1 Kings

Adonijah Wants to Be King

King David was very old and could not keep warm. His servants covered him with blankets, but he was still cold. So they said to him, “We will find a young woman to care for you. She will lie next to you and keep you warm.” So 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 young woman named Abishag, from the town of Shunem, and brought her to the king. She was very beautiful. She cared for the king and served him, but King David did not have sexual relations with her.

5-6 Adonijah was the son of King David and his wife Haggith. He was born after Absalom. Adonijah was a very handsome man. King David never corrected his son Adonijah, and he never made him explain his actions. Adonijah became very proud and decided that he would be the next king. He wanted very much to be the king, so he got himself a chariot, horses, and 50 men to run ahead of him.

Adonijah talked with Joab son of Zeruiah and Abiathar the priest. They decided to help make him the new king, but several important men did not join Adonijah. They were Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and King David’s special guard.[a]

One day, at Zoheleth Rock near En Rogel,[b] Adonijah sacrificed some sheep, cattle, and fat calves as a fellowship offering. He invited his brothers (the other sons of King David) and all the officers from Judah. 10 But he did not invite his brother Solomon, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, or the men in the king’s special guard.

Nathan Advises Bathsheba

11 When Nathan heard about this, he went to Solomon’s mother Bathsheba and 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. 12 You and your son Solomon are in danger, but I will tell you what to do to save yourself. 13 Go to King David and tell him, ‘My lord and king, you promised me that my son Solomon would be the next king after you. So why is Adonijah becoming the new king?’ 14 Then while you are still talking with him, I will come in. After you leave I will tell the king what has happened. This will show that what you said is true.”

15 So 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. 16 Bathsheba bowed down before the king. The king asked, “What can I do for you?”

17 Bathsheba 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. He will sit on my throne.’ 18 Now, you don’t know this, but Adonijah is making himself king. 19 He is giving a big fellowship meal. He has killed many cattle and the best sheep, and he has invited all of your sons to the meal. He also invited Abiathar the priest and Joab, the commander of your army, but he did not invite your faithful son Solomon. 20 Now, my lord and king, all the Israelites are watching you. They are waiting for you to decide who will be the next king after you. 21 If you don’t decide, then after you are buried, these men will say that Solomon and I are criminals.”

22 While Bathsheba was still talking with the king, Nathan the prophet came to see him. 23 The servants told the king, “Nathan the prophet is here.” Nathan went in to speak to the king. He bowed down before the king 24 and said, “My lord and king, did you announce that Adonijah will be the new king after you? Have you decided that he will rule the people now? 25 Today he went down into the valley to offer many cattle and the best sheep as fellowship offerings. 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!’ 26 But he did not invite me, or Zadok the priest, or Benaiah son of Jehoiada, or your son Solomon. 27 My lord and king, did you do this without telling us? Please tell us, who will be the next king after you?”

28 Then King David said, “Tell Bathsheba to come in!” So she came in and stood before the king.

29 Then the king made a promise: “The Lord has saved me from every danger. As surely as he lives, I make this promise to you. 30 Today I will do what I promised you in the past. I made that promise by the power of the Lord, the God of Israel. I promised that your son Solomon would be the next king after me. I promised that he would take my place on my throne, and I will keep my promise!”

31 Then Bathsheba bowed down before the king and said, “Long live King David!”

Solomon Is Anointed King

32 Then 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. 33 Then the king said to them, “Take my officers with you. Put my son Solomon on my mule and take him to Gihon Spring.[c] 34 There 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!’ 35 Then come back here with him. Solomon will sit on my throne and be the new king in my place. I have chosen him to be the ruler of Israel and Judah.”

36 Benaiah son of Jehoiada answered the king, “Amen! It is as true as if the Lord God himself had said it, my lord and king. 37 My lord and king, the Lord has been with you, and now I pray that he will be with Solomon! And I pray that King Solomon’s kingdom will grow and be even more powerful than yours, my lord and king.”

38 So Zadok, Nathan, Benaiah, and the king’s officers obeyed King David. They put Solomon on David’s mule and went with him down to Gihon Spring. 39 Zadok the priest carried the oil from the Holy Tent and poured it on Solomon’s head to show that he was the new king. They blew the trumpet and all the people shouted, “Long live King Solomon!” 40 Then all the people followed Solomon back into the city. They were very happy and excited. They were playing flutes and making so much noise that the ground shook.

41 Meanwhile, Adonijah and his guests were just finishing their meal. They heard the sound of the trumpet, and Joab asked, “What is that noise? What is happening in the city?”

42 While Joab was still speaking, Jonathan, son of Abiathar the priest, arrived. Adonijah said, “Come here! You are a good man,[d] so you must be bringing good news.”

43 But Jonathan answered, “No, it is not good news for you! King David has made Solomon the new king. 44 King David sent Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and all the king’s officers with Solomon out to Gihon Spring. They put Solomon on the king’s mule. 45 Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anointed Solomon at Gihon Spring and then went back into the city. The people followed them, and now everyone in the city is celebrating. That is the noise you hear. 46-47 Solomon is sitting on the king’s throne and the king’s officers are congratulating King David, saying, ‘King David, you are a great king!’ And now we pray that your God will make Solomon a great king too. We pray your God will make him even more famous than you. And we pray that his kingdom will be even greater than yours is! Even King David was there. From his bed, the king bowed before Solomon 48 and said, ‘Praise the Lord, the God of Israel. He has put one of my own sons on my throne, and he has let me live to see it.’”

49 All of Adonijah’s guests were afraid and left very quickly. 50 Adonijah was also afraid of Solomon, so he went to the altar and held onto the horns of the altar. 51 Then someone told Solomon, “Adonijah is afraid of you, King Solomon. He is at the Holy Tent holding onto the horns of the altar, and he refuses to leave. Adonijah says, ‘Tell King Solomon to promise that he will not kill me.’”

52 So Solomon answered, “If Adonijah shows that he is a good man, I promise that not a hair on his head will be hurt. But if he does anything wrong, he will die.” 53 Then King Solomon sent some men to get Adonijah and brought him in. He approached the king and bowed before him. Then Solomon said, “Go home.”


  1. 1 Kings 1:8 Shimei, Rei … guard Or “Shimei and his friends, the Heroes.”
  2. 1 Kings 1:9 En Rogel A spring of water in the valley south of Jerusalem, about 1/4 mile from Gihon Spring.
  3. 1 Kings 1:33 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.
  4. 1 Kings 1:42 good man Or “important man.” This Hebrew word means a person from an important family.