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NOW king David was old, and advanced in years: and when he was covered with clothes, he was not warm.

Ver. 1.  Years; sixty-nine, as he died when he was seventy years old.  C.  2 K. v. 4.

 

--- Warm.  Though David was of a strong constitution, he had been so much exposed to fatigue, and so harassed with domestic broils, that his vigour was nearly decayed.  C.

 

--- The Rabbins say, that the sight of the angel had greatly contributed to weaken him.  Lyran, and others, suppose that he was affected with the palsy.  Abul.  Salien, A. 3019.


THE THIRD BOOK OF KINGS.

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

This and the following Book are called by the holy Fathers, The Third and Fourth Book of Kings; but by the Hebrews, the First and Second.  They contain the history of the kingdoms of Israel and Juda, from the beginning of the reign of Solomon to the captivity.  As to the writer of these books, it seem most probable they were not written by one man, nor at one time; but as there was all along a succession of prophets in Israel, who recorded, by divine inspiration, the most remarkable things that happened in their days, these books seem to have been written by these prophets.  See 2 Paral. alias 2 Chron. ix. 29, xii. 15, xiii. 22, xx. 34, xxvi. 22, xxxii. 32.  Ch.

 

--- This book informs us of the death of David, C. ii. 11, where some Greek copies concluded the second book "of the reigns or kingdoms," as they style all the four books.  Theodoret and Diodorus follow this division.  The point is of no consequence; and the Hebrew editions have often varied.  Origen observes, that the Jews denoted these tow books from the first words, "Ouammelech David."  Euseb. Hist. vi. 25.  H.

 

--- In S. Jerom's time, the four books made only two.  The present book details the actions of Solomon, (C.) till the end of the 12th chapter.  Then we behold the division of the kingdom: Roboam, Abias, Asa, and Josaphat, reign over Juda; Jeroboam, &c. over Israel; while the prophets Abias, Elias, Eliseus, appear in the remaining eleven chapters.  W.

 

--- Though the memoirs seem to have been left by contemporary authors, (H.) one, and most probably Esdras, made the compilation, after the captivity, inserting frequently the very words of his authors, yet so as to make some additional reflections.  C.

 

--- The Rabbins generally attribute the work to Jeremias.  H.

 

--- He is more attentive to the house of David, and to display the rewards of the piety, and the punishment of vice, as well as the glory of the temple and of religion, than to describe the military exploits, which occupy so much of the profane history.  C.


2 His servants therefore said to him: Let us seek for our lord the king, a young virgin, and let her stand before the king, and cherish him, and sleep in his bosom, and warm our lord the king.

Ver. 2.  Servants.  Physicians.  Josep. vii. 14.

 

--- People of the faculty still adopt the same sentiments; and when fire and clothes will not procure heat, they advise the application of living creatures.  Bartholin ix.  Galen vii.  Vales. Philos. c. 19.


3 So they sought a beautiful young woman in all the coasts of Israel, and they found Abisag a Sunamitess, and brought her to the king.

Ver. 3.  Sunamitess.  Sunam was not far from Thabor, in the tribe of Issachar.  C.

 

--- This history leads us to explain the ambition and death of Adonias.  H.


4 And the damsel was exceeding beautiful, and she slept with the king: and served him, but the king did not know her.

Ver. 4.  Her.  Which shews the virtue and temperance of David.  M.

 

--- She was his wife, at least of a second order.  Adonias flattered himself, on account of Abisag's virginity, that the law did not hinder him from marrying her; (Lev. xviii. 8.  Kimchi) or he was blinded by ambition.  C.

 

--- Heretics and persecutors thus attempt in vain, (H.) to defile the Church, the chaste spouse of Jesus, that they may usurp his throne.  C.


5 And Adonias the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying: I will be king. And he made himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.

Ver. 5.  Him.  He was not deterred by the fate of Absalom.  H.

 

--- He was now the eldest son, and gave himself out for the presumptive heir.  C.

 

--- David is blamed for some remissness, in not repressing him; (Salien) as his conduct tended to excite confusion, and to frustrate the appointment of God.  But the king was convinced that nothing would be able to disturb that order; and he would take measures, in due time, to curb the ambition of his eldest son, from which, as yet, he apprehended no danger.  H.

 

--- Old age renders people slow.  M.


6 Neither did his father rebuke him at any time, saying: Why hast thou done this? And he also was very beautiful, the next in birth after Absalom.

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7 And he conferred with Joab the son of Sarvia, and with Abiathar the priest, who furthered Adonias's side.

Ver. 7.  Side.  For their own interest, and because they supposed that the throne belonged of course to him.  M.

 

--- This was the natural privilege, when no other disposition was made by God, or by the kings who succeeded David.  They did not esteem themselves bound to leave the crown to their eldest sons.  Hitherto God had made choice himself, as he had required.  Deut. xvii. 15.  In favour of David, he pleased to grant sovereignty to his descendants.  But the king expected to declare which he preferred, in case he chose to deviate from the natural order, v. 20.


8 But Sadoc the priest, and Banaias the son of Joiada, and Nathan the prophet, and Semei, and Rei, and the strength of David's army was not with Adonias.

Ver. 8.  Sadoc, the rival of Abiathar, and a descendant of Eleazar.  David had permitted both to perform the functions of the high priesthood; (C.) or one had acted as the delegate of the other.  Salien.

 

--- Banaias was distinguished for his valour, 2 K. xxiii. 20.  He was the flower of his age, and, perhaps, aspired at the authority of Joab, whose credit began to decline; as he was grown old, and was known to be rather disagreeable to David, and had been guilty of such horrid murders.  Both the contending princes sought to ingratiate themselves with the army and with the  priests, as their influence was of the utmost consequence.  Solomon was more fortunate, in having also Nathan the prophet on his side; but the throne was secured to him much more on account of the divine decree, 2 K. vii. 12. and xii. 25.  H.

 

--- Nathan is commonly considered as the tutor of the young prince, (M.) and was styled his "father."  C.

 

--- Semei, or Nabath, father of Jeroboam; and Rei, or Ira, who is styled the priest of David, 2 K. xx. 26.  S. Jer. Tradit.  M.

 

--- To confound Semei with Nabath is wrong.  Salien.

 

--- Army; the king's guard consisting chiefly of the Cerethi, &c. (C.) who were under Banaias.  The whole army, over which Joab was general, was not always in arms.  Sept. "Semei and Resi, other copies read (H.) his friends," (with Syr.  Arab.) "and Daia, heroes of David."  Heb. may be, "neither the hearers nor the seers, nor the brave men of David were with Adonias."  The populace, or the disciples, as well as the prophets, may be thus denoted.


9 And Adonias having slain rams and calves, and all fat cattle by the stone of Zoheleth, which was near the fountain Rogel, invited all his brethren the king's sons, and all the men of Juda, the king's servants:

Ver. 9.  Slain.  Either for sacrifice, or simply for a feast; (C.) though it is probable that victims of peace would be offered, as on similar occasions, on which the guests would afterwards feast.  1 K. xi.  H.

 

--- Rogel, east of Jerusalem, in the vale of Josaphat.  M.




10 But Nathan the prophet, and Banaias, and all the valiant men, and Solomon his brother, he invited not.

Ver. 10.  Not.  Out of contempt, (C.) and because he knew that they would oppose his measures.  H.


11 And Nathan said to Bethsabee the mother of Solomon: Hast thou not heard that Adonias the son of Haggith reigneth, and our lord David knoweth it not?

Ver. 11.  It not.  So that we may safely endeavour to overturn his plane.  M.


12 Now then come, take my counsel and save thy life, and the life of thy son Solomon.

Ver. 12.  Life.  Both would have been in imminent danger, if the ambitious projects of Adonias succeeded, as he knew that the throne had been promised to Solomon by his father, and he would consider him as a dangerous rival.  C.

 

--- The Turkish emperors usually destroy or confine their brethren, when they commence their reign.  H.


13 Go, and get thee in to king David, and say to him: Didst not thou, my lord O king, swear to me thy handmaid, saying: Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne? why then doth Adonias reign?

Ver. 13.  Swear.  This he did, either when he comforted her, after the death of her first-born; (2 K. xii. 24.) or rather, when Solomon had received so glorious a name, and was declared the heir by Nathan.  2 K. vii. 12.  1 Par. xxii. 20. and xxviii. 5.  Adonias acknowledges that God had made choice of his brother.  C. ii. 15.  C.


14 And while thou art yet speaking there with the king, I will come in after thee, and will fill up thy words.

Ver. 14.  Words, and confirm what thou hast said, (M.) reminding the king of God's express declaration.  H.


15 So Bethsabee went in to the king into the chamber: now the king was very old, and Abisag the Sunamitess ministered to him. 16 Bethsabee bowed herself, and worshipped the king. And the king said to her: What is thy will?

Ver. 16.  Worshipped.  Prot. "did obeisance."  Heb. "fell prostrate on the ground before the king," (C.) without any danger of idolatry.  H.


17 She answered and said: My lord, thou didst swear to thy handmaid by the Lord thy God, saying: Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne. 18 And behold now Adonias reigneth, and thou, my lord the king, knowest nothing of it.

Ver. 18.  Of it.  So that thy authority is also contemned.  M.


19 He hath killed oxen, and all fat cattle, and many rams, and invited all the king's sons, and Abiathar the priest, and Joab the general of the army: but Solomon thy servant he invited not. 20 And now, my lord O king, the eyes of all Israel are upon thee, that thou shouldst tell them, who shall sit on thy throne, my lord the king, after thee.

Ver. 20.  Thee.  Adonias boasts that all Israel was on his side.  C. ii. 15.  C.


21 Otherwise it shall come to pass, when my lord the king sleepeth with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders.

Ver. 21.  Offenders.  I, as guilty of adultery; and my son, as a mamzer; (Deut. xxiii. 2.  T.) or we shall be accounted pretenders, (H.) and condemned as guilty of high treason.  C.

 

--- Our hopes and expectations will be frustrated.  Vat. E.

 

--- We shall be despised or punished.  W.


22 As she was yet speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet came. 23 And they told the king, saying: Nathan the prophet is here. And when he was come in before the king, and had worshipped, bowing down to the ground, 24 Nathan said: My lord O king, hast thou said: Let Adonias reign after me, and let him sit upon my throne?
25 Because he is gone down to day, and hath killed oxen, and fatlings, and many rams, and invited all the king's sons, and the captains of the army, and Abiathar the priest: and they are eating and drinking before him, and saying: God save king Adonias: 26 But me thy servant, and Sadoc the priest, and Banaias the son of Joiada, and Solomon thy servant he hath not invited. 27 Is this word come out from my lord the king, and hast thou not told me thy servant who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him? 28 And king David answered and said: Call to me Bethsabee. And when she was come in to the king, and stood before him,

Ver. 28.  Come in.  Nathan went out, at the same time; (M.) so that each had a private audience.  C.


29 The king swore and said: As the Lord liveth, who hath delivered my soul out of all distress, 30 Even as I swore to thee by the Lord the God of Israel, saying: Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead, so will I do this day. 31 And Bethsabee bowing with her face to the earth worshipped the king, saying: May my lord David live for ever. 32 King David also said: Call me Sadoc the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Banaias the son of Joiada. And when they were come in before the king, 33 He said to them: Take with you the servants of your lord, and set my son Solomon upon my mule: and bring him to Gihon.

Ver. 33.  Lord, David.  M.

 

--- The Cerethi, and other life-guards, went under the command of their captain, Banaias, (C.) to repel any force that might disturb this solemn inauguration.  H.

 

--- Mule.  None but the king was allowed to mount it.

 

--- Gihon, a fountain, or place of public resort, on the west of Jerusalem.  Ezechias brought its waters into the city.  2 Par. xxxii. 30.  C.

 

--- Adonias was at Rogel, on the east.  M.




34 And let Sadoc the priest, and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel: and you shall sound the trumpet, and shall say: God save king Solomon.

Ver. 34.  Save, (Vavat.) "Live."  May Solomon reign for many years.  H.


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35 And you shall come up after him, and he shall come, and shall sit upon my throne, and he shall reign in my stead: and I will appoint him to be ruler over Israel, and over Juda.

Ver. 35.  Stead.  Not after me only.  David voluntarily abdicates the throne, so that Solomon reigned in his life-time.  M.




36 And Banaias the son of Joiada answered the king, saying: Amen: so say the Lord the God of my lord the king.

Ver. 36.  King.  May all have a prosperous issue, conformably to the wishes of your majesty and the decrees of God.  C.


37 As the Lord hath been with my lord the king, so be he with Solomon, and make his throne higher than the throne of my lord king David.

Ver. 37.  David.  Parents wish their children to be still more happy than themselves, how jealous soever they may be of their own glory.  C.

                        Aspice completum votum; jam natus adæquat

                        Te meritis, &, quod magis est optabile, vincit.  Claud. iv. con. Honor.


38 So Sadoc the priest, and Nathan the prophet went down, and Banaias the son of Joiada, and the Cerethi, and Phelethi: and they set Solomon upon the mule of king David, and brought him to Gihon.


39 And Sadoc the priest took a horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon: and they sounded the trumpet, and all the people said: God save king Solomon.

Ver. 39.  Horn of oil.  Such liquors were commonly kept in vessels of horn.  C.

 

--- Some say that oil, for the consecration of priests, was used on this occasion; and that the ceremony was performed only, when the throne was contested: as in the case of Joas, Joachaz, &c.  H.

 

--- Nathan assisted Sadoc, (v. 34.) who was not yet the high priest.  M.



Sadoc Anoints Solomon

Sadoc Anoints Solomon

And Sadoc the priest took a horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon: and they sounded the trumpet, and all the people said: God save king Solomon.

40 And all the multitude went up after him, and the people played with pipes, and rejoiced with a great joy, and the earth rang with the noise of their cry.

Ver. 40.  Rang.  Heb. "was split."  Chal. "shook."  M.


41 And Adonias, and all that were invited by him, heard it, and now the feast was at an end: Joab also hearing the sound of the trumpet, said: What meaneth this noise of the city in an uproar?

Ver. 41.  Uproar.  Nathan had conducted the affair with singular address.  A little delay might have plunged the kingdom into all the horrors of a civil war.


42 While he yet spoke, Jonathan the son of Abiathar the priest came: and Adonias said to him: Come in, because thou art a valiant man, and bringest good news. 43 And Jonathan answered Adonias: Not so: for our lord king David hath appointed Solomon king.

Ver. 43.  Not so.  Heb. "Misfortune or mourning, or verily."  A man of character did not willingly deliver a disagreeable message.  2 K. xviii. 25.  C.

 

--- But Jonathan was concerned for his father.  H.


44 And hath sent with him Sadoc the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Banaias the son of Joiada, and the Cerethi, and Phelethi, and they have set him upon the king's mule. 45 And Sadoc the priest, and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king in Gihon: and they are gone up from thence rejoicing, so that the city rang again: this is the noise that you have heard.


46 Moreover Solomon sitteth upon the throne of the kingdom, 47 And the king's servants going in have blessed our lord king David, saying: May God make the name of Solomon greater than thy name, and make his throne greater than thy throne. And the king adored in his bed:

Ver. 47.  Blessed.  Congratulating him on the exaltation of Solomon.

 

--- Bed.  Shewing respect to the new king, as Jacob had done to Joseph; (Gen. xlvii. 31.  Sanctius) or laying himself down again; (C.) or rather giving thanks to God, (M.) whom he adored, in gratitude for the favour of a successor being granted to him.  W.


48 And he said: Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel, who hath given this day one to sit on my throne, my eyes seeing 49 Then all the guests of Adonias were afraid, and they all arose and every man went his way.

Ver. 49.  Afraid.  As they had offended both David and Solomon, and had rendered themselves suspected of high treason.


50 And Adonias fearing Solomon, arose, and went, and took hold on the horn of the altar. 51 And they told Solomon, saying: Behold Adonias, fearing king Solomon, hath taken hold of the horn of the altar, saying: Let king Solomon swear to me this day, that he will not kill his servant with the sword.

Ver. 51.  Altar.  At Gabaon, (2 Par. i. 3,) or at Sion.  All nations seemed to grant the right of an asylum to sacred places; but only in favour of the innocent.  Ex. xxi. 14.  C.


52 And Solomon said: If he be a good man, there shall not so much as one hair of his head fall to the ground: but if evil be found in him, he shall die. 53 Then king Solomon sent, and brought him out from the altar: and going in he worshipped king Solomon: and Solomon said to him: Go to thy house.

Ver. 53. House.  He does not forbid him the court, but grants him pardon.  M.


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