1 Kings 2:20
Then she said, I desire one small petition of thee; I pray thee, say me not nay. And the king said unto her, Ask on, my mother: for I will not say thee nay.
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1 Kings 2:20-21. I desire one small petition of thee — So she esteemed it, because she did not perceive Adonijah’s design in it, nor the circumstances connected with it. I will not say thee nay — Supposing thy request can be lawfully and safely granted, and will be productive of no injury to myself or others. Let Abishag be given to Adonijah thy brother — That is, thy brother by the father’s side, and whom brotherly affection and relation oblige thee to gratify; at least, in small things.

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.A seat - Or, "a throne." We have here a proof of the high dignity of the Queen-mother. Compare also 1 Kings 15:13; 2 Kings 11:1-3. In the Persian court the Queen-mother had often the chief power. 19, 20. Bath-sheba … went unto King Solomon—The filial reverence and the particular act of respect, which Solomon rendered, were quite in accordance with the sentiments and customs of the East. The right hand is the place of honor; and as it expressly said to have been assigned to "the king's mother," it is necessary to remark that, when a husband dies, his widow acquires a higher dignity and power, as a mother over her son, than she ever possessed before. Besides, the dignity of "king's mother" is a state office, to which certain revenues are attached. The holder has a separate palace or court, as well as possesses great influence in public affairs; and as the dignity is held for life, it sometimes happens, in consequence of deaths, that the person enjoying it may not be related to the reigning sovereign by natural maternity. Bath-sheba had evidently been invested with this honorable office. One small petition; so she esteemed it, because she did not perceive his design in it; and as for that law, Leviticus 18:7, she might apprehend, that because David knew her not, it was only a contract for marriage, and therefore no impediment of her marriage to any other after his death; which also is the opinion of some of the late learned Hebrew doctors.

I will not say thee nay; supposing thy request be but small, as thou sayest it is, and not unlawful, nor injurious to myself or others.

Then she said, I desire one small petition of thee,.... It was but one, and a little one, and therefore she hoped it would be granted:

I pray thee, say me not nay; do not refuse it, or deny it me, or turn away my thee with shame and disappointment:

and the king said, ask on, my mother, for I will not say thee nay; since it is a small one, as thou sayest, and provided it is fit and lawful to be granted.

Then she said, I desire one small petition of thee; I pray thee, say me not nay. And the king said unto her, Ask on, my mother: for I will not say thee nay.
20. I desire one small petition of thee] These words seem to confirm what has been said above, that Bath-sheba had not realized the grave import of her request.

I will not say thee nay] i.e. If it be possible for me to grant it. The condition, though unexpressed, is of necessity understood.

Verse 20. - Then she said, I desire one small petition of thee. [So it seemed, no doubt, to her, in her inexperience and ignorance of Adonijah's real motives. She thought she held the threads of a love story in her hands, and that it would be a small thing for Solomon to make these handsome lovers happy]: I pray thee, say me not nay. And the king said unto her, Ask on, my mother: for I will not say thee nay. [The readiness of the king to grant whatever she asked proves that the reasons which induced him to deny her request must have been weighty; i.e., Adonijah's suit cannot have been devoid of political consequences. 1 Kings 2:20To her request, "Let Abishag of Shunem be given to Adonijah thy brother for a wife" (את יתּן, cf. Ges. 143, 1, a.), which she regarded in her womanly simplicity as a very small one (קטנּה), he replied with indignation, detecting at once the intrigues of Adonijah: "And why dost thou ask Abishag of Shunem for Adonijah? ask for him the kingdom, for he is my elder brother; and indeed for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah." The repetition of לו in ולו (1 Kings 2:22), for the purpose of linking on another clause, answers entirely to the emotional character of the words. "For him, and for Abiathar and Joab:" Solomon said this, because these two men of high rank had supported Adonijah's rebellion and wished to rule under his name. There is no ground for any such alterations of the text as Thenius proposes. - Although Abishag had been only David's nurse, in the eyes of the people she passed as his concubine; and among the Israelites, just as with the ancient Persians (Herod. iii. 68), taking possession of the harem of a deceased king was equivalent to an establishment of the claim to the throne (see at 2 Samuel 12:8 and 2 Samuel 3:7-8). According to 2 Samuel 16:21, this cannot have been unknown even to Bathsheba; but as Adonijah's wily words had disarmed all suspicion, she may not have thought of this, or may perhaps have thought that Abishag was not to be reckoned as one of David's concubines, because David had not known her (1 Kings 1:4).
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