1 Kings, 1
A The End of David
David approaches death
1: Now king David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he gat no heat. 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. 3: So they sought for a fair damsel throughout all the coasts of Israel, and found Abishag a Shunammite, and brought her to the king. 4: And the damsel was very fair, and cherished the king, and ministered to him: but the king knew her not.
Adonijah usurps the throne
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. 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. 7: And he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah, and with Abiathar the priest: and they following Adonijah helped him. 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. 9: And Adonijah slew sheep and oxen and fat cattle by the stone of Zoheleth, which is by En-rogel, and called all his brethren the king's sons, and all the men of Judah the king's servants: 10: But Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah, and the mighty men, and Solomon his brother, he called not. 11: Wherefore Nathan spake unto Bath-sheba the mother of Solomon, saying, Hast thou not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith doth reign, and David our lord knoweth it not? 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. 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? 14: Behold, while thou yet talkest there with the king, I also will come in after thee, and confirm thy words. 15: And Bath-sheba went in unto the king into the chamber: and the king was very old; and Abishag the Shunammite ministered unto the king. 16: And Bath-sheba bowed, and did obeisance unto the king. And the king said, What wouldest thou? 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. 18: And now, behold, Adonijah reigneth; and now, my lord the king, thou knowest it not: 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. 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. 21: Otherwise it sall come to pass, when my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders. 22: And, lo, while she yet talked with the king, Nathan the prophet also came in. 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. 24: And Nathan said, My lord, O king, hast thou said, Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne? 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. 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. 27: Is this thing done by my lord the king, and thou hast not shewed it unto thy servant, who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?
Solomon anointed King
28: Then king David answered and said, Call me Bath-sheba. And she came into the king's presence, and stood before the king. 29: And the king sware, and said, As the LORD liveth, that hath redeemed my soul out of all distress, 30: 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. 31: Then Bath-sheba bowed with her face to the earth, and did reverence to the king, and said, Let my lord king David live for ever. 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. 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: 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. 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. 36: And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king, and said, Amen: the LORD God of my lord the king say so too. 37: As the LORD hath been with my lord the king, even so be he with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord king David. 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. 39: And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon. 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. 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? 42: And while he yet spake, behold, Jonathan the son of Abiathar the priest came: and Adonijah said unto him, Come in; for thou art a valiant man, and bringest good tidings. 43: And Jonathan answered and said to Adonijah, Verily our lord king David hath made Solomon king. 44: And the king hath sent with him Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and they have caused him to ride upon the king's mule: 45: And Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king in Gihon: and they are come up from thence rejoicing, so that the city rang again. This is the noise that ye have heard. 46: And also Solomon sitteth on the throne of the kingdom. 47: And moreover the king's servants came to bless our lord king David, saying, God make the name of Solomon better than thy name, and make his throne greater than thy throne. And the king bowed himself upon the bed. 48: And also thus said the king, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which hath given one to sit on my throne this day, mine eyes even seeing it. 49: And all the guests that were with Adonijah were afraid, and rose up, and went every man his way. 50: And Adonijah feared because of Solomon, and arose, and went, and caught hold on the horns of the altar. 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. 52: And Solomon said, If he will shew 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. 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, 2
David’s advice to Solomon
1: Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying, 2: I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; 3: And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: 4: That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel. 5: Moreover thou knowest also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two captains of the hosts of Israel, unto Abner the son of Ner, and unto Amasa the son of Jether, whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war upon his girdle that was about his loins, and in his shoes that were on his feet. 6: Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace. 7: But shew kindness unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at thy table: for so they came to me when I fled because of Absalom thy brother. 8: And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the LORD, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword. 9: Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood.
David dies - buried in Bethlehem
10: So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David. 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. 12: Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly.
B The Reign of Solomon
Solomon takes control
13: And Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bath-sheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, Comest thou peaceably? And he said, Peaceably. 14: He said moreover, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And she said, Say on. 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. 16: And now I ask one petition of thee, deny me not. And she said unto him, Say on. 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. 18: And Bath-sheba said, Well; I will speak for thee unto the king. 19: Bath-sheba 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. 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. 21: And she said, Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah thy brother to wife. 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. 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. 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. 25: And king Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he fell upon him that he died. 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. 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. 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. 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. 30: And Benaiah came to the tabernacle of the LORD, and said unto him, Thus saith the king, Come forth. And he said, Nay; but I will die here. And Benaiah brought the king word again, saying, Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me. 31: And the king said unto him, Do as he hath said, and fall upon him, and bury him; that thou mayest take away the innocent blood, which Joab shed, from me, and from the house of my father. 32: And the LORD shall return his blood upon his own head, who fell upon two men more righteous and better than he, and slew them with the sword, my father David not knowing thereof, to wit, Abner the son of Ner, captain of the host of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, captain of the host of Judah. 33: Their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab, and upon the head of his seed for ever: but upon David, and upon his seed, and upon his house, and upon his throne, shall there be peace for ever from the LORD. 34: So Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up, and fell upon him, and slew him: and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness. 35: And the king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada in his room over the host: and Zadok the priest did the king put in the room of Abiathar. 36: And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Build thee an house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and go not forth thence any whither. 37: For it shall be, that on the day thou goest out, and passest over the brook Kidron, thou shalt know for certain that thou shalt surely die: thy blood shall be upon thine own head. 38: And Shimei said unto the king, The saying is good: as my lord the king hath said, so will thy servant do. And Shimei dwelt in Jerusalem many days. 39: And it came to pass at the end of three years, that two of the servants of Shimei ran away unto Achish son of Maachah king of Gath. And they told Shimei, saying, Behold, thy servants be in Gath. 40: And Shimei arose, and saddled his ass, and went to Gath to Achish to seek his servants: and Shimei went, and brought his servants from Gath. 41: And it was told Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath, and was come again. 42: And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Did I not make thee to swear by the LORD, and protested unto thee, saying, Know for a certain, on the day thou goest out, and walkest abroad any wither, that thou shalt surely die? and thou saidst unto me, The word that I have heard is good. 43: Why then hast thou not kept the oath of the LORD, and the commandment that I have charged thee with? 44: The king said moreover to Shimei, Thou knowest all the wickedness which thine heart is privy to, that thou didst to David my father: therefore the LORD shall return thy wickedness upon thine own head; 45: And king Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD for ever. 46: So the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; which went out, and fell upon him, that he died. And the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.
1 Kings, 3
Solomon - Pharaoh’s daughter
1: And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall of Jerusalem round about. 2: Only the people sacrificed in high places, because there was no house built unto the name of the LORD, until those days.
Solomon asks for wisdom
3: And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places. 4: And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar. 5: In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. 6: And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. 7: And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. 8: And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. 9: Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? 10: And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. 11: And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; 12: Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. 13: And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. 14: And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days. 15: And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants.
Solomon’s wisdom displayed
16: Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him. 17: And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house. 18: And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house. 19: And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it. 20: And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. 21: And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear. 22: And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king. 23: Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living. 24: And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king. 25: And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. 26: Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. 27: Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof. 28: And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.
Today we arrive at the book which we call 1 Kings. 1 Kings is about King Solomon & Elijah the Prophet. The book shows the history of those who obey God and those who disobey. 1 Kings outlines firstly the glorious reign of King Solomon, when Israel takes centre stage in world affairs. Then the book shows that internal division brings ruin and moral collapse. First and Second Kings are one book in the Hebrew Bible. First Kings records the division of the Kingdom and Second Kings the collapse of the Kingdom. In the first few chapters we have described the last days of David. We find that Adonijah tries to take the throne but eventually Solomon is anointed king. Then David gives advice to Solomon before he dies and then finally Solomon takes control and he has this interview with the Lord in a dream in which he asks for wisdom. And then we read of an example of this wisdom displayed. David was now old and the years had taken their toll. He was in his bed but couldn’t get warm so his servants suggested that they find a young girl to lie with him to warm him up. So they found a young girl called Abishag. She lay in the bed next to David and gave him warmth. David did not have sexual union with her. In those days Adonijah tried to promote himself to take the throne of Israel. He found that a few people were prepared to follow him like Joab and Abiathar but Zadok the priest, Benaiah, Nathan the prophet, Shimei and Rei and all the mighty men, were with David. Abiathar killed sheep and oxen but David’s men didn’t attend the sacrifice. Nathan went and spoke to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon to tell her that Adonijah had set himself up as king and David didn’t know it. So he said l want to give you advice that will save your life and your son Solomon’s life. Go to David and ask him, didn’t you say that Solomon would be king after you? So why does Adonijah reign? And when you have finished speaking l will come in after you and confirm to David that this is true. So Bathsheba came to David and Abishag was there with David looking after him. David said, what would you like me to do for you? And she told him everything. Then she said all Israel is looking to you to hear from you who will succeed you as king. If you die without this being made clear then me and my child are at risk of our lives. Nathan came in and confirmed everything that Bathsheba had said. Nathan said we need to know who will be king after you. David asked for Bathsheba to be called again and she came in to David’s presence and stood before him. David said to her, Solomon will definitely reign over Israel after me. Then David called for Zadok, Nathan and Benaiah and he said take Solomon on his own mule and bring him to Gihon and both Zadok and Nathan are to anoint him there as king of Israel. And then blow the trumpet to summon Israel and proclaim him king. So this they did and when Adonijah heard the trumpet he stopped his feasting and all his guests were afraid. Adonijah was so afraid that he went and held on to the horns of the altar thinking that he would be safe there. And he sent a message to Solomon saying, please do not hurt me. Solomon replied if your do right you will live but if you wrong you will die. Now go home to your house. This brought to an end any attempt of Adonijah taking the throne of Israel. Next David had things to say to Solomon before he died so he called him to his bed. He said to him, be strong and show yourself a man. Keep the responsibility that God has given you by walking in the ways of the Lord, keeping his statues, commandments, judgments and testimonies according to the Law of Moses. If you do this you will prosper in all that you do. In this way my dynasty will continue and if your children follow your example then there will never be a time when Israel has no king to reign over them. He said, you know the things that Joab has done - killing men in time of peace, You do what your wisdom tells you. Do not let his white hair go to its grave in peace. You must show kindness to the sons of Barzillai because they were kind to me when l fled from Absalom your brother. Shimei cursed me when l went to Mahanaim and l promised not to kill him but l do not want you to hold back from him. You are a wise man and you know how to deal with him, to bring his white head down to the grave. And so David expressed to Solomon that he trusted him and he knows that he has wisdom to bring kindness and justice to Israel. David died and was buried in his own city. David had reigned for 40 years. Solomon sat on his father’s throne. Adonijah came to Bathsheba and Bathsheba said, have you come in peace and he replied, yes. Then he said, will you give me Abishag for my wife? Bathsheba said, l will ask the king. She came and asked Solomon and he said, for this great sin he will die today. Solomon sent and had him executed. Then Abiathar the priest said to Solomon, you will leave this place because you are worthy of death, but l will not kill you yet because you carry the burden of the Ark of the Lord. Solomon threw Abithar the priest out. Joab was afraid because he had supported Adonijah even though he had not supported Absalom and he fled to the altar and hung on to its horns. Solomon sent Benaiah to execute him and called him to come out of the Tabernacle but he said, No l will die here. Benaiah told Solomon what he said so Solomon said, kill him there and bury him because he murdered two men who were more righteous than himself and David did not know about it. Benaiah went and executed him and buried him. Benaiah became captain over Solomon’s forces. Then Solomon told Shimei that he would be safe in Jerusalem but that if he left the city he would be executed for murder. He stayed for three years but then he went to Gaza. Benaiah executed Shimei and the kingdom was established under Solomon. Finally Solomon had put to an end all outstanding issues left unresolved from the reign of David. Then Solomon made a treaty with the Egyptians and he took Pharaohs daughter and brought her to Jerusalem. Then he built his own house and the house of the Lord and completed the wall around the city. Solomon loved the Lord and kept the law of the Lord. When Solomon was in Gibeon the Lord asked him in a dream what he would like to receive from him. He replied, l am young and l need wisdom, give me an understanding mind to judge the people and to discern between good and bad. This pleased the LORD so the LORD said because you didn’t ask for a long life or riches then l will give you riches too. And if you walk in my ways l will give you a long life. Solomon returned to Jerusalem and very difficult cases were brought in front of him and he judged them with extraordinary wisdom to the amazement of all. Two prostitutes came with a baby and both claimed the baby was hers Solomon found out who loved the baby by commanding that the baby be cut in two. The true mother said no give the baby whole to the other woman in this way Solomon discovered the true mother’s identity. All Israel heard of this amazing display of wisdom.