Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 2

Solomon orders the death of Adonijah

1 Kings 2:21-25

Solomon was eager to do whatever his mother, Bathsheba, requested – but on this occasion, he could not do that.

He explained the reason. Bathsheba had believed that she was simply arranging the marriage of Solomon’s older brother, Adonijah. However, Solomon understood what his request to marry Abishag, David’s last wife, truly meant. It meant that Adonijah, as Solomon’s older brother, was trying to prove his authority over Solomon. If Adonijah could establish that claim, then he would become king instead of Solomon. Adonijah had already shown that he had the support of Abiathar, the chief priest, and Joab, the leader of the army.

Solomon was only a very young man, with hardly any experience in life. However, he was very serious about his responsibilities as Israel’s king, and he had studied well. Especially, he had watched other people’s behaviour and attitudes. He had seen how powerful people can use sex for their own personal advantage. Two of his other older brothers, Amnon and Absalom, had both done that. Amnon used Tamar to satisfy his own wrong desires; Absalom took David’s concubines (wives of lower rank) in order to gain a political advantage (2 Samuel 13:11-14 and 16:20-22). Now Adonijah was trying to marry his father’s widow because he wanted to become king.

Adonijah had already tried to organise a revolution against David and against Solomon. The usual punishment for that was death, but Solomon gave Adonijah another opportunity. Solomon warned him clearly that death would be the punishment for any further crimes (1:52-53). Adonijah wasted that opportunity. He had plotted for a second time against Solomon, and now Solomon ordered his death.

Adonijah’s plan to marry his father’s wife was also against God’s law (Deuteronomy 27:20).

Next part: Solomon's judgement against Abiathar, the chief priest (1 Kings 2:26)


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