1 Kings 2:15
And he said, You know that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel set their faces on me, that I should reign: however, the kingdom is turned about, and is become my brother's: for it was his from the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) Thou knowest.—Adonijah’s words show craft, flattering Bath-sheba by extolling her influence, and making merit of his surrender to Solomon, in obedience to the Lord’s decree, of a kingdom which, in evident contradiction to fact, he asserts to have been destined to him by popular desire. The petition, however, apparently harmless, and (since Abishag was concubine of David only in name) involving nothing unnatural, had perhaps a covert design: for, by universal Eastern custom, to take a king’s wives was the known privilege or duty of his successor. Hence the counsel, most unseemly but still probably politic, given by Ahithophel to Absalom (2Samuel 16:21). If, therefore, Adonijah had publicly espoused Abishag, it might have seemed a virtual renewal of his claim to the crown. This Solomon sees at once, though Bath-sheba, strangely enough, does not see it.

2:12-25 Solomon received Bathsheba with all the respect that was owing to a mother; but let none be asked for that which they ought not to grant. It ill becomes a good man to prefer a bad request, or to appear in a bad cause. According to eastern customs it was plain that Adonijah sought to be king, by his asking for Abishag as his wife, and Solomon could not be safe while he lived. Ambitious, turbulent spirits commonly prepare death for themselves. Many a head has been lost by catching at a crown.The "establishment" of the kingdom here intended is probably its universal acceptance both by the tribe of Judah and the other Israelites. 13-18. Adonijah … came to Bath-sheba—Her question to him betrays an apprehension which his recent conduct might well warrant; but his pious acknowledgment of the divine will seemed apparently to indicate so entire an acquiescence in the settlement of the succession [1Ki 2:15], that, in her womanly simplicity, she perceived not the deep cunning and evil design that was concealed under his request and readily undertook to promote his wishes. The kingdom was mine, both by birthright and by actual inauguration. It seems he could not yet forget his pretence to the crown, nor his ambition for it, but continues his claim; which, it seems, Solomon did apprehend and resent, though Bath-sheba did not; the wives and concubines of the late king being reputed to appertain to the successor. See 2 Samuel 12:8.

All Israel set their faces on me; they looked upon me as their king, and David’s successor, expecting that David should confirm my election.

The kingdom is turned about; translated from me to him, by the vicissitude of human affairs, and the changeable humour of the people.

It was his from the Lord; either, first, By God’s providence so disposing David’s mind, and the people’s hearts. Or rather, secondly, By God’s appointment and particular designation, wherein he would seem to acquiesce; which he mentions, not that he made any conscience of it, or had any regard to it; but only that by this pretence he might deceive both her and Solomon, as if he were far from any design of usurping the kingdom. And he said, thou knowest that the kingdom was mine,.... Belonged to him by virtue of his birthright; he was heir to it, being the eldest son:

and that all Israel set their faces on me, that I should reign; which was not true; for, as Bathsheba says, the body of the people were in suspense, their eyes being on David, waiting to hear whom he would declare his successor; and when Solomon was declared and anointed, vast numbers attended him; unless Adonijah thought that the high priest, and general of the army, with the captains, represented the whole people; however this he observes by way of preface, to show how unhappy he was, being disappointed, and to move the compassion of Bathsheba, that she might be the more easily prevailed upon to seek to obtain so small a favour as he was about to ask:

howbeit the kingdom is turned about, and is become my brother's; things had taken another turn, and what was his, and he thought himself sure of the other day, was now become his brother's; such were the uncertainty and vicissitude of human affairs:

for it was his from the Lord; by the appointment of the Lord, by a promise of his, and a prophecy concerning it; which if he knew of, it was both vain and sinful in him to act contrary thereunto; or it was brought about by the overruling providence of God, which he now plainly saw and submitted to; this he said to show that he had laid aside all hopes of the kingdom, and was fully satisfied of the disposition of it in Providence, and so to hide his real design in the petition he was about to make.

And he said, Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel {i} set their faces on me, that I should reign: howbeit the kingdom is turned about, and is become my brother's: for it was his from the LORD.

(i) In sign of their favour and consent.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine] He means that as the eldest living son of David, he could rightly claim it. Thus he in a way apologizes for his previous attempt to secure the succession to himself.

set their faces on me] They looked forward to my accession and were resolved on bringing it about. Comp. Jeremiah 42:17 ‘the men that set their faces to go down into Egypt … shall die.’ Adonijah would thus also make it appear that the voice and goodwill of the people had been on his side.

for it was his from the Lord] He professes his resignation to what has happened, and ascribes it to the Divine will that he may the better cloak his desires and intentions. Perhaps ‘it became his from the Lord’ would give the force of his words better. It is to be noted how, as if in friendship, he speaks of Solomon as his brother.Verse 15. - And he said, Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine [schon so gut wie mein (Bahr). Adonijah evidently made much of the right of primogeniture (cf. ver. 22), which was not unrecognized amongst the Jews. There is possibly in these words, too, a hint at the part Bathsheba had taken in defeating his claims] and that all Israel set their faces [i.e., eyes] upon me that I should reign [Heb. upon me all Israel set, etc. The "me" is emphatic by its position. So is the "mine" just before used. Several commentators remark that Adonijah's words were not strictly true. But we hardly expect to find truth on such an occasion. Adonijah was adroit and diplomatic, and puts the case as it best serves his purpose. In order to propitiate Bathsheba, he exaggerates his loss and disappointment, just as in the next words, in order to put her off her guard, he plays the saint and obtrudes his piety and resignation ]: howbeit [lit., and], the kingdom is turned about and is become my brother's, for it was his from the Lord. [This verse shows pretty clearly that Adoni-jah had not renounced his pretensions to the throne. Despite the pitiful failure of his first conspiracy, and notwithstanding Solomon's generous condonation of his treason, he cannot forget that he was, and is, the eldest surviving son, and had been very near the throne. And as to the kingdom being his brother's by Divine appointment, he cannot have been ignorant of that long ago (2 Samuel 12:25), yet he conspired all the same. And it is not difficult to read here between the lines, that he has not relinquished his hopes, and does not acquiesce in Solomon's supremacy.] On the other hand, Shimei the Benjamite had shown great hostility to David (cf. 2 Samuel 16:5-8). He had cursed him with a vehement curse as he fled from Absalom (נמרצת, vehement, violent, not ill, heillos, from the primary meaning to be sick or ill, as Thenius supposes, since it cannot be shown that מרץ has any such meaning); and when David returned to Jerusalem and Shimei fell at his feet, he had promised to spare his life, because he did not want to mar the joy at his reinstatement in his kingdom by an act of punishment (2 Samuel 19:19-24), and therefore had personally forgiven him. But the insult which Shimei had offered in his person to the anointed of the Lord, as king and representative of the rights of God, he could not forgive. The instruction given to his successor (אל־תּנקּהוּ, let him not be guiltless) did not spring from personal revenge, but was the duty of the king as judge and administrator of the divine right.

(Note: "Shimei is and remains rather a proof of David's magnanimity than of vengeance. It was not a little thing to tolerate the miscreant in his immediate neighbourhood for his whole life long (not even banishment being thought of). And if under the following reign also he had been allowed to end his days in peace (which had never been promised him), this would have been a kindness which would have furnished an example of unpunished crimes that might easily have been abused." This is the verdict of J. J. Hess in his Geschichte Davids, ii. p. 221.)

It follows from the expression עמּך, with thee, i.e., in thy neighbourhood, that Shimei was living at that time in Jerusalem (cf. 1 Kings 2:36).

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