Out With the Old. In With the New.

28 Then King David answered, “Call Bathsheba to me.” So she came into the king’s presence and stood before the king. 29 And the king swore, saying, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my soul out of every adversity, 30 as I swore to you by the Lord, the God of Israel, saying, ‘Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,’ even so will I do this day.” 31 Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the ground and paid homage to the king and said, “May my lord King David live forever!”

32 King David said, “Call to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada.” So they came before the king. 33 And the king said to them, “Take with you the servants of your lord and have Solomon my son ride on my own mule, and bring him down to Gihon. 34 And let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet there anoint him king over Israel. Then blow the trumpet and say, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ 35 You shall then come up after him, and he shall come and sit on my throne, for he shall be king in my place. And I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah.” 36 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king, “Amen! May the Lord, the God of my lord the king, say so. 37 As the Lord has been with my lord the king, even so may he be with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David.”

38 So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon ride on King David’s mule and brought him to Gihon. 39 There Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet, and all the people said, “Long live King Solomon!” 40 And all the people went up after him, playing on pipes, and rejoicing with great joy, so that the earth was split by their noise. 1 Kings 1:28-40 ESV

The news of Adonijah’s treachery had an immediate impact on David. The very real threat of the nation engaging in a deadly civil war stirred the elderly king into action.    David knew from past experience that Adonijah would do everything in his power to rally support for his cause and divide the nation further. His ambitious son had already swayed a large portion of the royal court to join him in his attempted coup. And he had convinced the rest of David’s sons to ally themselves to his cause. Joab, a powerful and influential general in David’s army, also gave Adonijah his full support. This was a strategic move on Joab’s part because he had lost favor with the king.

When Absalom, another one of David’s sons, had attempted to usurp the throne from his father, Joab had violated David’s orders by taking Absalom’s life (2 Samuel 18:14). While his action had helped to save David’s kingdom, it resulted in his removal as the general of Israel’s army (2 Samuel 19:13). Rather than thank Joab, David demoted him and gave his job to Amasa. By aligning himself with Adonijah, Joab saw his chance to seek revenge against David and to reclaim his former role as the supreme commander of Israel’s forces.

Adonijah had covered all his bases, ensuring that he had the backing of the royal administration, the military, and the religious leadership. He had convinced Abiathar the priest to join his cause, because he understood the powerful influence the priesthood held over the people. With Abiathar on his side, Adonijah could lead the people to believe he had God’s seal of approval.

David, understanding the immediacy of the threat, acted quickly, providing Bathsheba with his assurance that that their son, Solomon, would be the next king of Israel. He called in representatives of the priesthood, the prophets, and the military, informing these three men of his intentions to make Solomon his co-regent. He gave them instructions to begin the proceedings and set in motion the official commissioning of Solomon as the next king of Israel.

“Take with you the servants of your lord and have Solomon my son ride on my own mule, and bring him down to Gihon. And let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet there anoint him king over Israel. Then blow the trumpet and say, ‘Long live King Solomon!’” – 1 Kings 1:33-34 ESV

This was going to have to be an expedited coronation because Adonijah was already declaring himself to be the true king of Israel. David knew he had no time to waste. Under normal conditions, Solomon would not have taken the throne until after David’s death, but these were drastic times that called for drastic measures. So, David instructed Zadok, Nathan, and Benaiah to act quickly. After anointing Solomon with holy oil from the tabernacle, they were to personally escort Solomon to the capital and crown him as king. 

“…he will sit on my throne. He will succeed me as king, for I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah.” – 1 Kings 1:35 NLT

Understanding the seriousness of the circumstances, these men did not question David’s commands, but expressed their full support.

“May the Lord, the God of my lord the king, decree that it happen. And may the Lord be with Solomon as he has been with you, my lord the king, and may he make Solomon’s reign even greater than yours!” – 1 Kings 1:36-37 NLT

They followed David’s instructions to the letter and, in what must have been record time, they had coronated their new king. Just imagine the thoughts going through the mind of Solomon, the young son of David, who suddenly found himself seated on his father’s throne, wearing his father’s crown, and trying to take in all that was happening to him and around him.

There is no indication that Solomon understood any of what was taking place. It is likely that he knew he was next in line for his father’s throne, but all of this had happened so suddenly. He must have wondered if his father had died. But he was given no time to grieve or to question what has happening. Caught up in a whirlwind of unanticipated events, Solomon suddenly found himself thrust into a role for which he was neither prepared nor properly forewarned. As the people shouted, “Long live King Solomon!” the seriousness and soberness of the situation must have begun to sink in. His young life would never be the same. He had some big sandals to fill. David was going to be a hard act to follow. And with the hasty coronation of Solomon, the nation of Israel was poised to enter a new phase in its relationship with God.

English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

The Message (MSG)Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson