King David grew old. The years had caught up with him. Even though they piled blankets on him, he couldn't keep warm.
So his servants said to him, "We're going to get a young virgin for our master the king to be at his side and look after him; she'll get in bed with you and arouse our master the king."
So they searched the country of Israel for the most ravishing girl they could find; they found Abishag the Shunammite and brought her to the king.
The girl was stunningly beautiful; she stayed at his side and looked after the king, but the king did not have sex with her.
At this time Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, puffed himself up saying, "I'm the next king!" He made quite a splash, with chariots and riders and fifty men to run ahead of him.
His father had spoiled him rotten as a child, never once reprimanding him. Besides that, he was very good-looking and the next in line after Absalom.
Adonijah talked with Joab son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they threw their weight on his side.
But neither the priest Zadok, nor Benaiah son of Jehoiada, nor Nathan the prophet, nor Shimei and Rei, nor David's personal bodyguards supported Adonijah.
Next Adonijah held a coronation feast, sacrificing sheep, cattle, and grain-fed heifers at the Stone of Zoheleth near the Rogel Spring. He invited all his brothers, the king's sons, and everyone in Judah who had position and influence -
but he did not invite the prophet Nathan, Benaiah, the bodyguards, or his brother Solomon.
Nathan went to Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, "Did you know that Adonijah, Haggith's son, has taken over as king, and our master David doesn't know a thing about it?
Quickly now, let me tell you how you can save both your own life and Solomon's.
Go immediately to King David. Speak up: 'Didn't you, my master the king, promise me, "Your son Solomon will be king after me and sit on my throne"? So why is Adonijah now king?'
While you're there talking with the king, I'll come in and corroborate your story."
Bathsheba went at once to the king in his palace bedroom. He was so old! Abishag was at his side making him comfortable.
As Bathsheba bowed low, honoring the king, he said, "What do you want?"
"My master," she said, "you promised me in God's name, 'Your son Solomon will be king after me and sit on my throne.'
And now look what's happened - Adonijah has taken over as king, and my master the king doesn't even know it!
He has thrown a huge coronation feast - cattle and grain-fed heifers and sheep - inviting all the king's sons, the priest Abiathar, and Joab head of the army. But your servant Solomon was not invited.
My master the king, every eye in Israel is watching you to see what you'll do - to see who will sit on the throne of my master the king after him.
If you fail to act, the moment you're buried my son Solomon and I are as good as dead."
Abruptly, while she was telling the king all this, Nathan the prophet came in
and was announced: "Nathan the prophet is here." He came before the king, honoring him by bowing deeply, his face touching the ground.
"My master the king," Nathan began, "did you say, 'Adonijah shall be king after me and sit on my throne'?
Because that's what's happening. He's thrown a huge coronation feast - cattle, grain-fed heifers, sheep - inviting all the king's sons, the army officers, and Abiathar the priest. They're having a grand time, eating and drinking and shouting, 'Long live King Adonijah!'
But I wasn't invited, nor was the priest Zadok, nor Benaiah son of Jehoiada, nor your servant Solomon.
Is this something that my master the king has done behind our backs, not telling your servants who you intended to be king after you?"
King David took action: "Get Bathsheba back in here." She entered and stood before the king.
The king solemnly promised, "As God lives, the God who delivered me from every kind of trouble,
I'll do exactly what I promised in God's name, the God of Israel: Your son Solomon will be king after me and take my place on the throne. And I'll make sure it happens this very day."
Bathsheba bowed low, her face to the ground. Kneeling in reverence before the king she said, "Oh, may my master, King David, live forever!"
King David said, "Call Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada." They came to the king.
Then he ordered, "Gather my servants, then mount my son Solomon on my royal mule and lead him in procession down to Gihon.
When you get there, Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet will anoint him king over Israel. Then blow the ram's horn trumpet and shout, 'Long live King Solomon!'
You will then accompany him as he enters and takes his place on my throne, succeeding me as king. I have named him ruler over Israel and Judah."
Benaiah son of Jehoiada backed the king: "Yes! And may God, the God of my master the king, confirm it!
Just as God has been with my master the king, may he also be with Solomon and make his rule even greater than that of my master King David!"
Then Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the king's personal bodyguard (the Kerethites and Pelethites) went down, mounted Solomon on King David's mule, and paraded with him to Gihon.
Zadok the priest brought a flask of oil from the sanctuary and anointed Solomon. They blew the ram's horn trumpet and everyone shouted, "Long live King Solomon!"
Everyone joined the fanfare, the band playing and the people singing, the very earth reverberating to the sound.
Adonijah and his retinue of guests were just finishing their "coronation" feast when they heard it. When Joab heard the blast of the ram's horn trumpet he said, "What's going on here? What's all this uproar?"
Suddenly, in the midst of the questioning, Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest, showed up. Adonijah said, "Welcome! A brave and good man like you must have good news."
But Jonathan answered, "Hardly! Our master King David has just made Solomon king!
And the king has surrounded him with Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, with the Kerethites and Pelethites; and they've mounted Solomon on the royal mule.
Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king at Gihon and the parade is headed up this way singing - a great fanfare! The city is rocking! That's what you're hearing.
Here's the crowning touch - Solomon is seated on the throne of the kingdom!
And that's not all: The king's servants have come to give their blessing to our master King David saying, 'God make Solomon's name even more honored than yours, and make his rule greater than yours!' On his death bed the king worshiped God
and prayed, 'Blessed be God, Israel's God, who has provided a successor to my throne, and I've lived to see it!'"
Panicked, Adonijah's guests got out of there, scattering every which way.
But Adonijah himself, afraid for his life because of Solomon, fled to the sanctuary and grabbed the horns of the Altar.
Solomon was told, "Adonijah, fearful of King Solomon, has taken sanctuary and seized the horns of the Altar and is saying, 'I'm not leaving until King Solomon promises that he won't kill me.'"
Solomon then said, "If he proves to be a man of honor, not a hair of his head will be hurt; but if there is evil in him, he'll die."
Solomon summoned him and they brought him from the Altar. Adonijah came and bowed down, honoring the king. Solomon dismissed him, "Go home."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)