King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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1 Kings 1

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)

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David’s declining age

1 Now king David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he gat no heat.

2 Wherefore his servants said unto him, Let there be sought for my lord the king a young virgin: and let her stand before the king, and let her cherish him, and let her lie in thy bosom, that my lord the king may get heat.

3 So they sought for a fair damsel throughout all the coasts of Israel, and found Abishag a Shunammite, and brought her to the king.

4 And the damsel was very fair, and cherished the king, and ministered to him: but the king knew her not.

Adonijah aspires to the throne

5 Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.

6 And his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so? and he also was a very goodly man; and his mother bare him after Absalom.

7 And he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah, and with Abiathar the priest: and they following Adonijah helped him.

8 But Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and Nathan the prophet, and Shimei, and Rei, and the mighty men which belonged to David, were not with Adonijah.

9 And Adonijah slew sheep and oxen and fat cattle by the stone of Zoheleth, which is by Enrogel, and called all his brethren the king’s sons, and all the men of Judah the king’s servants:

10 But Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah, and the mighty men, and Solomon his brother, he called not.

David makes Solomon king

11 Wherefore Nathan spake unto Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, saying, Hast thou not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith doth reign, and David our lord knoweth it not?

12 Now therefore come, let me, I pray thee, give thee counsel, that thou mayest save thine own life, and the life of thy son Solomon.

13 Go and get thee in unto king David, and say unto him, Didst not thou, my lord, O king, swear unto thine handmaid, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne? why then doth Adonijah reign?

14 Behold, while thou yet talkest there with the king, I also will come in after thee, and confirm thy words.

15 And Bathsheba went in unto the king into the chamber: and the king was very old; and Abishag the Shunammite ministered unto the king.

16 And Bathsheba bowed, and did obeisance unto the king. And the king said, What wouldest thou?

17 And she said unto him, My lord, thou swarest by the LORD thy God unto thine handmaid, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne.

18 And now, behold, Adonijah reigneth; and now, my lord the king, thou knowest it not:

19 And he hath slain oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and hath called all the sons of the king, and Abiathar the priest, and Joab the captain of the host: but Solomon thy servant hath he not called.

20 And thou, my lord, O king, the eyes of all Israel are upon thee, that thou shouldest tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him.

21 Otherwise it shall come to pass, when my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders.

22 And, lo, while she yet talked with the king, Nathan the prophet also came in.

23 And they told the king, saying, Behold Nathan the prophet. And when he was come in before the king, he bowed himself before the king with his face to the ground.

24 And Nathan said, My lord, O king, hast thou said, Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne?

25 For he is gone down this day, and hath slain oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and hath called all the king’s sons, and the captains of the host, and Abiathar the priest; and, behold, they eat and drink before him, and say, God save king Adonijah.

26 But me, even me thy servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and thy servant Solomon, hath he not called.

27 Is this thing done by my lord the king, and thou hast not shewed it unto thy servant, who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?

28 Then king David answered and said, Call me Bathsheba. And she came into the king’s presence, and stood before the king.

29 And the king sware, and said, As the LORD liveth, that hath redeemed my soul out of all distress,

30 Even as I sware unto thee by the LORD God of Israel, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead; even so will I certainly do this day.

31 Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the earth, and did reverence to the king, and said, Let my lord king David live for ever.

Solomon is anointed king, and Adonijah’s usurpation stopped

32 And king David said, Call me Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada. And they came before the king.

33 The king also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule, and bring him down to Gihon:

34 And let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel: and blow ye with the trumpet, and say, God save king Solomon.

35 Then ye shall come up after him, that he may come and sit upon my throne; for he shall be king in my stead: and I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah.

36 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king, and said, Amen: the LORD God of my lord the king say so too.

37 As the LORD hath been with my lord the king, even so be he with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord king David.

38 So Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, went down, and caused Solomon to ride upon king David’s mule, and brought him to Gihon.

39 And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon.

40 And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them.

41 And Adonijah and all the guests that were with him heard it as they had made an end of eating. And when Joab heard the sound of the trumpet, he said, Wherefore is this noise of the city being in an uproar?

42 And while he yet spake, behold, Jonathan the son of Abiathar the priest came; and Adonijah said unto him, Come in; for thou art a valiant man, and bringest good tidings.

43 And Jonathan answered and said to Adonijah, Verily our lord king David hath made Solomon king.

44 And the king hath sent with him Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and they have caused him to ride upon the king’s mule:

45 And Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king in Gihon: and they are come up from thence rejoicing, so that the city rang again. This is the noise that ye have heard.

46 And also Solomon sitteth on the throne of the kingdom.

47 And moreover the king’s servants came to bless our lord king David, saying, God make the name of Solomon better than thy name, and make his throne greater than thy throne. And the king bowed himself upon the bed.

48 And also thus said the king, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which hath given one to sit on my throne this day, mine eyes even seeing it.

49 And all the guests that were with Adonijah were afraid, and rose up, and went every man his way.

50 And Adonijah feared because of Solomon, and arose, and went, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.

51 And it was told Solomon, saying, Behold, Adonijah feareth king Solomon: for, lo, he hath caught hold on the horns of the altar, saying, Let king Solomon swear unto me today that he will not slay his servant with the sword.

52 And Solomon said, If he will shew himself a worthy man, there shall not an hair of him fall to the earth: but if wickedness shall be found in him, he shall die.

53 So king Solomon sent, and they brought him down from the altar. And he came and bowed himself to king Solomon: and Solomon said unto him, Go to thine house.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Years; sixty-nine, as he died when he was seventy years old. C. 2 K. v. 4. — Warm. Though David was of a strong constitution, he had been so much exposed to fatigue, and so harassed with domestic broils, that his vigour was nearly decayed. C. — The Rabbins say, that the sight of the angel had greatly contributed to weaken him. Lyran, and others, suppose that he was affected with the palsy. Abul. Salien, A. 3019.

Ver. 2. Servants. Physicians. Josep. vii. 14. — People of the faculty still adopt the same sentiments; and when fire and clothes will not procure heat, they advise the application of living creatures. Bartholin ix. Galen vii. Vales. Philos. c. 19.

Ver. 3. Sunamitess. Sunam was not far from Thabor, in the tribe of Issachar. C. — This history leads us to explain the ambition and death of Adonias. H.

Ver. 4. Her. Which shews the virtue and temperance of David. M. — She was his wife, at least of a second order. Adonias flattered himself, on account of Abisag’s virginity, that the law did not hinder him from marrying her; (Lev. xviii. 8. Kimchi) or he was blinded by ambition. C. — Heretics and persecutors thus attempt in vain, (H.) to defile the Church, the chaste spouse of Jesus, that they may usurp his throne. C.

Ver. 5. Him. He was not deterred by the fate of Absalom. H. — He was now the eldest son, and gave himself out for the presumptive heir. C. — David is blamed for some remissness, in not repressing him; (Salien) as his conduct tended to excite confusion, and to frustrate the appointment of God. But the king was convinced that nothing would be able to disturb that order; and he would take measures, in due time, to curb the ambition of his eldest son, from which, as yet, he apprehended no danger. H. — Old age renders people slow. M.

Ver. 7. Side. For their own interest, and because they supposed that the throne belonged of course to him. M. — This was the natural privilege, when no other disposition was made by God, or by the kings who succeeded David. They did not esteem themselves bound to leave the crown to their eldest sons. Hitherto God had made choice himself, as he had required. Deut. xvii. 15. In favour of David, he pleased to grant sovereignty to his descendants. But the king expected to declare which he preferred, in case he chose to deviate from the natural order, v. 20.

Ver. 8. Sadoc, the rival of Abiathar, and a descendant of Eleazar. David had permitted both to perform the functions of the high priesthood; (C.) or one had acted as the delegate of the other. Salien. — Banaias was distinguished for his valour, 2 K. xxiii. 20. He was the flower of his age, and, perhaps, aspired at the authority of Joab, whose credit began to decline; as he was grown old, and was known to be rather disagreeable to David, and had been guilty of such horrid murders. Both the contending princes sought to ingratiate themselves with the army and with the priests, as their influence was of the utmost consequence. Solomon was more fortunate, in having also Nathan the prophet on his side; but the throne was secured to him much more on account of the divine decree, 2 K. vii. 12. and xii. 25. H. — Nathan is commonly considered as the tutor of the young prince, (M.) and was styled his “father.” C. — Semei, or Nabath, father of Jeroboam; and Rei, or Ira, who is styled the priest of David, 2 K. xx. 26. S. Jer. Tradit. M. — To confound Semei with Nabath is wrong. Salien. — Army; the king’s guard consisting chiefly of the Cerethi, &c. (C.) who were under Banaias. The whole army, over which Joab was general, was not always in arms. Sept. “Semei and Resi, other copies read (H.) his friends,” (with Syr. Arab.) “and Daia, heroes of David.” Heb. may be, “neither the hearers nor the seers, nor the brave men of David were with Adonias.” The populace, or the disciples, as well as the prophets, may be thus denoted.

Ver. 9. Slain. Either for sacrifice, or simply for a feast; (C.) though it is probable that victims of peace would be offered, as on similar occasions, on which the guests would afterwards feast. 1 K. xi. H. — Rogel, east of Jerusalem, in the vale of Josaphat. M.

Ver. 10. Not. Out of contempt, (C.) and because he knew that they would oppose his measures. H.

Ver. 11. It not. So that we may safely endeavour to overturn his plane. M.

Ver. 12. Life. Both would have been in imminent danger, if the ambitious projects of Adonias succeeded, as he knew that the throne had been promised to Solomon by his father, and he would consider him as a dangerous rival. C. — The Turkish emperors usually destroy or confine their brethren, when they commence their reign. H.

Ver. 13. Swear. This he did, either when he comforted her, after the death of her first-born; (2 K. xii. 24.) or rather, when Solomon had received so glorious a name, and was declared the heir by Nathan. 2 K. vii. 12. 1 Par. xxii. 20. and xxviii. 5. Adonias acknowledges that God had made choice of his brother. C. ii. 15. C.

Ver. 14. Words, and confirm what thou hast said, (M.) reminding the king of God’s express declaration. H.

Ver. 16. Worshipped. Prot. “did obeisance.” Heb. “fell prostrate on the ground before the king,” (C.) without any danger of idolatry. H.

Ver. 18. Of it. So that thy authority is also contemned. M.

Ver. 20. Thee. Adonias boasts that all Israel was on his side. C. ii. 15. C.

Ver. 21. Offenders. I, as guilty of adultery; and my son, as a mamzer; (Deut. xxiii. 2. T.) or we shall be accounted pretenders, (H.) and condemned as guilty of high treason. C. — Our hopes and expectations will be frustrated. Vat. E. — We shall be despised or punished. W.

Ver. 28. Come in. Nathan went out, at the same time; (M.) so that each had a private audience. C.

Ver. 33. Lord, David. M. — The Cerethi, and other life-guards, went under the command of their captain, Banaias, (C.) to repel any force that might disturb this solemn inauguration. H. — Mule. None but the king was allowed to mount it. — Gihon, a fountain, or place of public resort, on the west of Jerusalem. Ezechias brought its waters into the city. 2 Par. xxxii. 30. C. — Adonias was at Rogel, on the east. M.

Ver. 34. Save, (Vavat.) “Live.” May Solomon reign for many years. H.

Ver. 35. Stead. Not after me only. David voluntarily abdicates the throne, so that Solomon reigned in his life-time. M.

Ver. 36. King. May all have a prosperous issue, conformably to the wishes of your majesty and the decrees of God. C.

Ver. 37. David. Parents wish their children to be still more happy than themselves, how jealous soever they may be of their own glory. C.

Aspice completum votum; jam natus adæquat

Te meritis, &, quod magis est optabile, vincit. Claud. iv. con. Honor.

Ver. 39. Horn of oil. Such liquors were commonly kept in vessels of horn. C. — Some say that oil, for the consecration of priests, was used on this occasion; and that the ceremony was performed only, when the throne was contested: as in the case of Joas, Joachaz, &c. H. — Nathan assisted Sadoc, (v. 34.) who was not yet the high priest. M.

Ver. 40. Rang. Heb. “was split.” Chal. “shook.” M.

Ver. 41. Uproar. Nathan had conducted the affair with singular address. A little delay might have plunged the kingdom into all the horrors of a civil war.

Ver. 43. Not so. Heb. “Misfortune or mourning, or verily.” A man of character did not willingly deliver a disagreeable message. 2 K. xviii. 25. C. — But Jonathan was concerned for his father. H.

Ver. 47. Blessed. Congratulating him on the exaltation of Solomon. — Bed. Shewing respect to the new king, as Jacob had done to Joseph; (Gen. xlvii. 31. Sanctius) or laying himself down again; (C.) or rather giving thanks to God, (M.) whom he adored, in gratitude for the favour of a successor being granted to him. W.

Ver. 49. Afraid. As they had offended both David and Solomon, and had rendered themselves suspected of high treason.

Ver. 51. Altar. At Gabaon, (2 Par. i. 3,) or at Sion. All nations seemed to grant the right of an asylum to sacred places; but only in favour of the innocent. Ex. xxi. 14. C.

Ver. 53. House. He does not forbid him the court, but grants him pardon. M.