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by Wayne Blank
"they sought for a fair damsel throughout all the coasts of Israel, and found Abishag"
Abishag was an intimate servant of the king, very nearly a wife or concubine.
"Now king David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he gat no heat. 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."
Adonijah was the fourth-born son of David. After the death of his older brothers, Amnon and Absalom, Adonijah assumed himself to the throne. But The Lord had already chosen Solomon, Adonijah's younger brother, to succeed David. Nevertheless, Adonijah had himself proclaimed king while David was even yet living. Nathan and Bathsheba brought the situation to David's attention; David then declared Solomon king, even though David was himself yet alive.
"And Bathsheba went in unto the king into the chamber: and the king was very old; and Abishag the Shunammite ministered unto the king. And Bathsheba bowed, and did obeisance unto the king."
After his first plot failed, Adonijah then asked Bathsheba to ask Solomon for Abishag in marriage.
"And Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, Comest thou peaceably?"
Solomon's reaction, although often misinterpretted by many, was simply a matter of self defense. Solomon knew that his life would always be in danger with Adonijah lurking about. It was Solomon that The Lord declared was to be David's successor, and Solomon had a responsibility to fulfill The Lord's will. When Bathsheba delivered Adonijah's request to Solomon, Solomon did what was necessary to defend the throne.
"And she said, Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah thy brother to wife."
Fact Finder: Adonijah was not the only son who tried to usurp the kingship from the rightful heir of that royal dynasty of Judah, of which Jesus Christ is the lawful descendant (see also Israelite Dynasties). What other son of David also tried it, by a military coup against his own father?