Chapter 1: Avishag Hashunamis, Adoniyahu, King Shlomo

Chapter 1: Avishag Hashunamis, Adoniyahu, King Shlomo

1.      Avishag the Shunamis, the body warmer of Dovid:

  • Dovid is old and weak, unable to be warmed up: The king was old and ripe in day [i.e. 70 years old, after having reigned for 40 years from the age of 30[1]], and they covered him with clothing [as he became bedridden due to his weakness[2]], but it did not suffice to warm him up. [Dovid was stricken with cold blood after seeing the angel of death is discussed in the end of Shmuel Beis. Alternatively, he was punished that his clothing not be enough to warm him up being that he belittled them when he tore the garment of Shaul.[3]]
  • The king is advised to have a girl become his body warmer: His servants said to him, “Let the king search for a young girl who is a Na’arah and a virgin, and let her stand before the king, and be a source of warmth for him [as a girl’s virginity warm up her body[4]]. She shall rest in your bosom, and warm up my master the king.”
  • Avishag HaShunamis receives the position: So they went out in search for a beautiful young girl throughout all the borders of Israel and they found Avishag Shunamis. The girl was extremely beautiful, and she became the official body warmer of the king and served him, although the king was not intimate with her [as he wanted to retain her warmth capabilities which are greater when she is a virgin. Likewise, he already had 18 wives and was prohibited from having more.[5]]

2.      Adoniyahu begins acting like a king:

  • Riding like a king: Adoniyahu the son of Chagit aspired for grandeur and stated that he will rule and become king. So he made for himself a chariot with fifth with horsemen and 50 people running in front of him [who had their spleens removed, and palms of their feet shaven off[6]].
  • Dovid does not chastise him: His father, Dovid, [was also held at fault because he[7]] never chastised him for his actions asking him as to why he’s behaving this way.
  • His beauty and upbringing: Adoniyahu was very beautiful [similar to Avshalom] and his mother gave birth to him immediately after the birth of Avshalom and he was brought up in a similar fashion.
  • Yoav and Avyasar join Adoniyahu: Yoav the son of Tzeruya and Avyasar the Kohen both collaborated with Adoniyahu and assisted him [in order to find favor in his eyes when he becomes king, as Yoav knew that Dovid was upset with him and would instruct his heir to deal with him and therefore wanted to find favor in his eyes. Likewise, Avyasar had lost his position as the Kohen when the Urim Vetumim refused to answer for him, and he thus wished to be reinstated into his position.[8]]
  • The names of those who did not join Adoniyahu: Tzadok the Kohen, and Beniyahu the son of Yehoyada, and Nasan the prophet [who had informed Dovid that Shlomo would reign after him], and Shimi and Reiy and the warriors of Dovid did not join A
  • Adoniyahu brings sacrifices and summons the nation: Adoniyahu offered sacrifices of sheep and choicest cattle on a weightlifting stone and near a pond that was used for washing clothing. Adoniyahu summoned all of his brothers, the sons of the king, and all the people of Judah the servants of the king. However, he did not someone Nasan the prophet, or Beniyahu, or the warriors of Dovid, or Shlomo his brother [as he was aware that the prophet Nasan had said that he would reign after him].

3.      Dovid is informed of the actions of Adoniyahu

  • Nasan the prophet asks Batsheva to intervene with Dovid: Nasan informed Batsheva, the mother of Shlomo, “Have you not heard that Adoniyahu the son of Chagit has taken control of the monarchy without our master Dovid’s knowledge? Now, let me advise you some advice that will save you and the life of your son Shlomo. Go enter into the chambers of king David and tell him, “Did you not my master the king swear to your maidservant saying that Shlomo your son will reign after you and he will sit on your throne and therefore why has Adoniyahu reigned?” Now, while you’re still speaking with the king I will arrive and support your words.”
  • Batsheva approaches Dovid about her son’s reign: Batsheva arrived to the chamber of the king, and the king was very old and Avishag the Shunamis was serving the king at the time. Batsheva prostrated herself before the king and the King asked Batsheva as to what it is that she wants. She said to him, “My master’s swore in the name of God to your maidservant that Shlomo your son will become king after you and he will sit on the throne. Now, Adoniyahu has proclaimed himself as the king, and you my master the king are not aware of it. He has slaughtered plenty of oxen and sheep and invited all of the princes, the sons of the king, to the festival, including Avyasar the Kohen and Yoav the general although he did not invite Shlomo your servant. Now my master the king, all the Jewish people are looking up to you to tell them who will and who will sit on your throne after you pass away. If you let the situation remain as is and do not proclaim a successor, then I and my son Shlomo will be denied the throne.”
  • Nasan the prophet arrives: As she was in the midst of speaking to the king Nassan the prophet arrived. The king was informed that Nasan the prophet had arrived. He became before the King and prostrated himself before him onto the ground. Nasan said to him, “My master the king, have you said that Adoniyahu will reign after you? As you should be aware that he is right now sitting on your throne. Today he has went and slaughtered plenty of oxen and sheep and invited all of the princes, the sons of the king, and the generals, to the festival, including Avyasar the Kohen and they are eating and drinking before him and proclaiming long live the King Adoniyahu. Now, they have not invited me your servant, and nor have they invited Tzadok the Kohen, and Beniyahu the son of Yehoyada, and your servant Shlomo. Is this occurring with my master the king’s consent, as you have not informed your servant as to who will sit on my master the king’s throne after he passes away?”

4.      Dovid instructs for Shlomo to be anointed as king:

  • Dovid responds with reassuring Batsheva of her sons kingship: King Dovid responded by asking for Batsheva to be brought to his presence, and so she arrived before the king stood before him. The King then swore and said, “By the life of God who has redeemed my soul from all suffering, as I have sworn to you in the past in the name of God, the God of Israel, saying that your son Shlomo will rule after me and sit on my throne under me, so will be on this day as well.” Batsheva responded by prostrating herself to the ground in front of the king, and said to him, “Long live my master the king Dovid forever.”
  • Dovid instructs Tzadok, Nasan, and Beniyahu, to anoint Shlomo as king: King Dovid asked for Tzadok the Kohen, Nasan the prophet, and Beniyahu Ben Yehoyada to be brought before him, and so they arrived before the king. The king said to them, “Take with you the servant of your master, and have my son Shlomo ride on my personal mule [as a sign of kingship, as no one is allowed to ride on the chariot of the king other than a king himself[9]]. You shall ride with him until the wellspring called Gichon and then have him come off the chariot [in order to anoint him there, as King’s are anointed near a wellspring as a sign of the continuity of their monarchy[10]]. When there, Tzadok the Kohen and Nasan the prophet shall anoint him as king over Israel and blow the shofar and proclaim, “long live the King Shlomo.” [The anointing process is done through pouring oil between his eyes.[11]] You shall then follow after him to the palace and have him sit on my throne and he will rule under me, as I have commanded him to become the next leader over the Jewish people and Judea.” Beniyahu Ben Yehoyada replied to the king saying, “Amen, as the king has said, so too may Hashem, the God of our master the king, agree with it. Just as Hashem was with my master the king so too, He shall be with Shlomo and may he strengthen his throne even more than the throne of my master the king”

5.      Shlomo is anointed king:

  • Riding Shlomo on the kings mule: Tzadok the Kohen and Nasan the prophet and Beniyahu Ben Yehoyada and the Kreisi and Pleisi [i.e. Urim Vetumim[12]] went down and rode Shlomo on the mule of King Dovid and they rode with him to the Gichon.
  • Anointing Shlomo with oil: Tzadok the Kohen took the jar of oil [known as the Shemen Hamishcha which was made by Moshe[13]] from the tent and he anointed Shlomo.
  • The sound of the shofar and proclamation of Shlomo as king: They sounded the shofar while all those present proclaimed “long live King Shlomo.” All the nation followed after him, and the nation played musical instruments, and rejoiced a great joy to the point that the earth shattered due to the sound of rejoicing.

6.      Adoniyahu and his men discover that Shlomo was proclaimed king:

  • Adoniyahu and all of his guests heard the commotion after they had finished eating by the feast. Yoav who heard the sound of the shofar asked as to what the sound represents. While he was still speaking, Yonason the son of Avyasar the Kohen arrived and Adoniyahu said to him that he should come forward as he is a soldier who brings good tidings. Yonason answered Adoniyahu and said to him, “Our master, king Dovid, has already coronated Shlomo as king, and the king had sent with him Tzadok the Kohen and Nasan the prophet and Beniyahu Ben Yehoyada and the Kreisi and Pleisi [i.e. Urim Vetumim[14]] and they rode Shlomo on the mule of the King. Tzadok the Kohen, and Nasan the prophet, have anointed him as king by Gichon, and they all traveled from their in great joy towards the city and commotion towards the city and that is the sound that you are hearing. Shlomo has also sat on the throne of the monarchy, and the servants of the king have come to bless our master king Dovid, blessing him that “God should do good for the name of Shlomo even more than he did to your name, and that his throne should be greater than your throne,” and the King then bowed while on his bed. The king also said, “Blessed be God, the God of Israel, who has given me the opportunity today to see with my own eyes the one who will take over my throne.”
  1. Adoniyahu flees from Shlomo:
  • Adoniyahu flees and takes refuge by the altar: After hearing all of the above, all the guests who were with Adoniyahu became filled with fright and they each left on their way. Adoniyahu became fearful of Shlomo and so he fled to the altar and took hold of its corners.

Adoniyahu subjugates himself to Shlomo and is allowed to live: Shlomo was informed that Adoniyahu fears being put to death by King Shlomo, and that he thus grabbed onto the corners of the altar threatening not to leave until King Shlomo swears to him that he will not kill him with the sword. Shlomo responded and said, “If he will become a trustworthy servant, then not a single hair from his head will fall to the ground, although if he will rebel then he will be put to death.” King Shlomo sent emissaries to take him down from the altar and he was brought to the king and Adoniyahu prostrated himself to King Shlomo, after which Shlomo told him that he may now return home

[1] Radak 1:1

[2] Radak 1:1

[3] Rashi 1:1

[4] Rashi 1:1

[5] Rashi 1:4; Sanhedrin 22a

[6] Rashi 1:4

[7] Rashi 1:6

[8] Rashi 1:7

[9] Rashi 1:33

[10] Rashi 1:33

[11] Rashi 1:34

[12] Rashi 1:38

[13] Rashi 1:39

[14] Rashi 1:38

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?

You must be logged in to post a comment.