Solomon Becomes King
David was now old and feeble with the weight of his years. The time had come for him to appoint one of his sons to be king after him, and God had chosen Solomon to be king. Solomon was to be a man of wisdom, and peace, and was especially charged with building the temple in which the ark was to be placed.
David had another son named Adonijah. This son said: "I will be king after my father is dead, and so I will make myself king at once." He prepared chariots and horsemen and men to run before him, and conferred °with Joab, the captain, and Abiathar, the priest, who promised to help him.
Adonijah slew sheep and oxen and fat cattle, and called his brothers, the king's sons, and many of the people to a great feast, and they proclaimed Adonijah king. But Nathan, the prophet, and Solomon, his brother, he did not call to this feast. When Nathan heard what the people had done, and heard the cries of "God save King Adonijah!" he went to Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon, and said to her: "Have you heard that Adonijah has been made king by the people, and David knows nothing of it?"
Bathsheba went to the king in his bedchamber, and the king was very old, Bathsheba bowed low and the king said: "What would you have?"
"My lord, you swore once that my son, Solomon, should reign after you and sit upon your throne, but now Adonijah has been made king, and you know it not," replied Bathsheba.
"I knew it not," said the king. "Solomon has been chosen by the Lord to be king after me. What else do you know?"
"Adonijah has slain oxen and cattle and sheep and has called the sons of the king together, and Abiathar, the priest and Joab, the captain, but not Solomon nor Nathan," said Bathsheba. Just then Nathan came before the king and told him the same thing that Bathsheba had told him. He also told the king that the people had made a great feast and were saying: "God save King Adonijah."
This did not please the old David, and he swore: "As the Lord liveth, Solomon shall reign after me, and shall sit upon my throne in my stead. This very day I shall do as the Lord commanded me toward Solomon."
When Bathsheba heard these words she bowed very low, and said: "Let my lord, King David, reign forever."
Then David told Nathan to take the servants and go where Solomon was, and place him upon a mule that belonged to the king, and bring him down to Gihon. There Zadok, the priest, and Nathan, the prophet, were to anoint him king over Israel, and blow trumpets and say, "God save King Solomon."
"You shall then bring him to my house, and let him sit upon my throne for I have appointed him king over Israel and over Judah," said David.
They found Solomon, and the servants put him on a mule that belonged to the king and brought him to Gihon. Zadok, the priest, took a horn of oil out of the tabernacle and anointed him king, and all the people that were with them shouted:
"God save King Solomon!" Indeed, there were so many people crying for Solomon, and playing upon pipes and shouting, that the air was full of noises and the earth shook with the sound.
Adonijah and all the guests that were with him heard it as they were making an end of their eating. When Joab heard the trumpets he said: "Wherefore all this noise and the city being in an uproar?" And while he was speaking, the son of Abiathar came in, and Adonijah called out: "Your are a brave man and bring good tidings, I hope."
But the man answered with alarm: "Our lord, King David, has made Solomon king, and the people rejoice and cry, God save King Solomon, and that is the uproar in the city which you hear."
Adonijah and his guests were astonished and afraid and asked for more tidings. The man replied: "Solomon now sits on the throne of David, and the servants bow before him, and say: God make the name of Solomon greater than the name of David! And furthermore," continued the son of the priest to those around him, "David himself has blessed this day when he has seen his son Solomon on his throne."
And then also, the guests that were with Adonijah were in great fear, and went every man his own way. Adonijah also feared, because of Solomon, and went and caught hold of the horns of the altar. Some one came to Solomon and said:
"Adonijah has fled to the altar, and has caught hold of the horns of it for safety of his life and begs that Solomon will not slay him with a sword for making himself king."
And Solomon told the men to tell Adonijah that he would not slay him if he would thereafter show himself to be a worthy man.
The servants went and brought Adonijah from the altar and sat him before Soloman, and Adonijah bowed himself very low, and Solomon said: "Adonijah, my brother, I mean you no harm, if only hereafter you be worthy. Go now to your own house."