1 Kings 1

1 Now king David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he got no heat.
2 Therefore his servants said to him, Let there be sought for my lord the king a young virgin: and let her stand before the king, and cherish him; and let her lie in your bosom, that my lord the king may keep warm.
3 So they sought for a beautiful young lady throughout all the borders of Yisra'el, and found Avishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king.
4 The young lady was very beautiful; and she cherished the king, and ministered to him; but the king didn't know her intimately.
5 Then Adoniyahu the son of Haggit exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.
6 His father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why have you done so? and he was also a very goodly man; and he was born after Avshalom.
7 He conferred with Yo'av the son of Tzeru'yah, and with Avyatar the Kohen: and they following Adoniyahu helped him.
8 But Tzadok the Kohen, and Benayah the son of Yehoiada, and Natan the prophet, and Shim`i, and Re`i, and the mighty men who belonged to David, were not with Adoniyahu.
9 Adoniyahu killed sheep and oxen and fatlings by the stone of Zochelet, which is beside `En-Rogel; and he called all his brothers, the king's sons, and all the men of Yehudah, the king's servants:
10 but Natan the prophet, and Benayah, and the mighty men, and Shlomo his brother, he didn't call.
11 Then Natan spoke to Bat-Sheva the mother of Shlomo, saying, Haven't you heard that Adoniyahu the son of Haggit reigns, and David our lord doesn't know it?
12 Now therefore come, please let me give you counsel, that you may save your own life, and the life of your son Shlomo.
13 Go and get you in to king David, and tell him, Didn't you, my lord, king, swear to your handmaid, saying, Assuredly Shlomo your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne? why then does Adoniyahu reign?
14 Behold, while you yet talk there with the king, I also will come in after you, and confirm your words.
15 Bat-Sheva went in to the king into the chamber: and the king was very old; and Avishag the Shunammite was ministering to the king.
16 Bat-Sheva bowed, and did obeisance to the king. The king said, What would you?
17 She said to him, My lord, you swore by the LORD your God to your handmaid, [saying], Assuredly Shlomo your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne.
18 Now, behold, Adoniyahu reigns; and you, my lord the king, don't know it:
19 and he has slain oxen and fatlings and sheep in abundance, and has called all the sons of the king, and Avyatar the Kohen, and Yo'av the captain of the host; but he hasn't called Shlomo your servant.
20 You, my lord the king, the eyes of all Yisra'el are on you, that you should tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him.
21 Otherwise it will happen, when my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, that I and my son Shlomo shall be counted offenders.
22 Behold, while she yet talked with the king, Natan the prophet came in.
23 They told the king, saying, Behold, Natan the prophet. When he was come in before the king, he bowed himself before the king with his face to the ground.
24 Natan said, My lord, king, have you said, Adoniyahu shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne?
25 For he is gone down this day, and has slain oxen and fatlings and sheep in abundance, and has called all the king's sons, and the captains of the host, and Avyatar the Kohen; and, behold, they are eating and drinking before him, and say, [Long] live king Adoniyahu.
26 But he hasn't called me, even me your servant, and Tzadok the Kohen, and Benayah the son of Yehoiada, and your servant Shlomo.
27 Is this thing done by my lord the king, and you haven't shown to your servants who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?
28 Then king David answered, Call to me Bat-Sheva. She came into the king's presence, and stood before the king.
29 The king swore, and said, As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my soul out of all adversity,
30 most assuredly as I swore to you by the LORD, the God of Yisra'el, saying, Assuredly Shlomo your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place; most assuredly so will I do this day.
31 Then Bat-Sheva bowed with her face to the eretz, and did obeisance to the king, and said, Let my lord king David live forever.
32 King David said, Call to me Tzadok the Kohen, and Natan the prophet, and Benayah the son of Yehoiada. They came before the king.
33 The king said to them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Shlomo my son to ride on my own mule, and bring him down to Gichon:
34 and let Tzadok the Kohen and Natan the prophet anoint him there king over Yisra'el; and blow you the shofar, and say, [Long] live king Shlomo.
35 Then you shall come up after him, and he shall come and sit on my throne; for he shall be king in my place; and I have appointed him to be prince over Yisra'el and over Yehudah.
36 Benayah the son of Yehoiada answered the king, and said, Amein: the LORD, the God of my lord the king, say so [too].
37 As the LORD has been with my lord the king, even so be he with Shlomo, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord king David.
38 So Tzadok the Kohen, and Natan the prophet, and Benayah the son of Yehoiada, and the Kereti and the Peleti, went down, and caused Shlomo to ride on king David's mule, and brought him to Gichon.
39 Tzadok the Kohen took the horn of oil out of the Tent, and anointed Shlomo. They blew the shofar; and all the people said, [Long] live king Shlomo.
40 All the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the eretz shook with the sound of them.
41 Adoniyahu and all the guests who were with him heard it as they had made an end of eating. When Yo'av heard the sound of the shofar, he said, Why is this noise of the city being in an uproar?
42 While he yet spoke, behold, Yonatan the son of Avyatar the Kohen came: and Adoniyahu said, Come in; for you are a worthy man, and bring good news.
43 Yonatan answered Adoniyahu, Most assuredly our lord king David has made Shlomo king:
44 and the king has sent with him Tzadok the Kohen, and Natan the prophet, and Benayah the son of Yehoiada, and the Kereti and the Peleti; and they have caused him to ride on the king's mule;
45 and Tzadok the Kohen and Natan the prophet have anointed him king in Gichon; and they are come up from there rejoicing, so that the city rang again. This is the noise that you have heard.
46 Also Shlomo sits on the throne of the kingdom.
47 Moreover the king's servants came to bless our lord king David, saying, Your God make the name of Shlomo better than your name, and make his throne greater than your throne: and the king bowed himself on the bed.
48 Also thus said the king, Blessed be the LORD, the God of Yisra'el, who has given one to sit on my throne this day, my eyes even seeing it.
49 All the guests of Adoniyahu were afraid, and rose up, and went every man his way.
50 Adoniyahu feared because of Shlomo; and he arose, and went, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.
51 It was told Shlomo, saying, Behold, Adoniyahu fears king Shlomo; for, behold, he has laid hold on the horns of the altar, saying, Let king Shlomo swear to me first that he will not kill his servant with the sword.
52 Shlomo said, If he shall show himself a worthy man, there shall not a hair of him fall to the eretz; but if wickedness be found in him, he shall die.
53 So king Shlomo sent, and they brought him down from the altar. He came and did obeisance to king Shlomo; and Shlomo said to him, Go to your house.

1 Kings 1 Commentary

Chapter 1

The history now before us accounts for the affairs of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel, yet with special regard to the kingdom of God among them; for it is a sacred history. It is earlier as to time, teaches much more, and is more interesting than any common histories.

David's declining age. (1-4) Adonijah aspires to the throne. (5-10) David makes Solomon king. (11-31) Solomon is anointed king, and Adonijah's usurpation stopped. (32-53)

Verses 1-4 We have David sinking under infirmities. He was chastised for his recent sins, and felt the effects of his former toils and hardships.

Verses 5-10 Indulgent parents are often chastised with disobedient children, who are anxious to possess their estates. No worldly wisdom, nor experience, nor sacredness of character, can insure the continuance in any former course of those who remain under the power of self-love. But we may well wonder by what arts Joab and Abiathar could be drawn aside.

Verses 11-31 Observe Nathan's address to Bathsheba. Let me give thee counsel how to save thy own life, and the life of thy son. Such as this is the counsel Christ's ministers give us in his name, to give all diligence, not only that no man take our crown, Re. 3:11 , but that we save our lives, even the lives of our souls. David made a solemn declaration of his firm cleaving to his former resolution, that Solomon should be his successor. Even the recollection of the distresses from which the Lord redeemed him, increased his comfort, inspired his hopes, and animated him to his duty, under the decays of nature and the approach of death.

Verses 32-53 The people expressed great joy and satisfaction in the elevation of Solomon. Every true Israelite rejoices in the exaltation of the Son of David. Combinations formed upon evil principles will soon be dissolved, when self-interest calls another way. How can those who do evil deeds expect to have good tidings? Adonijah had despised Solomon, but soon dreaded him. We see here, as in a glass, Jesus, the Son of David and the Son of God, exalted to the throne of glory, notwithstanding all his enemies. His kingdom is far greater than that of his father David, and therein all the true people of God cordially rejoice. The prosperity of his cause is vexation and terror to his enemies. No horns of the altar, nor forms of godliness, nor pretences to religion, can profit those who will not submit to His authority, and accept of his salvation; and if their submission be hypocritical, they shall perish without remedy.

Chapter Summary


This, and the following book, properly are but one book, divided into two parts, and went with the Jews under the common name of Kings. This, in the Syriac version, is called the Book of Kings; and in the Arabic version, the Book of Solomon, the Son of David the Prophet, because it begins with his reign upon the death of his father; and, in the Vulgate Latin version, the Third Book of Kings, the two preceding books of Samuel being sometimes called the First and Second Books of Kings, they containing the reigns of Saul and David; and in the Septuagint version both this and the following book are called Kingdoms, because they treat of the kingdom of Israel and Judah, after the division in the times of Rehoboam, son of Solomon, and of the several kings of them; as of Solomon before the division, so afterwards of the kings of Judah; Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, Ahaziah, Jehoash, Amaziah, Uzziah or Azariah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah; and of the kings of Israel, Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehu, Jehoahaz, Jehoash, Jeroboam the son of Joash, Zachariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, Pekah, and Hoshea; so that these books may, with great propriety, be called the books or histories of the kings in the two kingdoms of Judah and Israel: who they were written by, is not easy to say; some think they were written by piecemeal by the prophets that lived in the several reigns successively, as Nathan, Ahijah the Shilonite, Iddo, Isaiah, and Jeremiah, and afterwards put together by an inspired writer. The Jews commonly say {a}, that Jeremiah wrote the book of the Kings, by which they mean this, and the following book; though very probably they were written by Ezra, since the history in them is carried down to the liberty granted to Jehoiachin in Babylon; but that Ezra was the writer of all the preceding historical books, and even of the Pentateuch, cannot be admitted, which is the conceit of Spinosa {b}; part of whose tract is just now republished by somebody, word for word, under a title as in the margin {c}; but that Ezra was not the writer of the Pentateuch is clear, since he refers to it as written by Moses, and as the rule of religion and worship in his times, Ezr 3:2-4, 6:18; and it is certain these writings were in being in the times of Josiah, Amaziah, Joash, yea, of David, and even of Joshua, \2Ch 34:14 25:4 23:18 1Ki 2:3 Jos 8:34\; and as for the book of Joshua, that also was written long before Ezra's time; it must be written long before the times of David, before the Jebusites were expelled from Jerusalem, since the writer of it says, that they dwelt there in his days, Jos 15:63; the book of Judges must be written before the times of Samuel and David, since the former refers to the annals of it, 1Sa 12:9,10; and the latter alludes to some passages in it, Ps 68:7,8; see Jud 5:4,5; and a speech of Joab's, 2Sa 11:21, shows it to be an history then extant: to which may be added, that in it Jerusalem is called Jebus, Jud 19:10,11; which it never was, after it was taken by David out of the hands of the Jebusites, 2Sa 5:6; the book of Ruth very probably was written by Samuel; had it been of a later date, or written by Ezra, the genealogy with which it concludes, would doubtless have been carried further than to David: the Book of Samuel, and particularly the song of Hannah in it, were written in all probability before the penning of the hundred thirteenth psalm, Ps 113:1-9, in which some expressions seem to be taken from it wherefore, though the two books of Kings may be allowed to be written or compiled by Ezra, the ten preceding ones cannot be assigned to him: however, there is no room to doubt of the divine authority of these two books, when the honour our Lord has done them is observed, by quoting or referring to several histories in them; as to the account of the queen of Sheba coming to hear the wisdom of Solomon; of the famine in the times of Elijah; and of that prophet being sent to the widow of Sarepta, and of the cleansing of Naaman the Syrian in the times of Elisha, Mt 12:42, Lu 4:25-28 from 1Ki 17:1-10 2Ki 5:10-14; to which may be added, the quotations and references made by the apostles to passages in them, as by the Apostle Paul in Ro 11:2-4 from 1Ki 19:14,18; where this book is expressly called the Scripture; and by the Apostle James, Jas 5:17,18; who manifestly refers to 1Ki 17:1-24; and there are various things in this part of Scripture, which are confirmed by the testimonies of Heathen writers, as will be observed in the exposition of it. The use of these books is to carry on the history of the Jewish nation, to show the state of the church of God in those times, and his providential care of it amidst all the changes and vicissitudes in the state; and, above all, to transmit to us the true genealogy of the Messiah, which serves to confirm the Evangelist Matthew's account of it.

{a} T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 15. 1. {b} Tractat. Theolog. Politic. c. 8. & 9. p. 150 {c} Tractatus de Primis 12. Vet. Test. Lib. &c. Londini 1763.


This chapter gives an account of the infirmities of David in his old age, and the method used to relieve him under them, 1Ki 1:1-4; of the preparation his son Adonijah made to usurp the throne, 1Ki 1:5-10; of Bathsheba's address to the king upon it, in favour of her son Solomon, on which she was put by, Nathan the prophet, and seconded in it by him, 1Ki 1:11-27; when the king with an oath confirmed the succession of Solomon in the kingdom, and ordered Nathan the prophet, and Zadok the priest, to anoint him, which was accordingly done with great ceremony, to the satisfaction of the king and his servants, 1Ki 1:28-40; the news of which being brought to Adonijah and his friends, struck them with terror, and on which they dispersed, 1Ki 1:41-50; and upon the promise of Adonijah, that he would behave well to Solomon, he was pardoned and dismissed, having fled and lain hold on the horns of the altar, 1Ki 1:51-53.

1 Kings 1 Commentaries

The Hebrew Names Version is in the public domain.