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Tuesday, June 12 2012
Abishag and Adonijah
Adonijah was the fourth-born son of King David (2 Samuel 3:4; see The Wives Of King David). After the deaths of his older brothers Amnon (after Amnon raped their sister Tamar, Absalom killed Amnon; see Tamar and Amnon) and Absalom (who was killed in a failed coup against his father David; see Sheba's Revolt), Adonijah, while David was yet the reigning king, proclaimed himself to be king.
Abishag was a young servant girl of the then-elderly King David who "ministered to him: but the king knew her not." As we will read however, Abishag was later regarded as a wife of David, with legal consequences for the throne itself.
Abishag's presence did not itself precipitate Adonijah's coup, but rather the need for Abishag's presence, the feebleness of the king, emboldened Adonijah to seize the throne.
"1:1 Now king David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he gat no heat. 1:2 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.
Just as his brother Absalom had done, Adonijah "exalted himself, saying, I will be king" - a lustful Satanic statement of liberal revolution (see Satan's Fall: From Conservative To Liberal): "14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High." (Isaiah 14:13-14 KJV)
"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 Kings 1:5-6 KJV)
The result of Adonijah's proclamation was to bring Israel to the brink of another civil war (see The Civil War Kings; also On The Brink Of Civil War and The Crease Of Israel) - the military and the priesthood were divided in their choice between King David and his rebel son Adonijah. It would have been a very bloody and costly conflict.
"1:7 And he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah, and with Abiathar the priest: and they following Adonijah helped him. 1:8 But Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and Nathan the prophet [see The Prophets: Nathan], and Shimei, and Rei, and the mighty men which belonged to David, were not with Adonijah." (1 Kings 1:7-8 KJV)
Adonijah made no effort to recruit supporters to his rebellion beyond what he apparently thought were enough to win it by a "majority vote" of rebels - but "Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah, and the mighty men, and Solomon his brother, he called not."
"1:9 And Adonijah slew sheep and oxen and fat cattle by the stone of Zoheleth, which is by Enrogel, and called all his brethren the king's sons, and all the men of Judah the king's servants: 1:10 But Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah, and the mighty men, and Solomon his brother, he called not." (1 Kings 1:7-8 KJV)
Nathan had long been a faithful and obedient servant of the LORD (i.e. of Jesus Christ; see Appearances Of The LORD God and What Does Word of God Mean To You?); Nathan supported David because he knew that the LORD had "elected" David to the throne of Israel - and had also "elected" Solomon to be David's successor. Nathan then quickly had Bathsheba, a wife of David and the mother of Solomon, to bring the coup to the attention of the king (the fact that David was unaware of it attests to how sequestered that David had become).
"1:11 Wherefore Nathan spake unto Bathsheba the mother of Solomon [see David And Bathsheba], saying, Hast thou not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith doth reign, and David our lord knoweth it not? 1:12 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. 1:13 Go and get thee in unto king David [see A History Of Jerusalem: The City Of 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? 1:14 Behold, while thou yet talkest there with the king, I also will come in after thee, and confirm thy words." (1 Kings 1:11-14 KJV)
Bathsheba explained what was happening first. Abishag was present, but she had either known nothing about Adonijah's coup, or had remained silent about it.
"1:15 And Bathsheba went in unto the king into the chamber: and the king was very old; and Abishag the Shunammite ministered unto the king. 1:16 And Bathsheba bowed, and did obeisance unto the king.
Nathan then entered and reiterated the warning (Nathan well understood the effectiveness of repetition in getting a message heard and understood).
"1:22 And, lo, while she yet talked with the king, Nathan the prophet also came in. 1:23 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.
David's frailty (perhaps caused mostly by old battle injuries and wounds) was apparently limited to his physical condition. When he became informed of what was happening, he acted decisively and with absolute clarity: "As the LORD 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."
"1:28 Then king David answered and said, Call me Bathsheba. And she came into the king's presence, and stood before the king.
Solomon was then officially and legally proclaimed king.
"1:38 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. 1:39 And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle [see The Church In The Wilderness], and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon. 1:40 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." (1 Kings 1:38-40 KJV)
It then becomes apparent that Adonijah's support came mostly from those who did not expect to rebel against David personally - they were choosing a successor for when they had a dead king. But David wasn't dead; when they heard David's proclamation of Solomon as king, all "that were with Adonijah were afraid, and rose up, and went every man his way."
"1:41 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?
Solomon was then yet young and naive. He chose not to hold Adonijah accountable for his treason, for "If he will show himself a worthy man, there shall not an hair of him fall to the earth." Nevertheless, Solomon's famed wisdom was beginning to grow: "but if wickedness shall be found in him, he shall die."
"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.
David then died and was "buried in the city of David" (the photograph shows one of a number of places where his tomb may be located).
"2:10 So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.
Solomon had been merciful to Adonijah. Unfortunately, Adonijah began conniving again - this time seeking to take Abishag as his wife. As another testimony to his manipulative personality, rather than asking Abishag or Solomon directly, he recruited Bathsheba to make the request for him.
"2:13 And Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, Comest thou peaceably?
Adonijah's scheme was the "final straw" for Solomon. Along with the request to marry Abishag itself, Solomon may have been even more alarmed that Adonijah was able to recruit Bathsheba as an agent for him - a sure sign that another coup attempt was coming. Solomon issued the self-defensive order, "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."
"2:19 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.
Solomon did not stop with Adonijah. He also dealt with the branch of the priesthood that had taken the side against the king that the LORD had appointed (thereby fulfilling a prophecy in doing so - see the Fact Finder question below).
"2:26 And unto Abiathar the priest said the king, Get thee to Anathoth, unto thine own fields; for thou art worthy of death: but I will not at this time put thee to death, because thou barest the ark of the Lord GOD before David my father, and because thou hast been afflicted in all wherein my father was afflicted. 2:27 So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto the LORD; that he might fulfil the word of the LORD, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh." (1 Kings 2:26-27 KJV)
Solomon's house cleaning continued with the military commanders who had supported Adonijah's coup.
"2:28 Then tidings came to Joab: for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom. And Joab fled unto the tabernacle of the LORD, and caught hold on the horns of the altar. 2:29 And it was told king Solomon that Joab was fled unto the tabernacle of the LORD; and, behold, he is by the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, Go, fall upon him.
Fact Finder: (a) How and when did the Levite priesthood originate? (b) Why did the Levite priesthood become concentrated in the south, in the Kingdom of Judah, after the death of King Solomon? (c) How did Solomon's removal of Abiathar and appointment of Zadok, as described in the verses above, fulfill a prophecy about the Levite priesthood?
This Day In History, June 12
918: Aethelflaed (or Ethelfleda), a rare female Anglo-Saxon ruler of Mercia in England, died. The daughter of Alfred The Great, she helped her brother Edward The Elder, king of the West Saxons, conquer the Danish armies occupying eastern England.
1346: Charles IV of Luxembourg was elected Holy Roman Emperor in Germany (see The Holy Roman Empire).
1418: An insurrection put Paris under the control of the Burgundians.
1442: Alfonso V of Aragon was crowned King of Naples.
1665: After the departure of the Dutch, the English renamed the city of "New Amsterdam" as "New York." The entire area was transformed from "New Netherlands" to "New England."
1667: The first blood transfusion was carried out by Jean-Baptiste Denys, personal physician to King Louis XIV of France, on a 15-year-old boy using blood from a sheep.
1811: The Earl of Selkirk was granted a vast area of territory in what is now Manitoba, Minnesota and North Dakota. Selkirk paid 10 shillings ($2.50) a year in rent on the land, which covered an area 5 times bigger than his native Scotland. As part of the rental agreement, Selkirk had to provide the Hudson's Bay Company with 200 servants a year and develop an agricultural colony.
1812: Napoleon invaded Russia.
1849: The gas mask was patented.
1860: The State Bank of the Russian Empire was established (Russia didn't begin its experiment with communism until the early 1900s; it lasted for about 70 years before socialism bankrupted Russia).
1867: The Austro-Hungarian Empire was formed.
1897: Swiss cutlery maker Carl Elsener patented his penknife, later to become known as the Swiss army knife.
1898: During the Spanish-U.S. War, the independence of the Philippines was declared by General Emilio Aguinaldo, leader of the revolutionary movement. The Philippines thereafter became an imperial colony of the U.S. rather than Spain.
1900: The Reichstag approved a second new law allowing the expansion of the German navy, making it one of the world's largest.
1917: King Constantine of Greece stepped down in favor of his son, Prince Alexander.
1944: Chinese Communist leader Mao Tse-tung announced that he would support Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek in the war against Japan.
1967: The U.S. Supreme Court declared all U.S. state laws against interracial marriage to be unconstitutional.
1978: David Berkowitz, the "Son of Sam" killer in New York City, was sentenced to 365 years in prison for six killings.
1991: Mount Pinatubo began erupting in the Philippines after 4 centuries of dormancy.
1994: Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were murdered at her home in Los Angeles. O.J. Simpson was later acquitted of the murders by a jury of his "peers."