Study Notes

1Kings 1:1-2:46


The books of First and Second Kings are similar to First and Second Samuel, in that the author is unknown (many believe that it was written by Jeremiah the prophet), and that the books were originally one. There was a book of Samuel, and a book of Kings. As the title indicates, these books will take us through the lineage of the kings of Israel that followed David.

1:1-4 David Keeps Warm

David is approaching the age of 70 and his health is failing. As he lies in his sickbed, he suffers from chills. Of course, in those days, they had no electric blankets, so they find a warm body to put in bed with him. The woman they found was Abishag the Shunammite. The relationship between them was purely platonic - she was his servant, not his concubine.

1:5-6 Adonijah Claims The Throne

Although it had been made clear that David' son Solomon was going to be crowned king upon David's death (1Kings 1:13), another of David's sons - Ad-o-nee-YAW - had his own intentions of being the next king. He began to act like the king, having chariots and horsemen with fifty runners running before him, just as his half-brother Ab-shaw-LOME had done (2Sam. 15:1).

Unfortunately, David's policy regarding these matters was inaction. He did nothing to confront Ad-o-nee-YAW about this rebellious spirit.

1:7-8 Adonijah's Companions

Ad-o-nee-YAW was able to get on his side Yo-AWB, the commander of David's army. Yo-AWB had always followed his own way, obeying King David only when it suited him. It doesn't surprise me at all to see him abandon David as he lays dying.

What does surprise me is that Ab-yaw-THAWR the priest joined up with Ad-o-nee-YAW. Remember that Ab-yaw-THAWR was the only survivor of Saul's massacre of the priests of Nob (1Sam. 22). David had taken him in, saying,

1Sam. 22:23 "Stay with me, do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life; for you are safe with me."

Ab-yaw-THAWR later became a spy for David during Ab-shaw-LOME's rebellion (2Sam. 15). But now he is following and helping Ad-o-nee-YAW.

There were many who stayed faithful to David, including Tsaw-DOKE the priest, Ben-aw-YAW the son of Yeh-ho-yaw-DAW, Nathan, Shim-EE, Ray-EE, and the rest of the mighty men.

1:9-10 Adonijah's Sacrifices

Ad-o-nee-YAW had a party, inviting all except those who were clearly in support of David. He offered sacrifices by the stone of Zo-KHEH-leth beside Ane Ro-GALE.

1:11-27 Nathan And Bathsheba's Strategy

The prophet Nathan heard about the gathering, and talked to Bathsheba about it. Solomon was her son, and Nathan knew that if Ad-o-nee-YAW took the throne, that Solomon would be killed. They made a plan to inform the king.

1:28-37 David's Instructions

David promised Bathsheba that Solomon would in fact be the next king. He called for those who were faithful to him to crown Solomon king. This was to done by putting Solomon on David's mule, anointing him in Ghee-KHONE, and having him sit on the throne.

Why would Solomon be riding a mule? It would seem that a king would ride on a horse, a swift and majestic creature. Kings did ride on horses, but they rode them when going to war. During peacetime, a king would ride on a donkey.

Remember that Jesus Himself rode into Jerusalem, being worshiped as a king.

John 12:12-15 ...the great multitude who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took the branches of the palm trees, and went out to meet Him, and {began} to cry out, "Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel." And Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, "FEAR NOT, DAUGHTER OF ZION; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SEATED ON A DONKEY'S COLT."

This was in fulfillment of the prophecy in Zechariah,

Zech. 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

But, as I said, kings rode horses on the day of war. Jesus is no exception. When He returns to earth the second time, it will not to be humble and gentle, but to bring God's wrath upon a Christ-rejecting world. And of that day, John wrote,

Rev. 19:11-16 And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it {is} called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war. And His eyes {are} a flame of fire, and upon His head {are} many diadems; and He has a name written {upon Him} which no one knows except Himself. And {He is} clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white {and} clean, were following Him on white horses. And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."

But Solomon's kingdom is beginning in peace, so he will ride on a mule.

1:38-40 Solomon Is Made King

Solomon was made king, and anointed by the horn of oil from the tent where the ark of the covenant was kept. As we discovered in 1Samuel, prophets, priests and kings were anointed with oil. This was symbolic of the Holy Spirit being poured out upon them.

We as Christians have been anointed with the Holy Spirit as well.

2Cor. 1:21-22 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.

1John 2:20 have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.

1John 2:27 And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.

If you are a Christian today, you have been anointed by the Holy Spirit. And you have been called to a future of being a priest and a king.

1:41-49 Adonijah's Party Ends

Nothing spoils your inauguration party like someone else being made king! When Ad-o-nee-YAW's guests heard that Solomon had been made king, they all got up and left. Not exactly the kind of friends that you want to be surrounded with. The proverb says,

Prov. 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

I know who my real friends are, because they've stuck with me when things got difficult. They are the people that have seen that I am human and fallible, and yet still stick with me. It is evident that the people who had gathered around Ad-o-nee-YAW were looking for how they might profit in the new kingdom, not because they were personally endeared to him as friends.

1:50-53 Adonijah Is Spared

Ad-o-nee-YAW was fearful that his brother would put him to death for his treachery, so he went to the altar of sacrifice and held onto the horns.

It appears that this was thought of as either a place of safety or a place to appeal for mercy. "It was deemed sacrilege to molest a man who had taken refuge there" (Clarke).

When Solomon was determining Ad-o-nee-YAW's fate, he let it rest on whether he was worthy or wicked.

This is how each human being will be judged by God as well: by their worthiness or their wickedness.

Rev. 20:12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is {the book} of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.

The unfortunate fact is that every one of us has proven to be wicked. Our hearts are deceitfully wicked, and our deeds have proven it out.

How then can a person be judged worthy? By having the worthiness of Christ imparted to us.

Phil. 3:9 ...not having a righteousness of my own derived from {the} Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which {comes} from God on the basis of faith

We as Christians will be judged not on our own righteousness and worthiness, but on Christ's.

2:1-4 David's Directions To Solomon

When David was about to die, he gave instructions to Solomon. He told him to be a man and to keep the Word of God.

Today, many men believe it is not manly to follow the commandments and live a godly life. For many, manhood is rated on how you hold your liquor, how immoral you can live, how coarsely you can speak. But in reality, living the Christian life according to the Word of God is what makes a real man's man. To be a godly man is not to be a geek - it is to be struggling and persevering, keeping your strength under control, being a righteous husband and father. These things are not easy. They take effort, strength, and self-control. Any idiot can get drunk. Any bozo can curse. But it takes a real man to live a life of discipline and set an example.

2:5-9 Dealing With Various Men

David also gave instructions to Solomon regarding what to do with certain men in the kingdom.

Yo-AWB, David's commander, had put to death innocent men like Abner (2Sam. 3) and Am-aw-SAW the son of YEH-ther (2Sam. 20). He had also killed David's son Ab-shaw-LOME and betrayed David by following Ad-o-nee-YAW. He has been unfaithful and treacherous. David tells Solomon to have him killed.

Bar-zil-LAH-ee is to be rewarded for his faithfulness to David when he was fleeing from Ab-shaw-LOME's rebellion (2Sam. 17).

Shim-EE the son of Gay-RAW the Benjamite, of Bakh-oo-REEM was the man who threw stones at David as he fled (2Sam. 16). He later apologized when David was again in a position of power. David had given his word that he would not put Shim-ee to death, but now he tells Solomon to find a way to punish him.

2:10-12 David's Reign

After being king over Israel for forty years, David died, and Solomon reigned in his stead.

2:13-25 Adonijah's Mistake

Ad-o-nee-YAW comes to Solomon's mother Bathsheba and says, "You know that I was supposed to be the king, but have lost that privilege. Is it to much to ask that I might benefit in this one small thing: that I might marry David's servant Abishag?" That seems reasonable enough. Yet when Bathsheba asked the king for him, he became angry and had Ad-o-nee-YAW put to death. Why did Solomon become so furious?

I cannot say with certainty. There are several theories. Some believe that Ad-o-nee-YAW was making a move for the throne by attempting to marry one of David's wives. But it was clear to me that David did not marry or have relations with Abishag.

Others believe that Abishag was the love of Solomon's life, being the woman that "Song of Solomon" was written for. They even speculate that Bathsheba perceived Abishag as a rival, and was attempting to get her away from Solomon. But again, the text does not indicate this to be the case, because his outburst focuses on losing the kingdom, not a woman.

For whatever reason, it is evident that Solomon was surprised and angered to have a request from his rival for the throne coming from his beloved mother. No matter how innocent the request sounded, Solomon was certain that Ad-o-nee-YAW was up to no good.

This also brings to mind the Catholic teaching that if you bring your prayer requests to Jesus' mother Mary, she will have more influence on Him than you would going to Him directly. They think the same as Ad-o-nee-YAW spoke, "please speak to the king, for he will not refuse you." Of course, this is not Scriptural in the slightest, and Mary cannot hear your prayers anyway. But as you can see, even if she could, there is no guarantee that a son will do everything his mother asks!

2:26-27 Mercy For Abiathar

Because of his former faithfulness, Ab-yaw-THAWR was not put to death by Solomon, but was removed from the priesthood. This was actually a fulfillment of prophecy back near the beginning of the book of 1Samuel. You recall that Eli the priest was cursed by God for failing to rebuke his wicked sons.

1Sam. 2:12-17 Now the sons of Eli were worthless men; they did not know the LORD and the custom of the priests with the people. When any man was offering a sacrifice, the priest's servant would come while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand. Then he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. Thus they did in Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. Also, before they burned the fat, the priest's servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, "Give the priest meat for roasting, as he will not take boiled meat from you, only raw." And if the man said to him, "They must surely burn the fat first, and then take as much as you desire," then he would say, "No, but you shall give {it to me} now; and if not, I will take it by force." Thus the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD, for the men despised the offering of the LORD.

The Word of God came to Eli, saying

1Sam. 2:29 ‘Why do you kick at My sacrifice and at My offering which I have commanded {in My} dwelling, and honor your sons above Me, by making yourselves fat with the choicest of every offering of My people Israel?'

God cursed Eli's house. Now, his last descendant being removed as high priest,and the high priesthood is permanently removed from his family.

2:28-35 Joab Is Killed

Yo-AWB knows that he's next on the hit list, and flees to the altar to grab the horns and appeal for Solomon's mercy. However, justice demanded that he be killed. He had killed Abner after he had made peace with David. He had killed Amasa after David had put him in charge of the army instead of Joab. He will be killed as he had killed.

2:36-46 Shimei Is Killed

Finally, Shim-EE is dealt with. Solomon warned him that he should not leave the city of Jerusalem, or he would die. However, when it happened three years later that two of his servants ran away to Gath, that Shim-EE went to retrieve them. Because he had not kept his oath, he too was put to death.

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