1 Kings 1:1-4 . ABISHAG CHERISHES DAVID IN HIS EXTREME AGE.
28-31. Then king David answered and said, Call me Bath-sheba--He renews to her the solemn pledge he had given, in terms of solemnity and impressiveness which show that the aged monarch had roused himself to the duty the emergency called for.
1 Kings 1:32-49 . SOLOMON, BY DAVID'S APPOINTMENT, IS ANOINTED KING.
33. cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule--Directions were forthwith given for the immediate coronation of Solomon. A procession was to be formed by the "servants of their lord"--that is, the king's bodyguard. Mules were then used by all the princes ( 2 Samuel 13:29 ); but there was a state mule of which all subjects were forbidden, under pain of death, to make use, without special permission; so that its being granted to Solomon was a public declaration in his favor as the future
bring him down to Gihon--a pool or fountain on the west of Jerusalem chosen as equally public for the counter proclamation.
35. Then ye shall come up after him, that he may come and sit upon my throne--The public recognition of the successor to the throne, during the old king's lifetime, is accordant with the customs of the East.
39. an horn of oil out of the tabernacle--It was the sacred oil ( Exodus 30:25 ) with which the kings were anointed.
40. all the people came up after him--that is, from the valley to the citadel of Zion.
41-49. Adonijah and all the guests that were with him heard it as they had made an end of eating--The loud shouts raised by the populace at the joyous proclamation at Gihon, and echoed by assembled thousands, from Zion to En-rogel, were easily heard at that distance by Adonijah and his confederates. The arrival of a trusty messenger, who gave a full detail of the coronation ceremony ( 1 Kings 1:43-48 ), spread dismay in their camp. The wicked and ambitious plot they had assembled to execute was dissipated, and every one of the conspirators consulted his safety by flight.
1 Kings 1:50-53 . ADONIJAH, FLEEING TO THE HORNS OF THE ALTAR, IS DISMISSED BY SOLOMON.
50-53. Adonijah . . . went, and caught hold on the horns of the altar--most probably the altar of burnt offering which had been erected on Mount Zion, where Abiathar, one of his partisans, presided as high priest. The horns or projections at the four corners of the altar, to which the sacrifices were bound, and which were tipped with the blood of the victim, were symbols of grace and salvation to the sinner. Hence the altar was regarded as a sanctuary ( Exodus 21:14 ), but not to murderers, rebels, or deliberate perpetrators. Adonijah, having acted in opposition to the will of the reigning king, was guilty of rebellion, and stood self-condemned. Solomon spared his life on the express condition of his good behavior--living in strict privacy, leading a quiet, peaceable life, and meddling with the affairs of neither the court nor the kingdom.
53. they brought him down from the altar--from the ledge around the altar on which he was standing.
he bowed himself--that is, did homage to Solomon as king.