1 Kings 1:1-4
King David was about 70 years old and in feeble health.
1 Kings 1:5-10
1:5 Now Adonijah [David’s fourth son (2 Sam. 3:2-4); likely David’s oldest surviving son at this time], whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward [literally “lifting himself up”; compare this attitude to that of his father David who was chosen by God to be king] and said, “I will be king. [he acted according to what he presumed to be his rights; did not act according to God’s will or David’s wishes]” So he got chariots and horses ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him [perhaps he got this idea from his brother Absalom when he tried to take the kingdom from David (cf. 2 Sam. 15:1)].
1:6 [note three things that contributed to Adonijah’s improper ambition]  (His father [David’s parenting skills were obviously weak (even so, Adonijah still bore responsibility for his decisions); David was a better warrior and king than a father] had never interfered with him by asking, “Why do you behave as you do? [Adonijah was accustomed to doing whatever he wanted to do]”  He was also very handsome [like his half-brother Absalom (2 Sam. 14:25); Adonijah likely used his handsome appearance to advance his selfish ambitions] and  was born next [cf. 2 Sam. 3:2-4] after Absalom [after Absalom’s death, attention may have turned to Adonijah].)
1:7 Adonijah conferred with Joab [David’s general; would be useful in the event Adonijah tried to seize power by a military coup] son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest [served during David’s reign (2 Sam. 20:25); gave Adonijah powerful religious support], and they gave him their support.
1:8 [note these individuals who presented significant obstacles to Adonijah’s plan to become king…] But Zadok the priest, Benaiah [a valiant warrior and the leader of David’s bodyguard (23:20-23)] son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei [not the person mentioned in 1 Kings 2:8,46; possibly the person whom Solomon appointed as one of his governors (1 Kings 4:7,18)] and Rei and David’s special guard [valiant warriors who had demonstrated great loyalty to David (cf. 2 Sam. 23:8-39)] did not join Adonijah.
1:9 Adonijah then sacrificed sheep, cattle and fattened calves at the Stone of Zoheleth [the water supply southwest of Jerusalem in the Kidron Valley] near En Rogel. He invited [those in attendance gave the gathering a note of importance and authenticity; Adonijah tried to unite these individuals to support him as king…] all his brothers, the king’s sons, and all the men of Judah who were royal officials,
1:10 but he did not invite [Adonijah did not invite those who would resist his bid for kingship; note that he did not invite the priest Zadok (1 Kings 1:26)] Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the special guard or his brother Solomon [David’s tenth son; Solomon’s absence supports the idea that Adonijah knew that Solomon was to be the next king].
Note: What strategies do people employ today in their attempts to get ahead in life? What factors can affect our ambitions and cause them to become ungodly? Do your attitudes and actions help achieve God’s purposes for you and through you?
1 Kings 1:49-52
1:49 At this [the official appointment of Solomon as king (1 Kings 1:11-48)], all Adonijah’s guests rose in alarm [very likely afraid for their lives] and dispersed [leaving Adonijah alone].
1:50 But Adonijah, in fear of Solomon, went [to the place of worship] and took hold of the horns of the altar [in an attempt to protect himself from execution; cf. Ex. 21:12-14].
1:51 Then Solomon was told, “Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon and is clinging to the horns of the altar. He says, ‘Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.’”
1:52 Solomon replied [a stern but merciful reply], “If [indicates a conditional reprieve] he shows himself to be a worthy man [give up any desire to the throne and support Solomon as king; a person of upright character; cf. Ruth 3:11; Prov. 12:4], not a hair of his head will fall to the ground; but if evil [included any future opposition to Solomon or his kingship] is found in him, he will die.”