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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 2

Gray's Concise Bible CommentaryGray's Concise Commentary

Verses 1-46



The incident in the first four verses is recorded not for itself, but because of what grew out of it in Adonijah’s case (1 Kings 2:13-25 ). It was a custom in the Orient, and still is, to do this for hygienic reasons on the supposition “that the inhalation of young breath will give new vigor to a worn-out frame.” The event shows that Abishag was made a concubine or secondary wife to the king (1 Kings 2:22 ).

Adonijah, doubtless, felt some justification for his conduct in that he was now the eldest son of David (2 Samuel 3:4 ), and no public intimation had been made as to the successor on the throne. Moreover, his father seems to have indulged him in certain liberties (1 Kings 1:6 ).

For the history of Zadok and Benaiah, see 2 Samuel 8:17 ; 2 Samuel 15:24 ; 21:53 and 1 Samuel 8:18 ; 1 Samuel 20:23 . With Nathan we have met (2 Samuel 7:0 ). There was something ominous in the omission of these men from Adonijah’s feast (1 Kings 1:10 ).

THE WAY OF PROCEDURE (1 Kings 1:11-40 )

Bathsheba was a capable woman, for it is inferred from 1 Kings 1:17 that she had great influence with the king. Nathan must have known of the promise spoken of and been aware of its harmony with the divine will to explain his action (1 Kings 1:11-27 ).

THE EARLIEST RESULTS (1 Kings 1:4 - 1 Kings 2:46 )

Adonijah (1 Kings 1:50-53 ; 1 Kings 2:13-25 ). The four corners of the altar of burnt offering to which sacrifices were bound, were symbols of salvation and considered as a sanctuary for all except certain classes of offenders (Exodus 21:14 ). Adonijah’s offense was rebellion, but he is spared on the conditions named. Unhappily, however, he violates them and, apparently instigated by Joab and Abiathar (1 Kings 1:22 ), adopts a course which, according to eastern ideas, was of dangerous consequence to the state.

Abiathar (1 Kings 1:26-27 ). The punishment of the priest follows that of the usurper. (Note the fulfillment of 1 Samuel 2:30 .) Joab (1 Kings 1:28-34 ). The crimes of this military leader merited death, according to the divine law (Numbers 35:33 ), which would have been visited upon him earlier, no doubt, had it not been for his power with the army. Compare David’s words in 2 Samuel 3:28-29 .

Shiraei (1 Kings 2:36-46 ). By the death of this man all the leaders of factions inimical to Solomon were cut off, which explains the last sentence of the chapter.


1. What relation presumably did Abishag sustain to David?

2. Had Adonijah any apparent ground for his action?

3. What shows a plot in his case?

4. How does 1 Kings 1:15-31 indicate the dignity associated with the human sovereignty of Israel at this time?

5. How did Adonijah show his heart unchanged?

6. In what line of the priesthood did Abiathar come?

7. In what sense did Solomon’s kingdom come to be established at this period?

Bibliographical Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on 1 Kings 2". Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jgc/1-kings-2.html. 1897-1910.
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