Introduction: Have you had enough of studying dragons and beasts? We
now turn to the study of kings! This quarter we are essentially
studying the books of First and Second Kings. Because First and Second
Chronicles gives us a parallel account to Kings, we will compare
Chronicles from time to time. Let’s put on our armor and jump into
the history of the Kings of Israel and Judah!
- David’s Decline
- Read 1 Kings 1:1. Anyone understand David’s condition?
- About a week ago I was at a ski resort in Utah.
Although it was summer, and very warm outside, I
noticed an old guy walking around wearing a coat! Ever
notice that some old people wear jackets in summer?
(David, like many old people, was suffering from a
- Read 1 Kings 1:2-3. Where can you find servants like this?
Can you imagine your doctor prescribing this for circulatory
problems in your old age?
- Read 1 Kings 1:4. The Bible is really quite short. A lot of
details I would like to know are left out. Why do you think
this little story about the ancient substitute for an
electric blanket for King David is in the Bible?
- If you were writing this story, would you include this
- Did you notice the quarterly jumps right over this
part of the story? (This sets the stage for the
account of the kings in two ways. First, it reveals
that we are going to get an honest and open account.
If I were writing about King David, I would certainly
leave this detail out of the story. Second, this tells
us in a very clear way that David was at the end of
his life. It was time for a new king.)
- Adonijah For King
- Read 1 Kings 1:5-6. Tell me what you learn about this young
man Adonijah? Describe his character for me. (He is a proud
opportunist. Since his father David, is not dead, but only
sick, he has no right to the throne. The text suggests his
behavior has not been appropriate. He is, however, good
looking. 2 Samuel 3:4 tells us he was David’s fourth son.)
- What do these verses tell us about David as a father?
(He never disciplined Adonijah.)
- Consider this situation for a moment. How might things
have been different if David had disciplined Adonijah
as he was growing up? (Discipline probably would have
caused the son to respect the authority of his father.
This rebellion might not have happened if David had
properly raised his son.)
- Read 1 Kings 1:7-8. Joab was David’s general of the army and
Abiathar was Priest. (It appears that Abiathar and Zadok
were both “High Priest” during this time. See 2 Samuel
20:23-25.) Why would Adonijah go to these two men for
support and why would they give it?
- Do you think Zadok, Benaiah and Nathan were asked to
- Read 1 Kings 1:9-10. Why do you have “visitors’ dinner” or
“fellowship dinner” after church? (Adonijah understood that
if you feed them they will come!)
- What do you think Nathan, Benaiah and Solomon thought
about not being invited? (The battle lines had been
drawn. These people did not support Adonijah’s quest
to become king and was not excluding them.)
- Were the lives of Nathan and the other
“objectors” in danger?
- Solomon for King
- Read 1 Kings 1:11. Why would Nathan go to Bathsheba first?
Why not go to King David or Solomon first? (Nathan thought
that Bathsheba would have a great interest in what was
happening and she apparently was the best one to approach
- Read 1 Kings 1:12. Was Bathsheba’s interest merely for
the success of her son? (No. Nathan suggests that both
Bathsheba and Solomon will be killed if Adonijah takes
- Why would they be killed?
- Read 1 Kings 1:13-14. How does Nathan know what King David
had said about Solomon becoming king? (Either Bathsheba had
been talking about this promise to her son, or it was well-known.)
- Read 1 Chronicles 22:7-10. Who decided that Solomon
should be the next king? (God decided this. It is
likely that Nathan, the prophet, would know what God
- Recall that Bathsheba became David’s wife because they
committed adultery, she became pregnant, and David arranged
to have Bathsheba’s husband killed. (For this account see 2
Samuel 11.) Why would God “honor” this arrangement by making
their son the next king?
- I remember a woman once telling me about how she
became married to her current husband. She committed
adultery and married the fellow with whom she had been
having an affair. It was now many years and several
children later. I could tell that even now she was
troubled about whether God approved of her still being
married to the fellow with whom she had the affair.
Was it still sin for her to be married to her current
- What does God’s selection of Solomon say about his
willingness to forgive and forget sexual sins? (God
had obviously forgiven David and Bathsheba. God was
willing to honor their son by making him the next
king. However, we should not forget that this sin
caused a tremendous problem in David’s life which led
to the death of his two oldest sons. (See 2 Samuel 13
- Let’s go back to 1 Kings 1:12-13. If Nathan knew about God’s
promise to David about Solomon, do you think Solomon knew?
(It seems certain.)
- Where is Solomon in all of this? Surely he noticed
that he did not get invited to Adonijah’s coronation
party! Surely he realized the danger to himself and
his mother. How do you explain that Nathan the prophet
is the moving party here instead of Solomon?
- How does Solomon’s approach to his future differ
from Adonijah’s approach? (Solomon seems
completely content to rely on God’s promise he
will be the next king. The Biblical account gives
no indication that Solomon did anything to
promote himself as king.)
- Is this an example to us in our daily work?
- Is it an example only if God promised us a
- Read Psalms 75:6-7 (and also read it in the
KJV)and tell me what you think it is saying
about your job?
- The Contest for King Ended
- Just as Nathan has suggested, Bathsheba approaches David
followed by Nathan. Their entire conversation can be found
in 1 Kings 1:15-27. Let’s focus on a few of these verses.
Read 1 Kings 1:17-18, 20-21. How would you describe
Bathsheba’s appeal to King David? (It has several elements.
First, she reminds David of the Lord’s will and David’s
solemn oath supporting God’s direction (v.17). She then
suggests that God’s will and David’s promise are not being
fulfilled either because David is not doing his job or
because he simply is unaware of events (v.18). Next she
suggests David still has control and has not become
irrelevant with age and weakness (v.20). Finally, she
appeals to David’s love and pity for his wife and son
- What do you think about Bathsheba’s “legal argument”
to the King?
- Let’s focus on the key part of Nathan’s argument. Read 1
Kings 1:24, 26-27. How would you describe Nathan’s argument?
(Nathan speaks as if David has the same power he had when he
was young and clearly in charge. A king need not tell
everyone what he decides, and Nathan acts as if David might
have agreed to Adonijah becoming King. The idea is that
David still has the authority to make these decisions (vv.
24, 27). Nathan also tells David that he and others are
faithful to him and suggests they might meet a bad end if
David does nothing (v.26).)
- What do you think about Nathan’s “legal argument?”
- Joab, the Commander of the army, supported Adonijah.
What do you think he had decided on the issue of
David’s authority to make the decision on who would be
the next king?
- If you were looking at this as a disinterested
outsider, whose opinion would you accept – the
old, weak King’s opinion or the opinion of the
commander of the army?
- Read 1 Kings 1:28-30. How does David solve the obvious
problem of his weakness and Joab’s defection? (“As surely as
the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble.”
David depended upon God.)
- Are those words for you to live by?
- Read 1 Kings 1:32-35. What do you think about David’s
solution to the problem? Why not mount a military campaign
against Adonijah? How much good is blowing trumpets?
- David’s instructions are followed, Solomon is anointed King,
and his ascension to the throne is announced. Read 1 Kings
1:40. How do the people respond?
- Read 1 Kings 1:41-43, 49. How does the matter end? Why
doesn’t Adonijah summon his supporter, Joab, to call out the
army? (The text says that all the guests were alarmed
(frightened). Joab was one of those frightened guests. It
seems that everyone, including the new “king” Adonijah were
afraid. Adonijah realized that he did not have the support
of the people. Verses 50 and 51 tell us that Adonijah ran
and grabbed “hold of the horns of the altar.” Grabbing hold
of the horns of the altar was a historic method of finding a
“safe harbor” from those who sought to punish you. See, 1
Kings 2:28, Exodus 27:2 and Exodus 21:14. Thus, Adonijah
feared that Solomon would kill him.)
- Read 1 Kings 1:53. Would you have reacted the same King
Solomon reacted? Would you say, “It’s OK, go just go home?”
- Friend, this story shows the importance of relying on God
instead of man. Adonijah had lined up on his side the power
of men. Solomon just relied on God’s promise. As a result,
God came through and made Solomon King. Are you willing to
put your trust in God?
- Next Week: The Wisdom of Solomon.