3 Kings i.
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Years; sixty-nine,
as he died when he was seventy years old. (Calmet) (2 Kings v. 4.) --- Warm. Though David was of a strong constitution,
he had been so much exposed to fatigue, and so harassed with domestic broils, that his vigour was nearly decayed. (Calmet)
--- The Rabbins say, that the sight of the angel had greatly contributed to weaken him. Lyranus, and others, suppose that
he was affected with the palsy. (Abulensis; Salien, the year of the world 3019.)
Ver. 2. Servants. Physicians.
(Josephus, [Antiquities?] vii. 14.) --- People of the faculty still adopt the same sentiments; and when fire and clothes will
not procure heat, they advise the application of living creatures. (Bartholin ix.; Galen vii.; Vales. Philos. c. 19.)
Ver. 3. Sunamitess.
Sunam was not far from Thabor, in the tribe of Issachar. (Calmet) --- This history leads us to explain the ambition and death
of Adonias. (Haydock)
Ver. 4. Her. Which
shews the virtue and temperance of David. (Menochius) --- She was his wife, at least of a secondary order. Adonias flattered
himself, on account of Abisag's virginity, that the law did not hinder him from marrying her; (Leviticus xviii. 8.; Kimchi)
or he was blinded by ambition. (Calmet) --- Heretics and persecutors thus attempt in vain, (Haydock) to defile the Church,
the chaste spouse of Jesus, that they may usurp his throne. (Calmet)
Ver. 5. Him. He was
not deterred by the fate of Absalom. (Haydock) --- He was now the eldest son, and gave himself out for the presumptive heir.
(Calmet) --- David is blamed for some remissness, in not repressing him; (Salien) as his conduct tended to excite confusion,
and to frustrate the appointment of God. But the king was convinced that nothing would be able to disturb that order; and
he would take measures, in due time, to curb the ambition of his eldest son, from which, as yet, he apprehended no danger.
(Haydock) --- Old age renders people slow. (Menochius)
Ver. 7. Side. For their
own interest, and because they supposed that the throne belonged of course to him. (Menochius) --- This was the natural privilege,
when no other disposition was made by God, or by the kings who succeeded David. They did not esteem themselves bound to leave
the crown to their eldest sons. Hitherto God had made choice himself, as he had required, Deuteronomy xvii. 15. In favour
of David, he pleased to grant sovereignty to his descendants. But the king expected to declare which he preferred, in case
he chose to deviate from the natural order, ver. 20.
Ver. 8. Sadoc, the
rival of Abiathar, and a descendant of Eleazar. David had permitted both to perform the functions of the high priesthood;
(Calmet) or one had acted as the delegate of the other. (Salien) --- Banaias was distinguished for his valour, 2 Kings
xxiii. 20. He was in the flower of his age, and, perhaps, aspired at the authority of Joab, whose credit began to decline;
as he was grown old, and was known to be rather disagreeable to David, and had been guilty of such horrid murders. Both the
contending princes sought to ingratiate themselves with the army and with the priests, as their influence was of the utmost
consequence. Solomon was more fortunate, in having also Nathan the prophet on his side; but the throne was secured
to him much more on account of the divine decree, 2 Kings vii. 12., and xii. 25. (Haydock) --- Nathan is commonly considered
as the tutor of the young prince, (Menochius) and was styled his "father." (Calmet) --- Semei, or Nabath, father of
Jeroboam; and Rei, or Ira, who is styled the priest of David, 2 Kings xx. 26. (St. Jerome, Tradit.) (Menochius)
--- To confound Semei with Nabath is wrong. (Salien) --- Army; the king's guard consisting chiefly of the Cerethi,
&c., (Calmet) who were under Banaias. The whole army, over which Joab was general, was not always in arms. Septuagint,
"Semei and Resi, other copies read (Haydock) his friends," (with Syriac; Arabic) "and Daia, heroes of David." Hebrew may be,
"neither the hearers nor the seers, nor the brave men of David were with Adonias." The populace, or the disciples, as well
as the prophets, may be thus denoted.
Ver. 9. Slain. Either
for sacrifice, or simply for a feast; (Calmet) though it is probable that victims of peace would be offered, as on similar
occasions, on which the guests would afterwards feast, 1 Kings xi. (Haydock) --- Rogel, east of Jerusalem, in the vale
of Josaphat. (Menochius)
Ver. 10. Not. Out of
contempt, (Calmet) and because he knew that they would oppose his measures. (Haydock)\
Ver. 11. It not. So
that we may safely endeavour to overturn his plans. (Menochius)
Ver. 12. Life. Both
would have been in imminent danger, if the ambitious projects of Adonias succeeded, as he knew that the throne had been promised
to Solomon by his father, and he would consider him as a dangerous rival. (Calmet) --- The Turkish emperors usually destroy
or confine their brethren, when they commence their reign. (Haydock)
Ver. 13. Swear. This
he did, either when he comforted her, after the death of her first-born; (2 Kings xii. 24.) or rather, when Solomon
had received so glorious a name, and was declared the heir by Nathan, 2 Kings vii. 12., and 1 Paralipomenon xxii. 20., and
xxviii. 5. Adonias acknowledges that God had made choice of his brother, chap. ii. 15. (Calmet)
Ver. 14. Words, and
confirm what thou hast said, (Menochius) reminding the king of God's express declaration. (Haydock)
Ver. 16. Worshipped.
Protestants, "did obeisance." Hebrew, "fell prostrate on the ground before the king," (Calmet) without any danger of idolatry.
Ver. 18. Of it. So
that thy authority is also contemned. (Menochius)
Ver. 20. Thee.
Adonias boasts that all Israel was on his side, chap. ii. 15. (Calmet) --- But, in reality, the people waited for the
final decision of David. (Haydock)
Ver. 21. Offenders.
I, as guilty of adultery; and my son, as a mamzer; (Deuteronomy xxiii. 2.; Tirinus) or we shall be accounted pretenders, (Haydock)
and condemned as guilty of high treason. (Calmet) --- Our hopes and expectations will be frustrated. (Vatable) (Estius) ---
We shall be despised or punished. (Worthington)
Ver. 28. Come in. Nathan
went out, at the same time; (Menochius) so that each had a private audience. (Calmet)
Ver. 33. Lord, David.
(Menochius) --- The Cerethi, and other life-guards, went under the command of their captain, Banaias, (Calmet) to repel any
force that might disturb this solemn inauguration. (Haydock) --- Mule. None but the king was allowed to mount it. ---
Gihon, a fountain, or place of public resort, on the west of Jerusalem. Ezechias brought its waters into the city,
2 Paralipomenon xxxii. 30. (Calmet) --- Adonias was at Rogel, on the east. (Menochius)
Ver. 34. Save, (Vivat.)
"Live." May Solomon reign for many years. (Haydock)
Ver. 35. Stead. Not
after me only. David voluntarily abdicates the throne, so that Solomon reigned in his life-time. (Menochius)
Ver. 36. King. May
all have a prosperous issue, conformably to the wishes of your majesty and the decrees of God. (Calmet)
Ver. 37. David. Parents
wish their children to be still more happy than themselves, how jealous soever they may be of their own glory. (Calmet)
Aspice completum votum; jam natus adæquat
Te meritis, &, quod magis est optabile, vincit. (Claud. iv. Con. Honor.)
Ver. 39. Horn of oil.
Such liquors were commonly kept in vessels of horn. (Calmet) --- Some say that oil, for the consecration of priests, was used
on this occasion; and that the ceremony was performed only, when the throne was contested: as in the case of Joas, Joachaz,
&c. (Haydock) --- Nathan assisted Sadoc, (ver. 34,) who was not yet the high priest. (Menochius)
Ver. 40. Rang. Hebrew,
"was split." Chaldean, "shook." (Menochius)
Ver. 41. Uproar. Nathan
had conducted the affair with singular address. A little delay might have plunged the kingdom into all the horrors of a civil
Ver. 43. Not so. Hebrew,
"Misfortune or mourning, or verily." A man of character did not willingly deliver a disagreeable message, 2 Kings xviii. 25.
(Calmet) --- But Jonathan was concerned for his father. (Haydock)
Ver. 47. Blessed. Congratulating
him on the exaltation of Solomon. --- Bed. Shewing respect to the new king, as Jacob had done to Joseph; (Genesis xlvii.
31.; Sanctius) or laying himself down again; (Calmet) or rather giving thanks to God, (Menochius) whom he adored, in gratitude
for the favour of a successor being granted to him. (Worthington)
Ver. 49. Afraid. As
they had offended both David and Solomon, and had rendered themselves suspected of high treason.
Ver. 51. Altar. At
Gabaon, (2 Paralipomenon i. 3.) or at Sion. All nations seemed to grant the right of an asylum to sacred places; but only
in favour of the innocent, Exodus xxi. 14. (Calmet)
Ver. 53. House. He
does not forbid him the court, but grants him pardon. (Menochius)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
King David growing old, Abisag, a Sunamitess, is brought
to him. Adonias, pretending to reigh, Nathan and Bethsabee obtain that Solomon should be declared, and anointed king.
1 Now *king David was old, and advanced in years: and when he was covered
with clothes, he was not warm.
2 His servants, therefore, said to him: Let us seek for our Lord the
king, a young virgin, and let her stand before the king, and cherish him, and sleep in his bosom, and warm our lord the king.
3 So they sought a beautiful young woma,n in all the coasts of Israel,
and they found Abisag, a Sunamitess, and brought her to the king.
4 And the damsel was exceedingly beautiful, and she slept with the king,
and served him, but the king did not know her.
5 And Adonias, the son of Haggith, exalted himself, saying: I will be
king. And he made himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.
6 *Neither did his father rebuke him at any time, saying: Why hast thou
done this? And he also was very beautiful, the next in birth after Absalom.
7 And he conferred with Joab, the son of Sarvia, and with Abiathar, the
priest, who furthered Adonias's side.
8 But Sadoc, the priest, and Banaias, the son of Joiada, and Nathan,
the prophet, and Semei, and Rei, and the strength of David's army, was not with Adonias.
9 And Adonias having slain rams and calves, and all fat cattle, by the
stone of Zoheleth, which was near the fountain Rogel, invited all his brethren, the king's sons, and all the men of Juda,
the king's servants:
10 But Nathan, the prophet, and Banaias, and all the valiant men, and
Solomon, his brother, he invited not.
11 And Nathan said to Bethsabee, the mother of Solomon: Hast thou not
heard that Adonias, the son of Haggith, reigneth, and our lord David knoweth it not?
12 Now then, come, take my counsel, and save thy life, and the life of
thy son Solomon.
13 Go, and get thee in to king David, and say to him: Didst not thou,
my lord, O king, swear to me, thy handmaid, saying: Solomon, thy son, shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne?
why then doth Adonias reign?
14 And while thou art yet speaking there with the king, I will come in
after thee, and will fill up thy words.
15 So Bethsabee went in to the king into the chamber. Now the king was
very old, and Abisag, the Sunamitess, ministered to him.
16 Bethsabee bowed herself, and worshipped the king. And the king said
to her: What is thy will?
17 She answered, and said: My lord, thou didst swear to thy handmaid,
by the Lord thy God, saying: Solomon, thy son, shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne.
18 And behold, now Adonias reigneth, and thou, my lord the king, knowest
nothing of it.
19 He hath killed oxen, and all fat cattle, and many rams, and invited
all the king's sons, and Abiathar, the priest, and Joab, the general of the army: but Solomon, thy servant, he invited not.
20 And now, my lord, O king, the eyes of all Israel are upon thee, that
thou shouldst tell them, who shall sit on thy throne, my lord the king, after thee.
21 Otherwise it shall come to pass, when my lord the king sleepeth with
his fathers, that I, and my son, Solomon, shall be accounted offenders.
22 As she was yet speaking with the king, Nathan, the prophet, came.
23 And they told the king, saying: Nathan, the prophet, is here. And
when he was come in before the king, and had worshipped, bowing down to the ground,
24 Nathan said: My lord, O king, hast thou said: Let Adonias reign after
me, and let him sit upon my throne?
25 Because he is gone down to-day, and hath killed oxen, and fatlings,
and many rams, and invited all the king's sons, and the captains of the army, and Abiathar, the priest: and they are eating
and drinking before him, and saying: God save king Adonias:
26 But me, thy servant, and Sadoc, the priest, and Banaias, the son of
Joiada, and Solomon, thy servant, he hath not invited.
27 Is this word come out from my lord the king, and hast thou not told
me, thy servant, who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?
28 And king David answered, and said: Call to me Bethsabee. And when
she was come in to the king, and stood before him,
29 The king swore, and said: As the Lord liveth, who hath delivered my
soul out of all distress,
30 Even as I swore to thee, by the Lord, the God of Israel, saying: Solomon
thy son, shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead, so will I do this day.
31 And Bethsabee, bowing with her face to the earth, worshipped the king,
saying: May my lord David live for ever.
32 King David also said: Call me Sadoc, the priest, and Nathan, the prophet,
and Banaias, the son of Joiada. And when they were come in before the king,
33 He said to them: Take with you the servants of your lord, and set
my son Solomon upon my mule: and bring him to Gihon:
34 And let Sadoc, the priest, and Nathan, the prophet, anoint him there
king over Israel: and you shall sound the trumpet, and shall say: God save king Solomon.
35 And you shall come up after him, and he shall come, and shall sit
upon my throne, and he shall reign in my stead: and I will appoint him to be ruler over Israel, and over Juda.
36 And Banaias, the son of Joiada, answered the king, saying: Amen: so
say the Lord, the God of my lord the king.
37 As the Lord hath been with my lord the king, so be he with Solomon,
and make his throne higher than the throne of my lord king David.
38 So Sadoc, the priest, and Nathan, the prophet, went down, and Banaias,
the son of Joiada, and the Cerethi, and Phelethi: and they set Solomon upon the mule of king David, and brought him to Gihon.
39 And Sadoc, the priest, took a horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and
anointed Solomon: and they sounded the trumpet, and all the people said: God save king Solomon.
40 And all the multitude went up after him, and the people played with
pipes, and rejoiced with a great joy, and the earth rang with the noise of their cry.
41 And Adonias, and all that were invited by him, heard it, and now the
feast was at an end. Joab also, hearing the sound of the trumpet, said: What meaneth this noise of the city in an uproar?
42 While he yet spoke, Jonathan, the son of Abiathar, the priest, came:
and Adonias said to him: Come in, because thou art a valiant man, and bringest good news.
43 And Jonathan answered Adonias: Not so: for our lord, king David, hath
appointed Solomon king;
44 And hath sent with him Sadoc, the priest, and Nathan, the prophet,
and Banaias, the son of Joiada, and the Cerethi, and the Phelethi, and they have set him upon the king's mule:
45 And Sadoc, the priest, and Nathan, the prophet, have anointed him
king, in Gihon: and they are gone up from thence rejoicing, so that the city rang again: this is the noise that you have heard.
46 Moreover, Solomon sitteth upon the throne of the kingdom.
47 And the king's servants going in, have blessed our lord king David,
saying: May God make the name of Solomon greater than thy name, and make his throne greater than thy throne. And the king
adored in his bed:
48 And he said: Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who hath given
this day one to sit on my throne, my eyes seeing it.
49 Then all the guests of Adonias were afraid, and they all arose, and
every man went his way.
50 And Adonias fearing Solomon, arose and went, and took hold of the
horn of the altar.
51 And they told Solomon, saying: Behold Adonias, fearing king Solomon,
hath taken hold of the horn of the altar, saying: Let king Solomon swear to me this day, that he will not kill his servant
with the sword.
52 And Solomon said: If he be a good man, there shall not so much as
one hair of his head fall to the ground: but if evil be found in him, he shall die.
53 Then king Solomon sent, and brought him out from the altar: and going
in, he worshipped king Solomon: and Solomon said to him: Go to thy house.
1: Year of the World 2989, Year before Christ 1015.
6: 1 Kings ii. 29.; 2 Kings xiii. 21. and xv. 1.