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1 Kings 1:1-4. Now King David was old, &c.— It appears from 2Sa 5:4-5 that he was seventy years old. The strength of nature was so far abated in him, that clothes could not keep him warm in his bed. His physicians therefore advised, that a fair and youthful virgin should be sought for, who might cherish his vital heat; the natural warmth of a young healthful human body being, as the physicians observe, best fitted for that end, both in kind and degree. If it be asked, how the beauty of the person to be employed for this purpose was concerned in David's health; I answer, that the beauty here required, is evidently beauty of complexion, which, as it indicates the health and temperament of the body, might be of importance in this case. Possibly too, as David was very beautiful himself, they sought for some person of complexion and constitution likest to his own, and, of consequence, best suited, and most congenial to it. Scheuchzer, on the place, has entered philosophically into the subject; to him, therefore, we refer. We should remark, however, that concubinage was not at that time deemed criminal; and it will I hope, says Dr. Delaney, be thought no wild paradox, to venture to surmise, that a man can with less reluctance suffer his infirmities to be relieved by a wife, than by any other mortal.
Note; (1.) They who come to old age, must expect the burden of infirmities which attend it. (2.) Though the candle of life escape the furious blasts of disease or accident, it must shortly burn out of itself. (3.) The view of approaching old age and death should enliven our diligence to work for God, whilst life and strength are with us.
1 Kings 1:6. And his father had not displeased him at any time— Strange weakness in parents and cruelty to their children, to suffer them to become incorrigible in error, or inveterate in vice, rather than restrain and correct them while correction is kindness! An extreme indulgence to his children, seems to have been one of David's greatest failings. Houbigant renders the last clause of the verse, and he was born to, or begotten by David after Absalom: for not Haggith, but Maacah, was the mother of Absalom. 2 Samuel 3:3.
1 Kings 1:12. That thou mayest save thine own life, &c.— Both Solomon and Bath-sheba would have been an immediate sacrifice, if Adonijah had succeeded in his treasonable usurpation, that he might have rid himself of a dangerous rival to the throne. Bath-sheba herself foresaw this, as appears from her address to the king, 1 Kings 1:21. There is not any other mention of the oath of David which Bath-sheba speaks of in the 13th verse. But there can be no reason to doubt that he had given her such an oath, as he well knew of God's immediate appointment of Solomon to the throne. See 2 Samuel 7:12.
1 Kings 1:33. Cause Solomon—to ride upon mine own mule— See 1 Kings 1:44. Maimonides tells us, that it was a capital offence to ride upon the king's ass of mule, to sit upon his throne, or to handle his sceptre, without his order; and, on the contrary, to have the honour to ride on the king's beast by his appointment, was accounted the highest dignity among the Persians, as appears from the history of Mordecai, in the 6th chapter of Esther. Gihon was a little river or brook near Jerusalem, which discharged itself into the brook Kidron, and in the Chaldee is called by its modern name Siloa; it was afterwards rendered famous by the noble work of Hezekiah, 2 Chronicles 32:30. Maimonides and other rabbis assert, that the kings of the house of David were all obliged to be anointed by the side of a fountain or river; which, they say, was the reason why David commanded his servants to bring his son down to Gihon, and anoint him there. At this place, without the walls of Jerusalem, not in the city, Zadok and Nathan anointed Solomon; that is, one of them poured out the oil, and the other anointed his head; drawing a circle round about it with oil, according to the maxim, that their kings were anointed in the form of a crown, to denote their delegation to the royal dignity. We shall add another reason, assigned by the Jews, for choosing such a situation for anointing their kings; namely, to shew the perpetuity of their kingdom, because rivers run always, though the cities which they wash are continually decaying, and liable to destruction. Probably Gihon was more particularly chosen on this occasion, as being near Jerusalem, the most public place of resort in the whole kingdom. Hence, from the principles of the Jews themselves, we are able to draw the reason why our blessed Saviour was anointed by the Holy Ghost as he came out of the waters of Jordan; and we may hence infer, that Jordan was preferred to any other place, to shew that HE was not only the king of Israel, who should sit on the throne of his father David, but likewise, as the angel adds, should sit upon it for ever; Luke 1:33. See Bishop Patrick's Witnesses, and Schickhard Jus Regium, cap. 1: theor. 4. Concerning the anointing of Solomon, the oil, &c. the reader who may be curious in these matters will find full satisfaction in the Mirothec. of Schacchus.
Note; (1.) The King of Peace, whom Solomon represented, was anointed (not with the oil of the Jewish sanctuary, but) with the oil of gladness above his fellows, and appointed and qualified for the administration of that kingdom which is an everlasting kingdom, by the Spirit, which the Father gave not by measure unto him. (2.) They are kings indeed, who reign in the affections of their subjects. (3.) When the believer shall ascend to his throne of glory, it shall be amidst the joyful acclamations of angels, and with the trump of God.
1 Kings 1:42. For thou art a valiant man— His being a valiant man was no great argument of recommendation in the present case. The original word is rendered virtuous in Pro 12:4 and would be so rendered with much greater propriety here. The Targum has it, thou art a man who fearest to sin. The marginal reference confirms this interpretation.
1 Kings 1:50. And Adonijah—went, and caught hold on the horns of the altar— Conscious that he had committed a crime worthy of death, in usurping the kingdom without his father's consent, and against the known design of God, (chap. 1 Kings 2:15.) he fled for safety and protection to the altar, which was a privileged place, not by the appointment of the law, but in conformity to the custom of all nations. It is a question, to what altar Adonijah fled: but, as the horns of the altar are mentioned, it was probably the same with that in the tabernacle, to which Joab fled also. See the next chapter, 1 Kings 1:28.
REFLECTIONS.—When sin spreads the table of riotous feasting, the end of that mirth will be heaviness.
1. Tidings are brought to Adonijah and his guests, in the midst of their entertainment, of what had passed in Jerusalem. At first he promises himself good news for his party; but he is quickly undeceived. They who do ill, must not expect messages of peace. Jonathan, who had been present at what had passed, relates the coronation of Solomon, the persons employed in it, the zeal of the king's servants for him, the universal satisfaction of the people, and especially David's own great joy and thankfulness at seeing his son on his throne, and his hearty consent and approbation of the loyal wishes of his servants, that Solomon's throne might be greater than his own. Note; The greatest satisfaction that an aged Christian knows, is to see the peace of God's Israel established, and his own children happily settled, and walking in the fear of God.
2. Adonijah and his company are thunderstruck with the news: every man instantly shifts for himself, afraid to be caught in so treasonable an assembly; and Adonijah, who just now sat as a king, flies to the horns of the altar to secure his life, which was forfeited by his treason. Note; (1.) There is yet hope for the sinner, even after his deepest provocation, if he flies to Jesus Christ for refuge, who is the true altar, on the horns of which that atoning blood is sprinkled, which cleanseth from all sin. (2.) Traitors are generally cowards, from the consciousness of a bad cause.
3. He humbly sues to Solomon, as his king, for pardon, which he as graciously grants; and, requiring an oath for his security, Solomon assures him, if he approves himself for the future a loyal subject, his past attempt shall not be his death; but if he should be found turbulent or seditious, then he must no longer expect the clemency that he had abused. Note; (1.) They who cry earnestly to the Prince of Peace for pardon, may hope to find an answer of peace. (2.) We are, by our loyalty to our king, to prove the reality of our subjection to him. If we still retain the love of sin in our hearts, or indulge it in our practice, it is not saying Lord, Lord, that will secure us from eternal death.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Kings 1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12