1 Kings 1 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of 1 Kings 1)

Verse 1

[1] Now king David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he gat no heat.

Old — Being in the end of his seventieth year.

No heat — Which is not strange in a person who had been exercised with so many hardships in war, and with such tormenting cares, and fears, and sorrows, for his own sins (as divers of his Psalms witness) and for the sins and miseries of his children and people. Besides, this might be from the nature of his bodily distemper.

Verse 2

[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.

Servants — His physicians.

Virgin — Whose natural heat is fresh and wholesome, and not impaired with bearing or breeding of children. The same counsel doth Galen give for the cure of some cold and dry distempers.

Stand — That is, minister unto him, or wait upon him, in his sickness, as occasion requires.

Lie in his bosom — As his wife: for that she was so, may appear by divers arguments. First, otherwise this had been a wicked course; which therefore neither his servants durst have prescribed, nor would David have used, especially being now in a dying condition. Secondly, it appears from this phrase of lying in his bosom, which is everywhere in scripture mentioned as the privilege of a wife. Thirdly, this made Adonijah's crime in desiring her to wife, so heinous in Solomon's account, because he saw, that by marrying the king's wife he designed to revive his pretence to the kingdom.

Verse 4

[4] And the damsel was very fair, and cherished the king, and ministered to him: but the king knew her not.

Knew her not — Which is mentioned to note the continuance and progress of the king's malady.

Verse 5

[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.

Then — Upon notice of the desperateness of the king's disease, and the approach of his death.

Exalted — Entertained high thoughts and designs.

I will — As the right of the kingdom is mine, verse 6, so I will now take possession of it.

Prepared — As Absalom had done upon the like occasion, 2 Samuel 15:1.

Verse 6

[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.

Displeased him — This is noted as David's great error, and the occasion of Adonijah's presumption.

Saying — He neither restrained him from, nor reproved him for his miscarriages: which David well knew was a great sin.

Goodly man — This was a second ground of his confidence, because his great comeliness made him amiable in the peoples eyes.

Verse 7

[7] And he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah, and with Abiathar the priest: and they following Adonijah helped him.

They helped — Either because they thought the right of the crown was his: or to secure and advance their own interest. It seems God left them to themselves, to correct them for former miscarriages, with a rod of their own making.

Verse 10

[10] But Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah, and the mighty men, and Solomon his brother, he called not.

Called not — Because he knew they favoured Solomon his competitor.

Verse 11

[11] 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?

Nathan spake — Being prompted to it both by his piety in fulfilling the will of God declared to him, concerning Solomon's succession, 2 Samuel 7:13, and by his prudence, knowing that Adonijah hated him for being the principal instrument of Solomon's advancement.

Bathsheba — Who being retired and private in her apartment, was ignorant of what was done abroad: and, who was likely to be most zealous in the cause, and most prevalent with David.

Verse 26

[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.

But me — Whom he knew to be acquainted with thy mind, and with the mind of God in this matter: and therefore his neglect of me herein gives me cause to suspect that this is done without thy privity.

Verse 27

[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?

Shewed thy servant — Who, having been an instrument in delivering God's message to thee concerning thy successor, might reasonably expect that if the king had changed his mind, thou wouldest have acquainted me with it, as being both a prophet os the Lord, and one whom thou hast always found faithful to thee.

Verse 28

[28] Then king David answered and said, Call me Bathsheba. And she came into the king's presence, and stood before the king.

Call Bathsheba — Who, upon Nathan's approach to the king had modestly withdrawn.

Verse 29

[29] And the king sware, and said, As the LORD liveth, that hath redeemed my soul out of all distress,

Out of all distress — The words contain a grateful acknowledgement of the goodness of God to him, in bringing him safe through the many difficulties, which had lain in his way, and which he now mentions to the glory of God, (as Jacob when he lay a dying) thus setting to his seal, from his own experience that the Lord redeemeth the souls of his servants.

Verse 31

[31] 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.

Live for ever — Though I desire thy oath may be kept, and the right of succession confirmed to my son, yet I am far from thirsting after thy death, and would rather rejoice, if it were possible for thee to live and enjoy the crown for ever.

Verse 33

[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:

My mule — As a token that the royal dignity is transferred upon Solomon, and that by my consent.

Gihon — A river near Jerusalem, on the west side. Adonijah was inaugurated on the east side. This place David chose, either, as remote from Adonijah and his company, that so the people might be there without fear of tumults or bloodshed; or, to shew that Solomon was chosen king in opposition to Adonijah: or, because this was a place of great resort, and fit to receive and display that numerous company, which he knew would follow Solomon thither.

Verse 34

[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.

Anoint — As they used to do where there was any thing new or extraordinary in the succession. And this unction signified both the designation of the persons to the office, and the gifts and graces which were necessary for their office, and which, they, seeking them sincerely from God, might expect to receive.

Verse 35

[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.

My stead — My deputy and vice-king whilst I live, and absolutely king when I die.

And Judah — This is added, lest the men of Judah, who were in a special manner invited by Adonijah, verse 9, might think themselves exempted from his jurisdiction.

Verse 47

[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.

Bowed himself — Adoring God for this great mercy, and thereby declaring his hearty consent to this action.

Verse 48

[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.

Blessed, … — It is a great satisfaction to good men, when they are going out of the world, to see their children rising up in their stead, to serve God and their generation: and especially to see peace upon Israel, and the establishment of it.

Verse 51

[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.

His servants — He owns Solomon as his king, and himself as his servant and subject; and being sensible of his guilt, and of the jealousy which kings have of their competitors, could not be satisfied without Solomon's oath.

Verse 53

[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.

Go to thine house — Lead a private life, without noise and numerous attendants, and meddle not with the affairs of the kingdom.