah is scared of you, King Solomon. Adonijah is {at the Holy Tent} holding onto the horns of the altar. And he refuses to leave. Adonijah says, ‘Tell King Solomon to promise me that he will not kill me.’” 52So Solomon answered, “If Adonijah shows that he is a good man, then I promise that not even a hair on his head will be hurt. But if he does anything wrong, then he will die.” 53Then King Solomon sent some men to get Adonijah. The men brought Adonijah to King Solomon. Adonijah came to King Solomon and bowed down. Then Solomon said, “Go home.”

Shimei, Rei … guard Or, “Shimei and his friends, the Heroes.” En Rogel A spring of water in the valley south of Jerusalem, about 1/4 mile from Gihon Spring. Gihon Spring A spring of water just outside the city walls in the valley east of Jerusalem. It was the main source of water for the city of Jerusalem. anoint(ed) To pour olive oil on a person’s head to show he was chosen by God to be a king, priest, or prophet. good man Or “important man.” This Hebrew word means a person from an important family. held the horns of the altar This showed he was asking for mercy. The law said that if a person ran into the holy place and held onto the corners of the altar he should not be punished.

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