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Prophetic Insight: A Tale of Two Kings in One Nation

1 Kings Chapter 1
King David is old and advanced in years. His military-style life and the many trials he has faced have aged him. They search for and find Abishag the Shunammite to come and care for King David and help keep him warm. Now for the middle east, this is not a far-off practice even to this day. As they are also looking for the king or leader to be cherished, and the young energy from such a woman around him might give new life to a very tired man.

This is not the first time a Shunammite woman had been called upon to help care for God’s anointed:
So King David is frail, he is weak, he is not in the prime of his military career here, so therefore he Is VULNERABLE. He is unable to fiercely oppose wickedness as he once did.

Adonijah the son of Haggith, David’s 4th son, sees this weakness and opportunity and decides to stage a political coup and exalt himself as king as he was the second next to Absalom. So this is the second attempted coup. The first was Absalom.

Interestingly enough…The number 4 derives its Bible meaning from creation. On the fourth day of what is called 'creation week,' God completed the material universe. On this day He brought into existence our sun, the moon, and all the stars (Genesis 1:14 - 19). Their purpose was not only to give off light but also to divide the day from the night on earth, thus becoming a basic demarcation of time. They were also made to be a type of signal that would mark off the days, years, and seasons (of which there are 4).

Meant to DIVIDE the day from the night, the light from the darkness….

1 Kings 1:5-6 5 Then Adonijah the [c]son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will [d]be king”; and he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. 6 (And his father had not [e]rebuked him at any time by saying, “Why have you done so?” He was also very good-looking. His mother had borne him after Absalom.)

It looks like here that Adonijah potentially reminds David of Absalom and is therefore ginger with his handling of Adonijah even in the midst of blatant rebellion. Doesn’t that remind you of someone right now? Someone who is very aged, unfit to run the country, who doesn’t have his wits about him who lost one son and now is making excuses for the bad behavior of the second son? And is not keeping his son in check. I don’t think David ever fully got over and came to terms with what happened with Absalom. However, this is the 2nd time where one of his sons has attempted to Ursurp David’s position as king. Adonijah and Solomon were brothers from another mother literally, they were half-siblings. Adonijah is now the oldest male alive since the death of Absalom. And because he is now the oldest, he is determined to get his way by any means necessary and grab that power for himself, even though he has been found not worthy by God to do so. He is determined to set up a political coup and steal the kingship from whom God Almighty and King David chose, which was Solomon.

Adonijah was the favorite of his father, who launching his own campaign became the “only” heir-presumptive to the throne (2 Samuel 15:1 ), David said nothing when this corrupt campaign began; and David's silence on the matter was considered by many, as well as by Adonijah, to be equivalent to an expression of consent. The sinking health of the king prompted Adonijah to take a decisive step in the furtherance of his politically ambitious designs. Basically, at times silence is agreement as these are one of those times. The king did not stop Adonijah, therefore he sees this as a green light. This is someone who likes to test the limits, who is an opportunist, who will easily manipulate people and trick them into aiding and abetting his ambitions for the throne.

Adonijah is aware that Joab holds a grudge against the king that stems I believe from Absalom. When Joab showed his loyalty by defending the king and striking down Absalom, David did not commend Joab or his men at all but rather completely fell apart over Absalom's death, you know the son who wanted to kill him and take his kingdom. This left a bitter taste in Joab’s mouth, as Joab was a salty prickly man, to begin with, and Adonijah being an opportunist SEES THIS. And forms a plot to begin to win King David's advisers over to his camp.

So Adonijah enlists the help of Joab, captain of the army that is SUPPOSED TO BE LOYAL TO THE KING, to help him secure power. The problem is the Lord has not favored Adonijah, He has favored the 10th son of King David, Solomon, whose mother is Bathsheeba. Interestingly enough as such, the meaning of 10 is one of testimony, law, responsibility, and the completeness of order. So Solomon was born as the 10th son for a very good reason.

Remember that whole PR nightmare with David Uriah and Bathsheba, well the son that was born within the confines of their marriage was Solomon. He was chosen by the Lord to succeed David. The Bible specifically states that the Lord “loved Solomon” no other of David’s sons was this ever mentioned of in scripture.

Adonijah also recruits Abiathar the priest. Yes, a priest goes to the camp of a coup to steal the crown, sound familiar?

Abiathar the priest background Abiathar was the only one of the priests to escape from Saul (reigned c. 1020–1000 BCE)'s massacre in Nob, when his father and the priests of Nob were slain on the command of Saul. He fled to David (reigned c. 1003–970 BCE) at Keilah, taking with him the ephod and other priestly regalia (1 Samuel 22:20 f., 23:6, 9). Rabbinical literature that linked the later extermination of the male descendants of David with the priests of Nob, also link the survival of David's descendant Joash with that of Abiathar (Sanh. 95b).[2]

Abiathar joined David, who was then in the cave of Adullam (1 Samuel 22:20–23; 23:6). He remained with David, and became priest of the party of which he was the leader (1 Samuel 30:7). He was of great service to David, especially at the time of the rebellion of Absalom (2 Samuel 15:24, 29, 35, 20:25).
 
Now, after all this…Abiathar flips on a dime and sides with Adonijah. My suspicion is that he did not want to be a co-high priest with Zadok but wanted to be king of the mountain himself, wanting all the power and influence and not sharing with one who could actually keep him in check.

1 Kings 1:8  8 But Zadok the priest, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and the mighty men who belonged to David were not with Adonijah. These men are not swayed they refuse to budge from whom the Lord anointed. 
 
Now, who are these individuals?:
 
Benaiah--Distinguished for his bravery (1 Samuel 23:20), he had been appointed captain of the king's bodyguard (2 Samuel 8:18 , 20:23, 1 Chronicles 18:17), and was regarded by Joab as a rival.

Nathan the prophet--He was held in high estimation by David, and stood on the most intimate relations with the royal family (2 Samuel 12:25).

Shimei--probably the person of this name who was afterwards enrolled among Solomon's great officers (1 Kings 4:18).

Rei--supposed to be the same as Ira ( 2 Samuel 20:26 ). A priest of King David
and the mighty men--the select band of worthies.
 
So we see there is an infection within David’s government, and they are split and divided on who to serve. You have 2 kings in 1 nation, one legitimate and one illegitimate who stole that seat. David’s indiscretions over the years have opened the door to this… 
 
1 Kings 1:9
 
And Adonijah sacrificed sheep and oxen and fattened cattle by the stone of [f]Zoheleth, which is by En Rogel;[g] he also invited all his brothers, the king’s sons, and all the men of Judah, the king’s servants. 10 But he did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the mighty men, or Solomon his brother.
 
STRANGE FIRE the audacity to put a sacrifice to the Lord as the unanointed king in the middle of staging a political coup while making yourself appear, keyword, to fear and serve the Lord is blasphemous. He is doing something quite scandalous!
 
Now, who sees this going on? Nathan the prophet. Now, Nathan seems to enter at VERY pivotal times when the kingdom is at stake, there is a serious road being ventured down that shouldn’t be that affects the whole kingdom.
 
So enter again Nathan the prophet. However, this time he is attempting to help Bathsheba and Solomon of all people, after marching into King David and letting him have it because the Lord exposed David’s secret affair with Bathsheba and the killing of Uriah to Nathan. And as a good servant of the Lord does, when the Lord tells Him to now get involved, they do.
 
11 So Nathan spoke to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, saying, “Have you not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith has become king, and David our lord does not know it? 12 Come, please, let me now give you advice, that you may save your own life and the life of your son Solomon13 Go immediately to King David and say to him, ‘Did you not, my lord, O king, swear to your maidservant, saying, “Assuredly your son Solomon shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne”? Why then has Adonijah become king?’ 14 Then, while you are still talking there with the king, I also will come in after you and confirm your words.”

Nathan already knows if Adonijah gets to solidify this he's going to kill Bathsheba and Solomon and totally destroy God’s plan. Adonijah was not God’s plan, not by a long shot. However, men have free will and Adonijah made a conscious decision to attempt to usurp the will of God because he felt “he deserved it more and was more capable” which could not be further from the truth for the kingdom would have fallen apart. And the line of Jesus was at stake here.
 
This goes all the way back to Cain and Able, one brother jealous of the other’s relationship with the Lord and the anointing the Lord has given them.
 
The revolt was defeated by this prophet, who, knowing the Lord's will (2 Samuel 7:12, 1 Chronicles 22:9), felt it was his duty in accordance with his character and office, to take the lead in seeing it executed. Nathan knew the Lord’s Will. Hitherto the succession of the Hebrew monarchy had not been settled. The Lord had reserved to Himself the right of nomination (Deuteronomy 17:15) 15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. This was acted upon in the appointments both of Saul and David; and in the case of the latter, the rule was so far modified that there was a guarantee of the perpetual possession of the sovereignty (2 Samuel 7:12) 12 “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom...This divine purpose was known throughout the kingdom, but no indication had been made as to whether the right of inheritance of the throne was to belong to the oldest son. Adonijah, in common with the people generally, expected that this natural arrangement should be followed in the Hebrew kingdom as in all others, being that he was now the oldest after the untimely death of Absalom.
 
Nathan, who was very aware and took seriously the old king's solemn promise to Solomon, and, moreover, that this promise was sanctioned by the divine will of God, saw that no time was to be lost because Bathsheba and Solomon's lives, were at stake. Fearing the effects of too sudden excitement in the king's frail state, he arranged that Bath-sheba should go first to inform him of what has transpired with Adonijah and that he himself should follow to confirm her statement. 
 
You see Nathan knew that David loved Bathsheba even though their relationship got off to a very rocky and dysfunctional start, David loved her and Solomon very much. This was very wise of Nathan to do.
 
There is a very dramatic scene unfolding in the interior of the palace after Adonijah, with much fanfare, begins to give the illusion that he is the chosen King. Illusion is the keyword because it was all just vanity.
 
Vs 17-21, Bathsheba enters and bows low to David. Keep in mind Adonijah has NO CLUE what Nathan the prophet has planned with Bathsheba, it is the overthrow of an active coup. Bathsheba informs King David of what Adonijah has done, the sacrifice, Abiathar the priest, she's a woman trust me she did not forget to leave out any details! 
 
And just as she gets done, enter the man of the hour NATHAN THE PROPHET:  
 
VS 22-27 22 And just then, while she was still talking with the king, Nathan the prophet also came in. 23 So they told the king, saying, “Here is Nathan the prophet.” And when he came in before the king, he bowed down before the king with his face to the ground. 24 And Nathan said, “My lord, O king, have you said, ‘Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne’? 25 For he has gone down today, and has sacrificed oxen and fattened cattle and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the king’s sons, and the commanders of the army, and Abiathar the priest; and look! They are eating and drinking before him; and they say, ‘Long[h] live King Adonijah!’ 26 But he has not invited me—me your servant—nor Zadok the priest, nor Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, nor your servant Solomon. 27 Has this thing been done by my lord the king, and you have not told your servant who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?”
 
Nathan at the end is playing dumb a little here and is basically saying to David…“Have you gone and changed this divine ordinance and not run this by your servant the prophets?!!
 
Now Nathan has King David’s attention. You see Nathan is very wise and knows a matter is established in the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses, this is why he took Bathsheba with him on this mission because David trusted her.
 
Deuteronomy 19:15 15 “One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established
King David then calls Bathsheba back in and says:
 
Vs29-30 29 And the king took an oath and said, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life from every distress, 30 just as I swore to you by the Lord God of Israel, saying, ‘Assuredly Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,’ so I certainly will do this day.” 
 
Vs 32-40 is where the coup gets overthrown, this is where King David himself with the help of his prophets and priests puts the plan in place to overthrow Adonijah who is greatly deceiving the people, the kingdom, and attempting to usurp the will of God.
 
32 And King David said, “Call to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada.” So they came before the king. 33 The king also said to them, “Take with you the servants of your lord, and have Solomon my son ride on my own mule, and take him down to Gihon.[i] 34 There let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel; and blow the horn, and say, [j]‘Long live King Solomon!’ 35 Then you shall come up after him, and he shall come and sit on my throne, and he shall be king in my place. For I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah.” 36 Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king and said, “Amen! May the Lord God of my lord the king say so too. 37 As the Lord has been with my lord the king, even so may He be with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David.” 38 So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon ride on King David’s mule, and took him to Gihon. 39 Then Zadok the priest took a horn of oil from the tabernacle and anointed Solomon. And they blew the horn, and all the people said, [k]“Long live King Solomon!” 40 And all the people went up after him; and the people played the flutes and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth seemed to split with their sound.
 
Ride on HIS MULE.  First off a mule is a hybrid of a donkey and a horse and it cannot reproduce
So the rightful King rides on the King's MULE.
 
HMM, 2000 Mules….
In this case, the mule carried the rightful leader before the people.
2000 mules showcases the rightful leader before the people INTERESTING INDEED.
 
One ceremony was a deception, a fabrication, Adonijah smoke and mirrors the appearance of the king but was no king at all. It was improper, it was not according to the rule of law of how the next king is anointed and validated…And the other. Solomon was done following the laws not only the Lord had put in place but at King David’s orders.
 
So basically one was a smoke and mirrors, counterfeit, ungodly production, of cheating and scandal, including a political coup, and the other was ordained by God, anointed by God, and had the backing of the prophets, the true prophets, the priests, and king David.
 
You see Adonijah knew the kingdom was at a point of weakness and vulnerability with King David so ill. Adonijah thought his father did not have the strength to oppose him. And Adonijah thought once he attempted this coup, the people would just go along with it and cave in because he had the commander of the army behind him, Joab who was bitter at David, and Abiathar the priest, KEYWORD PRIEST, BUT no prophet, no prophet such as Nathan was giving in to Adonijah because that was not the will of God, however the priest(s) did give in to the counterfeit fairly easily. Why? All in the name of prestige, position, and getting a big payoff from Adonijah for their corrupted loyalty. There were priests endorsing Adonijah, BUT NO PROPHET ANOINTING HIM.
 
Through this, the Lord was truly exposing who was loyal to the corrupt state, who was loyal to themselves, and who truly was loyal to God and HIS WILL. 
 
Vs 41-49 41 Now Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard it as they finished eating. And when Joab heard the sound of the horn, he said, “Why is the city in such a noisy uproar?” 42 While he was still speaking, there came Jonathan, the son of Abiathar the priest. And Adonijah said to him, “Come in, for you are a prominent man, and bring good news.” 43 Then Jonathan answered and said to Adonijah, “No! Our lord King David has made Solomon king. 44 The king has sent with him Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites; and they have made him ride on the king’s mule. 45 So Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king at Gihon; and they have gone up from there rejoicing, so that the city is in an uproar. This is the noise that you have heard. 46 Also Solomon sits on the throne of the kingdom. 47 And moreover the king’s servants have gone to bless our lord King David, saying, ‘May God make the name of Solomon better than your name, and may He make his throne greater than your throne.’ Then the king bowed himself on the bed. 48 Also the king said thus, ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who has given one to sit on my throne this day, while my eyes see it!’ ” 49 So all the guests who were with Adonijah were afraid, and arose, and each one went his way. 

All the guests were afraid, and they scattered, the abandoned Adonijah, they were afraid because unbeknownst to them while they were partying and drinking and carrying on in their delusions, the real king was being established, the proper way outside of the view of Adonijah and his henchmen, and by the time they find out it is too late. The people now scatter, Adonijah's supporters scatter because of the fear of the Lord with Solomon being on the throne and David’s words fell upon them, and they all knew the jig was up. 
 
Vs 50-54 50 Now Adonijah was afraid of Solomon; so he arose, and went and took hold of the horns of the altar. 51 And it was told Solomon, saying, “Indeed Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon; for look, he has taken hold of the horns of the altar, saying, ‘Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.’ ”
 
52 Then Solomon said, “If he proves himself a worthy man, not one hair of him shall fall to the earth; but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die.” 53 So King Solomon sent them to bring him down from the altar. And he came and fell down before King Solomon; and Solomon said to him, “Go to your house.”
 
The “horns” were horn-like projections at the four corners of the altar of burnt offerings. God’s instructions for the altar’s construction specified “horns”: “Make a horn at each of the four corners so that the horns and the altar are of one piece” (Exodus 27:2).
 
This altar most likely is where Abiathar, one of his partners in crime, presided as a high priest. The horns or projections at the four corners of the altar, to which the sacrifices were bound, and which were tipped with the blood of the victim, were symbols of grace and salvation to the sinner. Hence the altar was regarded as a sanctuary (Exodus 21:14), but not to murderers, rebels, or deliberate perpetrators. Adonijah, having acted in opposition to the will of the reigning king, was guilty of rebellion and treason, and stood self-condemned. Solomon spared his life on the express and strict conditions of his good behavior--living in strict privacy, leading a quiet, peaceable life, and meddling with the affairs of neither the court nor the kingdom. These were the terms for mercy to be afforded to Adonijah.
 
So here is Adonijah hanging onto where the sacrifices are supposed to be throwing a fit, now petrified Solomon is going to kill him for his little stunt. Solomon instead gives mercy the first time and sends him on his way, however, Adonijah just cannot leave well enough alone… 
 
In 1 Kings 2 after the death of David, Adonijah comes back in all his haughtiness and arrogance, still bitter about losing the throne, and manipulatively approaches Bathsheba, King Solomons, mother to help him in this power play. He wants to marry Abishag the Shunammite who cared for David while he was dying. Now we know from Absalom you do not touch the king's concubines, that’s a power grab, a very disrespectful one.
 
1Kings 2:15-18 15 Then he said, “You know that the kingdom was mine, and all Israel had set their expectations on me, that I should reign. However, the kingdom has been turned over, and has become my brother’s; for it was his from the Lord. 16 Now I ask one petition of you; do not [c]deny me.”
And she said to him, “Say it.” 17 Then he said, “Please speak to King Solomon, for he will not refuse you, that he may give me Abishag the Shunammite as wife.” 18 So Bathsheba said, “Very well, I will speak for you to the king.”
 
Bathsheba approaches Solomon, who loves his mother very much. Apparently, Bathsheba doesn’t seem the harm in giving this request to Adonijah. Maybe it is because of the way Bathsheba was taken by David as a wife that she views this a bit differently from her son. Well, the request doesn’t go over very well because Solomon realizes what Adonijah is attempting to do. For if the people see Adonijah married to one of David’s concubines then they may begin to demand he become king. This was the 2nd attempted coup which was way more subtle than the first.  

1 Kings 2:22-25

And King Solomon answered and said to his mother, “Now why do you ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Ask for him the kingdom also—for he is my older brother—for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah.” 23 Then King Solomon swore by the Lord, saying, “May God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah has not spoken this word against his own life! 24 Now therefore, as the Lord lives, who has confirmed me and set me on the throne of David my father, and who has established a [e]house for me, as He promised, Adonijah shall be put to death today!” 25 So King Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he struck him down, and he died.
 
This is why it is important for prophets and servants of God to surround leaders who know the will of God and are willing to fight for it. For if Nathan had not led this charge in all boldness and faith, had he just said “we will all submit to Adonijah” the will of God may have been very delayed with Solomon taking the throne. The corrupt who stage coups are troublesome to submit to because they are not honest, to begin with, and their motives for power do more to hurt people than help them. It tends to oppress the people and you have those like Abiathar the priest who jump onto that bandwagon in order to hold onto power themselves and gain more prestige.  Coups rarely end well especially when the enemy’s fingerprints are all over them. This is why watchmen must be perceptive like Nathan, and the people of God not only seeking but willing to submit to the will of God. A house divided cannot stand, and neither will a kingdom. This is truly why now the Lord’s intervention is needed and in the same way, Nathan and Bathsheba approached King David with all wisdom and humility, we need to be approaching God.

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