And King Solomon answered and said unto his mother
With as much gentleness and mildness as he could, but inwardly fired at her request, and amazed at it, and could not forbear using some degree of tartness and resentment:
and why dost thou ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah?
is this a small petition? is this a fit and lawful one?
ask for him the kingdom also;
for this is what he means by it, that by marrying the king's widow he may step into the throne whenever any opportunity offers, as any uneasiness, or insurrection in the kingdom, or the death of Solomon; for none but a king, the Jews say F2, might marry a king's widow, not any private man; and therefore for Adonijah to ask this was interpreted affecting the kingdom, and aspiring to it, and taking his measures to obtain it; yea, it is said F3, that none but another king, the successor, might make use of his servants, handmaids, and ministers; and it is observed, that Abishag was free to Solomon, but not to Adonijah:
for he [is] mine elder brother;
and has that to plead in his favour, and if he could obtain this, it would strengthen his title, or at least be a plausible pretence, which he might make use of, when opportunity served, to gain the people to his interest:
even for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of
she might as well ask for them as for him; whose interest it was, and therefore desirous it might be that he should be king, that so the one might be continued in the office of high priest, and the other as general of the army; who, Solomon knew, bore him no good will, but were secretly his enemies; and he suspected that this was a scheme of theirs, and that it was by their advice Adonijah made this request; so the Targum,
``are not he, and Abiathar the priest, and Joab the son of Zeruiah, in the counsel?''in this counsel; it is what they had consulted among themselves as a preparation to bring about a design they are contriving; probably Solomon had private notice that they were plotting against him, and this confirmed him in the truth of it; and therefore all of them were upon this punished with deprivation of office, or loss of life.
F2 Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 2. sect. 2.
F3 Maimon. Hilchot Sanhedrin, c. 2. sect. 1.