1 Kings 2:17
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.
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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.
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). 1 Kings 2:17Adonijah forfeits his life. - 1 Kings 2:13-18. Adonijah came to Bathsheba with the request that she would apply to king Solomon to give him Abishag of Shunem as his wife. Bathsheba asked him, "Is peace thy coming?" i.e., comest thou with a peaceable intention? (as in 1 Samuel 16:4), because after what had occurred (1 Kings 1:5.) she suspected an evil intention. He introduced his petition with these words: "Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine, and all Israel had set its face upon me that I should be king, then the kingdom turned about and became my brother's; for it became his from the Lord." The throne was his, not because he had usurped it, but because it belonged to him as the eldest son at that time, according to the right of primogeniture. Moreover it might have been the case that many of the people wished him to be king, and the fact that he had found adherents in Joab, Abiathar, and others, confirms this; but his assertion, that all Israel had set its eyes upon him as the future king, went beyond the bounds of truth. At the same time, he knew how to cover over the dangerous sentiment implied in his words in a very skilful manner by adding the further remark, that the transfer of the kingdom to his brother had come from Jehovah; so that Bathsheba did not detect the artifice, and promised to fulfil his request (1 Kings 2:16.) to intercede with king Solomon for Abishag to be given him to wife. את־פּני אל־תּשׁבי, "do not turn back my face," i.e., do not refuse my request.
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