Now king David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he gat no heat.
Verse 1. - Now [Hebrews and, but "now" more nearly expresses the import of the original, for ו has here little or no connecting force. It is commonly found at the beginning of a book (as in Exodus, Leviticus, Joshua, Judges, 2 Samuel, Ruth, etc.), and that where there is no connection whatever with any earlier writing (as in Esther, Ezekiel, Jonah, etc.) It can hardly imply, therefore, "that the historian regards his work as a continuation of a preceding history" (Rawlinson), nor is there any need to suppose that it has been taken from a writing containing the earlier history of David." Keil] King [Hebrews the king. The frequent use of this title, "King David," "King Solomon," "King Asa," etc., is characteristic of our author. The expression is not unknown in 2 Samuel, but it occurs so rarely as to constitute a distinction (not a link, as Wordsworth) between that book and the Kings.] David was old [yet 2 Samuel 5:4, 5, shows that he cannot have been more than seventy. (He was thirty at his accession; his reign at Hebron lasted seven years and a half; at Jerusalem thirty-three years.) Rawlinson says, "the Jews at this time were not long lived." Certainly, the Jewish kings were not. Only David, Solomon, and Manasses exceeded threescore] and stricken [Hebrews gone, i.e., advanced] in years. [A common expression, only found with זָקֵןas in Genesis 18:11; Genesis 24:1; Joshua 13:1, etc.] And they covered him with clothes [lit. coverings. בֶּגֶד is used of any covering, whether of the person (Genesis 39:12; 1 Kings 22:10), or the bed (1 Samuel 19:13), or even a table (Numbers 4:6). Indeed, the outer garment was used, at least by the poor, for a covering at night (Exodus 22:27). The context (ver. 47) shows that bedclothes are intended here] but he gat no heat. [A common experience of the aged. David's early hardships and later sorrows and anxieties appear to have aged him prematurely. Possibly he was also afflicted with disease.]
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.
Verse 2. - Wherefore [Heb. and] his servants [according to Josephus (Antiq. 7:14, 3), his physicians] said unto him, Let there be sought [lit. as marg., "let them seek"] for my lord the king [the singular pronoun is used as representing the servant who was spokesman for the rest] a young virgin [marg., "a damsel, a virgin." She must be young, to impart heat, and a virgin, as befitted a king. Though she was recommended as a nurse, they would naturally suppose she might be taken as a concubine] and let her stand before the king [i.e., as servant (Ver. 4). Cf. 1 Kings 12:6, 8; Genesis 41:46; Daniel 1:5; Deuteronomy 1:38 (with Joshua 1:1) 1 Kings 10:8. In the East, servants still stand and wait their masters' pleasure. Cf. 2 Kings 5:25], and let her cherish him [So also the LXX., καὶ ἔσται αὐτὸν θάλπουσα. But Gesenius, al, "be a companion to him"] and let her lie in thy [or "his," LXX. αυτοῦ, Vulg. sue] bosom [the expression is generally, but not invariably (see 1 Kings 3:20; Ruth 4:16) used de complexu venereo] that my lord the king may get heat. [This close embrace of youth was an obvious way of imparting animal heat to age ("Color a corpore juvenili ac sane maxime prodest senibus." Grotius), and was the more favoured because other and internal remedies were not then known. It is recognized by Galen, and is said to have been prescribed by a Jewish physician to the Emperor Frederick Bar-baressa (Bahr). It is stated by Roberts that it is still largely followed in the East.]
So they sought for a fair damsel throughout all the coasts of Israel, and found Abishag a Shunammite, and brought her to the king.
Verse 3. - So [Heb. and] they sought (cf. Esther 2:2), for a fair [this word points to the same conclusion as "virgin" in per. 2] damsel throughout all the coasts [i.e., borders (costa = rib, side). An old writer speaks of the "coasts and quarters of heaven"] of Israel, and found Abishag [ = "Father of error." Names compounded with Ab, "father," were and are very common in the East. We have, e.g., Ab-salom in Per. 6, and Abi-athar in Per. 7] a [Heb. the] Shunammite [Shunem, a town of Issachar (Joshua 19:18), now called Solam, "a flourishing village encompassed by gardens" (Porter), and "in the midst of the finest cornfields in the,world" (Grove), lies on the lower slope of "Little Hermon," and has before it the wide plain of Esdraelon. Another Shunammite appears in the sacred history (2 Kings 4:8)] and brought her to the king.
And the damsel was very fair, and cherished the king, and ministered to him: but the king knew her not.
Verse 4. - And the damsel was very fair [lit. ,fair to exceeding] and cherished [see on ver. 2] the king, and ministered to him; but the king knew her not. [This is mentioned to explain the history of 1 Kings 2:13-25. Had it been otherwise, Adonijah could never have presumed to seek her in marriage, and Bathsheba would never have promised her help in his suit. Such an incestuous alliance would not only have been contrary to the law (Leviticus 18:8), but abhorrent to all true Israelites (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:1). In this fact, which the court knew, and which the nation at large did not know - they could only suppose that such a "search" for one so exceeding "fair" meant the increase of the seraglio - Adoni-jah found his point d'appui for a second attempt on the throne. The older expositors and some of the modern, notably Wordsworth, assume that Abishag was David's wife, in the sense of being legally married to him. (Corn. A Lap. discusses the question at considerable length, and with needless pruriency.) But this idea finds no support in Scripture, which represents her as simply an attendant. It is idle to remark, consequently, that "the Jewish law allowed polygamy" (Rawlinson).
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.
Verse 5. - Then Adonijah [ = "Jehovah is my Lord." The fourth son of David, and now apparently the eldest surviving. It seems probable that Chileab, or Daniel (1 Chronicles 3:1), David's second son, died in infancy. For Amnon's death, see 2 Samuel 13:29; for Absalom's, 2 Samuel 18:14. He must now have been between thirty-three and forty years of age (having been born in Hebron)] the son of Haggith [ = "Festive" (Gesen.) "the dancer" (Stanley)] exalted himself, saying [to him self and his confederates], I will be king. [It is not difficult to trace this resolve to its sources. They were
(1) his seniority (1 Kings 2:22). It is true there was no "right of primogeniture" in the Hebrew monarchy. "The God King had reserved to Himself the choice of the earthly king" (Keil). David himself was not the eldest, but the youngest brother. At the same time primogeniture, ceteris paribus, would have, and as a matter of fact had, considerable weight. The firstborn had the birthright; can we doubt he would expect the crown, and think it hard if he were passed over? (see 2 Chronicles 21:3).
(2) His personal attractions. Adonijah would think that his beauty and stature (Josephus mentions the latter) marked him out, as similar gifts had done Saul (1 Samuel 9:2),. for the throne.
(3) He was encouraged in his pretensions, if indeed they were not suggested to him, by others, by Joab, for example (see on ver. 7).
(4) Possibly love for the beautiful Shunammite and the desire to gain possession of her may have strengthened his resolves. It is noteworthy that he and his beauty are mentioned just after her and hers]: and he prepared [Hebrews made] him chariots and horsemen [rather horses, as in 1 Samuel 8:11; 1 Kings 5:6, Hebrews The former passage almost settles the meaning here. Keil assumes that a mounted escort is meant], and fifty men to run before him [as Absalom before him (2 Samuel 15:1). Adonijah seems in every way to have imitated Absalom. Josephus says he resembled him in disposition. Chariots, horses, and outrunners are mentioned (1 Samuel 8:11) as the very first of the king's insigina. Horses were such natural and familiar tokens of royal state (not being employed in agriculture or for travelling), that the Hebrew kings were warned (Deuteronomy 17:16) against multiplying them. Outrunners again, such as the Roman emperors had (called by them cursores), and such as we find at the present day in Egypt, footmen who precede the chariot at full speed, and by their shrill cries clear the way, are admirably calculated to impress the public mind. According to Morier, "runners before the king's horse in Persia are indispensable to the royal state." Adonijah hoped by this display of regal pomp to win the suffrages of the people.]
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.
Verse 6. - And his father had not displeased [or pained, afflicted. The LXX. has ἀπεκώλυσεν] him at any time [Hebrews from his days, i.e., all his days, LXX. οὐδέποτε, Vulg. a diebus ejus. Sein Lebtage (Bahr). Some (Seb. Schmiat, e.g.) would understand since the days of his ambition and display"] in saying, Why hast thou done so? and he also [i.e., he also, as well as Absalom, mentioned presently; or, possibly, he as well as Abishag just mentioned. Bahr's rendering, "Und dazu war er sehr schon," etc. "And moreover he" was, etc. will not stand] was a very goodly man [cf. 2 Samuel 14:25. This accounted in part not only for his ambition, but also for his following]; and his mother [the two last words are not in the original, which simply has "and she bare," יָלְדָה. There is no need, Thenius, to read, רו ,תךענךג יָלַד with others, הולִיד. We have a similar ellipsis in Numbers 26:59. The meaning is quite clear, viz., that Haggith bare Adonijah to David next after Maachah bore him Absalom. This fact is mentioned to show that he was the eldest surviving son; and it shows therefore that seniority counted for something (cf. 1 Kings if. 25)] bare him after Absalom.
And he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah, and with Abiathar the priest: and they following Adonijah helped him.
Verse 7. - And he conferred [Hebrews "his words were" (2 Samuel 3:17, Hebrews)] with Joab [Joab's share in this conspiracy, despite his hitherto unwavering fidelity to David, is easily accounted for. He must have known that he was under David's displeasure, and he must have feared, too, that he would be an object of dislike and distrust to a successor trained, as Solomon had been, under David's and Nathan's immediate influence. He could hardly be unconscious that under a new reign his position - unless he took measures to assure it - would be a precarious one. He resolved, therefore, to secure himself by helping Adonijah to his throne. It is also highly probable that Adonijah's ambitious character was much more to his liking than that of the pious and pacific Solomon. Adonijah's physical qualities, again, would no doubt commend him to this rough soldier, who may also have sympathised with him as the eldest son. And there may have been other circumstances (such, e.g., as close personal friendship), of which we know nothing] the son of Zeruiah, and with Abiathar [in 2 Samuel 8:17, we read that "Ahimelech son of Abiathar" was priest. Similarly, 1 Chronicles 24:6. An obvious transposition] the priest. ["Abiathar's defection is still more surprising" than Joab's (Rawlinson). It is certainly remarkable, when we consider the close ties which subsisted between Abiathar and David, ties which were cemented by the blood of eighty-five persons (1 Samuel 22:18), and strengthened by the many afflictions which they had shared in common (ibid. ver. 23 to 1 Kings 28; 2 Samuel 15:24-29), that he should have joined in a plot to defeat David's cherished hopes and plans - plans, too, which he must surely have known, had the sanction of religion (1 Chronicles 28:5), and there must have been some powerful motive to account for this. May we not find one in jealousy of Zadok, who had for some time been associated with him in the priesthood, who is generally mentioned first (2 Samuel 8:17; 2 Samuel 15:29, 35, 36; 2 Samuel 20:25). as if he were the more important and influential, and whose advancement, after the prophecy of 1 Samuel 2:33-36, Abiathar could not contemplate without suspicion and dread. Is it not highly probable that among the "words" Adonijah had with him was a promise to restore the priesthood to his family exclusively, as the reward of his allegiance]: and they following Adonijah helped him (lit., as marg., "helped after Adonijah." It is a pregnant construction, "they aided having followed the side of Adonijah" (Gesenius).
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.
Verse 8. - But Zadok the priest [2 Samuel 8:17. It is generally said to be difficult to explain "how Zadok and Abiathar came both to be "priests at this time." Rawlinson, who adds that "the best explanation is that Abiathar was the real high priest," officiating in Zion, while Zadok acted as chief priest at the tabernacle at Gibeon. (Bahr, by a strange oversight, assigns to Zadok the care of the ark on Mount Zion, whereas 1 Chronicles 16:39, distinctly connects his ministry with the tabernacle of witness at Gibeon.) But the precedence (see on ver. 7) generally assigned to Zadok is hardly consistent with the idea that Abiathar was "the real high priest." The fact is that a duality of high priests, associated, apparently, on pretty equal terms, was not unknown in Jewish history. The cases of Eleazer and Ithamar, Hophni and Phinehas, Annas and Caiaphas, will occur to all. 2 Kings 25:18, speaks of "the chief priest" and "the second priest;" 2 Chronicles 31:10, of the "chief priest of the house of Zadok." And a dual priesthood would be the more necessary in David's days, because of the two sanctuaries, Zion and Gibeon. We find, however, from 1 Chronicles 15:11, that Zadok was already priest at the time of the bringing up of the ark. And the true explanation, no doubt, is that Zadok had succeeded some member of his family, in all probability Jehoiada, called in 1 Chronicles 12:27, "the leader of Aaron" (Hebrews), who had certainly been high priest in the time of Saul (1 Chronicles 27:5), and who would hardly be degraded when, with 3700 followers, he joined David at Hebron. On his decease, or cession of orifice, Zadok, who had joined at the same time with a large contingent,was associated with Abiathar in the priest's office. This dual arrangement, consequently, was the result of David's having taken over a high priest from Saul, together with the kingdom, when he had Abiathar as priest already,] and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, [i.e., Jehoiada the high priest (1 Chronicles 27:5). Benaiah was consequently a Levite, and of the family of Aaron; set, however, by David, because of his prowess (2 Samuel 23:20, 21; 1 Chronicles 11:22) over the bodyguard (2 Samuel 8:18; 1 Chronicles 18:17). Probably he was a near relative of Zadok.], and Nathan the prophet [a Jewish tradition makes Nathan the eighth son of Jesse. He comes before us 2 Samuel 7:2, 3, 17; 2 Samuel 12:1-12, 25] and Shimei [by Ewald identified with Shammah (1 Samuel 16:9), or Shimeah, David's brother (2 Samuel 13:3; 2 Samuel 21:21). Others suppose him to be the Shimei of 1 Kings 4:18. But see note on chap. 2:8. Josephus calls Shimei (not Rei, as Bahr states) ὁ Δαυίδου φίλος], and Rei [this name occurs here only. Ewald would identify him with Raddai (1 Chronicles 2:14), another brother of David, but on very slender grounds], and the mighty men [or heroes. Gesen. "chiefs." Not the 600 men who formed David's band in his wanderings (1 Samuel 25:13; 1 Samuel 27:2) (Rawlinson), but the 30 (or 37) to whom this name of Gibborim is expressly given, 2 Samuel 23:8; 1 Chronicles 11:15, 25; 1 Chronicles 29:24. Comp. 2 Kings 10:25, Hebrews] which belonged to David [same expression as in 2 Samuel 23:8] were not with Adonijah.
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:
Verse 9. - And Adonijah slew [or sacrificed, LXX. ἐθυσίασεν. It was a sacrificial feast, like Absalom's, 2 Samuel 15:12 (where see Speaker's note). Religious festivity, i.e., was the apparent object of their assembling: religion was invoked, not merely to cloke their designs, but to cement them together] sheep and oxen and fat cattle by [Hebrews with; same expression, 2 Samuel 20:8] the stone of Zoheleth, [i.e.,"the serpent" (Gesen.) "No satisfactory explanation has been given of this name" (Rawlinson). See Smith's "Dict. Bible" sub voc., where the various interpretations are given. The stone, which served as "a natural altar for the sacrificial feast," the spring, which afforded "water for the necessary ablutions," and the situation with respect to the adjoining city recommended this place as a rendezvous] which is by En-Rogel [Joshua 15:7; Joshua 18:16; 2 Samuel 17:17. Perhaps "the spring of the spy." The Chald., Arab., and Syr. render "the spring, of the fuller" - the Orientals wash clothes, etc., by treading (rogel) them. Josephus says it was without the city, in the royal garden (ἐν βασιλικῷ παραδείσῳ). The authorities are divided between the "Fountain of the virgin" (Ain um ed-Deraj), and the "Well of Job" (Bir Eyub.) See the arguments in Bonar's "Land of Promise," App. 5; Thomson's "Land and Book," vol. 2 p. 528; and Mr. Grove's Art. in Smith's "Dict. Bib." Porter ("Handbook of Palestine ") identifies En-Rogel with Bir Eyub without remark. There is much to be said on either side. The pool of Siloam ("Bib. Museum") has nothing in its favour] and called all his brethren the king's sons [including, it would seem, even the elder sons of David and Bathsheba, who would bring up the number to fifteen (1 Chronicles 3:5). They too, if living, would naturally resent the preference of the youngest brother], and all the men of Judah, the king's servants ["all the Judeans who were serving at court, as being members of his own tribe" (Keil). The fierce jealousy between Ephraim and Judah would almost compel the king to surround himself with soldiers and attendants of the latter tribe. Some of the invited guests, no doubt, like Absalom's two hundred, "went in their simplicity and knew not anything" (2 Samuel 15:11).
But Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah, and the mighty men, and Solomon his brother, he called not.
Verse 10. - But Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah, and the mighty men, and Solomon his brother, he called not. [It is clear from this verse that Adonijah perfectly understood that he had in Solomon a rival. The intentions and promises (ver. 13) of his father can hardly have been unknown to him. The name "Jedidiah, too, bestowed upon Solomon by Nathan (2 Samuel 12:25), taken in connexion with the prophecy of Nathan (ibid. 2 Samuel 7:12; cf. 1 Chronicles 22:9, 10), must have proved to him that Solomon was marked out for David's successor. He seems to have been well aware also who were Solomon's supporters. To some of them he may have made indirect overtures. The historian having recorded Adonijah's preparations for a coup d'etat, now relates the manner in which the plot was frustrated. The prophet, who had been the guardian and preceptor of Solomon's youth, and who knew the Divine will respecting the succession (1 Chronicles 22:9, 10), takes prompt and energetic measures to defeat the conspiracy.
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?
Verse 11. - Wherefore Nathan spake unto Bathsheba the mother of Solomon [the person after Solomon most directly concerned and also best fitted to approach the king] saying, Hast thou not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith [possibly there is a touch of worldly wisdom here, as Rawlinson suggests, "Haggith, thy rival." We may be sure David's harem was not without its fierce jealousies. But (see ver. 5, and 1 Kings 2:13) the patronymic is so common in Hebrews that we cannot safely found an argument upon it. See on chap. 2:5] doth reign [Hebrews did reign. LXX. ἐβασίλευσαεν, aor. = "succeeded." "Schon so gut wie Konig geworden ist." Bahr and Keil] and David our Lord knoweth it not.
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.
Verse 12. - Now therefore come, let me give [Hebrews counsel] thee counsel, that thou mayest save [Hebrews and save, i.e., by acting upon it] thine own life, and the life of thy son Solomon. The custom of Eastern kings - to secure their thrones by a massacre of their rivals - has received many illustrations, notably among the Ottomans, and is receiving one in Burmah at the present moment (May, 1879). We have Scripture instances in Judges 9:5; 1 Kings 15:29; 2 Kings 10:7, 14; 2 Kings 11:1 (cf. 1 Samuel 24:21). To put a royal mother to death, along with her offspring, though perhaps unusual, was not unknown. Rawlinson cites the instances of Cleopatra, widow of Philip of Macedon, who was murdered with her infant son Caranus by Olympias; and Roxana, widow of Alexander the Great, who, with her son, was put to death by Cassander. Nathan does not say this will be, but may be, Bathsheba's fate.
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?
Verse 13. - Go and get thee in [Hebrews come] unto king David, and say unto him, Didst not thou, my lord, O king swear unto thine handmaid [this oath of David's to Bathsheba (see vers. 17, 30) is not elsewhere recorded, but it was evidently well known to Nathan, and probably, therefore, to others also] saying, Assuredly [Hebrews that, כִּי, recitantis] Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he [emphatic] shall sit upon my throne? why therefore doth Adonijah reign?
Behold, while thou yet talkest there with the king, I also will come in after thee, and confirm thy words.
Verse 14. - Behold, while thou yet talkest there [the original is more graphic, "thou art yet talking... and I"] with the king, I also win come after thee and confirm [marg., "fill up," cf. πληρώσω, LXX. Still an idiom of the East. Roberts (quoted in the "Biblical Museum") cites many illustrations. The meaning is, not to add to, amplify, but to corroborate. See 1 Kings 2:27; 1 Kings 8:15, 24) thy words.
And Bathsheba went in unto the king into the chamber: and the king was very old; and Abishag the Shunammite ministered unto the king.
Verse 15. - And Bathsheba went In unto the king into the chamber [lit. inner chamber, θάλαμος, cubiculum penetrale, Buxtorf. Same word 2 Samuel 4:7; 2 Samuel 13:10] and the king was very old [the repetition (see ver. 1) is not idle or unmeaning. Here the word refers to feebleness rather than age. It is mentioned to explain David's confinement to his chamber] and Abishag the Shunammite ministered unto the king. [This is introduced to show the king's helplessness. It does not prove that "there was a disinterested witness present" (Rawlinson), for she may have withdrawn, as Bathsheba did presently (ver. 23), and Nathan (ver. 32). It is a graphic touch, painted probably from the life, and by the hand of Nathan, from whom this narrative is derived.
And Bathsheba bowed, and did obeisance unto the king. And the king said, What wouldest thou?
Verse 16. - And Bathsheba bowed, and did obeisance [cf. 2 Samuel 14:4. But we are hardly justified in seeing here "more than the ordinary Eastern salutation" (Rawlinson). The Jewish court seems to have been very ceremonious and stately (1 Samuel 24:8; 2 Samuel 19:24). The king was the representative of Heaven]. And the king said, What wouldest thou [marg., What to thee? Not necessarily, What thy supplication? (as Rawlinson). It rather means generally, "What thy business?" Quid tibi, not quid petis.
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.
Verse 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.
And now, behold, Adonijah reigneth; and now, my lord the king, thou knowest it not:
Verse 18. - And now, behold, Adonijah reigneth; and now my Lord the king, thou knowest it not.
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.
Verse 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. [Said, not to "show that Solomon had reason to fear the worst if Adonijah should succeed" (Keil), but to prove that there was a plot. It showed the cloven foot.]
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.
Verse 20. - And thou [instead of וְאַתָּה, the Chald., Syr., and Vulg., with many MSS, read וְעַתָּה "and now;" but this looks like an emendation, and "proclivi lectioni praestat ardua." Similarly, the second "now" in ver. 18 appears as "thou" in 200 MSS. These variations are of very little consequence, but the received text, in both cases, is somewhat the more spirited] my lord, O king [the repetition (see vers. 18, 21, 24, 27) illustrates the profound deference and court paid to the Hebrew monarch (see on ver. 16), especially when we remember that these are the words of a wife], the eyes of all Israel are upon thee (cf. 1 Kings 2:15) that thou shouldest ten them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. This shows that there was no "right of primogeniture." The kings of the East have always designated their successor amongst their sons. "Alyattes designated Croesus; Cyrus designated Cambyses, and Darius designated Xerxes" (Rawlinson). "The Shah of Persia, at the eginning of this century, had sixty sons, all brought up by their mothers, with the hope of succeeding" (Holier, quoted by Stanley). And the kings of Israel claimed and exercised a similar right (2 Chronicles 11:22; 2 Chronicles 21:3).
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.
Verse 21. - Otherwise [there is no corresponding word in the Hebrews] it shall come to pass, when my lord the king shall sleep [strictly, "lie down:" see on 1 Kings 2:10] with his fathers [this phrase, so common in the books of Kings and Chronicles, only occurs "once in the Pentateuch (Deuteronomy 31:16) and once in the historical books before Kings" (Rawlinson). It was evidently the product of an age when the nation was settled, and men had their family sepulchres] that I and my son Solomon shall be counted [Hebrews be] offenders [Hebrews as marg., sinners. The primary meaning of חָטָא is "to miss the mark." Like ἁμαρτάνειν, it came to be used of all erring and transgression. Bathsheba and Solomon would be obnoxious to Adonijah, as representing a rival cause; possibly also as guilty of high treason (Clericus, Bahr, al.)
And, lo, while she yet talked with the king, Nathan the prophet also came in.
Verse 22. - And lo, while she yet talked with the king, Nathan the prophet also came in. [Hebrews cam, i.e., to the palace. "Came in" almost implies that he entered the room, which he did not till summoned (ver. 23). Observe, Nathan's words convey no suggestio falsi. He does not deny a previous interview with Bathsheba, nor does he confess it. If there is an appearance of artifice, there was no intention to deceive. And the artifice, such as it was, was not only harmless, but for the public good. Verse 22. - And they told the king, saying, Behold Nathan the prophet [we are scarcely justified in seeing in this "solemn announcement of his approach" an "indication of the consideration in which he was held" (Stanley). It is difficult to see how otherwise he could be announced. It is clear that he was constantly spoken of as "the prophet" (vers. 10, 22, 34, 38, etc. Cf. 2 Samuel 7:2; 2 Samuel 12:25]. And when he was come in before [Hebrews and he came before - three words instead of six] the king, he bowed himself before the king with his face to the ground [see on vers. 16, 20; and cf. ver. 31, where we have a similar expression. "In the Assyrian sculptures, ambassadors are represented with their faces actually touching the earth before the feet of the monarch" (Rawlinson). This profound reverence on the part of Nathan is the more remarkable, when we remember how he had once denounced David to his face (1 Samuel 12:7)].
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.
And Nathan said, My lord, O king, hast thou said, Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne?
Verse 24. - And Nathan said, My Lord, O king, hast thou said [the Hebrews has no question, but a strong affirmation: "thou hast said," i.e., "thou must have said (Du hast wohl gesagt." Bahr). Nathan puts it thus forcibly, in order to draw from the king a disclaimer], Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne? [Same words as in vers. 13, 17, and possibly designedly so. The coincidence conveys the meaning, "Thou hast sworn Solomon shall reign," etc. "Thou hast said, Adonijah shall reign," etc.]
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.
Verse 25. - For [proof that the king must have decreed that Adonijah should succeed him. There appears to be an undertone of reproof in these words. Nathan assumes that Adonijah cannot have done all this without David's knowledge and sanction, because "his father had not displeased him at any time" (ver. 6). This uprising was the result of David's over indulgence and. want of firmness] he is gone down this day, and hath slain [see on ver. 9] oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and hath called all the king's sons, and the captains of the host [Joab was the captain (ver. 19). The plural shows that other high officers had followed his lead. "Under the captains of the host (ver. 25), the servants of the king (ver. 10) are included" (Bahr). Bahr's accidental miscitation (ver. 10 for ver. 9) has apparently led his American translator (p. 24) to the serious mistake of identifying these "captains of the host" with "the mighty men" (Gibborim) of ver. 10, who, it is distinctly said, "were not with Adonijah] and Abtathar the priest, and behold, they eat and drink before him [convivia apta conjurationibus. Grotius] and say, God save king Adonijah. [Hebrews "let the king (not "king," as marg.) Adonijah live," or better, "live the king," etc. (comp. the vivat rex, and the vives and vivas of later days.) This was the customary acclamation wherewith the Jews greeted their kings (cf. ver. 39; 1 Samuel 10:24; 2 Samuel 16:16: 2 Kings 11:12; 2 Chronicles 23:11).
But me, even me thy servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and thy servant Solomon, hath he not called.
Verse 26. - But me, even me [Hebrews I] thy servant [to Nathan this omission was most significant. He seems to say that he had not been called because he had been concerned in the appointment of a successor 2 Samuel 7:13] and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and thy servant Solomon [Bahr thinks that "we have in the order of these names a climax, in which Solomon, as the highest personage, is named last"] hath he not called.
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?
Verse 27. - Is this thing done [אִם = an, or perhaps, num, "Is it then the case that," etc.] by [lit., from with] my lord the king [i.e., with his privity and by his appointment], and thou hast not showed it unto thy servant [Hebrews "made thy servant know." Nathan submits that he has a strong claim (2 Samuel 12:25) to be informed, should there be any change in the king's plans], who should sit upon the throne of my lord the king after him? [Same expression as in ver. 20. The repetition was well calculated to impress upon the king the importance of nominating a successor at once.
Then king David answered and said, Call me Bathsheba. And she came into the king's presence, and stood before the king.
Verse 28. - Then king David [see on ver. I] answered and said, Call me Bathsheba [she evidently left the chamber when Nathan entered it. "This was done, not to avoid the appearance of a mutual arrangement (Cler., Then. al.), but for reasons of propriety, inasmuch as in audiences granted by the king to his wife or one of his counsellors, no third person ought to be present unless the king required his assistance." Keil.] And she came into the king's presence, and stood before the king. [Here, as in numberless other instances, our translators have disregarded literalness in favour of euphony. The Hebrew has here an exact repetition, "came before the king, and stood before the king." The Authorized Version rendering was adopted as the more spirited and rhythmical.
And the king sware, and said, As the LORD liveth, that hath redeemed my soul out of all distress,
Verse 29. - And the king sware [see on ver., 51] and said, As the Lord liveth [or "by the life of Jehovah." Cf. "by the life of Pharaoh" (Genesis 42:15). This was the common form of oath. See, e.g., 1 Kings 2:24; Judges 8:19; Ruth 3:13; 1 Samuel 14:39; 1 Samuel 19:6; 1 Samuel 20:24; 1 Samuel 29:6; and especially Jeremiah 4:2; Jeremiah 5:2; Hosea 4:15. It is characteristic of David to introduce into the formula some such clause as the following], that hath redeemed my soul [i.e., life] out of all distress. Same expression as in 2 Samuel 4:9. Similar expressions are found in Psalm 25:22, and Psalm 34:22. The repeated deliverance out of straits and danger - "out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul" - was one of the most remarkable features of David's life, and it is no wonder that he repeatedly commemorates it, converting every adjuration into an act of thanksgiving. Similarly, Jacob (Genesis 48:16.)
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.
Verse 30. - Even as I sware unto thee by the Lord God of Israel, saying, Assuredly [Heb. כּי that, often prefixed to the oratio directa; not lending any emphasis ( = immo), as Keil says the first and third כּי of this verse do, but in English simply redundant. See on vers. 13, 17] Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne [same words as in vers. 13, 17, 24. These close repetitions are the habit of the East] in my stead, even so [Heb. that so] will I (certainly [not in Hebrews] do this day.
Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the earth, and did reverence to the king, and said, Let my lord king David live for ever.
Verse 31. - Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the earth, and did reverence to the king [see on vers. 16, 23], and said, Let my lord king David live forever. [This hyperbolical expression is here only used of a Hebrew monarch. It was constantly addressed to the Babylonian and Persian kings. See Daniel 2:4; Daniel 3:9; Daniel 5:10; Daniel 6:21; Nehemiah 2:3.
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.
Verse 32. - And king David said [this prompt and vigorous action shows that David's force of character and mental power were unimpaired], Call me Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada. [" the order of the names marks the position of the persons with respect to the matter in hand." Rawlinson]. And they came before the king.
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:
Verse 33. - The king also said [Heb. "And the king said," which is everyway preferable. The "also" is somewhat confusing], Take with you the servants [i.e., the Cherethites and Pelethites, ver. 38] of your lord, [Hebrews lords; probably a pluralis majestatis (cf. Genesis 39:2; Genesis 42:30; 2 Kings 2:3, 5, 16), suggested to David by the usus loquendi of the court. This expression seems at first a strange periphrasis for "my servants." But David naturally adopts the language those around him were always using. See ver. 43; also 2 Samuel 11:11, and 2 Sam 20:6. Note: The latter passage, which refers to the king, has the plur.; the former, referring to Joab, the sing.] and cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule, [lit., "the she mule" (the most prized in the East. Cf. Judges 5:10, Hebrews) "which is mine." This was not merely a mark of honour (cf. Genesis 41:43; Esther 6:8, 9), but a public and very significant indication of David's will respecting his successor. The populace would perceive at once who was destined to sit in David's seat. "The Rabbins tell us that it was death to ride on the king's mule without his permission" (Rawlinson). פִרְדָּה, the fem. form is only found here and in vers. 38, 44. The mule would seem to have been a recent importation into Palestine - we never read of them before the time of David - and the Israelites were forbidden to breed them (Leviticus 19:19). Their use, consequently, was naturally restricted to royal or distinguished personages (2 Samuel 13:29). Wordsworth sees in the word a proof that David had not disobeyed God by multiplying horses to himself], and bring him down to Gihon. [Not Gibeon, which Thenius most arbitrarily would substitute for the received text. Where was Gihon? The popular belief (accepted by Bahr and Keil, as well as by some geographers) is that it was in the valley of the Son of Hinnom, a part of which still bears the name of Gihon, i.e., to the west of Jerusalem, and not far from the Jaffa gate. By many indeed the present Birket-es-Sultan is identified with the Lower Pool of Gihon. But others (Ferguson, Rawlinson, etc.) see in it the ancient name of the Tyropaeon. Scripture does not speak of it as a spring, though the "source of the waters of Gihon" is mentioned 2 Chronicles 32:30, Hebrews The text shows that it was below the city ("bring him down upon Gihon," ver. 33. Cf. also ver. 40). 2 Chronicles 33:14, speaks of "Gihon in the valley," where it is very noticeable that the word used is Nachal (i.e. Wady, watercourse). But this "is the word always employed for the valley of the Kedron, east of Jerusalem, the so called valley of Jehoshaphat; ge (ravine or glen) being as constantly employed for the valley of Hinnom, south and west of the town" (Grove," Dict. Bible," art. Gihon). It is also to be noticed that the text last cited mentions Gihon in connection with Ophel, which lies southeast of Jerusalem.. The Chald., Arab., and Syr. are probably right, therefore, in identifying Gihon here with Siloam (which lies at the foot of Ophel), in favour of which it may further be said that it would be admirably suited for David's purpose - of a counter demonstration - and that whether En-Rogel is to be found at the Well of the Virgin or the Well of Job. Siloam is at no great distance from either, and quite within earshot, whereas the traditional Gihon is altogether out of the way. It must be borne in mind that this procession to and from Gihon was ordained, not because there was any special reason for anointing Solomon there ? for it was not a holy place - but purely as a demonstration to the populace, and to checkmate the conspirators. It was probably a public place, and would accommodate a large concourse (Poole).
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.
Verse 34. - And let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet [Bahr sees in the fact that Nathan was associated with Zadok in the anointing, "the high significance David attributed to the prophetic office in Israel" But the prophets constantly performed this ceremony. Samuel anointed both Saul and David; Elisha anointed Jehu (2 Kings 9:1), and was commissioned to anoint Hazael (1 Kings 19:15, 16) ] anoint him [the king, being a sacred personage, was set apart to the office, like the priest and prophet, by anointing. Saul was probably anointed twice (1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Samuel 11:15. Cf. 12:3). David was anointed thrice (1 Samuel 16:13; 2 Samuel 2:4; 2 Samuel 5:3. Solomon was anointed twice (ver. 39; 1 Chronicles 29:22). The Rabbins have always held that subsequent kings were not anointed, where the succession was regular. But this opinion must be taken quantum valet. It is true that we only read of the anointing of Jehu (2 Kings 9:6), Joash (ibid. 2 Kings 11:12), and Jehoahaz (ibid. 2 Kings 23:30), and that in these three cases the accession was irregular. But it is obvious that other kings may have been anointed as well, though the fact is not recorded. There would be no reason for recording it in ordinary cases It seems hardly likely, too, that any king would readily dispense with an ordinance which would so much strengthen his title] there king over Israel: and blow ye with the trumpet [the sound of the trumpet would almost seem to have been a necessary accompaniment of coronations, or the proclamation of a new king. See 2 Samuel 15:10; 2 Kings 9:13; 2 Kings 11:14], and say, God cave king Solomon. [See on ver. 25.]
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.
Verse 35. - Then ye shall come up (after him [not in the LXX. Cod. Vat.] that he may [Hebrews and he shall] come and sit upon my throne [in every possible way his accession was to be proclaimed and confirmed], for he shall be king in my stead [David i.e., virtually abdicates in Solomon's favour. Cf. vers. 46, 51, 53; 1 Chronicles 29:23, 26], and I have appointed him [he and him are emphasised in the original] to be ruler over Israel and over Judah. It is possible, as Bahr thinks, that Israel and Judah were severally mentioned because David had once been king over Judah only, and because Israel had gone over to the side of Absalom. It is more probable, however, that "Israel and Judah" was even then the current designation of the two component parts of the realm (see 2 Samuel 2:9, 10; 2 Samuel 19:11, 41, etc.). Besides, we can hardly suppose that the historian has in every case, though he probably has in this, preserved the exact words of the speaker; and it need cause us no surprise had he put into David's mouth the phraseology of a later age. In the nature of things he can only give us the substance of conversations such as these.
And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king, and said, Amen: the LORD God of my lord the king say so too.
Verse 36. - And Benaiah the son of Johoiada [probably he spoke, not because the execution of the order depended upon him (Bahr); for both Zadok and Nathan had a much more important part to perform, but as a blunt soldier who was accustomed to speak his mind] answered the king and said, Amen: the Lord God [lit., "Jehovah, he God," etc.] of my lord the king say so too.
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.
Verse 37. - As the Lord hath been with my lord the king [cf. 1 Samuel 20:13. "This phrase expresses a very high degree of the Divine favour" (Rawlinson). See Genesis 26:3, 4; Genesis 28:15; Genesis 39:2, 21; Exodus 3:12; Joshua 1:5; 1 Chronicles 22:11, etc.], even so be he with Solomon, and make has throne greater than the throne of my lord king David. [This was said from a full and honest heart, not to flatter David's vanity (Thenius). It is thoroughly characteristic of the man so far as we know him. And the prayer was fulfilled (1 Kings 3:11, 12).]
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.
Verse 38. - So Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites [these were the royal bodyguard - Σωματοφύλακες Josephus calls them - who were commanded by Benaiah (2 Samuel 8:18; 2 Samuel 15:18; 2 Samuel 20:23; 2 Samuel 23:28). But while their functions are pretty well understood, great difference of opinion exists as to the origin or meaning of the words. By some they are supposed to be Gentile names. A tribe of Cherethites is mentioned 1 Samuel 30:14. (Cf. Ezekiel 25:16; Zephaniah 2:5), and in close connexion with the Philistines (ver. 16). Hence Cherethite has been thought to be another name for Philistine; and as the LXX. and Syr. render the word "Cretans," it has been conjectured that the Philistines had their origin from Crete. They did come from Caphtor, and that is probably Crete (see Genesis 10:14; Jeremiah 47:4; Amos 9:7; Deuteronomy 2:23). פְּלֵתִי again, is not unlike פְּלִשְּׁתִי In favor of this view is the fact that David certainly had a bodyguard of foreign mercenaries (2 Samuel 15:18, where the "Gittites" are connected with the Cherethites). Nor does it make against it that "two designations" would thus "be employed side by side for one and the same people" - as if we should speak of Britons and Englishmen (Bahr). For the names look like a paronomasia - of which the Jews were very fond - and a trick of this kind would at once account for the tautology. [Since writing this, I find the same idea has already occurred to Ewald.] But the other view, adopted by Gesenius, is that the names are names of office and function. Cherethite he would derive from תָרַכ, cut, slay; and by Cherethites he would understand "executioners," which the royal bodyguard were in ancient despotisms (Genesis 39:1, Hebrews; Daniel 2:14, etc. See on 1 Kings 2:25). In the Pelethites (פֶּלֶת, swiftness) he would see the public couriers (ἄγγαροι) of Eastern men. archies (see Herod. 8:98 and 2 Chronicles 30:6). We see the guard discharging the function first named in 2 Kings 10:25; 2 Kings 11:4, 8; and the latter in 1 Kings 14:27 (marg.)] went down [i.e., from the palace on Mount Zion] and caused Solomon to ride upon King David's mule, and brought him to [עַל: cf. 2:26] Gihon [Chald., Syr., Arab., Shiloha].
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.
Verse 39. - And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil [Hebrews the oil. The "holy anointing oil," Exodus 30:25, 31, compounded as directed in vers. 23-25, was evidently part of the furniture of the tabernacle (Exodus 31:11; Exodus 39:38). Eleazer was charged with its preservation (Numbers 4:16), and the Rabbins say it lasted till the captivity] out of the tabernacle [the tabernacle on Mount Zion, containing the ark (2 Samuel 6:17; 1 Chronicles 15:1) must be meant here. There was not time to have gone to the tabernacle at Gihon (Stanley), which was three hours distance from Jerusalem (Keil). Though Abiathar had charge of this sanctuary, yet Zadok would readily gain access to it, especially in the king's name] and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet [cf. 2 Samuel 15:10; 2 Kings 9:13; 2 Kings 11:14]; and all the people said, God save king Solomon. [Notice the exact fulfilment of the threefold charge of ver. 34 and its result. Solomon was confirmed in his office by the suffrages of the people.]
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.
Verse 40. - And all the people came up after him [same expression as ver. 35. The procession, the sound of the trumpets, etc., had collected a large crowd, which followed Solomon on his return], and the people piped [Hebrews were piping] with pipes [pipes or flutes were used on occasions of rejoicing (Isaiah 5:12; Isaiah 30:29. Cf. 1 Samuel 10:5), and so of mourning (Jeremiah 48:36; Matthew 9:23). It is true that a very slight change (מְחֹלְלִיפ בְּחלִיִם instead of מִחַלְּלִים בַּחֲלִלִים) will give the meaning, "dancing with dances," which Ewald prefers, on the ground that "all the people" could not have produced their pipes at a moment's notice. But the objection loses its force when it is observed (Rawlinson) that the text implies that only some of the people piped. "All the people came up... and the people," etc. Besides, even if it were not so, some allowance is surely to be made for Eastern hyperbole. And the received text is to be preferred on other grounds. The LXX., however, has ἐχόρευον ἐν χοροῖς], and rejoiced with great joy [Hebrews "were rejoicing a great joy"], and the earth rent [this is certainly a strangly hyperbolical expression. For בָּקַע strictly means to cleave asunder, tear open (see, e.g., Numbers 16:31; Amos 1:13; 2 Chronicles 25:12). And Thenius suggests a slight emendation of the text, viz., וַתִּתָּקַע (i.e., "resounded") for וַתִּבָּקַע which would obviate this difficulty. He points out that while the LXX. Cod. Vat. has ἐρράγη, some versions have ἤχησεν, and the Vulg. insonuit. But perhaps it is safer to keep to the lectio ardua] with the sound of them [Heb. "with their voices"].
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?
Verse 41. - And Adonijah and all the guests that were with him heard it [it is probable they "were listening with some anxiety to hear if anything would occur." Rawlinson] as they had made an end [Heb. "and they had finished"] of eating, And when Joab heard the sound of the trumpet [the original almost implies that Joab's practised ear was the first to catch the note of the trumpet. He seems to have been the first to suspect its significance], he said, Wherefore is this noise of the city being in an uproar? [More exactly, "in commotion." הומָה, an onomatopoetic word, like our English "hum." We speak of the "hum of the city," "the buzz of business," etc.]
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.
Verse 42. - And while he yet spake, behold, Jonathan the son of Abiathar the priest [Cf. 2 Samuel 15:36; 2 Samuel 17:17. His experience had marked him out for the post of watchman] came [That he bad not arrived before shows how prompt, and even hurried, had been the measures taken by Solomon's party] and Adonijah said unto him [Hebrews and LXX. omit "unto him"] Come in [Heb. come. See on ver. 22. "Come in" suggests the idea of a house or tent, whereas the feast was al fresco]; for thou art a valiant man [it is Adonijah (not Joab, as Bahr - of course by an oversight - says) who speaks thus. Perhaps "able," "honest," or "worthy man" (cf. ver. 52; same word in Hebrews; also Proverbs 12:4) would be nearer the mark. "Valiant" is clearly out of place] and bringest good tidings. [A similar expression 2 Samuel 18:27. It was evidently a familiar saying. The idea, "a good man will bring good news" corresponds with that of the proverb of 1 Samuel 24:13. Adonijah's misgivings reveal themselves in these words. He fears the worst, but strives to put on a cheerful face and to encourage his guests.]
And Jonathan answered and said to Adonijah, Verily our lord king David hath made Solomon king.
Verse 43. - And Jonathan answered and said to Adonijah, Verily [Rather, "nay but," "on the contrary" (immo vero). See Genesis 17:19, Heb., "Nay, but Sarah thy wife," etc., and Gesen., Thesaurus, sub voce אֲבָל. This particle has not "always an objecting force" (Rawlinson) - see Genesis 42:21, and especially 2 Samuel 14:5; 2 Kings 4:14 - but only in the later Hebrew, e.g., 2 Chronicles 19:3; 2 Chronicles 33:17] our Lord king David hath made Solomon king.
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:
Verse 44. - And the king hath sent with Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites [see on ver. 38], and they have caused him to ride upon the king's mule.
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.
Verse 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 [קִרְיָה same word as in ver. 41. Elsewhere almost exclusively found in poetry] rang again [rather, "is in commotion." Same expression in ver. 41 and Ruth 1:19, where it is translated, "the city was moved"]. This is the noise [Hebrews voice] that ye have heard.
And also Solomon sitteth on the throne of the kingdom.
Verse 46. - And also [the same two words are found at the beginning of vers. 47, 68. They accord well with the breathless and excited state of the speaker, and suggest how each successive detail told on the hearers] Solomon sitteth [rather, "sate, took his seat," ἐκαθισε (LXX.) aorist. See ver. 35] on the throne of the kingdom [rather, "the royal throne." So Gesen. All David's directions were now fulfilled].
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.
Verse 47. - And moreover [וְגַם as before] the king's servants [see on ver. 33] came to bless our lord king David [Jonathan here refers in all probability to the words of Benaiah, vers. 36, 37. He does not know the exact particulars, and ascribes to the "servants" the words of their commander. Of course it is possible that "the bodyguard took up the words of Jehoiada (Benaiah?) their captain and repeated them with some slight alteration." Rawlinson] saying, God [so the Keri. The Cethib has "thy God"] make the name of Solomon better than thy name and make his throne greater than thy throne [This prayer was fulfilled (1 Kings 3:12; 1 Kings 4:21-24]. And the king bowed himself [in worship. Cf. Genesis 47:31] upon the bed.
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.
Verse 48. - And also thus saith 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. [These last words are added because it is quite an exceptional thing for a king to see his successor on the throne.]
And all the guests that were with Adonijah were afraid, and rose up, and went every man his way.
Verse 49. - And all the guests [Hebrews called, LXX. κλητοὶ] that were with [Heb. to] Adonijah were afraid [Heb. trembled] and rose up [LXX. omits] and went every man his way. [This fear and flight betray a consciousness of guilt. They cannot have believed in the right of primogeniture.]
And Adonijah feared because of Solomon, and arose, and went, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.
Verse 50. - And Adonijah feared because of Solomon and he arose and went and caught hold of the horns of the altar. [Cf. 1 Kings 2:28. Probably the altar of Mount Zion, 1 Kings 3:15; 2 Samuel 6:17. Though it is impossible to say positively whether this or the altar at Gibeon (chap. 3:4) or that recently erected on the threshing floor of Araunah (2 Samuel 24:25) is meant. For the "horns," see Exodus 27:2; Exodus 38:2; and compare Exodus 30:2. They were of shittim (i.e., acacia) wood overlaid with brass, and served a double purpose. Victims were bound to them (Psalm 118:27), and blood was put upon them, Exodus 29:12. As to the altar as a place of sanctuary, see on 1 Kings 2:28. Evidently a right of sanctuary existed amongst both Jews and Gentiles at the time of the Exodus, and probably from time immemorial. It is referred to in Exodus 21:14, but it was much circumscribed by the appointment of the cities of refuge (Numbers 35:10 sqq.) By "laying hold of the horns the offender thereby placed himself under the protection of the saving and helping grace of God" (Bahr, "Symbolik," 1:474)
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.
Verse 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 [this repetition of the title is striking. Both courtiers and criminals hasten to give the young king his new honours. In Adonijah's mouth it is also a virtual abdication of his claim to the throne and a direct acknowledgment of the new monarch. But see on vers. 1 and 35.] swear unto me today [Cf. 2 Samuel 19:23. This is one of many passages which show how lightly the Jews esteemed promises in comparison with oaths. The sentiment possibly took its rise in the oaths sworn by the Divine Being (Genesis 22:16; Genesis 24:7; Exodus 16:16, etc.), though it is possible, on the other hand, that these asseverations were made in deference to the popular sentiment. Be that as it may, the oath held a much more conspicuous and important place in the Jewish than the Christian economy. See Genesis 21:23; Genesis 31:23; Numbers 14:2; Numbers 30:2; Judges 15:12; Judges 21:1; 1 Samuel 14:28; Jeremiah 5:2, and, to omit other passages, 1 Kings 1:13; 1 Kings 2:8, 23, 42. Even our Lord, who rebuked the habit (Matthew 5:34-37; Matthew 23:16-22) respected the adjuration of Caiaphas, and St. Paul frequently appeals to God (Acts 26:29; 2 Corinthians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 11:31; Philippians 1:8.) The Christian religion, as it has gradually begotten a reverence for truth, has made the simple word into a bond] that he will not slay his servant [Cf. "I will be King," ver. 5.] with the sword [the usual form of capital punishment, 1 Kings 2:8, 25, 31, 46. Adonijah indirectly confesses that he had merited death]. Verse 51. - And Solomon said [i.e., he refused to swear], If he will shew himself a worthy man [בֶּן־חַיִל, cf. אִיש־חַיִל, ver. 1 Kings 1:42], there shall not an hair of him fall to the earth [i.e., not a single hair shall be injured. Same expression 1 Samuel 14:45; 2 Samuel 14:11; Acts 27:34. It was evidently a familiar saying] but if wickedness shall be found in him, [i.e., if he shall commit any fresh crime] he shall die [Hebrew וָמֵת, "then he shall die," emphatic.]
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.
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.
Verse 53. - So King Solomon sent and they brought him down [The altar was elevated: probably a slope, not steps (Exodus 20:26) led to it] from [Hebrew from upon. He was still clinging to it] the altar. And he came and bowed himself to king Solomon [i.e., made obeisance to him as king. Cf. vers. 16, 23, 31] and Solomon said unto him, Go to thine house. This was not a sentence of banishment from court, but merely a dismissal to a private life, involving a tacit admonition to live quietly and be thankful that his life was spared him. "Vade in domum tuam, ibi quiesce et res tuas age, nec te publicis regni mei negotiis immisceas" (Corn. A Lapide).