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1 Kings 1:5-35 by Robert Dean
Series:Kings (2007)
Duration:58 mins 50 secs

Adonijah's Coup is Ended; 1 Kings 1:5-35


1 Kings 1:5 NASB "Now Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, 'I will be king.' So he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen with fifty men to run before him." This is really a summary statement. This has been going on for some time, he has had a mental attitude power lust wanting to usurp the throne. He would have been fully aware of the fact that Solomon was the one who the designated heir but he thinks that he, because he is the older brother, has the right of primogeniture and thinks that he has a natural-born right. He is totally self-absorbed and when he makes this statement, "I will be king," it is stated in an emphatic sense in the Hebrew. Furthermore, as we look at the second part of the verse, what he does entails a lot of forethought and planning and logistics. He is making sure that he has all of the pomp and circumstance and has a great a parade as he possibly can as he goes to the place for anointing. He wants to get everybody's attention in Jerusalem so that everybody will come out and follow him and he will accomplish his goal.


1 Kings 1:6 NASB "His father had never crossed him at any time by asking, 'Why have you done so?' And he was also a very handsome man, and he was born after Absalom." He has been spoiled most of his life. One way to guarantee that your children will grow up arrogant and self-absorbed is to always let them have their way and never teach them anything about authority orientation. One of the most important things a parent can do is instil authority orientation into his children—to respect authority, teach them self-discipline, and drill that into them in those early years. Adonijah is a classic example of a child who is allowed to get away with whatever he wants to get away with and he is now going to rebel against authority. Rebellion against authority is always wrong in the Scripture. There is never a valid rebellion against human authority unless that authority is demanding that you do something in violation of what God has instructed.

Who was Adonijah? His name [jah comes from the first syllable in the name of God, YHWH] means "My Lord is YHWH." But what he is doing is just the opposite of what his name says. He is rejecting the authority of YHWH rather than  submitting to it. He was the fourth son of David by David's wife Haggith. Cf. 2 Samuel 3:1-5, a list of the first sons born to David when he was king of Hebron. During that time there was still a civil war going on among the Jews: "Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; and David grew steadily stronger, but the house of Saul grew weaker continually. Sons were born to David at Hebron: his firstborn was Amnon, by Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; and his second, Chileab, by Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur; and the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; and the sixth, Ithream, by David's wife Eglah. These were born to David at Hebron." These were born in Hebrew during the first seven years. After that when the kingdom is united and David becomes king of all twelve tribes and moves his capital to Jerusalem we are told in 2 Samuel 5:14-16 that he had several more sons: "Now these are the names of those who were born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet." Solomon is the fourth son born after he goes to Jerusalem so he is actually the tenth sons. Adonijah is the fourth son thinks that he has a clear claim to the throne because he is a much older son than Solomon.

The conspiracy: 1 Kings 1:7 NASB "He had conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest; and following Adonijah they helped him." This is all background. He has thought about this and planned maybe for years. He has found some co-conspirators who would rather have him as king than Solomon, and they are some of his father's closest advisors. In verse 8 we see who he excluded: NASB "But Zadok the priest, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and the mighty men who belonged to David, were not with Adonijah."

Who are these people? Joab is the Commander-in-Chief of David's army. He had a violent streak in him and that was something that always bothered David. There was something about Joab that he didn't quite trust even though he had to rely very heavily on him. Joab was the son of Zeruiah who was David's half sister, so he was David's nephew. Abishai and Asahel were his two brothers. This was a violent family. The first time we meet Joab in the Scriptures is in 2 Samuel chapter two when his brothers Asahel and Abishai are killed at the time that David has his victory against Ishbosheth's rebel forces. Abner is Saul's general who has survived and when he is fleeing Asahel is chasing him and Abner kills Asahel and later Abishai. Then Joab comes along and assassinates Abner because he is afraid that Abner is going to work his way into David's favour. When that happened David truly mourned over Abner but it wasn't long before he made Joab his Commander-in-Chief. We see in Joab's character a mixture of cunning and cruelty, loyalty, and he is the one who carries out the conspiracy to put Uriah, Bathsheba's husband, up at the front of the battle but he gives David the credit for the capture of the city. There is an element of tremendous loyalty to David during that period of time. He also tried to bring a reconciliation between David and Absolom. But at the end of his life his loyalty to David faltered and he began to ally himself with Adonijah rather than with Solomon.

The second person introduced is Abiathar the high priest. He was the son of Ahimelech who was the high priest at Nob. Abathar was the one who helped David take the ark to Jerusalem, he was one of David's chief counsellors, he was sent by David back to Jerusalem to stay with Absolom during the Absolom rebellion in order to protect the king's interests. At the end of David's reign his loyalty falters and he is going to help make Adonjiah king rather than Solomon. He is the last in Eli's line. 1 Samuel begins with this really corrupt fat priest and his two evil sons. Because of his corruption and disobedience to the Lord God said that his line was going to end. It ends with Abiathar. Then the line is going to shift to another priestly line, the line of Zadok. Zadok aligns himself with David here and it is going to be the priestly family of Zadok that will serve in the Millennial temple.

Joab has the military and Abiathar has the priesthood, and that seems to indicate that God is behind this move of Adonijah's. But the ones who don't go along are equally significant. 1 Kings 1:8 NASB "But Zadok the priest, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and the mighty men who belonged to David, were not with Adonijah." This is important because Zadok represents also the priestly line. He is the son of Ahitub who according to 1 Chronicles 6:4 is a direct descendant of Eleazar, the third son of Aaron. He is serving as priest under David, along with Abiathar, and he is going to become the high priest after this revolt is taken care of and Abiathar is retired from the high priesthood.

Benaiah, whose name means YHWH has built up, is the son of Jehoiada, is the captain of David's foreign body-guard, according to 2 Samuel 8:18 and 20:23. He was also placed in command of the entire army of Israel every third month and he was renowned for his physical prowess and military skill among the core group of David's mighty men known as the thirty, mentioned in 2 Samuel 23:20-23; 1 Chronicles 11:22-25. He was loyal to David during Absolom's rebellion and he remained loyal to David during the coup of Adonjiah.

Third person mentioned here is really the most important, and that is Nathan the prophet. He is the most important because as the prophet he is the one who represents God, and from the time of the anointing of Saul by Samuel, all the way up to the time John the Baptist baptizes Jesus as the offered King of the Jews, the king of Israel is always anointed by a prophet demonstrating that God is the ultimate authority in Israel, not the king. The king only serves under God and the prophet is the one who is the king-maker and the king designator. So when Nathan doesn't throw in with Adonijah it is a clear sign that God is not backing Adonijah. But the people don't care. The people go with the person who looks like they should be king, as they did with Saul who had tremendous charisma, but again, like Adonijah he was not authority oriented, he was rebellious towards God and that eventually led to his being removed from the throne. So Nathan is the prophet, he has been a key figure in the reign of David and is the one who is going to really be instrumental in making sure that God's plan is carried out. 

The next person mentioned is Shimei. He is one of 19 men in the Old Testament who are named Shimei and this is the best-known of the group. He is a Benjamite and a kinsman of Saul. Even though 40 years have gone by there is still a faction of Benjamites who think that David took the throne away from Saul and they want to get the family of Saul back on the throne. All of this is important because God has determined the line of the seed. All these conspiracies to supplant David, to supplant the Davidic line all have to do ultimately with a key move in the angelic conflict. Satan is not mentioned here but we know that he is operating behind the scenes, just as God is. It is interesting that there is no mention of God in this section, no mention of Satan, we just see how man is carrying things out, but we do know that there is a spiritual dimension behind the scenes and that God is still working behind the scenes to bring about His purpose. So Shimei is a defendant of Saul and someone that a faction could ally itself with against David. But he is not throwing his weight behind Abiathar. Shimei was also one that cursed David at one time, in 2 Samuel 16:5, for being a man of blood, and David seemed to accept this admonition rather humbly and later allowed for the protection of Shimei. By 1 Kings chapter two Shimei shows his colours that he is just as open to conspiracy and to taking the throne from Solomon as the others.

The ceremony itself: 1 Kings 1:9 NASB "Adonijah sacrificed sheep and oxen and fatlings by the stone of Zoheleth, which is beside En-rogel; and he invited all his brothers, the king's sons, and all the men of Judah, the king's servants. [10] But he did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the mighty men, and Solomon his brother." Adonijah has clearly thought out the logistics and planned it with sheep and cattle all standing by for this enormous sacrifice. All of this sacrificing is going to take time and while that is taking place word gets back to Nathan that something is amiss.

Nathan discovers the coup and he is going to recruit Bathsheba to help him inform David. Some how David has to become engaged and to intercede and do something to stop Adonijah from seizing the throne. 1 Kings 1:11 NASB "Then Nathan spoke to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, saying, 'Have you not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith has become king, and David our lord does not know {it?} [12] So now come, please let me give you counsel and save your life and the life of your son Solomon."

1 Kings 1:13 NASB "Go at once to King David and say to him, 'Have you not, my lord, O king, sworn to your maidservant, saying, 'Surely Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne'? Why then has Adonijah become king?' [14] "Behold, while you are still there speaking with the king, I will come in after you and confirm your words." [15] So Bathsheba went in to the king in the bedroom. Now the king was very old, and Abishag the Shunammite was ministering to the king." Bathsheba comes in and shows her understanding of protocol to the king. She bows and does homage to the king. This is something that is very important here. They are in a crisis but nobody is pushing the panic button. The follow protocol, exercising self-discipline and self-control and follow correct procedure in order to inform the king of the conspiracy to seize the throne.

Bathsheba reminds David of his promise, v. 17 NASB "She said to him, 'My lord, you swore to your maidservant by the LORD your God, {saying,} 'Surely your son Solomon shall be king after me and he shall sit on my throne'." This is the first of several times that David is going to be reminded of this promise regarding Solomon. [18] 'Now, behold, Adonijah is king; and now, my lord the king, you do not know {it.}' … [20] As for you now, my lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, to tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. [21] Otherwise it will come about, as soon as my lord the king sleeps with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon will be considered offenders'." While she is still speaking, Nathan came in and confirms what she has said. [24] "Then Nathan said, "My lord the king, have you said, 'Adonijah shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne'? [25] For he has gone down today and has sacrificed oxen and fatlings and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the king's sons and the commanders of the army and Abiathar the priest, and behold, they are eating and drinking before him; and they say, '{Long} live King Adonijah!' [26] But me, {even} me your servant, and Zadok the priest and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada and your servant Solomon, he has not invited." This shows that Adonijah has an agenda, he knows who will be loyal and who will not be loyal. He is revealing by this the fact that Adonijah has been involved in this conspiracy. Once again he brings it to the king's attention. [27] "Has this thing been done by my lord the king, and you have not shown to your servants who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?" He knows very well that David has designated Solomon as king but he has to get the king engaged and to shake him out of this disengaged stupor that he is in.

Then we see David taking charge and getting involved. 1 Kings 1:28 NASB "Then King David said, 'Call Bathsheba to me.' And she came into the king's presence and stood before the king." David swears an oath. [29] "The king vowed and said, 'As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my life from all distress, [30] surely as I vowed to you by the LORD the God of Israel, saying, 'Your son Solomon shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place'; I will indeed do so this day."

In verses 32-27 David gives instructions for the coronation of Solomon. Think about how fast this has to be done, because while they are doing this Adonijah is just about a mile away having his inauguration banquet and most of the people are out celebrating the fact that he will be the kings. NASB "Then King David said, 'Call to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada.' And they came into the king's presence. The king said to them, 'Take with you the servants of your lord, and have my son Solomon ride on my own mule, and bring him down to Gihon. Let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there as king over Israel, and blow the trumpet and say, '{Long} live King Solomon!' Then you shall come up after him, and he shall come and sit on my throne and be king in my place; for I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah." Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king and said, 'Amen! Thus may the LORD, the God of my lord the king, say. As the LORD has been with my lord the king, so may He be with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David!'"

The reason David is sending them down to Gihon, for one thing, is that it is closer. As soon as they go down to the pool of Gihon and anoint Solomon word is going to get to Adonijah fairly rapidly. The idea is that Solomon is half a mile closer to the throne than Adonijah is and so they are not to waste any time, there is no pomp and circumstance, they are going to go down with the three key people, the head of the army, the high priest and the prophet, anoint Solomon and then take him directly to David's palace. He is going to sit on the throne and that will pull the rug out from under Adonijah.

Verses 38-40 describe what takes place. We have the scene related to the anointing of Solomon. NASB "So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon ride on King David's mule, and brought him to Gihon. Zadok the priest then took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet, and all the people said, '{Long} live King Solomon!' All the people went up after him, and the people were playing on flutes and rejoicing with great joy, so that the earth shook at their noise." They follow David's instructions to the letter.

In the coronation what would take place is they would bring out the horn of oil. They would take this oil from the tabernacle. This oil and the horn that it was kept in was oil that went back to the anointing of the first high priest back during the time of Moses. The horn was used because the horn indicates strength, power and authority of the leader. A bottle was made by man but a horn was made by God, so there was that implication that God was the one establishing the throne and not man. Oil was used because it symbolised honour and status. In Proverbs we are told that a good name is better than oil. Oil lasts longer than water and so it implies permanence and stability. Oil indicates that this is going to be a permanent dynasty.

Word gets to Adonijah. 1 Kings 1:41 NASB "Now Adonijah and all the guests who {were} with him heard {it} as they finished eating. When Joab heard the sound of the trumpet, he said, 'Why is the city making such an uproar?' [42] While he was still speaking, behold, Jonathan the son of Abiathar the priest came. Then Adonijah said, 'Come in, for you are a valiant man and bring good news'." Abiathar comes in and informs Adonjiah that David has made Solomon king and that this has the approval of Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah, as well as the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and at this moment Solomon was sitting on the royal throne. [48] "The king has also said thus, 'Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who has granted one to sit on my throne today while my own eyes see {it.}'"

At that point we get Adonijah's response. He learns he has been trumped and in the final scene he seeks grace from Solomon. 1 Kings 1:49 NASB "Then all the guests of Adonijah were terrified; and they arose and each went on his way. [50] And Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, and he arose, went and took hold of the horns of the altar." This was a way of seeking sanctuary. [51] "Now it was told Solomon, saying, 'Behold, Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon, for behold, he has taken hold of the horns of the altar, saying, 'Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.'" Solomon's response is very gracious. [52] "Solomon said, 'If he is a worthy man, not one of his hairs will fall to the ground; but if wickedness is found in him, he will die'."

At this time of his life he loved the Lord with all of his heart, is totally devoted to the Lord, is grace oriented, a mature believer, and he is going to deal with his enemies in grace.

What is happening here is that God is working behind the scenes to bring about and secure the promise that he made to David in the Davidic covenant: that a son of his would sit on the throne. God had indicated that that would be Solomon and it is through the line of Solomon that the Messiah is going to come. What goes on in Kings is the tracing of the seed through the line of David and Solomon and how God is protecting that despite all of the bad things that are going on. Despite the chaos of history God is still going to bring about and accomplish His plan.