King David was now a very old man, and although his servants covered him with blankets, he could not keep warm.
So his officials said to him, "Your Majesty, let us find a young woman to stay with you and take care of you. She will lie close to you and keep you warm."
A search was made all over Israel for a beautiful young woman, and in Shunem they found such a woman named Abishag, and brought her to the king.
She was very beautiful, and waited on the king and took care of him, but he did not have intercourse with her.
Now that Absalom was dead, Adonijah, the son of David and Haggith, was the oldest surviving son. He was a very handsome man. David had never reprimanded him about anything, and he was ambitious to be king. He provided for himself chariots, horses, and an escort of fifty men.
He talked with Joab (whose mother was Zeruiah) and with Abiathar the priest, and they agreed to support his cause.
But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and David's bodyguards were not on Adonijah's side.
One day Adonijah offered a sacrifice of sheep, bulls, and fattened calves at Snake Rock, near the spring of Enrogel. He invited the other sons of King David and the king's officials who were from Judah to come to this sacrificial feast,
but he did not invite his half brother Solomon or Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the king's bodyguards.
Then Nathan went to Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, and asked her, "Haven't you heard that Haggith's son Adonijah has made himself king? And King David doesn't know anything about it!
If you want to save your life and the life of your son Solomon, I would advise you to
go at once to King David and ask him, "Your Majesty, didn't you solemnly promise me that my son Solomon would succeed you as king? How is it, then, that Adonijah has become king?' "
And Nathan added, "Then, while you are still talking with King David, I will come in and confirm your story."
So Bathsheba went to see the king in his bedroom. He was very old, and Abishag, the young woman from Shunem, was taking care of him.
Bathsheba bowed low before the king, and he asked, "What do you want?"
She answered, "Your Majesty, you made me a solemn promise in the name of the Lord your God that my son Solomon would be king after you.
But Adonijah has already become king, and you don't know anything about it.
He has offered a sacrifice of many bulls, sheep, and fattened calves, and he invited your sons, and Abiathar the priest, and Joab the commander of your army to the feast, but he did not invite your son Solomon.
Your Majesty, all the people of Israel are looking to you to tell them who is to succeed you as king.
If you don't, as soon as you are dead, my son Solomon and I will be treated as traitors."
She was still speaking, when Nathan arrived at the palace.
The king was told that the prophet was there, and Nathan went in and bowed low before the king.
Then he said, "Your Majesty, have you announced that Adonijah would succeed you as king?
This very day he has gone and offered a sacrifice of many bulls, sheep, and fattened calves. He invited all your sons, Joab the commander of your army, and Abiathar the priest, and right now they are feasting with him and shouting, "Long live King Adonijah!'
But he did not invite me, sir, or Zadok the priest or Benaiah or Solomon.
Did Your Majesty approve all this and not even tell your officials who is to succeed you as king?"
King David said, "Ask Bathsheba to come back in" - and she came and stood before him.
Then he said to her, "I promise you by the living Lord, who has rescued me from all my troubles,
that today I will keep the promise I made to you in the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, that your son Solomon would succeed me as king."
Bathsheba bowed low and said, "May my lord the king live forever!"
Then King David sent for Zadok, Nathan, and Benaiah. When they came in,
he said to them, "Take my court officials with you; have my son Solomon ride my own mule, and escort him down to Gihon Spring,
where Zadok and Nathan are to anoint him as king of Israel. Then blow the trumpet and shout, "Long live King Solomon!'
Follow him back here when he comes to sit on my throne. He will succeed me as king, because he is the one I have chosen to be the ruler of Israel and Judah."
"It shall be done," answered Benaiah, "and may the Lord your God confirm it!
As the Lord has been with Your Majesty, may he also be with Solomon and make his reign even more prosperous than yours."
So Zadok, Nathan, Benaiah, and the royal bodyguards put Solomon on King David's mule and escorted him to Gihon Spring.
Zadok took the container of olive oil which he had brought from the Tent of the Lord's presence, and anointed Solomon. They blew the trumpet, and all the people shouted, "Long live King Solomon!"
Then they all followed him back, shouting for joy and playing flutes, making enough noise to shake the ground.
As Adonijah and all his guests were finishing the feast, they heard the noise. And when Joab heard the trumpet, he asked, "What's the meaning of all that noise in the city?"
Before he finished speaking, Jonathan, the son of the priest Abiathar, arrived. "Come on in," Adonijah said. "You're a good man - you must be bringing good news."
"I'm afraid not," Jonathan answered. "His Majesty King David has made Solomon king.
He sent Zadok, Nathan, Benaiah, and the royal bodyguards to escort him. They had him ride on the king's mule,
and Zadok and Nathan anointed him as king at Gihon Spring. Then they went into the city, shouting for joy, and the people are now in an uproar. That's the noise you just heard.
Solomon is now the king.
What is more, the court officials went in to pay their respects to His Majesty King David and said, "May your God make Solomon even more famous than you, and may Solomon's reign be even more prosperous than yours.' Then King David bowed in worship on his bed
and prayed, "Let us praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who has today made one of my descendants succeed me as king, and has let me live to see it!' "
Then Adonijah's guests were afraid, and they all got up and left, each going his own way.
Adonijah, in great fear of Solomon, went to the Tent of the Lord's presence and took hold of the corners of the altar.
King Solomon was told that Adonijah was afraid of him and that he was holding on to the corners of the altar and had said, "First, I want King Solomon to swear to me that he will not have me put to death."
Solomon replied, "If he is loyal, not even a hair on his head will be touched; but if he is not, he will die."
King Solomon then sent for Adonijah and had him brought down from the altar. Adonijah went to the king and bowed low before him, and the king said to him, "You may go home."
When David was about to die, he called his son Solomon and gave him his last instructions:
"My time to die has come. Be confident and determined,
and do what the Lord your God orders you to do. Obey all his laws and commands, as written in the Law of Moses, so that wherever you go you may prosper in everything you do.
If you obey him, the Lord will keep the promise he made when he told me that my descendants would rule Israel as long as they were careful to obey his commands faithfully with all their heart and soul.
"There is something else. You remember what Joab did to me by killing the two commanders of Israel's armies, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. You remember how he murdered them in time of peace as revenge for deaths they had caused in time of war. He killed innocent men, and now I bear the responsibility for what he did, and I suffer the consequences.
You know what to do; you must not let him die a natural death.
"But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai from Gilead and take care of them, because they were kind to me when I was fleeing from your brother Absalom.
"There is also Shimei son of Gera, from the town of Bahurim in Benjamin. He cursed me bitterly the day I went to Mahanaim, but when he met me at the Jordan River, I gave him my solemn promise in the name of the Lord that I would not have him killed.
But you must not let him go unpunished. You know what to do, and you must see to it that he is put to death."
David died and was buried in David's City.
He had been king of Israel for forty years, ruling seven years in Hebron and thirty-three years in Jerusalem.
Solomon succeeded his father David as king, and his royal power was firmly established.
Then Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, went to Bathsheba, who was Solomon's mother. "Is this a friendly visit?" she asked. "It is," he answered,
and then he added, "I have something to ask of you." "What is it?" she asked.
He answered, "You know that I should have become king and that everyone in Israel expected it. But it happened differently, and my brother became king because it was the Lord's will.
And now I have one request to make; please do not refuse me." "What is it?" Bathsheba asked.
He answered, "Please ask King Solomon - I know he won't refuse you - to let me have Abishag, the young woman from Shunem, as my wife."
"Very well," she answered. "I will speak to the king for you."
So Bathsheba went to the king to speak to him on behalf of Adonijah. The king stood up to greet his mother and bowed to her. Then he sat on his throne and had another one brought in on which she sat at his right.
She said, "I have a small favor to ask of you; please do not refuse me." "What is it, mother?" he asked. "I will not refuse you."
She answered, "Let your brother Adonijah have Abishag as his wife."
"Why do you ask me to give Abishag to him?" the king asked. "You might as well ask me to give him the throne too. After all, he is my older brother, and Abiathar the priest and Joab are on his side!"
Then Solomon made a solemn promise in the Lord's name, "May God strike me dead if I don't make Adonijah pay with his life for asking this!
The Lord has firmly established me on the throne of my father David; he has kept his promise and given the kingdom to me and my descendants. I swear by the living Lord that Adonijah will die this very day!"
So King Solomon gave orders to Benaiah, who went out and killed Adonijah.
Then King Solomon said to Abiathar the priest, "Go to your country home in Anathoth. You deserve to die, but I will not have you put to death now, for you were in charge of the Lord's Covenant Box while you were with my father David, and you shared in all his troubles."
Then Solomon dismissed Abiathar from serving as a priest of the Lord, and so made come true what the Lord had said in Shiloh about the priest Eli and his descendants.
Joab heard what had happened. (He had supported Adonijah, but not Absalom.) So he fled to the Tent of the Lord's presence and took hold of the corners of the altar.
When the news reached King Solomon that Joab had fled to the Tent and was by the altar, Solomon sent a messenger to Joab to ask him why he had fled to the altar. Joab answered that he had fled to the Lord because he was afraid of Solomon. So King Solomon sent Benaiah to kill Joab.
He went to the Tent of the Lord's presence and said to Joab, "The king orders you to come out." "No," Joab answered. "I will die here." Benaiah went back to the king and told him what Joab had said.
"Do what Joab says," Solomon answered. "Kill him and bury him. Then neither I nor any other of David's descendants will any longer be held responsible for what Joab did when he killed innocent men.
The Lord will punish Joab for those murders, which he committed without my father David's knowledge. Joab killed two innocent men who were better men than he: Abner, commander of the army of Israel, and Amasa, commander of the army of Judah.
The punishment for their murders will fall on Joab and on his descendants forever. But the Lord will always give success to David's descendants who sit on his throne."
So Benaiah went to the Tent of the Lord's presence and killed Joab, and he was buried at his home in the open country.
The king made Benaiah commander of the army in Joab's place and put Zadok the priest in Abiathar's place.
Then the king sent for Shimei and said to him, "Build a house for yourself here in Jerusalem. Live in it and don't leave the city.
If you ever leave and go beyond Kidron Brook, you will certainly die - and you yourself will be to blame."
"Very well, Your Majesty," Shimei answered. "I will do what you say." So he lived in Jerusalem a long time.
Three years later, however, two of Shimei's slaves ran away to the king of Gath, Achish son of Maacah. When Shimei heard that they were in Gath,
he saddled his donkey and went to King Achish in Gath, to find his slaves. He found them and brought them back home.
When Solomon heard what Shimei had done,
he sent for him and said, "I made you promise in the Lord's name not to leave Jerusalem. And I warned you that if you ever did, you would certainly die. Did you not agree to it and say that you would obey me?
Why, then, have you broken your promise and disobeyed my command?
You know very well all the wrong that you did to my father David. The Lord will punish you for it.
But he will bless me, and he will make David's kingdom secure forever."
Then the king gave orders to Benaiah, who went out and killed Shimei. Solomon was now in complete control.