1 Kings 2:21
And she said, Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah your brother to wife.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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. Thy brother, by the father’s side, whom brotherly affection and relation obligeth thee to gratify, at least, in small things. And she said, let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah thy brother to wife. For so Adonijah was by his father's side; and Bathsheba makes use of the relation, the more to move upon him to grant the request. And she said, Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah thy brother to wife.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 21. - And she said, Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah thy brother to wife. [For the construction (אֵת with a nominative, or, as some think, יֻתַּן used impersonally - man gebe), cf. Genesis 27:42; Exodus 10:8; and especially Numbers 32:5; and see Gesen., Lex. s.v. אֵת, and Ewald, Syntax, 295 b.] Adonijah 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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