1 Kings 1
Contemporary English Version

David in His Old Age

1King David was now an old man, and he always felt cold, even under a lot of blankets. 2His officials said, “Your Majesty, we will look for a young woman to take care of you. She can lie down beside you and keep you warm.” 3-4They looked everywhere in Israel until they found a very beautiful young woman named Abishag, who lived in the town of Shunem.+ They brought her to David, and she took care of him. But David did not have sex with her.

Adonijah Tries To Become King

5-6 Adonijah was the son of David and Haggith. He was Absalom's younger brother+ and was very handsome. One day, Adonijah started bragging, “I'm going to make myself king!” So he got some chariots and horses, and he hired 50 men as bodyguards. David did not want to hurt his feelings, so he never asked Adonijah why he was doing these things.

7Adonijah met with Joab the son of Zeruiah and Abiathar the priest and asked them if they would help him become king. Both of them agreed to help. 8But Zadok the priest, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei,+ and David's bodyguards all refused.

9Adonijah invited his brothers and David's officials from Judah to go with him to Crawling Rock+ near Rogel Spring, where he sacrificed some sheep, cattle, and fat calves.+ 10But he did not invite Nathan, Benaiah, David's bodyguards, or his own brother Solomon.

11 When Nathan heard what had happened, he asked Bathsheba, Solomon's mother:

Have you heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith has made himself king? But David doesn't know a thing about it. 12You and your son Solomon will be killed, unless you do what I tell you. 13Go say to David, “You promised me that Solomon would be the next king. So why is Adonijah now king?”

14While you are still talking to David, I'll come in and tell him that everything you said is true.

15Meanwhile, David was in his bedroom where Abishag was taking care of him because he was so old. Bathsheba went in 16and bowed down.

“What can I do for you?” David asked.

17Bathsheba answered:

Your Majesty, you promised me in the name of the Lord your God that my son Solomon would be the next king. 18But Adonijah has already been made king, and you didn't know anything about it. 19He sacrificed a lot of cattle, calves, and sheep. And he invited Abiathar the priest, Joab your army commander, and all your sons to be there, except Solomon, your loyal servant.

20Your Majesty, everyone in Israel is waiting for you to announce who will be the next king. 21If you don't, they will say that Solomon and I have rebelled. They will treat us like criminals and kill us as soon as you die.

22Just then, Nathan the prophet arrived. 23Someone told David that he was there, and Nathan came in. He bowed with his face to the ground 24and said:

Your Majesty, did you say that Adonijah would be king? 25Earlier today, he sacrificed a lot of cattle, calves, and sheep. He invited the army commanders, Abiathar, and all your sons to be there. They are already eating and drinking and shouting, “Long live King Adonijah!” 26But he didn't invite me or Zadok the priest or Benaiah or Solomon. 27Did you say they could do this without telling the rest of us who would be the next king?

Solomon Becomes King

28David said, “Tell Bathsheba to come here.” She came and stood in front of him. 29-30Then he said, “The living Lord God of Israel has kept me safe. And so today, I will keep the promise I made to you in his name: Solomon will be the next king!”

31Bathsheba bowed with her face to the ground and said, “Your Majesty, I pray that you will live a long time!”

32Then David said, “Tell Zadok, Nathan, and Benaiah to come here.”

When they arrived, 33he told them:

Take along some of my officials and let Solomon ride my own mule to Gihon Spring. 34When you get there, Zadok and Nathan will pour olive oil over Solomon's head to show that he is the new king of Israel. Then order someone to blow a trumpet and tell everyone to shout, “Long live King Solomon!” 35Bring him back here, and he will take my place as king. He is the one I have chosen to rule Israel and Judah.

36Benaiah answered, “We will do it, Your Majesty. I pray that the Lord your God will let it happen. 37The Lord has always watched over you, and I pray that he will now watch over Solomon. May the Lord help Solomon to be an even greater king than you.”

38Zadok, Nathan, and Benaiah left and took along the two groups of David's special bodyguards.+ Solomon rode on David's mule as they led him to Gihon Spring. 39Zadok the priest brought some olive oil from the sacred tent and poured it on Solomon's head to show that he was now king. A trumpet was blown and everyone shouted, “Long live King Solomon!” 40Then they played flutes and celebrated as they followed Solomon back to Jerusalem. They made so much noise that the ground shook.

41Adonijah and his guests had almost finished eating when they heard the noise. Joab also heard the trumpet and asked, “What's all that noise about in the city?”

42Just then, Jonathan son of Abiathar came running up. “Come in,” Adonijah said. “An important man like you must have some good news.”

43Jonathan answered:

No, I don't! David has just announced that Solomon will be king. 44-45Solomon rode David's own mule to Gihon Spring, and Zadok, Nathan, Benaiah, and David's special bodyguards+ went with him. When they got there, Zadok and Nathan made Solomon king. Then everyone celebrated all the way back to Jerusalem. That's the noise you hear in the city. 46Solomon is now king.

47And listen to this! David's officials told him, “We pray that your God will help Solomon to be an even greater king!”

David was in his bed at the time, but he bowed 48and prayed, “I praise you, Lord God of Israel. You have made my son Solomon king and have let me live to see it.”

49Adonijah's guests shook with fear when they heard this news, and they left as fast as they could. 50Adonijah himself was afraid of what Solomon might do to him, so he ran to the sacred tent and grabbed hold of the corners of the altar for protection.+

51Someone told Solomon, “Adonijah is afraid of you and is holding onto the corners of the altar. He wants you to promise that you won't kill him.”

52Solomon answered, “If Adonijah doesn't cause any trouble, I won't hurt him. But if he does, I'll have him killed.” 53Then he sent someone to the altar to get Adonijah.

After Adonijah came and bowed down, Solomon said, “Adonijah, go home.”


1.3,4 Shunem: A town in northern Israel, just north of Jezreel Valley.
1.5,6 brother: Since Absalom was dead, Adonijah was now David's oldest living son and would be next in line to be king.
1.8 Shimei, Rei: Or “Shimei his advisor.”
1.9 Crawling Rock: Or “Zoheleth Rock.”
1.9 sacrificed … calves: This was part of a ceremony where Adonijah was made the new king.
1.38 the two … bodyguards: The Hebrew text has “the Cherethites and the Pelethites,” who were foreign soldiers hired by David to be part of his bodyguard.
1.44,45 David's special bodyguards: See the note at 1.38.
1.50 the corners … for protection: The four corners of some ancient altars looked like animal horns. Since the entire altar was sacred, anyone holding on to its corners was supposed to be safe from being killed.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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