Now king David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he gat no heat.
David was probably now about sixty-nine years of age. He was thirty years old when he began to reign, reigned forty, and died in his seventieth year; and the transactions mentioned here are supposed to have taken place about a year before his death. Sixty-nine was not an advanced age; but he had been exhausted with various fatigues, and especially family afflictions, so that he was much older in constitution than in years.
and stricken in years
Heb. and entered into days.
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.
Let there be sought
Heb. Let them seek. a young virgin. Heb. a damsel, a virgin. stand.
Heb. be a cherisher unto him. lie.
So they sought for a fair damsel throughout all the coasts of Israel, and found Abishag a Shunammite, and brought her to the king.
And the damsel was very fair, and cherished the king, and ministered to him: but the king knew her not.
knew her not
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.
Heb. reign. and he.
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.
at any time
Heb. from his days. very.
And he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah, and with Abiathar the priest: and they following Adonijah helped him.
And he conferred
Heb. his words were.
following Adonijah helped him
Heb. helped after Adonijah.
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.
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:
The Oriental banquet, in consequence of the intense heat, is often spread upon the verdant turf, beneath the shade of a tree, where the streaming rivulet supplies the company with wholesome water, and excites a gentle breeze to cool their burning temples.
or, the well Rogel.
But Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah, and the mighty men, and Solomon his brother, he called not.
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?
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.
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?
Behold, while thou yet talkest there with the king, I also will come in after thee, and confirm thy words.
Heb. fill up.
And Bathsheba went in unto the king into the chamber: and the king was very old; and Abishag the Shunammite ministered unto the king.
And Bathsheba bowed, and did obeisance unto the king. And the king said, What wouldest thou?
What wouldest thou? Heb
What to thee?
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.
It is not recorded when or upon what occasion David sware to Bathsheba that Solomon should succeed him; but it is supposed, with some degree of probability, that it took place after Absalom's rebellion; and as God himself had settled the succession, he might very properly give her this assurance.
And now, behold, Adonijah reigneth; and now, my lord the king, thou knowest it not:
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.
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.
At this time the monarchy of Israel was unsettled; no man knew who was to succeed to the crown; and the minds of the people were as unsettled as the succession. It was neither hereditary nor elective: the king, as was anciently the case in most countries, named his successor; but in this instance, God had already assigned the throne to Solomon.
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.
That is, when Adonijah is established on the throne, I and my son Solomon shall be put to death as state criminals. The history of the world demonstrates, that the lust of dominion has tempted men to commit the most enormous crimes. A father has destroyed his son, a son deposed a father, and a brother murdered a brother, in order to obtain a crown!
And, lo, while she yet talked with the king, Nathan the prophet also came in.
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.
And Nathan said, My lord, O king, hast thou said, Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne?
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.
God save king Adonijah
Heb. Let king Adonijah live.
But me, even me thy servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and thy servant Solomon, hath he not called.
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?
Then king David answered and said, Call me Bathsheba. And she came into the king's presence, and stood before the king.
She appears to have gone out when Nathan entered; and he retired when she was readmitted.
into the king's presence
Heb. before the king.
And the king sware, and said, As the LORD liveth, that hath redeemed my soul out of all distress,
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.
Even as I sware
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.
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.
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:
Maimonides informs us, that it was a capital offence for any one to ride on the king's mule, to sit on his throne, or to handle his sceptre, without permission; and as David ordered Solomon to ride on his own mule, etc., it was ample evidence that he had appointed him his successor.
mine own mule
Heb. the mule which belongeth to me.
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.
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.
And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king, and said, Amen: the LORD God of my lord the king say so too.
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.
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.
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.
all the people
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.
the earth rent
We use a similar expression in precisely the same sense: "They rent the air with their cries."
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?
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.
And Jonathan answered and said to Adonijah, Verily our lord king David hath made Solomon king.
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.
This was a fountain on the west of Jerusalem, (consequently in an opposite direction to En-rogel on the east, where Adonijah was proclaimed king,) of which there were two pools, an upper and a lower. (2Ch 32:30.) There is a large square cistern in the ravine west of the city, mentioned by Dr. Richardson as a little to the south of the Jaffa gate, which Dr. Pococke describes as a basin about 250 paces long and 100 broad. It is commonly called the pool of Bathsheba, but seems to be the lower pool of Gihon. "Nearly a mile to the N.N.W. is the pool of Gihon, which I suppose to be the upper pool. It is a very large basin, and, if I mistake not, is cut down about ten feet into the rock, there being a way down to it by steps. It was almost dry at that time, and seems designed to receive the rain waters which come from the hills about it. There is a canal from the pool to the city, which is uncovered part of the way, and, it is said, goes to the pool in the streets near the holy sepulchre. The fountain of Gihon arose either in the upper pool, or out of the high ground above it."--Travels, book i. ch. 6.
And also Solomon sitteth on the throne of the kingdom.
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.
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.
And all the guests that were with Adonijah were afraid, and rose up, and went every man his way.
And Adonijah feared because of Solomon, and arose, and went, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.
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.
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.