Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 1

The anointing of Solomon

1 Kings 1:39

A person can, of course, become the king or ruler of a country without any ceremony. For example, many powerful rulers gain control over their countries by force. They need, and desire, no ceremony.

In Israel, God’s people had a special ceremony to appoint a king. That ceremony was called the anointing. In it, a holy person, either a priest or a prophet, poured oil over the head of the person who became king. They used much oil, so they poured it from a horn (a hollow bony structure from the head of certain animals).

The idea was that the anointing separated that person from other people, to do his special task for God. Then God’s Holy Spirit came upon that person, to give him the power to do God’s work as king (1 Samuel 10:1-11; 1 Samuel 16:13). It is from that ceremony that we get the special title of God’s king: Messiah from the Hebrew language, or Christ from Greek. Originally, these titles meant someone who had received an anointing (see Acts 10:38).

By this time, two of David’s sons, Absalom and Adonijah, had tried to become king. They each organised an impressive ceremony, with many sacrifices (animals that they offered to God) and a great meal with many guests. We do not know whether they tried to copy the anointing ceremony. Perhaps they did not care about it. God had not chosen them to be king, so an anointing ceremony would have achieved nothing for them.

Solomon had no special meal at this time. He only received the anointing. It filled Jerusalem’s people with joy to see it. They understood that God had chosen Solomon to be king.

Next part: Adonijah's guests hear the ceremony to appoint Solomon king (1 Kings 1:40-41)


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