Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 1

Adonijah tries to save his own life

1 Kings 1:50-51

Adonijah had tried to organise a revolution so that he would become king instead of Solomon. When Adonijah failed, he expected Solomon to kill him. So, Adonijah ran away. However, Solomon had become so powerful that Adonijah could not even hope to escape from him.

So Adonijah went to Gibeon, about 7 miles (10 kilometres) from Jerusalem. The sacred tent that Moses built as God’s temporary house on earth was there. In front of it was the altar, the place where the priests burned certain gifts to God. In particular, they burned the sacrifices, the animals that they offered to God. At the four corners of the altar, God told Moses to put a ‘horn’ (Exodus 27:2). Like the horns (bony points) on the head of an animal, these four horns pointed out from the altar.

It was very terrible if someone died in such a sacred place. So, Adonijah thought that Solomon would not dare to order his death there. Adonijah went up to the altar. He held one of the horns firmly, and he would not leave.

Adonijah told the priests to take his message to Solomon. He now accepted Solomon’s rule as king - so, all that he desired now was to live. He asked for Solomon to promise that he would not kill him. Without that promise, Adonijah declared that he would not leave the altar. He was very desperate.

The priests took his message to Solomon.

Next part: Solomon's wise judgement about Adonijah (1 Kings 1:52-53)


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