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Wednesday, May 14 2014
1 Kings 1: The Day Of Three Kings
"Hast thou not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith doth reign, and David our lord knoweth it not?"
When King David (see Israel In History and Prophecy: King David) became incapacitated and isolated by advanced age, he was attended by Abishag. "And the damsel was very fair, and cherished the king, and ministered to him: but the king knew her not." (see also the Fact Finder question below).
"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.
Adonijah was the fifth-born son of David, after Absalom, who killed David's firstborn son, Amnon (see 2 Samuel 13: The Rape Of Tamar). Absalom then died in an attempt to overthrow his father (see 2 Samuel 15: The Treason Of Absalom and 2 Samuel 18: The Fall Of The Rebel Prince). Both Absalom and Adonijah were born in Hebron during the civil war (see 1 Samuel 30: David's Return To Judah, 2 Samuel 2: King David Of Judah and 2 Samuel 3: The War Between The Houses of David and Saul).
With his older brother dead, Adonijah presumed that he was the royal successor to his father (sons following their father as king is not unique to monarchies; it has also happened in presidential republics, for centuries, for the same reason). David's reduced physical condition (his thinking response, when he was told what Adonijah did, was as sharp as ever) apparently made him a shut-in - unaware of the daily news. Those two factors emboldened Adonijah to declare himself king - while King David was still alive and reigning as the LORD's anointed one (see 1 Samuel 16: The Anointing Of David).
"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.
Adonijah's regime cut out not only those who were loyal to David, but those who were obedient to the LORD (Who was and is Jesus Christ - see Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word and The Kingdom Of The LORD God). Nathan, a true and faithful prophet of the LORD (see The Prophets: Nathan), well-knew that the LORD had already chosen Solomon as David's successor. Nathan alerted Bathsheba, and together they went to David with the news of Adonijah's presumptuous takeover.
"1:11 Wherefore Nathan spake unto Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, 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, 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.
David's response was swift and decisive. He immediately abdicated and declared Solomon to be the only legitimate king of Israel, rather than the usurper king Adonijah. It was the only day in the history of Israel that three kings reigned in Jerusalem.
"1:28 Then king David answered and said, Call me Bathsheba. And she came into the king's presence, and stood before the king.
Adonijah had obviously expected no response from David, perhaps even thinking that he was near death ("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" and "Hast thou not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith doth reign, and David our lord knoweth it not?"). When he got one, he immediately knew that his coup had failed. No one had ever won a war against David, regardless of David's personal circumstances.
"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?
Adonijah fled for his life, expecting Solomon to kill or exile him - as Adonijah had planned to do with Solomon. Solomon was still young and naive however; he permitted Adonijah to return - until later experience with his politically-aggressive brother (as we will cover in the next study) forced him to do what was necessary to defend the LORD-appointed throne of Israel.
"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.
Fact Finder: Who was Solomon's "beloved" in his "Song of Solomon"?
This Day In History, May 14
1264: King Henry III was captured by his brother-in-law Simon deMontfort at the Battle of Lewes in France.
1483: The Coronation of Charles VIII of France (Charles l'Affable).
1509: The Battle of Agnadello in northern Italy. French forces defeated the Venetians.
1607: Jamestown (named after England's King James, after whom the King James Version of the Bible is also named), Virginia was settled by English colonists.
1610: King Henri IV (Henri de Navarre) of France was assassinated by a fanatical monk, Francois Ravillac.
1643: Louis XIV became king of France at age 4 after the death of his father, Louis XIII.
1796: English physician Edward Jenner performed the first vaccination against smallpox, on an 8 year old child.
1811: Paraguay declared independence from both Spain and Argentina.
1897: Guglielmo Marconi made the first communication by wireless telegraph (radio).
1936: British field marshal Edmund Allenby died at age 75. He was the last great leader of British cavalry, and directed the "Palestine" campaign during the First World War, after which the land of Israel (and most of the Middle East) was liberated from centuries of rule by the Ottoman Empire (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate).
1948: At 8 a.m. the British administration, that brought about the prophesied return of the people of Judah to the land of Judah, lowered the Union Jack in Jerusalem and completed their withdrawal from "Palestine" (see also 1 Samuel 29: Where Is Palestine?). By mid-afternoon, full scale fighting had erupted throughout the country as surrounding Muslim nations attacked. At 4:00 p.m., a broadcast was made of the National Council for The Jewish State proclaiming the State of Israel. David Ben Gurion read out The Scroll of Independence in the Tel Aviv Museum: "By virtue of our national and intrinsic right, and on the strength of the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, we hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, which shall be known as the State of Israel" (see A History Of Jerusalem: Zionism and A History Of Jerusalem: War And Peace).
1955: The Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Albania signed the "Eastern European Mutual Assistance Treaty" ("The Warsaw Pact"). It collapsed along with communism a little over 30 years later.
1961: A bus carrying civil rights "Freedom Riders" was bombed and burned in Alabama.
1973: The Skylab space station was launched.
1994: The "West Bank" town of Jericho saw its first full day of Palestinian self-rule.