Now king David was old and
stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he gat no heat.a
FIRST BOOK OF THE KINGS
-Year from the Creation, according to the English Bible, 2989.
-Year before the Incarnation, 1015.
-Year from the destruction of Troy, according to Dionysius of
-Year before the first Olympiad, 239.
-Year before the building of Rome, 262.
-Year of the Julian Period, 3699.
-Year of the Dionysian Period, 507.
-Cycle of the Sun, 3.
-Cycle of the Moon, 13.
-Year of Acastus, the second perpetual archon of the Athenians,
-Pyritiades was king over the Assyrians about this time,
according to Scaliger, Langius, and Strauchius. He was the
thirty-seventh monarch, (including Belus,) according to
Africanus, and the thirty-third according to Eusebius.
-Year of Alba Silvius, the sixth king of the Latins, 15.
-Year of David, king of the Hebrews, 40.
David, grown old, is, by the advice of his physicians,
cherished by Abishag the Shunummite, 1-4.
Adonijah conspires with Joab and Abiathar to seize on the
Nathan and Bathsheba communicate these tidings to the aged king,
David immediately pronounces Solomon his successor, and causes
Zadok and Nathan to proclaim and anoint him king, 28-40.
Adonijah and his friends hear of it, are afraid, and flee away,
Adonijah laying hold on the horns of the altar, from which he
refuses to go till Solomon shall promise him his life; this he
does, and banishes him to his own house, 41-53.
NOTES ON CHAP. I
Verse 1. Now King David was old
] He was probably now about sixty-nine
years of age. He was thirty
years old when he began
to reign, reigned forty
, and died in the seventieth
year of his
age, 2Sa 5:4
, and 1Ki 2:11
; and the transactions mentioned here
are supposed to have taken place about a year before his death. But he gat no heat.
] Sixty-nine was not an advanced age; but
David had been exhausted with various fatigues, and especially by
family afflictions, so that he was much older in constitution than
he was in years. Besides he seems to have laboured under some
wasting maladies, to which there is frequent reference in the
Wherefore his servants said unto him, Let there be sought for my lord the king a young virgin: and let her stand before the king, and let her cherish him, and let her lie in thy bosom, that my lord the king may get heat.b, c, d
Verse 2. Let there be sought-a young virgin
] This was the best
remedy which in his state could be prescribed. His nearly
exhausted frame would infallibly absorb from her young and healthy
body an additional portion of animal heat, and consequently trim
and revive the flame of animal life. This is properly, as I have
elsewhere expressed it, Friar Bacon's secret for the cure of old
So they sought for a fair damsel throughout all the coasts of Israel, and found Abishag a Shunammite, and brought her to the king.
And the damsel was
very fair, and cherished the king, and ministered to him: but the king knew her not.
Verse 4. The king knew her not.
] The maxim of Bacon in his
enigmatical cure is, "Take all you can from the medicine, but give
nothing to it; if you give any thing, it increases the disease and
hastens death." I have seen this abundantly verified; but it is a
subject on which it would be improper to dilate except in a
medical work. An extract from Friar Bacon's Cure of Old Age
found at the end of the chapter. See Clarke on 1Ki 1:53
¶ Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.e
Verse 5. Adonijah the son of Haggith
] Who this woman was we know
not; Adonijah was evidently David's eldest son now living, and one
of whom his father was particularly fond; see 1Ki 1:6
. Prepared him chariots and horsemen
] He copied the conduct of his
brother Absalom in every respect. See 2Sa 15:1
And his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so? and he also was a
very goodly man
; and his mother
bare him after Absalom.f
And he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah, and with Abiathar the priest: and they following Adonijah helped him
Verse 7. And he conferred with Joab
] Joab well knew, if he made the new king
, he would necessarily be continued in the command of
the army, and so govern him.
But Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and Nathan the prophet, and Shimei, and Rei, and the mighty men which belonged
to David, were not with Adonijah.
Verse 8. And Nathan
] Some suppose that he was the preceptor of
And Adonijah slew sheep and oxen and fat cattle by the stone of Zoheleth, which is
by En–rogel, and called all his brethren the king's sons, and all the men of Judah the king's servants:i
Verse 9. Slew sheep and oven
] Making a royal feast, in reference
to his inauguration. As he had Abiathar the priest
with him, no
doubt these animals were offered sacrificially
, and then the
guests fed on the flesh of the victims. He had not only a splendid
feast, but a great sacrifice; and he gave by this a popular colour
to his pretensions, by affecting to receive his authority from God
But Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah, and the mighty men, and Solomon his brother, he called not.
¶ Wherefore Nathan spake unto Bath–sheba the mother of Solomon, saying, Hast thou not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith doth reign, and David our lord knoweth it
Verse 11. Hast thou not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith doth reign
] He was now considered as being legally appointed to
the regal office, and no doubt was about to begin to perform its
Now therefore come, let me, I pray thee, give thee counsel, that thou mayest save thine own life, and the life of thy son Solomon.
Verse 12. Save thine own life, and the life of thy son
took for granted that Adonijah would put both Bath-sheba and
Solomon to death as state criminals, if he got established on the
throne. O cursed lust of rule! a father will destroy his son, a
son depose his father, and a brother murder a brother, in order to
obtain a crown! At this time the monarchy of Israel was unsettled
no man knew who was to succeed to the crown, and the minds of the
people were as unsettled as the succession. I have examined both
systems, and find that, with all its alleged disadvantages, hereditary monarchy
has a high balance of evidence in its favour
beyond that which is elective
, and is every way more safe for the
state and more secure for the subject.
Go and get thee in unto king David, and say unto him, Didst not thou, my lord, O king, swear unto thine handmaid, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne? why then doth Adonijah reign?
Verse 13. Go and get thee in unto King David
] He knew that this
woman had a sovereign influence over the king. If Bath-sheba was a
source of pleasure to David, must she not also have been a source
of pain to him? For could he ever forget the guilty manner in
which he acquired her? Didst not thou-swear
] It is very likely that David made such an
oath, and that was known only to Bath-sheba and Nathan. It is
nowhere else mentioned.
Behold, while thou yet talkest there with the king, I also will come in after thee, and confirm thy words.j
¶ And Bath–sheba went in unto the king into the chamber: and the king was very old; and Abishag the Shunammite ministered unto the king.
And Bath–sheba bowed, and did obeisance unto the king. And the king said, What wouldest thou?k
And she said unto him, My lord, thou swarest by the LORD
thy God unto thine handmaid, saying
, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne.
And now, behold, Adonijah reigneth; and now, my lord the king, thou knowest it
And he hath slain oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and hath called all the sons of the king, and Abiathar the priest, and Joab the captain of the host: but Solomon thy servant hath he not called.
And thou, my lord, O king, the eyes of all Israel are
upon thee, that thou shouldest tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him.
Verse 20. That thou shouldest tell-who shall sit on the throne
This was a monarchy neither hereditary
; the king
simply named his successor
. This obtained less or more, anciently,
in most countries.
Otherwise it shall come to pass, when my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders.l
Verse 21. Shall be counted offenders.
] When Adonijah and his
party shall find that I and my son have had this promise from thee
by oath, he will slay us both.
¶ And, lo, while she yet talked with the king, Nathan the prophet also came in.
And they told the king, saying, Behold Nathan the prophet. And when he was come in before the king, he bowed himself before the king with his face to the ground.
And Nathan said, My lord, O king, hast thou said, Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne?
For he is gone down this day, and hath slain oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and hath called all the king's sons, and the captains of the host, and Abiathar the priest; and, behold, they eat and drink before him, and say, God save king Adonijah.m
But me, even
me thy servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and thy servant Solomon, hath he not called.
Is this thing done by my lord the king, and thou hast not shewed it
unto thy servant, who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?
¶ Then king David answered and said, Call me Bath–sheba. And she came into the king's presence, and stood before the king.n
Verse 28. Call me Bath-sheba.
] She had gone out when Nathan came
in, and he retired when she was re-admitted. Each had a separate
audience, but to Nathan the king did not express any will.
And the king sware, and said, As
liveth, that hath redeemed my soul out of all distress,
Even as I sware unto thee by the LORD
God of Israel, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead; even so will I certainly do this day.
Then Bath–sheba bowed with her
face to the earth, and did reverence to the king, and said, Let my lord king David live for ever.
¶ And king David said, Call me Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada. And they came before the king.
The king also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule, and bring him down to Gihon:o
Verse 33. Take with you the servants of your lord
] By these we
may understand the kings guards
, the guards
of the city
, the Cherethites
, who were under the command of
Benaiah; and in short, all the disposable force that was at hand. Solomon-to ride upon mine own mule
] No subject could use any
thing that belonged to the prince, without forfeiting his life. As
David offered Solomon to ride on his own mule, this was full
evidence that he had appointed him his successor.
And let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel: and blow ye with the trumpet, and say, God save king Solomon.
Verse 34. Blow ye with the trumpet
] After he has been anointed,
make proclamation that he is king.
Then ye shall come up after him, that he may come and sit upon my throne; for he shall be king in my stead: and I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah.
And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king, and said, Amen: the LORD
God of my lord the king say so too
Verse 36. Sit upon my throne
] The matter of conducting a
business of this kind seems to have been this: 1. The king elect
was placed on the mule of his predecessor
, and caused to ride abroad
to one of the public wells, or to a river where there was
the greatest concourse of people, that they might see who he was
that was appointed. Solomon was here taken to the river Gihon
order to be anointed; the continual stream or constantly running
fountain, denoting the perpetuity of the kingdom. 2. The priest
and the prophet anointed
him in the name of the Lord; and thereby
signified that he should be endued with all the kingly virtues;
that he should reign by, under
, and for
the Lord. 3. The trumpet
was then to be blown
, and solemn proclamation made, that he was
anointed king. 4. He was then brought and solemnly placed on the throne
, to signify that he had now assumed the reins of
government, and was about to administer justice and judgement to
As the LORD
hath been with my lord the king, even so be he with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord king David.
Verse 37. Make his throne greater than the throne of-David.
wish of this kind a king
will suffer in behalf of his son
, but it
is never in ordinary cases considered a compliment
to say, "I hope
this child will make a better man than his father," because it
seems to insinuate some reflections on his father's conduct or
character. Many foolish people deal in such compliments, and they
may rest assured, for the reasons given above, that they are far
from being either welcome or agreeable.
Claudian, in his panegyric De Quarto Consulatu Honorii Augusti
ver. 428, has words something similar to those of Benaiah, when he
describes a father, worn out with toils and difficulties,
committing the reins of government to the hands of his son:-
Adspice, completur votum: jam natus adaequat Te meritis; et,
quod magis est optabile, vincit.
"Behold, thy desire is accomplished. Even now thy son equals
thee in worth; and what is still more desirable, surpasses thee."
So Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, went down, and caused Solomon to ride upon king David's mule, and brought him to Gihon.
And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon.
Verse 39. Zadok-took a horn of oil
little in use in those times; and horns
were frequently used to
. The oil used here was the holy anointing oil
which was laid up in the tabernacle, and which was used for the
anointing of both priests
And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them.p
Verse 40. The people piped with pipes
] They danced, sang, and
played on what instruments of music they possessed. The earth rent
] We use a similar expression in precisely the
same sense: They rent the air
with their cries.
¶ And Adonijah and all the guests that were
with him heard it
as they had made an end of eating. And when Joab heard the sound of the trumpet, he said, Wherefore is this
noise of the city being in an uproar?
And while he yet spake, behold, Jonathan the son of Abiathar the priest came: and Adonijah said unto him, Come in; for thou art
a valiant man, and bringest good tidings.
And Jonathan answered and said to Adonijah, Verily our lord king David hath made Solomon king.
Verse 43. Jonathan answered
] He was properly a messenger
the court; we have met with him and Ahimaaz before, 2Sa 15:36
had now been an observer
, if not a spy
, on all that was doing, and
relates the transactions to Adonijah, in the very order in which
they took place.
1. David has nominated Solomon his successor.
2. Zadok, Nathan, and Benaiah, have been appointed to set him on
the king's mule.
3. They have taken him to Gihon, and anointed him there.
4. They have brought him up to Jerusalem and placed him on the
throne of the kingdom.
And the king hath sent with him Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and they have caused him to ride upon the king's mule:
And Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king in Gihon: and they are come up from thence rejoicing, so that the city rang again. This is
the noise that ye have heard.
And also Solomon sitteth on the throne of the kingdom.
And moreover the king's servants came to bless our lord king David, saying, God make the name of Solomon better than thy name, and make his throne greater than thy throne. And the king bowed himself upon the bed.
Verse 47. Moreover, the king's servants came
] The king himself
was at this time confined to his own house, and probably to his
bed, and could not possibly see these ceremonies; therefore his
confidential servants came and told him. We know not how Jonathan,
in so short a time, possessed himself of so much information.
And also thus said the king, Blessed be
God of Israel, which hath given one
to sit on my throne this day, mine eyes even seeing it
And all the guests that were
with Adonijah were afraid, and rose up, and went every man his way.
¶ And Adonijah feared because of Solomon, and arose, and went, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.
Verse 50. Adonijah feared
] He knew he had usurped the kingdom,
and had not his father's consent; and, as he finds now that
Solomon is appointed by David, he knows well that the people will
immediately respect that appointment, and that his case is
hopeless; he therefore took sanctuary, and, fleeing to the
tabernacle, laid hold on one of the horns of the altar, as if
appealing to the protection of God against the violence of men.
The altar was a privileged place, and it was deemed sacrilege to
molest a man who had taken refuge there. See 1Ki 2:28
And it was told Solomon, saying, Behold, Adonijah feareth king Solomon: for, lo, he hath caught hold on the horns of the altar, saying, Let king Solomon swear unto me to day that he will not slay his servant with the sword.
And Solomon said, If he will shew himself a worthy man, there shall not an hair of him fall to the earth: but if wickedness shall be found in him, he shall die.
Verse 52. If he will show himself a worthy man
] If, from
henceforth, he behave well, show himself to be contented, and not
endeavour to make partisans, or stir up insurrections among the
people, he shall be safe; but if wickedness be found in him
act at all contrary to this-he shall die
; his blood shall be upon
So king Solomon sent, and they brought him down from the altar. And he came and bowed himself to king Solomon: and Solomon said unto him, Go to thine house.
Verse 53. Go to thine house.
] Intimating that he should have no
place about the king's person, nor under the government. Adonijah
must have seen that he stood continually on his good behaviour.
Friar Bacon's method of restoring and strengthening
the Natural Heat
"I have read many volumes of the wise: I find few things in
physic which restore the natural heat
, weakened by dissolution of
the innate moisture, or increase of a foreign one.
"But certain wise men have tacitly
made mention of some
medicine, which is likened to that which goes out of the mine of the noble animal
. They affirm that in it there is a force
which restores and increases the natural heat
. As to its
disposition, they say it is like youth
itself, and contains an
equal and temperate complexion.
"And the signs of a temperate complexion in men are when their
colour is made up of white
, when the hair is yellow
inclined to redness and curling.
indeed is like to such a complexion
, for it is of
a temperate heat: its flame is temperate and sweet, and grateful
to the smell. When it departs from this temperature, it departs so
far from its virtue and goodness.
"This medicine therefore temperately heats
, because it is
temperately hot; it therefore heals
because it is whole
. When it
, it makes a man sick
; when it is distempered, it breeds
distempers, and changes the body to its own disposition, because
of the similitude it has with the body.
"For the infirmity of a brute
animal rarely passes into a man
but into another animal of the same kind
; but the infirmity of man
passes into man
; and so does health
, because of likeness
"This thing is seldom found; and although sometimes it be found,
yet it cannot commodiously be had of all men
"Now, when this thing is like to youth
, that is, of temperate
complexion, it has good operations; if its temperature be better,
it produces better effects: sometimes it is even in the highest degree of its perfection
, and then it operates best; and then
there is that property whereof we have spoken before.
"This differs from other medicines and nutriments, which heat
and moisten after a certain temperate manner, and are good for old
men. For other medicines principally heat and moisten the body;
and, secondarily, they strengthen the native heat, and after that
refresh the body, by moistening and heating it. For it brings back
this heat in old men, who have it but weakly and deficient, to a
certain stronger and more vehement power.
"If a plaster
be made hereof, and applied to the stomach
will help very much, for it will refresh the stomach itself, and
excite an appetite; it will very much recreate an old man
change him to a kind of youth
; and will make complexions, by what
means soever depraved or corrupted, better. But it is to be
observed, that Venus
doth weaken and diminish the power and virtue
of this thing!
"And it is very likely that the son of the prince, in his second
canon of the Operations of Simple Medicines
spoke of this thing,
where he saith, that there is a certain medicine, concealed by
wise men, lest the incontinent
should offend their Creator. There
is such a heat
in this thing, as is in young men of sound
complexion; and if I durst declare the properties of this heat,
this most hidden secret should presently be revealed. For this
heat doth help the palsical, it restores and preserves the wasted
strength of the native heat, and causeth it to flourish in all the
members, and gently revives the aged.
"But the simple medicine which restores the native heat
wasted and weakened, is that which is likened to the complexion of
a healthy young man."
All this covered and enigmatical description is intended simply
to point out that very medicine recommended by the Jewish
physicians to restore and invigorate the dying king. I could show
the bearing of every sentence, but I must leave something to the
good sense of my readers. By attending to the words in italics
the sense will be more easily discovered. See Clarke on Ru 4:16