Adonijah proclaims himself king over Israel with the help of Joab and few others.

Then King David publicly proclaims that Solomon is the new king.

Once Solomon is the new king why does he order the execution of Adonijah for his request for Abhishag, who was from harem of King David?

Also were the executions of Joab and Abiathar related to the Adonijah?


2 Answers 2


In doing some research on this subject, this is what I found. According to the ISBE

She [Abhishag], had an intimate knowledge of the condition of David, and was present at the interview of Bathsheba with David which resulted in the placing of Solomon on the throne. If that act had been questioned she would have been a most important witness. By reason of this and of her personal charms, she might become a strong helper to any rival of Solomon who should intrigue to supplant him.

This could have made Solomon suspect to a coup against his throne

Easton's also states on that line of thought:

After David's death Adonijah persuaded Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, to entreat the king to permit him to marry Abishag. Solomon suspected in this request an aspiration to the throne, and therefore caused him to be put to death

It is also considered, that even though she was not officially one of David's wives, she was Davids wife just as any concubine would be, to this point Nave's states:

wife of David, 1 Kin. 1:1-4; 2:13-25.

Which would have been a capitol crime in Israel, for a son of David to lay with one of his wives.

Lev 20:11 If a man has sexual intercourse with his father’s wife, he has exposed his father’s nakedness. Both of them must be put to death; their blood guilt is on themselves. Deu 27:20 ‘Cursed is the one who has sexual relations with his father’s former wife, for he dishonors his father.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’

  • yes, very much agree to your "wife of David" comment as it would have amounted to adultery. Thanks for your wonderful explanation. I had also read that behind the scene, Joab and Abiathar were also involved in this act and hence both were also punished. Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 5:31
  • Yes they were, if you read later in scripture, it mentions them as well, being involved. Joab being executed in the tabernacle, because he wouldn't come out.
    – seedy3
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 22:00
  • just out of curiosity what is the topic of your research? Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 10:12
  • I'm not sure what you mean, you asked a question, I researched it.
    – seedy3
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 10:39
  • Got it. I thought you are currently pursuing some research on this topic. Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 7:15

As @seedy3 already concluded, Abishag was a wife of King David, though he never had intercourse with her (1 King 1:1-4).

But it would not have been adultery to marry the wife of King David in this case. David was already dead. It's even possible Salomon later took Abishag as his wife as the King's wifes were part of the crown posession. Lev 20:11 talks about living persons. That does not state, that a son must never marry a widow of his father (1 Co 7:29) - unless it's his mother of course.

The answer is found within Salomons own words in 1 King 2:19. He said "You might as well request the kingdom for him". Marrying a King's wife showed a claim for the kingdom itself.

That's why Absolom also took the wifes of King David (2 Sam 16:22) - to show his claim for the throne.

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    – ThaddeusB
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 18:16
  • 2
    Although it may not have been adultery in the eyes of the hebrew law. It was also considered wrong to sleep with a former wife of you father (Deu 27:20). The scripture does not specify how the wife would be "former", either by death or by divorce, so it would be an interpretation of the law.
    – seedy3
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 19:17
  • Of course I might be wrong - but where do you read "former wife"? Deu 27:20 just reads "his father's wife" - obviously while the father is alive.
    – ftw
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 19:30
  • 1
    Deut 22:30 also mentions marrying a former wife of their father's. In the NET bible it states in a note about this "This presupposes either the death of the father or their divorce since it would be impossible for one to marry his stepmother while his father was still married to her." The same word is used in both scriptures when referring to the "wife" and in the same context.
    – seedy3
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 19:43
  • 1
    Interesting, thank you. So it might have been a law even in case the woman was a widow already. I just found the case of Reuben and Bilhah (Gen 35:22). Therefore Reuben lost his right of the firstborn (1 Chro 5:1). Do you have examples of punishment because of a marriage when the father was dead already?
    – ftw
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 19:48

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