1 Kings 1

David in Old Age

1 Now King David was old, advanced in age; and they covered him with clothes, but he could not keep warm.
2 So his servants said to him, "Let them seek a young virgin for my lord the king, and let her [a]attend * the king and become his nurse; and let her lie in your bosom, that my lord the king may keep warm."
3 So they searched for a beautiful girl throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the 1Shunammite, and brought her to the king.
4 The girl was very beautiful; and she became the king's nurse and served him, but the king did not [b]cohabit with her.
5 Now 2Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, "I will be king." So 3he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen with fifty men to run before him.
6 His father had never [c]crossed him at any time by asking, "Why have you done so?" And he was also a very handsome * man, and [d]4he was born after Absalom.
7 [e]He had conferred with 5Joab the son of Zeruiah and with 6Abiathar the priest; and following 7Adonijah they helped him.
8 But 8Zadok the priest, 9Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, 10Nathan the prophet, 11Shimei, Rei, and 12the mighty men who belonged to David, were not with Adonijah.
9 Adonijah sacrificed sheep and oxen and fatlings by the [f]stone of Zoheleth, which is beside 13En-rogel; and he invited all his brothers, the king's sons, and all the men of Judah, the king's servants.
10 But he did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the mighty men, and 14Solomon his brother.

Nathan and Bathsheba

11 Then Nathan spoke to 15Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, saying, "Have you not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith has become king, and David our lord does not know it?
12 "So now come, please let me 16give you counsel and save your life and the life of your son Solomon.
13 "Go [g]at once to King David and say to him, 'Have you not, my lord, O king, sworn to your maidservant, saying, "17Surely Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne "? Why then has Adonijah become king?'
14 "Behold, while you are still there speaking with the king, I will come in after you and confirm your words."
15 So Bathsheba went in to the king in the bedroom. Now 18the king was very old, and Abishag the Shunammite was ministering to the king.
16 Then Bathsheba bowed and prostrated herself [h]before the king. And the king said, "What [i]do you wish?"
17 She said to him, "My lord, you swore to your maidservant by the LORD your God, saying, '19Surely your son Solomon shall be king after me and he shall sit on my throne.'
18 "Now, behold, Adonijah is king; and now, my lord the king, you do not know it.
19 "20He has sacrificed oxen and fatlings and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the sons of the king and Abiathar the priest and Joab the commander of the army, but he has not invited Solomon your servant.
20 "As for you now, my lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, to tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him.
21 "Otherwise it will come about, 21as soon as my lord the king sleeps with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon will be considered [j]offenders."
22 Behold, while she was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet came in.
23 They told the king, saying, "Here is Nathan the prophet." And when he came in before the king, he prostrated himself [k]before the king with his face to the ground.
24 Then Nathan said, "My lord the king, have you said, 'Adonijah shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne '?
25 "22For he has gone down today and has sacrificed oxen and fatlings and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the king's sons and the commanders of the army and Abiathar the priest, and behold, they are eating and drinking before him; and they say, '23Long live King Adonijah!'
26 "24But me, even me your servant, and Zadok the priest and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada and your servant Solomon, he has not invited.
27 "Has this thing been done by my lord the king, and you have not shown to your [l]servants who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?"
28 Then King David said, "Call Bathsheba to me." And she came into the king's presence and stood before the king.
29 The king vowed and said, "25As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my life from all distress,
30 surely as 26I vowed to you by the LORD the God of Israel, saying, 'Your son Solomon shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place '; I will indeed do so this day."
31 Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the ground, and prostrated herself [m]before the king and said, "27May my lord King David live forever."
32 Then King David said, "Call to me 28Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada." And they came into the king's presence.
33 The king said to them, "Take with you 29the servants of your lord, and have my son Solomon ride on my own mule, and bring him down to 30Gihon.
34 "Let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet 31anoint him there as king over Israel, and 32blow the trumpet and say, '33Long live King Solomon!'
35 "Then you shall come up after him, and he shall come and sit on my throne and be king in my place; for I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah."
36 Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king and said, "Amen! Thus may the LORD, the God of my lord the king, say.
37 "34As the LORD has been with my lord the king, so may He be with Solomon, and 35make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David!"

Solomon Anointed King

38 So 36Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, 37the Cherethites, and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon ride on King David's mule, and brought him to 38Gihon.
39 Zadok the priest then 39took the horn of oil from the tent and 40anointed Solomon. Then they 41blew the trumpet, and all the people said, "42Long live King Solomon!"
40 All the people went up after him, and the people [n]were playing on flutes and rejoicing with great joy, so that the earth [o]shook at their noise.
41 Now Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard it as they finished eating. When Joab heard the sound of the trumpet, he said, "Why [p]is the city making such an uproar?"
42 While he was still speaking, behold, 43Jonathan the son of Abiathar the priest came. Then Adonijah said, "Come in, for 44you are a valiant man and bring good news."
43 But Jonathan replied to Adonijah, "No! Our lord King David has made Solomon king.
44 "The king has also sent with him Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites; and they have made him ride on the king's mule.
45 "Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king in Gihon, and they have come up from there rejoicing, 45so that the city is in an uproar. This is the noise which you have heard.
46 "Besides, 46Solomon has even taken his seat on the throne of the kingdom.
47 "Moreover, the king's servants came to bless our lord King David, saying, 'May 47your God make the name of Solomon better than your name and his throne greater than your throne!' And 48the king bowed himself on the bed.
48 "The king has also said thus, 'Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who 49has granted one to sit on my throne today while my own eyes see it."'
49 Then all the guests of Adonijah were terrified; and they arose and each went on his way.
50 And Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, and he arose, went and 50took hold of the horns of the altar.
51 Now it was told Solomon, saying, "Behold, Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon, for behold, he has taken hold of the horns of the altar, saying, 'Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.' "
52 Solomon said, "If he is a worthy man, 51not one of his hairs will fall to the ground; but if wickedness is found in him, he will die."
53 So King Solomon sent, and they brought him down from the altar. And he came and prostrated himself [q]before King Solomon, and Solomon 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.

Cross References 51

  • 1. Joshua 19:18; 1 Samuel 28:4
  • 2. 2 Samuel 3:4
  • 3. 2 Samuel 15:1
  • 4. 2 Samuel 3:3, 4
  • 5. 1 Chronicles 11:6
  • 6. 1 Samuel 22:20, 23; 2 Samuel 20:25
  • 7. 1 Kings 2:22
  • 8. 2 Samuel 20:25; 1 Chronicles 16:39
  • 9. 2 Samuel 8:18
  • 10. 2 Samuel 12:1
  • 11. 1 Kings 4:18
  • 12. 2 Samuel 23:8-39
  • 13. Joshua 15:7; Joshua 18:16; 2 Samuel 17:17
  • 14. 2 Samuel 12:24
  • 15. 2 Samuel 12:24
  • 16. Proverbs 15:22
  • 17. 1 Kings 1:30; 1 Chronicles 22:9-13
  • 18. 1 Kings 1:1
  • 19. 1 Kings 1:13
  • 20. 1 Kings 1:9
  • 21. Deuteronomy 31:16; 2 Samuel 7:12; 1 Kings 2:10
  • 22. 1 Kings 1:9
  • 23. 1 Samuel 10:24
  • 24. 1 Kings 1:8, 10
  • 25. 2 Samuel 4:9
  • 26. 1 Kings 1:13, 17
  • 27. Daniel 2:4; Daniel 3:9
  • 28. 1 Kings 1:8
  • 29. 2 Samuel 20:6, 7
  • 30. 2 Chronicles 32:30; 2 Chronicles 33:14
  • 31. 1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Samuel 16:3, 12; 2 Samuel 5:3; 1 Kings 19:16; 2 Kings 9:3
  • 32. 2 Samuel 15:10
  • 33. 1 Kings 1:25
  • 34. Joshua 1:5, 17; 1 Samuel 20:13
  • 35. 1 Kings 1:47
  • 36. 1 Kings 1:8
  • 37. 2 Samuel 8:18
  • 38. 1 Kings 1:33
  • 39. Exodus 30:23-32; Psalms 89:20
  • 40. 1 Chronicles 29:22
  • 41. 1 Kings 1:34
  • 42. 1 Samuel 10:24
  • 43. 2 Samuel 15:27, 36; 2 Samuel 17:17
  • 44. 2 Samuel 18:27
  • 45. 1 Kings 1:40
  • 46. 1 Chronicles 29:23
  • 47. 1 Kings 1:37
  • 48. Genesis 47:31
  • 49. 2 Samuel 7:12; 1 Kings 3:6
  • 50. Exodus 27:2; Exodus 30:10; 1 Kings 2:28
  • 51. 1 Samuel 14:45; 2 Samuel 14:11; Acts 27:34

Footnotes 17

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

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