Dave Burnette's Commentary

1 Kings Chapter 1

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Jeremiah
Date Penned: (586 BC)
Overview: A History of the Kings of Israel and Judah (c 1-22)
Theme: The United Kingdom (c 1-11)
Message: Adonijah Tries to Seize the Throne (v 1-53)

1 Kings 1 Commentary 

(1:1) The Book of Kings - Israel was near the end of the golden years of David's reign. The book of 1 Kings begins with a unified kingdom, glorious and God centered; it ends with a divided kingdom, degraded and idolatrous. The reason for Israel's decline appears obvious to us who can read the whole account in the Bible- the people and their leaders failed to obey God. But we are vulnerable to the same forces that brought about Israel's decay: greed, jealousy, selfishness, lust for power, weakening of marriage vows, and superficiality in our devotion to God. As we read about these tragic events in Israel's history, we must see ourselves in the mirror of their experiences and commit ourselves every day to following God wholeheartedly.

(1:4) David's Health has Deteriorated - David was about 70 years old. His health had deteriorated from years of hardship. Abishag served as his nurse and helped keep him warm. In times when polygamy was accepted and kings had harems, this action was not considered offensive.

(1:5) Adonijah Adonijah was David's fourth son and the logical choice to succeed him as king. David's first son, Amnon, had been killed by Absalom for having raped his sister (2 Samuel 13:20-33). David's second son, Daniel, mentioned in 2 Samuel 3:3 and 1 Chronicles 1-5, had probably died by this time. His third son, Absalom, had died in an earlier rebellion (2 Samuel 18:1-18). Although many people expected Adonijah to be the next king (1 Kings 2:13-25), David (and God) had other plans (1:29-30).

(1:5) Adonijah Tries to Seize the Throne - Adonijah decided to seize the throne without David's knowledge. He knew that Solomon, not he, was David's first choice to be the next king (1:17). This was why he did not invite Solomon and David's loyal advisers when he declared himself king (1:9-10). But his deceptive plans to gain the throne were unsuccessful. The proud Adonijah was self-exalted and self-defeating.

(1:6) Leaders have Problems - God-fearing people like David and Samuel were used by God to lead nations, but nevertheless they had significant problems in family relationships. Leaders cannot take for granted the spiritual well-being of their children. They are used to having others follow their direction, but they cannot expect their children to manufacture faith upon request. Moral and spiritual character takes years to build, and it requires constant attention and patient discipline. David served God well as a king, but as a parent he often failed both God and his children. Don't let your service to God, even in leadership positions, take up so much of your time and energy that you neglect your other God-given responsibilities.

(1:6) Adonijah Reaps a Life of Undisciplined Rearing - Because David had not adequately disciplined or reprimanded his son while he was growing up, Adonijah did not know how to live within appropriate limits. The result was that he always wanted his own way and did whatever he wished, regardless of how it affected others and without respect for God's wishes. Like his brother Absalom, he was good-looking. But no matter how cute undisciplined children may be in the eyes of their parents, undisciplined adults destroy themselves and others. As you set limits for your children and discipline them when they stray outside those limits, you are teaching them to develop the self-restraint they will need in order to become emotionally healthy and responsible adults.

(1:9) Adonijah Was Not God's Choice to be King - When Saul was anointed king, peace offerings were sacrificed as a reminder of the nation's covenant with God given at Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:5; 1 Samuel 10:8). Adonijah wanted sacrifices offered, perhaps hoping to legitimize his takeover. But Adonijah was not God's choice to succeed David. Sealing an action with a religious ceremony does not make it God's will.

(1:11-14) Nathan Takes Action -  When Nathan learned of Adonijah's conspiracy, he immediately tried to stop it. He was a man of both faith and action. He knew that Solomon should rightly be king, and he moved quickly when he saw someone else trying to take the throne. We often know what is right but hesitate to act on it. Perhaps we don't want to get involved, or maybe we are afraid of people's reactions, or maybe we are just plain lazy. Don't stop with prayer, good intentions, or angry feelings. Take the action needed to correct the situation.

(1:11) Bath-shebs'a Influence - For more on Bath-sheba, David's wife, read 2 Samuel 11-12. As the wife of the king, Bath-sheba was highly influential in the royal palace.

(1:13) Solomon is God's Choice to Be King - The Bible does not record David's promise that Solomon would be Israel's next king, but it is clear that Solomon was the choice of both David (1:17, 30) and God (1 Chronicles 22:9-10).

(1:33) Solomon Rides a Mule - We might expect King David to send a great war horse to bring his son Solomon to the ceremony; instead, Solomon rode David's mule. In David's time, mules were prized animals, ridden by the wealthy, powerful, and royal. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, he came in not on a horse but on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:7), signifying his royal status as the King of kings.

(1:39) The Sacred Oil - The sacred anointing oil was used to anoint Israel's kings and high priests, as well as to dedicate certain objects to God. The tabernacle where the oil was kept was probably the tent David had set up to shelter the ark of the covenant (2 Samuel 6:17). It was not the tabernacle Moses had carried in the wilderness; that tabernacle was still at Gibeon (see the note on 1 Samuel Zi for more details). The recipe and uses for the sacred anointing oil are found in Exodus 30:22-33. (For more on anointing, see the notes on I Samuel 10:1 and 16:13.)

(1:49) Adonijah Clutches the Alter - Adonijah thought he would be safe by clutching the horns (or corner posts) of the sacred altar of burnt offering in the courtyard of the tabernacle. By doing this, he hoped to place himself under God's protection. Solomon granted Adonijah a reprieve, hoping that this would end Adonijah's conspiracy. Unfortunately, it did not, and he was later executed (2:25). At the execution of Adonijah, Joab ran and clutched the horns of the altar, hoping for safety, but Solomon had Joab killed right at the altar (2:28-34). This punishment was appropriate justice for a cold-blooded murderer such as Joab (Exodus 21:14)

(1:49-50) Adonijah Sees His Failure -  Sometimes it takes getting caught before we are willing to give up our schemes. When Adonijah learned that his plans were doomed to fail, he ran in panic to the altar, the place of God's mercy and forgiveness. He went there, however, after his plans for treason had been exposed. If Adonijah had first considered what God wanted, he might have avoided trouble. Don't wait until you have made a mess of your life before you run to God. Seek God's guidance before you act.

(1:52-53) Adonijah Fails to Repent - While Adonijah feared for his life and expected the severest punishment, Solomon simply dismissed his brother and sent him home. As a new king, Solomon had the power to kill his rivals, something Adonijah probably would have done had his conspiracy succeeded. But Solomon acted as if he had nothing to prove, thus demonstrating his true authority and power. Sometimes forgiving a personal attack shows more strength than lashing out in revenge. Trying to prove one's power and authority often proves only one's fear and self-doubt. Only after Adonijah made another attempt to secure royal power was Solomon forced to have him executed (2:13-25).


Dave Burnette's Life Application

The Hand of God

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we start in the book of 1 Kings with Chapter 1. In our text today we see In our text today we see Solomon becomes King although Adonijah tries to seize the throne but as we read Solomon is declared King by David. In making application we see Adonijah's selfish motives as he places his will above everyone and even God himself. Today we have many that want their own will in every situation of life. God is in control and no amount of man's will can force the hand of God. I see this in the Church today as some pronounce a "name it claim it" doctrine that simply says if I want it, I can claim it in the name of Jesus and it will be mine" The truth is that if it is not God's Will it will not come to pass. God does want you to have every good thing but, just as Adonijah, we cannot force the hand of God. How about you? Do you believe you can force the hand of God? Let us learn from our text today and the life of Adonijah to realize we cannot force the Hand of God.


1 Kings 1

1 Kings 1

 1Now king David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he gat no heat.

 2Wherefore his servants said unto him, Let there be sought for my lord the king a young virgin: and let her stand before the king, and let her cherish him, and let her lie in thy bosom, that my lord the king may get heat.

 3So they sought for a fair damsel throughout all the coasts of Israel, and found Abishag a Shunammite, and brought her to the king.

 4And the damsel was very fair, and cherished the king, and ministered to him: but the king knew her not.

 5Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.

 6And his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so? and he also was a very goodly man; and his mother bare him after Absalom.

 7And he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah, and with Abiathar the priest: and they following Adonijah helped him.

 8But Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and Nathan the prophet, and Shimei, and Rei, and the mighty men which belonged to David, were not with Adonijah.

 9And Adonijah slew sheep and oxen and fat cattle by the stone of Zoheleth, which is by Enrogel, and called all his brethren the king's sons, and all the men of Judah the king's servants:

 10But Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah, and the mighty men, and Solomon his brother, he called not.

 11Wherefore Nathan spake unto Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, saying, Hast thou not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith doth reign, and David our lord knoweth it not?

 12Now therefore come, let me, I pray thee, give thee counsel, that thou mayest save thine own life, and the life of thy son Solomon.

 13Go and get thee in unto king David, and say unto him, Didst not thou, my lord, O king, swear unto thine handmaid, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne? why then doth Adonijah reign?

 14Behold, while thou yet talkest there with the king, I also will come in after thee, and confirm thy words.

 15And Bathsheba went in unto the king into the chamber: and the king was very old; and Abishag the Shunammite ministered unto the king.

 16And Bathsheba bowed, and did obeisance unto the king. And the king said, What wouldest thou?

 17And she said unto him, My lord, thou swarest by the LORD thy God unto thine handmaid, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne.

 18And now, behold, Adonijah reigneth; and now, my lord the king, thou knowest it not:

 19And he hath slain oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and hath called all the sons of the king, and Abiathar the priest, and Joab the captain of the host: but Solomon thy servant hath he not called.

 20And thou, my lord, O king, the eyes of all Israel are upon thee, that thou shouldest tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him.

 21Otherwise it shall come to pass, when my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders.

 22And, lo, while she yet talked with the king, Nathan the prophet also came in.

 23And they told the king, saying, Behold Nathan the prophet. And when he was come in before the king, he bowed himself before the king with his face to the ground.

 24And Nathan said, My lord, O king, hast thou said, Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne?

 25For he is gone down this day, and hath slain oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and hath called all the king's sons, and the captains of the host, and Abiathar the priest; and, behold, they eat and drink before him, and say, God save king Adonijah.

 26But me, even me thy servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and thy servant Solomon, hath he not called.

 27Is this thing done by my lord the king, and thou hast not shewed it unto thy servant, who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?

 28Then king David answered and said, Call me Bathsheba. And she came into the king's presence, and stood before the king.

 29And the king sware, and said, As the LORD liveth, that hath redeemed my soul out of all distress,

 30Even as I sware unto thee by the LORD God of Israel, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead; even so will I certainly do this day.

 31Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the earth, and did reverence to the king, and said, Let my lord king David live for ever.

 32And king David said, Call me Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada. And they came before the king.

 33The king also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule, and bring him down to Gihon:

 34And let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel: and blow ye with the trumpet, and say, God save king Solomon.

 35Then ye shall come up after him, that he may come and sit upon my throne; for he shall be king in my stead: and I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah.

 36And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king, and said, Amen: the LORD God of my lord the king say so too.

 37As the LORD hath been with my lord the king, even so be he with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord king David.

 38So Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, went down, and caused Solomon to ride upon king David's mule, and brought him to Gihon.

 39And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon.

 40And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them.

 41And Adonijah and all the guests that were with him heard it as they had made an end of eating. And when Joab heard the sound of the trumpet, he said, Wherefore is this noise of the city being in an uproar?

 42And while he yet spake, behold, Jonathan the son of Abiathar the priest came; and Adonijah said unto him, Come in; for thou art a valiant man, and bringest good tidings.

 43And Jonathan answered and said to Adonijah, Verily our lord king David hath made Solomon king.

 44And the king hath sent with him Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and they have caused him to ride upon the king's mule:

 45And Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king in Gihon: and they are come up from thence rejoicing, so that the city rang again. This is the noise that ye have heard.

 46And also Solomon sitteth on the throne of the kingdom.

 47And moreover the king's servants came to bless our lord king David, saying, God make the name of Solomon better than thy name, and make his throne greater than thy throne. And the king bowed himself upon the bed.

 48And also thus said the king, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which hath given one to sit on my throne this day, mine eyes even seeing it.

 49And all the guests that were with Adonijah were afraid, and rose up, and went every man his way.

 50And Adonijah feared because of Solomon, and arose, and went, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.

 51And it was told Solomon, saying, Behold, Adonijah feareth king Solomon: for, lo, he hath caught hold on the horns of the altar, saying, Let king Solomon swear unto me today that he will not slay his servant with the sword.

 52And Solomon said, If he will shew himself a worthy man, there shall not an hair of him fall to the earth: but if wickedness shall be found in him, he shall die.

 53So king Solomon sent, and they brought him down from the altar. And he came and bowed himself to king Solomon: and Solomon said unto him, Go to thine house.