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Adonijah

Adonijah, from the Hebrew name pronounced awd-oh-nee-yaw, was the fourth son of King David, born in Hebron during The Civil War: "3:2 And unto David were sons born in Hebron: and his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; 3:3 And his second, Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; 3:4 And the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; 3:5 And the sixth, Ithream, by Eglah David's wife. These were born to David in Hebron" (2 Samuel 3:2-5 KJV).

After his older brothers Amnon and Absalom were killed (see Tamar and Amnon and Absalom) and Chileab (also known as Daniel i.e. 1 Chronicles 3:1), apparently died young (or was somehow unavailable or unfit to be king - no further mention is made of him), Adonijah assumed the throne would be his - but The Lord had already chosen Solomon, Adonijah's younger brother, to be David's successor, as Adonijah himself knew i.e. "2:15 And he said, Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel set their faces on me, that I should reign: howbeit the kingdom is turned about, and is become my brother's: for it was his from the LORD" (1 Kings 2:15 KJV). Nevertheless, Adonijah chose to defy the LORD by attempting to seize the throne for himself.

"The kingdom is turned about and is become my brother's: for it was his from the LORD"

Adonijah's attempt to hold the throne of Israel, which, like the office of High Priest (see What Is Jesus Christ Doing Right Now?), was created as a living prophecy of Christ (see Israelite Monarchy - The Messiah), wasn't done after David had died, when the throne would require a successor, but while David was still alive. That made Adonijah's takeover a coup against a reigning king - an act of treason, that had the support of some of David's government, military and religious officials.

King David leading The Ark

"1:5 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. 1:6 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.

1:7 And he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah, and with Abiathar the priest [see The Lines Of Eleazar and Ithamar]: and they following Adonijah helped him. 1:8 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." (1 Kings 1:5-8 KJV)

When Solomon's mother Bathsheba and Nathan The Prophet saw what Adonijah was about to do, they reported the situation to David, who was unaware of what was happening because he had been frail and bedridden for some time.

"1:17 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. 1:18 And now, behold, Adonijah reigneth; and now, my lord the king, thou knowest it not: 1:19 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. 1:20 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. 1:21 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.

1:24 And Nathan said, My lord, O king, hast thou said, Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne? [see The United Kingdom] 1:25 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. 1:26 But me, even me thy servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and thy servant Solomon, hath he not called. 1:27 Is this thing done by my lord the king, and thou hast not showed it unto thy servant, who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?" (1 Kings 1:17-27 KJV)

Although David had become weak in body, his mind was still strong. When he heard what was going on, he immediately ordered that Solomon be publicly proclaimed king.

"1:32 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. 1:33 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 [see The Gihon Spring]: 1:34 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. 1:35 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." (1 Kings 1:32-35 KJV)

When Adonijah's followers heard that Solomon had been made king, they deserted him. Adonijah himself fled and sought asylum in the Temple area "and caught hold on the horns of the altar." Solomon spared the life of his treasonous brother, that time.

"1:49 And all the guests that were with Adonijah were afraid, and rose up, and went every man his way. 1:50 And Adonijah feared because of Solomon, and arose, and went, and caught hold on the horns of the altar. 1:51 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.

1:52 And Solomon said, If he will show 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. 1:53 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." (1 Kings 1:49-53 KJV)

King David died after reigning for forty years. "Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly."

"2:10 So David slept [see What Happens When You Die?] with his fathers, and was buried in The City of David. 2:11 And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem. 2:12 Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly." (1 Kings 2:10-12 KJV)

Solomon's mercy on conniving Adonijah turned out to be wasted. Adonijah was still a schemer for the throne, as documented by his attempt to marry Abishag the Shunammite. He even attempted to use Solomon's own mother Bathsheba in the plot.

Sword

"2:13 And Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, Comest thou peaceably?

And he said, Peaceably.

2:14 He said moreover, I have somewhat to say unto thee.

And she said, Say on.

2:15 And he said, Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel set their faces on me, that I should reign: howbeit the kingdom is turned about, and is become my brother's: for it was his from the LORD. 2:16 And now I ask one petition of thee, deny me not. And she said unto him, Say on. 2:17 And he said, Speak, I pray thee, unto Solomon the king, (for he will not say thee nay,) that he give me Abishag the Shunammite to wife. 2:18 And Bathsheba said, Well; I will speak for thee unto the king." (1 Kings 2:13-18 KJV)

When he was informed of Adonijah's latest plotting, Solomon faced the hard reality that he had to act to defend the throne and his own life against a brother that chose to remain a deadly threat. Solomon ordered Adonijah executed.

"2:19 Bathsheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king's mother; and she sat on his right hand.

2:20 Then she said, I desire one small petition of thee; I pray thee, say me not nay.

And the king said unto her, Ask on, my mother: for I will not say thee nay.

2:21 And she said, Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah thy brother to wife.

2:22 And king Solomon answered and said unto his mother, And why dost thou ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? ask for him the kingdom also; for he is mine elder brother; even for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah.

2:23 Then king Solomon sware by the LORD, saying, God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah have not spoken this word against his own life. 2:24 Now therefore, as the LORD liveth, which hath established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and who hath made me an house, as he promised, Adonijah shall be put to death this day. 2:25 And king Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he fell upon him that he died." (1 Kings 2:19-25 KJV)

Fact Finder: How has democracy always existed, in all forms of government?
See Royal Democracy


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