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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 1

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1 KING David was now a very old man, and, though they wrapped clothes round him, he could not keep warm. 2His attendants said to him, ‘Let us find a young virgin for your majesty, to attend you and take care of you; and let her lie in your arms, sir, and make you warm.’ 3After searching throughout Israel for a beautiful maiden, they found Abishag, a Shunammite, and brought her to the king. 4She was a very beautiful girl. She took care of the king and waited on him, but he did not have intercourse with her.

5Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, was boasting that he was to be king. He provided himself with chariots and horses and fifty outrunners. 6His father never corrected him or asked why he behaved as he did. He was next in age to Absalom, and was a very handsome man too. 7He took counsel with Joab son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they assured him of their support; 8but Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and David's bodyguard of heroes did not take his side. 9Adonijah then held a sacrifice of sheep, oxen, and buffaloes at the stone Zoheleth beside En-rogel; he invited all his royal brothers and all those officers of the household who were of the tribe of Judah, 10but he did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah and the bodyguard, or Solomon his brother.

11Nathan said to Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, ‘Have you not heard that Adonijah son of Haggith has become king, without the knowledge of our lord David? 12Now come, let me advise you what to do for your own safety and for the safety of your son Solomon. 13Go in at once to the king and say to him, “Did not your majesty swear to me, your servant, that my son Solomon should succeed you as king, and that it was he who should sit on your throne? Why then has Adonijah become king?” 14While you are still there speaking to the king, I shall come in after you and confirm your words.’

15Bathsheba went to the king in his private chamber; he was now very old, and Abishag the Shunammite was waiting on him. 16Bathsheba bowed before the king and did obeisance. ‘What is your request?’ asked the king. 17She answered, ‘My lord, you yourself swore to me your servant, by the LORD your God, that my son Solomon should succeed you as king and sit on your throne. 18But now, here is Adonijah become king, all unknown to your majesty. 19He has sacrificed great numbers of oxen, buffaloes, and sheep, and has invited to the feast all the king's sons, with Abiathar the priest and Joab the commander-in-chief, but he has not invited your servant Solomon. 20Your majesty, all Israel is now looking to you to announce your successor on the throne. 21Otherwise, when you, sir, rest with your forefathers, my son Solomon and I will be treated as criminals.’

22Bathsheba was still addressing the king when Nathan the prophet arrived. 23The king was informed that Nathan was there; he came into the king's presence and prostrated himself. 24‘My lord,’ he said, ‘has your majesty declared that Adonijah should succeed you and sit on your throne? 25He has today gone down and sacrificed great numbers of oxen, buffaloes, and sheep, and has invited to the feast all the king's sons, the commanders of the army, and Abiathar the priest; and at this very moment they are eating and drinking in his presence and shouting, “Long live King Adonijah!” 26But he has not invited me your servant, Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, or your servant Solomon. 27Has this been done by your majesty's authority? You have not told us your servants who should succeed you on the throne.’

28King David said, ‘Call Bathsheba,’ and when she came into his presence and stood before him, 29the king swore an oath to her: ‘As the LORD lives, who has delivered me from all my troubles, 30I swore by the LORD the God of Israel that Solomon your son should succeed me and that he should sit on my throne; this day I give effect to my oath.’ 31Bathsheba bowed low to the king, did obeisance, and said, ‘May my lord King David live for ever!’

32King David said, ‘Summon Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada,’ and, when they came into the king's presence, 33he gave them this order: ‘Take the officers of the household with you; mount my son Solomon on the king's mule and escort him down to Gihon. 34There let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel. Then sound the trumpet and shout, “Long live King Solomon!” 35When you escort him home again let him come and sit on my throne and reign in my place; for he is the man that I have designated to be prince over Israel and Judah.’ 36Benaiah son of Jehoiada answered the king, ‘It will be done. And may the LORD, the God of my lord the king, confirm it! 37As the LORD has been with your majesty, so may he be with Solomon; may he make his throne even greater than the throne of my lord King David.’

38Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, together with the Kerethite and Pelethite guards, went down and, mounting Solomon on King David's mule, they escorted him to Gihon. 39Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the Tent of the LORD a 1:39 the Tent…LORD: lit. the tent, cp. 2:28. and anointed Solomon; they sounded the trumpet and all the people shouted, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ 40Then all the people escorted him home in procession, with great rejoicing and playing of pipes, so that the very earth split with the noise.

41Adonijah and his guests had just finished their banquet when the noise reached their ears. On hearing the sound of the trumpet, Joab exclaimed, ‘What is the meaning of this uproar in the city?’ 42Even as he was speaking, Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest arrived. ‘Come in,’ said Adonijah. ‘You are an honourable man and must be a bringer of good news.’ 43‘Far from it,’ Jonathan replied; ‘our lord King David has made Solomon king. 44He has sent with him Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, together with the Kerethite and Pelethite guards, and they have mounted Solomon on the king's mule, 45and Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king at Gihon. They have now escorted him home rejoicing, and the city is in an uproar. That was the noise you heard. 46More than that, Solomon has taken his seat on the royal throne. 47Yes, and the officers of the household have been to our lord, King David, and greeted him in this fashion: “May your God make the name of Solomon your son more famous than your own and his throne even greater than yours,” and the king bowed upon his couch. 48What is more, he said this: “Blessed be the LORD the God of Israel who has set a successor on my throne this day while I am still alive to see it.” ’

49Adonijah's guests all rose in panic and dispersed. 50Adonijah himself, in fear of Solomon, went at once to the altar and grasped hold of its horns. 51A message was sent to Solomon: ‘Adonijah, in his fear of King Solomon, is clinging to the horns of the altar; he says, “Let King Solomon swear to me here and now that he will not put his servant to the sword.” ’ 52Solomon said, ‘If he proves himself an honourable man, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground; but if he is found making trouble, he must die.’ 53Then King Solomon sent and had him brought down from the altar. He came in and prostrated himself before the king, and Solomon said to him, ‘Go to your house.’

Notes:

a 1:39 the Tent…LORD: lit. the tent, cp. 2:28.

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