One of David’s sons, who rejected the religion of his father, decided to recruit the people who wanted to be free from the restrictions of the Law of Moses. To Adonijah and his followers, the religion of their forefathers was an archaic, out-of-date, and suppressive set of rules that kept them from enjoying all the pleasures of life. It was just an ancient superstition that needed to pass away into history. If he could gather enough political support, he could usurp the Kingdom for his own demented purposes and pleasures. 1 Kings 1:9-10 tells us, “Adonijah sacrificed sheep, oxen, and fattened cattle by the Serpent’s Stone, which is beside En-Rogel, and he invited all his brothers, the king’s sons, and all the royal officials of Judah, but he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the mighty men or Solomon, his brother.” In his attempt to overthrow his father, David, Adonijah declared himself king and had himself anointed as such by some of the rebellious leaders of David’s kingdom. It appears to me that the very place of his anointing speaks for itself. It was by “The Serpent’s Stone.” According to Harper Collin’s dictionary, “that was a place of Jebusite worship prior to the capture of that city by David.”[1] David’s heart was to build a temple, a house, for the God of the Israelites in Jerusalem. Only at the temple or the Tabernacle were sacrifices to be offered. Adonijah was offering a variant form of worship to the people in opposition to his father.

Satan is often referred to as the serpent. He usurped God’s role in the Garden of Eden and turned Adam and Eve against God. He deceived our first parents into believing God did not have their best interest foremost in mind but was keeping good things from them. According to Merida, Adonijah “Acts as the serpent in this story. He represents the evil one. He tried to become king by the ‘Serpent’s Stone.’ The word means ‘slithering.’ Because of his serpentine character, Solomon will put him to death. The enemy always opposes God’s plan. Adonijah is about to reap the harvest of shamefully opposing God’s king.”[2] It’s interesting that under Solomon, the nation thrived and became the most powerful in the world. It ushered in the highest point of Israeli history for all the citizens. Although Solomon was to have his own troubles with women, he hung onto the worship of his father’s God and enhanced God’s purposes for His people.

Adonijah attempts to divide the nation against his Father David and David’s plan to put Solomon on the throne. He appealed to all those in official positions that would possibly oppose David. He threw a party for them and bribed them with promises of free stuff and positions in the government above what they had under David. But Adonijah knows that there are some who would always remain loyal to God’s rule. House observes, “Those not invited to this premature coronation are prominent persons. Three names are highlighted. Nathan has religious authority, while Benaniah bears the sword. They pose religious and military threats to Adonijah’s plans. Solomon is also mentioned for the first time. Gray notes that the exclusion of these individuals meant that Adonijah relied on ‘the strength of his party to liquidate the opposition’ rather than on any notion of negotiating peace with them.”[3] This book of the Bible might be called Kinds, but throughout, prophets often take the lead. That in itself may challenge our own perceptions as to who are the ‘history makers.’  Is it those with political power, commonly associated with military and economic might or people who are open to the word of God and understand his purposes?[4] It was the Prophets that direct the hearts of people. It’s not the political leaders nor the priests who are often corrupt. The Prophets “Are the champions of righteousness and integrity in political life, not less than of purity in the individual. They are the witnesses for God and the ruthless denouncers of all idolatry and defection from Him. They comment upon the social vices to which more developed people are liable. Government and people are summoned to instant amendment, and before the nation is held up a lofty ideal. The prophets are not only the preachers but also the philosophers of the people, and they direct men’s minds to the spiritual and ideal side of things, inveighing against worldliness and materialism.”[5]

[1] Powell, Mark Allan, ed. 2011. “Zoheleth.” In The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (Revised and Updated), Third Edition, 1134. New York: HarperCollins.

[2] Merida, Tony. 2015. Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Kings. Nashville, TN: Holman Reference.

[3] House, Paul R. 1995. 1, 2 Kings. Vol. 8. The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] Olley, John W. 2011. The Message of Kings: God Is Present. Edited by Alec Motyer and Derek Tidball. The Bible Speaks Today. England: Inter-Varsity Press.

[5] Alexander, Arch. B. D. 1915. “Ethics.” In The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, edited by James Orr, John L. Nuelsen, Edgar Y. Mullins, and Morris O. Evans, 1–5:1020–21. Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company.