Adonijah Tries to Seize the Throne
1 King David was very old;tn Heb “was old, coming into the days” (i.e., advancing in years). even when they covered him with blankets,tn Or “garments.” he could not get warm.
2 His servants advisedtn Heb “said to.” him, “A young virgin must be found for our master, the king,tn Heb “let them seek for my master, the king, a young girl, a virgin.” The third person plural subject of the verb is indefinite (see GKC 460 §144.f). The appositional expression, “a young girl, a virgin,” is idiomatic; the second term specifically defines the more general first term (see IBHS 230 §12.3b). to take care of the king’s needstn Heb “and she will stand before the king.” The Hebrew phrase “stand before” can mean “to attend; to serve” (BDB 764 s.v. עָמַד). and serve as his nurse. She can also sleep with youtn Heb “and she will lie down in your bosom.” The expression might imply sexual intimacy (see 2 Sam 12:3 [where the lamb symbolizes Bathsheba] and Mic 7:5), though v. 4b indicates that David did not actually have sex with the young woman. and keep our master, the king, warm.”tn Heb “and my master, the king, will be warm.”
3 So they looked through all Israeltn Heb “through all the territory of Israel.” for a beautiful young woman and found Abishag, a Shunammite, and brought her to the king.
4 The young woman was very beautiful; she became the king’s nurse and served him, but the king did not have sexual relations with her.tn Heb “did not know her.”
5 Now Adonijah, son of David and Haggith,tn Heb “son of Haggith,” but since this formula usually designates the father (who in this case was David), the translation specifies that David was Adonijah’s father.sn Haggith was one of David’s wives (2 Sam 3:4; 2 Chr 3:2). was promoting himself,tn Heb “lifting himself up.” boasting,tn Heb “saying.” “I will be king!” He managed to acquiretn Or “he acquired for himself.” chariots and horsemen, as well as fifty men to serve as his royal guard.tn Heb “to run ahead of him.”
6 (Now his father had never correctedtn Or “disciplined.” himtn Heb “did not correct him from his days.” The phrase “from his days” means “from his earliest days,” or “ever in his life.” See GKC 382 §119.w, n. 2. by saying, “Why do you do such things?” He was also very handsome and had been born right after Absalom.tn Heb “and she gave birth to him after Absalom.” This does not imply they had the same mother; Absalom’s mother was Maacah, not Haggith (2 Sam 3:4).)
7 He collaboratedtn Heb “his words were.” with Joab son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they supportedtn Heb “helped after” (i.e., stood by). him.tn Heb “Adonijah.” The proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“him”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.
8 But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and David’s elite warriorstn Or “bodyguard” (Heb “mighty men”). did not ally themselvestn Heb “were not.” with Adonijah.
9 Adonijah sacrificed sheep, cattle, and fattened steers at the Stone of Zoheleth near En Rogel. He invited all his brothers, the king’s sons,tc The ancient Greek version omits this appositional phrase. as well as all the men of Judah, the king’s servants.
10 But he did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the elite warriors,tn Or “bodyguard” (Heb “mighty men”). or his brother Solomon.
11 Nathan said to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, “Has it been reported to youtn Heb “Have you not heard?” that Haggith’s son Adonijah has become king behind our master David’s back?tn Heb “and our master David does not know.”
12 Nowtn Heb “now, come.” The imperative of הָלַךְ (halakh) is here used as an introductory interjection. See BDB 234 s.v. חָלַךְ. let me give you some advice as to howtn Or “so that.” you can save your life and your son Solomon’s life.
13 Visittn Heb “come, go to.” The imperative of הָלַךְ (halakh) is here used as an introductory interjection. See BDB 234 s.v. חָלַךְ. King David and say to him, ‘My master, O king, did you not solemnly promisetn Or “swear an oath to.” your servant, “Surely your son Solomon will be king after me; he will sit on my throne”? So why has Adonijah become king?’
14 Whiletn In the Hebrew text the sentence is introduced by the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”), which here draws attention to Nathan’s concluding word of assurance and support. For this use of the word, see HALOT 252 s.v. הִנֵּה. you are still there speaking to the king, I will arrivetc The Hebrew text reads, “I will come after you.” and verify your report.”tn Heb “fill up [i.e., confirm] your words.”
15 So Bathsheba visited the king in his private quarters.tn Or “bedroom.” (The king was very old, and Abishag the Shunammite was serving the king.)
16 Bathsheba bowed down on the floor beforetn Heb “bowed low and bowed down to.” the king. The king said, “What do you want?”
17 She replied to him, “My master, you swore an oath to your servant by the Lord your God, ‘Solomon your son will be king after me and he will sit on my throne.’
18 But now, look, Adonijah has become king! But you,tc Instead of עַתָּה (’attah, “now”) many Hebrew mss, along with the Old Greek, Syriac Peshitta, and Latin Vulgate, have the similar sounding independent pronoun אַתָּה (’attah, “you”). This reading is followed in the present translation. my master the king, are not even aware of it!tn Heb “you do not know [about it].”
19 He has sacrificed many cattle, steers, and sheep and has invited all the king’s sons, Abiathar the priest, and Joab, the commander of the army, but he has not invited your servant Solomon.
20 Now,tc Many Hebrew mss have עַתָּה (’attah, “now”) rather than the similar sounding independent pronoun אַתָּה (’attah, “you”). my master, O king, all Israel is watching anxiously to see who is named to succeed my master the king on the throne.tn Heb “the eyes of all Israel are upon you to declare to them who will sit on the throne of my master the king after him.”
21 If a decision is not made,tn The words “if a decision is not made” are added for clarification. when my master the king is buried with his ancestors,tn Heb “lies down with his fathers.” my son Solomon and Itn Heb “I and my son Solomon.” The order has been reversed in the translation for stylistic reasons. will be considered state criminals.”tn Heb “will be guilty”; NASB “considered offenders”; TEV “treated as traitors.”
22 Just then,tn Heb “look.” The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) here draws attention to Nathan’s arrival and invites the audience to view the scene through the eyes of the participants. while she was still speaking to the king, Nathan the prophet arrived.
23 The king was told, “Nathan the prophet is here.” Nathan entered and bowed before the king with his face to the floor.tn Heb “ground.” Since this was indoors, “floor” is more appropriate than “ground.”
24 Nathan said, “My master, O king, did you announce, ‘Adonijah will be king after me; he will sit on my throne’?
25 For today he has gone down and sacrificed many cattle, steers, and sheep and has invited all the king’s sons, the army commanders, and Abiathar the priest. At this momenttn Heb “look.” they are having a feasttn Heb “eating and drinking.” in his presence, and they have declared, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’tn Heb “let the king, Adonijah, live!”
26 But he did not invite me – your servant – or Zadok the priest, or Benaiah son of Jehoiada, or your servant Solomon.
27 Has my master the king authorized this without informing your servantstc Many Hebrew mss and ancient textual witnesses agree with the Qere in reading this as singular, “your servant.” who should succeed my master the king on his throne?”tn Heb “From my master the king is this thing done, and you did not make known to your servants who will sit on the throne of my master the king after him?”
David Picks Solomon as His Successor
28 King David responded,tn Heb “answered and said.” “Summon Bathsheba!”sn Summon Bathsheba. Bathsheba must have left the room when Nathan arrived (see 1:22). She came and stood before the king.tn Heb “she came before the king and stood before the king.”
29 The king swore an oath: “As certainly as the Lord lives (he who has rescued metn Or “ransomed my life.” from every danger),
30 I will keeptn Or “carry out, perform.” today the oath I swore to you by the Lord God of Israel: ‘Surely Solomon your son will be king after me; he will sit in my place on my throne.’”
31 Bathsheba bowed down to the king with her face to the floortn Heb “bowed low, face [to] the ground, and bowed down to the king.” and said, “May my master, King David, live forever!”
32 King David said, “Summon Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet,sn Summon…Nathan. Nathan must have left the room when Bathsheba reentered. and Benaiah son of Jehoiada.” They came before the king,
33 and hetn Heb “the king.” told them, “Take your master’stn The plural form is used in the Hebrew text to indicate honor and authority. servants with you, put my son Solomon on my mule, and lead him down to Gihon.tn Heb “mount Solomon my son on the mule that belongs to me and take him down to Gihon.”
34 There Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet will anointtn Or “designate” (i.e., by anointing with oil). him king over Israel; then blow the trumpet and declare, ‘Long live King Solomon!’
35 Then follow him up as he comes and sits on my throne. He will be king in my place; I have decreedtn Or “commanded.” that he will be ruler over Israel and Judah.”
36 Benaiah son of Jehoiada respondedtn Heb “answered and said.” to the king: “So be it!tn Or “Amen.” May the Lord God of my master the king confirm it!tn Heb “So may the Lord God of my master the king say.”
37 As the Lord is with my master the king, so may he be with Solomon, and may he make him an even greater king than my master King David!”tn Heb “and may he make his throne greater than the throne of my master King David.”
38 So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Kerethites, and the Pelethitessn The Kerethites and Pelethites were members of David’s royal guard (see 2 Sam 8:18). The Kerethites may have been descendants of an ethnic group originating in Crete. went down, put Solomon on King David’s mule, and led him to Gihon.
39 Zadok the priest took a horn filled with olive oiltn Heb “the horn of oil.” This has been specified as olive oil in the translation for clarity.sn A horn filled with oil. An animal’s horn was used as an oil flask in the anointing ceremony. from the tent and poured it ontn Or “anointed.” Solomon; the trumpet was blown and all the people declared, “Long live King Solomon!”
40 All the people followed him up, playing flutes and celebrating so loudly they made the ground shake.tn Heb “and all the people went up after him, and the people were playing flutes and rejoicing with great joy and the ground split open at the sound of them.” The verb בָּקַע (baqa’, “to split open”), which elsewhere describes the effects of an earthquake, is obviously here an exaggeration for the sake of emphasis.
41 Now Adonijah and all his guests heard the commotion just as they had finished eating.tn Heb “And Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard, now they had finished eating.” When Joab heard the sound of the trumpet, he asked, “Why is there such a noisy commotion in the city?”tn Heb “Why is the city’s sound noisy?”
42 As he was still speaking, Jonathantn The Hebrew text has “look” at this point. The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh), “look draws attention to Jonathan’s arrival and invites the audience to view the scene through the eyes of the participants. son of Abiathar the priest arrived. Adonijah said, “Come in, fortn Or “surely.” an important man like you must be bringing good news.”tn Heb “you are a man of strength [or “ability”] and you bring a message [that is] good.” Another option is to understand the phrase אִישׁ חַיִל (’ish khayil) in the sense of “a worthy man,” that is “loyal.” See also 1 Kgs 1:52 and HALOT 311 s.v. חַיִל.
43 Jonathan repliedtn Heb “answered and said.” to Adonijah: “No!tn For a similar use of אֲבָל (’aval), see Gen 17:19, where God rejects Abraham’s proposal and offers an alternative. Our mastertn The plural form is used in the Hebrew text to indicate honor and authority. King David has made Solomon king.
44 The king sent with him Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Kerethites, and the Pelethites and they put him on the king’s mule.
45 Then Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anointedtn I.e., designated by anointing with oil. him king in Gihon. They went up from there rejoicing, and the city is in an uproar. That is the sound you hear.
46 Furthermore, Solomon has assumed the royal throne.tn Heb “And also Solomon sits on the throne of the kingdom.”
47 The king’s servants have even come to congratulatetn Heb “to bless.” our mastertn The plural form is used in the Hebrew text to indicate honor and authority. King David, saying, ‘May your Godtc Many Hebrew mss agree with the Qere in reading simply “God.” make Solomon more famous than you and make him an even greater king than you!’tn Heb “make the name of Solomon better than your name, and make his throne greater than your throne.” The term שֵׁם (shem, “name”) is used here of one’s fame and reputation. Then the king leanedtn Or “bowed down; worshiped.” on the bed
48 and saidtn The Hebrew text reads, “and the king said.” this: ‘The Lord God of Israel is worthy of praise becausetn Or “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who….” In this blessing formula אֲשֶׁר (’asher, “who; because”) introduces the reason why the one being blessed deserves the honor. today he has placed a successor on my throne and allowed me to see it.’”tn Heb “and my eyes are seeing.”
49 All of Adonijah’s guests panicked;tn Or “were afraid, trembled.” they jumped up and rushed off their separate ways.
50 Adonijah feared Solomon, so he got up and went and grabbed hold of the horns of the altar.sn Grabbed hold of the horns of the altar. The “horns” of the altar were the horn-shaped projections on the four corners of the altar (see Exod 27:2). By going to the holy place and grabbing hold of the horns of the altar, Adonijah was seeking asylum from Solomon.
51 Solomon was told, “Look, Adonijah fears you;tn Heb “King Solomon.” The name and title have been replaced by the pronoun (“you”) in the translation for stylistic reasons. see, he has taken hold of the horns of the altar, saying, ‘May King Solomon solemnly promisetn Or “swear an oath to.” me today that he will not kill his servant with the sword.’”
52 Solomon said, “If he is a loyal subject,tn Heb “if he is a man of strength [or ability].” In this context, where Adonijah calls himself a “servant,” implying allegiance to the new king, the phrase אִישׁ חַיִל (’ish khayil) probably carries the sense of “a worthy man,” that is, “loyal” (see HALOT 311 s.v. חַיִל). not a hair of his head will be harmed, but if he is found to be a traitor,tn Heb “but if evil is found in him.” he will die.”
53 King Solomon sent men to bring him downtn Heb “sent and they brought him down.” from the altar. He came and bowed down to King Solomon, and Solomon told him, “Go home.”tn Heb “Go to your house.”
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