1 Kings 2:17
And he said, Speak, I pray you, to Solomon the king, (for he will not say you no,) that he give me Abishag the Shunammite to wife.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
1 Kings 2:17. That he give me Abishag to wife — It is not likely that either Adonijah or Bath-sheba was ignorant that it was unlawful for any man to marry his father’s wife: but they perhaps thought that as David knew her not, the marriage had not been completed.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.Deny me not - literally, as in the margin, i. e. "make me not to hide my face through shame at being refused." 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. Which though it was against a positive law of God, Leviticus 18:7, yet either Adonijah might be ignorant of it, being a man more studied in the affairs of the court than in the book of God; or might think her not concerned in it, because David knew her not, 1 Kings 1:4. And he said, speak, I pray thee, unto Solomon the king,.... He owns him to be king, and which he the rather did to engage her to take his suit in hand, and to cover his design:

for he will not say thee nay; or turn away thy face, or deny thy request; she being his mother, for whom he had a great affection, and to whom he was under obligation on all accounts:

that he give me Abishag the Shunammite to wife; which was contrary to the law of God, Leviticus 18:8; which surely Adonijah must have been ignorant of, and Bathsheba likewise; or the one would never have made such a request, nor the other have undertaken to try to obtain it; but perhaps they did not take her to be David's wife, or the marriage to be consummated, because he knew her not: but yet not being returned to her father's house, and being at the dispose of Solomon, prove that she must be a concubine wife, and which became the property of the next heir and successor; see 2 Samuel 12:8; nor did Adonijah apply to her or her friends; which, if he was really in love with her, he would have done, if at her own or their disposal; but this he knew, that she was solely at the disposal of Solomon, to whom he did not care to apply himself, but makes use of his mother.

And he said, Speak, I pray thee, unto Solomon the king, (for he will not say thee nay,) that he give me Abishag the Shunammite to wife.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. that he give me Abishag] It is highly probable that the construction which Solomon put upon Adonijah’s request was the true one, for in the East the widows of the late king become the wives of his successor, and to marry, or seek to marry, such a widow is equivalent to putting forward a claim to the throne. Cf. God’s message to David (2 Samuel 12:8) ‘I gave thee … thy master’s wives into thy bosom,’ and also the threatening in the verses which follow that passage. See too 1 Kings 20:7; 2 Kings 24:15. Peter Martyr in his comment on this verse gives, as an illustration of the proud aspirations which are sometimes fostered by marriage with a royal widow, the case of Admiral Seymour, who married Catharine Parr, the widow of Henry 8, and straightway after his marriage began to plot rebellion.Verse 17. - And he said, Speak, I pray thee, unto Solomon the ring; for he will not say thee nay, [will not repulse thee. Same words as ver. 16. There is a spice of flattery in these words. He now exaggerates her influence with the king] that he may give me Abishag the Shunammite to wife. [We are hardly justified in concluding, as some commentators have done, that love had nothing to do with this request. It is not improbable, on the contrary, that a passion for the beautiful Shunamnite, perhaps the fairest woman of her time, may have first given a powerful impulse to Adonijah's ambition (see on 1 Kings 1:5). At the same time, he must have had ulterior motives (see on ver. 22). After these instructions David died, and was buried in the city of David, i.e., upon Mount Zion, where the sepulchre of David still existed in the time of Christ (Acts 2:29).

(Note: The situation of the tombs of the kings of Judah upon Zion, Thenius has attempted to trace minutely in a separate article in Illgen's Zeitschrift fr die histor. Theol. 1844, i. p. 1ff., and more especially to show that the entrance to these tombs must have been on the eastern slope of Mount Zion, which falls into the valley of Tyropoeon, and obliquely opposite to the spring of Siloah. This is in harmony with the statement of Theodoret (quaest. 6 in iii. Reg.), to the effect that Josephus says, τὸ δὲ μνῆμα (τῆς ταφῆς) παρὰ τὴν Σιλοὰμ εἶναι ἀντροειδὲς ἔχον τὸ σχῆμα, καὶ τῆν βασιλικὴν δηλοῦν πολυτέλειαν; although this statement does not occur in any passage of his works as they have come down to us.)

On the length of his reign see 2 Samuel 5:5.

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