David’s last years
1 King David was already a very old man who could no longer keep warm even in very thick clothing. 2 So his servants said to him, “They should get for my lord king a virgin girl to attend the king and nurse him. She could sleep with you, my lord king, and make you feel warm.” 3 And so they looked for a beautiful girl throughout the territory of Israel. They found Abis hag the Shunamite, a very beautiful girl and brought her to the king. 4 She attended to him, but the king had no intimate relations with her.
5 Now Adonijah, son of Haggith, had in mind that he would be king and so he provided himself with a chariot and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. 6 His father had never interfered by questioning his conduct, “Why have you done this or that?” He was a very handsome man born of Haggith after Absalom. 7 Adonijah conferred with Joab, son of Zuriah, and with Abiathar, the priest. These two sided with him; 8 but Zadok, the priest, and Benaiah, son of Jehoia da; Nathan, the prophet; Shimei, Rei and David’s warriors did not join Adonijah.
9 Adonijah sacrificed sheep, oxen, and fattened calves at the Slipping Stone, beside Engrogel, and invited his brothers, the king’s sons, and all the royal officials of Judah to join him; 10 but not Nathan the prophet or Benaiah, or the warriors, or his brother Solomon.
11 Then Nathan spoke to Bath sheba, mother of Solomon, “Have you heard that Adonijah, son of Haggith, acts as a king, unknown to David our lord? 12 Let me then give you advice that could save both your life and Solomon your son. 13 Go, see King David immediately and tell him this, ‘Did you not, my lord king, swear to your handmaid that Solo mon, my son, would reign after you and sit on your throne? Why then does Adonijah act as king?’ 14 Then, while you are still speaking with the king, I will come in and confirm what you say.”
15 So Bathsheba went to the king, right into his room. (Now the king was very old, and Abishag the Shu namite was attending to him.) 16 Bathsheba bowed in homage to the king who asked her, “What do you want?” 17 She answered him, “My lord, you swore to your hand maid by Yahweh your God that Solomon, my son, would reign after you and sit on your throne. 18 But now, Adonijah acts as king without your knowing it, my lord king. 19 He has sacrificed oxen, fattened calves and plenty of sheep, inviting all the king’s sons, Abiathar the priest, and Joab, commander of the army; but he did not invite Solomon your servant. 20 And now, my lord king, all Israel is waiting for your decision as to who shall reign as your suc cessor. 21 If this is not known when my lord the king passes away, I and my son Solomon will be numbered among the criminals.”
22 While she was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet arrived 23 and was announced to the king, “Here is Nathan the proph et.” When Nathan came in before the king, he bowed before him with his face to the ground, 24 and said, “My lord king, have you decided that Adonijah shall reign after you and sit on your throne? 25 For indeed, today he has gone down to sacrifice oxen, fattened calves and plenty of sheep. He has invited all the king’s sons, Joab, the commander of the army, and Abiathar the priest. They are now eating and drinking with him and proclaiming, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ 26 But he has not invited me, your servant, Zadok the priest, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, nor your servant Solomon. 27 Has my lord king decided this without having told us, your servants, who is to sit on your throne after you?”
David makes Solomon king
28 King David then answered, “Call Bathsheba to me.” So she came to the king. As she stood before him, 29 the king swore an oath and said, “As Yahweh lives, he who has delivered me from all adversity, 30 so will I fulfill today the oath I swore to you by Yahweh, the God of Israel, when I said: “Solo mon, your son, shall reign after me; he shall sit on my throne in my place.” 31 Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the ground and paid homage to the king as she said, “May my lord King David live forever!”
32 King David then said, “Call Zadok the priest, Nathan the pro phet, and Benaiah the son of Jeho iada.” So they came to the king 33 who said to them, “Take with you the servants of your lord and make my son Solomon ride on my own mule. Then bring him down to Gihon 34 and let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there as king of Israel. Once this is done, sound the horn and proclaim, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ 35 Then he shall sit on my throne in your presence. From now on he will be king in my place for I have made him ruler of Israel and Judah.”
36 Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, answered the king, “Amen! May Yahweh, the God of my lord king, con firm this. 37 As Yahweh has been with my lord king, may he also be with Solomon and make his reign even greater than that of my lord King David’s.”
38 So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Je ho iada, together with the Chere thites and the Pelethites, went down and made So l omon ride on King David’s mule to Gihon. 39 There Zadok the priest took the horn of oil that was in the Holy Tent and anointed Solomon. 40 They then sounded the horn and all the peo ple shouted, “Long live King Solo mon!” They all went up after him playing on pipes; and their shouts were so great that the noise seemed to rent the earth.
41 Adonijah and all his guests heard this as they finished feasting. On hearing the sound of the horn, Joab asked, “What is all this commotion in the city?” 42 While he was still speaking, Jonathan, the son of Abiathar the priest, arrived and Adonijah asked, “Come in, for you are a worthy man and bring good news.” 43 Jonathan answered Ado nijah, “Not at all, for our lord King David has made Solomon king. 44 The king sent him with Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoi ada, and the Chere thites and Plethites who made him ride on the king’s mule.
45 Then Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anointed him king at Gihon. As they returned, all the city cheered; this is the noise that you have heard. 46 Solomon already sits on the royal throne 47 and the king’s servants came to congratulate our lord King David, saying: ‘May your God make the name of Solomon more famous than yours and his reign greater than yours.’ At this, the king bowed in worship on his bed and said, 48 “Blessed be Yahweh, the God of Israel, who has granted one of my offspring to sit on my throne this day when I can still see it.”
49 All the guests of Adonijah trem bled and left, each going his own way. 50 In his fear of Solomon, Adonijah went and held onto the horns of the altar. 51 This was reported to Solomon, “Ado nijah is so afraid of King Solomon that he has held onto the horns of the altar, and he says, ‘Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not slay me with the sword’.”
52 Solomon replied, “If he proves to be a worthy man, not a hair of his head shall perish. But if he acts like a wicked man, he shall die.” 53 So King Solomon sent for him and they brought him down from the altar. He came before King Solo mon and paid him homage; after that, Solomon sent him home.
« Previous book: