Wednesday Worksheet
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall

1 KINGS 1:1-40

Introduction: Samuel and Kings, the four “Books of the Kingdom,” share a common theme: for Israel to be successful, they must be pleasing God and following an effective leader.
I and II Kings are actually one book. Ancient Hebrew used no vowels. When the text was translated into Greek, added vowels doubled the book’s length, making it too long for one scroll. Thus the book was divided into two scrolls.
About 561 BC, the last recorded date in Kings, an unknown Hebrew, grieving over the captivity of his people, began collecting information on the previous 400 years of Israel’s history. He gained access to official state annals, including the Book of the Acts of Solomon, the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah, and the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.
In compiling information, the writer was interested in more than history or scientific chronology. He was not only recording sequences of events, but also commenting upon them, and explaining the varying fortunes of his people.
Kings is written from a prophetic viewpoint. Our English Bibles list it as a historical book, but the Hebrew Bible lists it among the Prophets. Our writer provides deep religious teaching. The Holy Spirit gave him insight into God’s moral government of the world, and into the demise of Israel.
Beginning with the golden days of David and Solomon, Kings follows events which led to a divided and defeated nation. The cause was easy to explain–sin. The people and the leaders forsook God, and paid dearly for it, falling from glory to rubble.

1 Kings 1:1
David had often escaped the sword of death, but all his deliverances were but temporary reprieves. One way or another, we all must die. Death overcomes kings as well as servants. “If the candle be not blown out, it will burn out of itself” (Henry).
This was a sad sight. There had always been a flame blazing in David’s heart, but now the blood was cold. The winter of life was chilling David’s vitality. He was sinking under the weight of old age and ill health. What your hands find to do, do it for God with all your might. When the time comes that strength is gone, it will comfort you to know you used it wisely.

1 Kings 1:2-4
To provide heat for David, a beautiful concubine was added to his harem. She served as his nurse, and never had conjugal relationships with him.

1 Kings 1:5
Abishag’s arrival did not help David’s condition, and soon he began losing control of events that would determine Israel’s future. With David’s health waning, Adonijah decided to usurp the throne. This handsome lad was David’s fourth son. Amnon and Absalom were dead, and David’s second son is otherwise unknown.
Adonijah followed the evil example of Absalom (2 SM 15:1), and became neither the first nor last man to be led astray by an older brother. Where Absalom had failed, Adonijah believed he would succeed. His passions were stronger than his principles, and his impulses trampled upon his convictions.
Ambition, when regulated and guided, serves a good end. But when built on selfishness, it is dangerous. Left uncontrolled, it leads one to trample on the sacred. Selfish ambition loses sight of the eternal in the temporary, ignores the spiritual in the physical, forgets God in self, and consumes the best feelings of our nature. There is nothing wrong with seeking advancement, but all earthly aspirations must be subordinate to higher things.

1 Kings 1:6
“At any time” refers to all of Adonijah’s life. He was a “spoilt child.” David had never disciplined him. Adonijah had always gotten what he wanted, and now he wanted to be king.
At some point in life, a person’s will has to be subdued. He must learn there are other wills in the universe, and life consists of mutual understanding and concession. Cruel are the parents who let a child act as a tyrant. “If a parent does not punish his sons, his sons will be sure to punish him” (Guthrie).

1 Kings 1:7-8
Adonijah’s ploy divided the leaders of Israel. We are not surprised at the defection of crafty Joab. Abiathar, however, shows that even priests can be deluded and make grievous errors.

1 Kings 1:9-10

Just outside Jerusalem, Adonijah held a victory feast. The uninvited guests were left out not as an oversight, but as an act of contempt. Adonijah had no intention of offering peace to all.
The uninvited guests were probably marked for execution. This has ever been customary among new rulers. Prince Theebaw assumed the throne of Burma in 1878, and immediately massacred the late king’s sons, along with their wives, mothers, and children. Eight cartloads were required to carry the corpses.

1 Kings 1:11-14
Nathan, one of the “uninvited” guests, sensed peril for Israel and decided to do something about it. Being a true prophet, he refused to be quiet when duty required a voice. He made his way quickly to Bathsheba’s chamber. He had discouraging news for the king’s favorite wife. To stir her to action, Nathan bluntly told her that she and her son Solomon were in danger.
The crown of Israel was God’s to give. Thus it is no surprise that a prophet came to prominence in this critical moment. Nathan was God’s man. He knew God’s mind, understood what was right and best, and became singlehandedly responsible for the thwarting of Adonijah. He took the lead in achieving God’s purpose. The prophet became a kingmaker and devised the method whereby the throne was secured for Solomon.
Nathan had held a special affection for Solomon from the prince’s birth. The prophet had named him Jedidiah, meaning “Beloved of YHWH” (2 SM 12:25). Nathan had known through the years that David’s repentance had been accepted by God. The selection of this son of Uriah’s wife is a tribute to the grace of God.

1 Kings 1:15-21
Bathsheba heeds the prophet and enters the presence of David. She reminded him of a sacred pledge he had made.

1 Kings 1:22-27
A true prophet, Nathan went straight to the point. “He thought David was not so cold but this would warm him” (Henry).

1 Kings 1:28-31
David knew Nathan could be trusted. The bad news was true. David called for Bathsheba and renewed the oath he had made.

1 Kings 1:32-33
Not a moment was lost. The thought of Bathsheba and Solomon being murdered aroused David. His old lion-heart was stirred again. A flash of fire blazed up in his dying embers.
David, in charge again, promptly knocked the props out from under Adonijah. The royal bodyguard, under Benaiah, were immediately enlisted to protect Solomon. They would accompany him to Gihon, just outside the city, where a large crowd could gather.
Solomon would make the journey on the royal mule, thereby signifying that he was David’s choice. Mules were highly valued. Few roads in Israel would have been suitable for wheeled traffic. Riding was the most common form of travel.

1 Kings 1:34
Having Zadok and Nathan present would confirm Solomon by priestly and prophetic authority. He was God’s choice, the oil picturing divine selection and divine empowering.

1 Kings 1:35-40
To end all dispute, Solomon was seated upon the throne. The people rejoiced, as did Benaiah, who was so relieved that he let his feelings be known with a forceful “Amen!” “Let it be!”
Benaiah said a prayer to which David could say “Amen.” He prayed that Solomon would be greater than David. Benaiah knew that David would not be jealous. All good parents want their children to excel. We want our children to rise higher and go farther than we have. They are an extension of our own selves. Professor Silliman of Yale was once lecturing in New York. His professor-father was in the crowd and overheard a gentleman behind him say, “He beats the old gent.” The father turned around and said, “He ought to; he stands on my shoulders.”