Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 2

Bathsheba agrees to support Adonijah’s plan to marry Abishag

1 Kings 2:16-18

David had several wives. So, Bathsheba had to share him, as her husband, with several other women. Those women included Abishag. In fact, as David’s nurse, Abishag was even present when Bathsheba spoke privately to David (1:15).

Now that David had died, Bathsheba’s son, King Solomon, was responsible for Abishag and David’s other widows. However, unlike the other widows, Abishag was still young – and she was also very beautiful (1:3-4). In addition, she was still a virgin – in other words, no man had ever had sex with her (1:4).

Adonijah, Solomon’s older brother, expressed his desire to marry Abishag. As she was under Solomon’s authority, Solomon would have to agree to his request. Adonijah could see that Bathsheba would be the best person to persuade Solomon to agree. Solomon loved his mother – he was eager to agree to anything that she requested.

What Adonijah was requesting was against God’s law. Leviticus 20:11 says that a man must not have sex with a wife of his father (see also Leviticus 18:8). Bathsheba seemed unaware of that law. She also did not realise how dangerous such a marriage would be to Solomon (2:22). If Adonijah married one of David’s wives, many people would want Adonijah to become king instead of Solomon.

Bathsheba wrongly thought that she was helping Solomon. She saw this as an opportunity for Adonijah and Solomon to be friendly again. She did not want Abishag to remain available for Solomon to marry. She probably hoped that Solomon would marry a princess from another country (3:1).

Next part: Solomon shows great honour to his mother (1 Kings 2:19-20)


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