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1 Kings 1:1-27

Adonijah Tries to Seize the Throne

1:1 King David was very old; 1  even when they covered him with blankets, 2  he could not get warm. 1:2 His servants advised 3  him, “A young virgin must be found for our master, the king, 4  to take care of the king’s needs 5  and serve as his nurse. She can also sleep with you 6  and keep our master, the king, warm.” 7  1:3 So they looked through all Israel 8  for a beautiful young woman and found Abishag, a Shunammite, and brought her to the king. 1:4 The young woman was very beautiful; she became the king’s nurse and served him, but the king did not have sexual relations with her. 9 

1:5 Now Adonijah, son of David and Haggith, 10  was promoting himself, 11  boasting, 12  “I will be king!” He managed to acquire 13  chariots and horsemen, as well as fifty men to serve as his royal guard. 14  1:6 (Now his father had never corrected 15  him 16  by saying, “Why do you do such things?” He was also very handsome and had been born right after Absalom. 17 ) 1:7 He collaborated 18  with Joab son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they supported 19  him. 20  1:8 But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and David’s elite warriors 21  did not ally themselves 22  with Adonijah. 1:9 Adonijah sacrificed sheep, cattle, and fattened steers at the Stone of Zoheleth near En Rogel. He invited all his brothers, the king’s sons, 23  as well as all the men of Judah, the king’s servants. 1:10 But he did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the elite warriors, 24  or his brother Solomon.

1:11 Nathan said to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, “Has it been reported to you 25  that Haggith’s son Adonijah has become king behind our master David’s back? 26  1:12 Now 27  let me give you some advice as to how 28  you can save your life and your son Solomon’s life. 1:13 Visit 29  King David and say to him, ‘My master, O king, did you not solemnly promise 30  your servant, “Surely your son Solomon will be king after me; he will sit on my throne”? So why has Adonijah become king?’ 1:14 While 31  you are still there speaking to the king, I will arrive 32  and verify your report.” 33 

1:15 So Bathsheba visited the king in his private quarters. 34  (The king was very old, and Abishag the Shunammite was serving the king.) 1:16 Bathsheba bowed down on the floor before 35  the king. The king said, “What do you want?” 1:17 She replied to him, “My master, you swore an oath to your servant by the Lord your God, ‘Solomon your son will be king after me and he will sit on my throne.’ 1:18 But now, look, Adonijah has become king! But you, 36  my master the king, are not even aware of it! 37  1:19 He has sacrificed many cattle, steers, and sheep and has invited all the king’s sons, Abiathar the priest, and Joab, the commander of the army, but he has not invited your servant Solomon. 1:20 Now, 38  my master, O king, all Israel is watching anxiously to see who is named to succeed my master the king on the throne. 39  1:21 If a decision is not made, 40  when my master the king is buried with his ancestors, 41  my son Solomon and I 42  will be considered state criminals.” 43 

1:22 Just then, 44  while she was still speaking to the king, Nathan the prophet arrived. 1:23 The king was told, “Nathan the prophet is here.” Nathan entered and bowed before the king with his face to the floor. 45  1:24 Nathan said, “My master, O king, did you announce, ‘Adonijah will be king after me; he will sit on my throne’? 1:25 For today he has gone down and sacrificed many cattle, steers, and sheep and has invited all the king’s sons, the army commanders, and Abiathar the priest. At this moment 46  they are having a feast 47  in his presence, and they have declared, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ 48  1:26 But he did not invite me – your servant – or Zadok the priest, or Benaiah son of Jehoiada, or your servant Solomon. 1:27 Has my master the king authorized this without informing your servants 49  who should succeed my master the king on his throne?” 50 

1 tn Heb “was old, coming into the days” (i.e., advancing in years).

2 tn Or “garments.”

3 tn Heb “said to.”

4 tn Heb “let them seek for my master, the king, a young girl, a virgin.” The third person plural subject of the verb is indefinite (see GKC 460 §144.f). The appositional expression, “a young girl, a virgin,” is idiomatic; the second term specifically defines the more general first term (see IBHS 230 §12.3b).

5 tn Heb “and she will stand before the king.” The Hebrew phrase “stand before” can mean “to attend; to serve” (BDB 764 s.v. עָמַד).

6 tn Heb “and she will lie down in your bosom.” The expression might imply sexual intimacy (see 2 Sam 12:3 [where the lamb symbolizes Bathsheba] and Mic 7:5), though v. 4b indicates that David did not actually have sex with the young woman.

7 tn Heb “and my master, the king, will be warm.”

8 tn Heb “through all the territory of Israel.”

9 tn Heb “did not know her.”

10 tn Heb “son of Haggith,” but since this formula usually designates the father (who in this case was David), the translation specifies that David was Adonijah’s father.

sn Haggith was one of David’s wives (2 Sam 3:4; 2 Chr 3:2).

11 tn Heb “lifting himself up.”

12 tn Heb “saying.”

13 tn Or “he acquired for himself.”

14 tn Heb “to run ahead of him.”

15 tn Or “disciplined.”

16 tn Heb “did not correct him from his days.” The phrase “from his days” means “from his earliest days,” or “ever in his life.” See GKC 382 §119.w, n. 2.

17 tn Heb “and she gave birth to him after Absalom.” This does not imply they had the same mother; Absalom’s mother was Maacah, not Haggith (2 Sam 3:4).

18 tn Heb “his words were.”

19 tn Heb “helped after” (i.e., stood by).

20 tn Heb “Adonijah.” The proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“him”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.

21 tn Or “bodyguard” (Heb “mighty men”).

22 tn Heb “were not.”

23 tc The ancient Greek version omits this appositional phrase.

24 tn Or “bodyguard” (Heb “mighty men”).

25 tn Heb “Have you not heard?”

26 tn Heb “and our master David does not know.”

27 tn Heb “now, come.” The imperative of הָלַךְ (halakh) is here used as an introductory interjection. See BDB 234 s.v. חָלַךְ.

28 tn Or “so that.”

29 tn Heb “come, go to.” The imperative of הָלַךְ (halakh) is here used as an introductory interjection. See BDB 234 s.v. חָלַךְ.

30 tn Or “swear an oath to.”

31 tn In the Hebrew text the sentence is introduced by the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”), which here draws attention to Nathan’s concluding word of assurance and support. For this use of the word, see HALOT 252 s.v. הִנֵּה.

32 tc The Hebrew text reads, “I will come after you.”

33 tn Heb “fill up [i.e., confirm] your words.”

34 tn Or “bedroom.”

35 tn Heb “bowed low and bowed down to.”

36 tc Instead of עַתָּה (’attah, “now”) many Hebrew mss, along with the Old Greek, Syriac Peshitta, and Latin Vulgate, have the similar sounding independent pronoun אַתָּה (’attah, “you”). This reading is followed in the present translation.

37 tn Heb “you do not know [about it].”

38 tc Many Hebrew mss have עַתָּה (’attah, “now”) rather than the similar sounding independent pronoun אַתָּה (’attah, “you”).

39 tn Heb “the eyes of all Israel are upon you to declare to them who will sit on the throne of my master the king after him.”

40 tn The words “if a decision is not made” are added for clarification.

41 tn Heb “lies down with his fathers.”

42 tn Heb “I and my son Solomon.” The order has been reversed in the translation for stylistic reasons.

43 tn Heb “will be guilty”; NASB “considered offenders”; TEV “treated as traitors.”

44 tn Heb “look.” The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) here draws attention to Nathan’s arrival and invites the audience to view the scene through the eyes of the participants.

45 tn Heb “ground.” Since this was indoors, “floor” is more appropriate than “ground.”

46 tn Heb “look.”

47 tn Heb “eating and drinking.”

48 tn Heb “let the king, Adonijah, live!”

49 tc Many Hebrew mss and ancient textual witnesses agree with the Qere in reading this as singular, “your servant.”

50 tn Heb “From my master the king is this thing done, and you did not make known to your servants who will sit on the throne of my master the king after him?”

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