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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
1 Kings 1

 

 

Verses 1-53

1 Kings 1:1-53. Last Days of David and Accession of Solomon.—This chapter with the following has many analogies with the court history of David (2 Samuel 11-20). The narrative bears every sign of an authentic account of actual events, told with complete impartiality, and without any attempt to comment favourably or otherwise on the events related. David is represented as a very aged man nursed by his youngest wife, Abishag the Shunammite (1 Kings 1:3). Her beauty is especially noticed as it may have caused the death of David's son, Adonijah. Shunem, her native place, was a slope overlooking the plain of Esdraelon near Jezreel, and she is the Shulammite in the Song of Songs (Ca. 1 Kings 6:13). The pivot around which all revolves is the succession. The chief claimant was Adonijah the son of Haggith (1 Kings 1:9), whose conduct as well as his appearance (1 Kings 1:6) recalls Absalom. Adonijah evidently considered himself the legitimate heir, and assumed a semi-royal state without rebuke from David. Like Absalom he made use of chariots, which are first mentioned as employed by the Hebrews in connexion with these two princes (1 Kings 1:5, 2 Samuel 15:1, but see 1 Samuel 15:13 LXX). Adonijah was supported by David's older counsellors, Joab the son of Zeruiah, David's sister, and Abiathar, the sole representative of the house of Eli, who had escaped the massacre of the priests at Nob (1 Samuel 22:20 ff). Adonijah and his supporters evidently intended to force the aged David to acknowledge his claim. A great feast was held outside Jerusalem by the stone Zoheleth which is beside En-rogel (the fuller's well), probably near the village of Siloam (1 Kings 1:9), to which Adonijah invited all the great men of Judah, but purposely excluded his brother Solomon, son of David's favourite wife Bathsheba, together with his supporters, Zadok, Nathan and Benaiah, the captain of David's bodyguard of Gibborim (2 Samuel 23:8 ff.). The plot was defeated by the machinations of Nathan, the prophet, who had so fearlessly rebuked David (2 Samuel 12:1), and Bathsheba. Nathan persuades the queen to go to the king and ask whether it was not his intention that Solomon should be his successor. He promised to come in afterwards to "confirm her words." Observe the art with which the historian makes Bathsheba expand the instructions given her by Nathan (1 Kings 1:17-21), and the prophet's diplomatic question as to whether the king had really appointed Adonijah (1 Kings 1:24-27). The old king is aroused to vigorous action. He orders Zadok, Nathan and Benaiah to take Solomon at once, and make him ride on the royal mule (1 Kings 1:33) to Gihon (p. 31), probably, like the stone Zoheleth, outside Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 32:30; 2 Chronicles 33:14), and in the valley of the Kidron. There Zadok the priest took the oil from the Tent Sanctuary in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:17; 2 Samuel 7:2, 1 Kings 2:28), and anointed Solomon, proclaiming to the sound of the trumpet that he was king (1 Kings 1:39). This is the only example in Israel of a son being anointed king in his father's lifetime. The RV has Tent and not Tabernacle here (as in Exodus 33:11, because this sanctuary could not have been the "Tabernacle" of the Priestly Code, which, however, preserves the tradition that the anointing oil was kept in the sanctuary (Exodus 31:11; Exodus 39:38). Though, according to 2 Chronicles 1:3, the Tabernacle at this time was at Gibeon, the Tent in which the oil was kept together with the Ark (2 Samuel 7:2) must have been in Jerusalem. The only kings after Solomon who are said to have been anointed in Judah are Joash (2 Kings 11:12), and Jehoahaz, the son of Josiah (2 Kings 23:30). An anointed king was considered a sacrosanct person, the Messiah of Yahweh.

The scene now shifts to the banquet of Adonijah, which, since the revellers heard the trumpets, must have been near the place where Solomon was proclaimed. Jonathan the son of Abiathar (2 Samuel 15:36; 2 Samuel 17:7) announces the news (1 Kings 1:43-49). Thereupon Adonijah's guests disperse in terror, and the pretender claims the protection of the altar (Numbers 35*, Deuteronomy 19:1-13*). Solomon, with a magnanimity rare in Eastern story, promises to spare his brother's life if he will prove himself a "worthy man." Adonijah does homage to the new king, and is allowed to retire to his house (1 Kings 1:50-53).

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Kings 1:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/1-kings-1.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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