The leaders of the people (Neh 10:14-10:27)

“The leaders of the people were Parosh, Pahath-moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani, Bunni, Azgad, Bebai, Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin, Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur, Hodiah, Hashum, Bezai, Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai, Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir, Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua, Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah, Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub, Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek, Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah, Ahiah, Hanan, Anan, Malluch, Harim, and Baanah.”

Unlike the 2 other groups, like the priests and Levites that are mentioned often in this book, 25% of these named leaders only appear here rather than elsewhere in this book, Adonijah, Azzur, Nebai, Magpiash, Hezir, Pelatiah, Hoshea, Pilha, Shobek, Hashabnah, Ahiah, and Anan. However, the other 30 of the 44 are common names mentioned often in this book, since they are ancestral leaders.

King Jehoshaphat sends missionaries to instruct the people (2 Chr 17:7-17:9)

“In the third year of his reign King Jehoshaphat sent his officials, Ben-hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah. With them were the Levites, Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tob-adonijah. With these Levites were the priests Elishama and Jehoram. They taught in Judah, having the book of the law of Yahweh with them. They went around through all the cities of Judah. They taught among the people.”

This was a special mission of what we might call evangelization today. King Jehoshaphat sent his officials and Levites out to teach the people about the law of Yahweh in the major cities of Judah. This was a different approach than that of his father, King Asa, who wanted everyone killed who was not a Yahweh worshipper. There were 5 officials named, 9 Levites, and 2 priests. Of the 5 officials, this is the only mention of (1) Ben-hail. Although there are 12 different people with the name of (2) Obadiah including the prophetic book of the same name, this Obadiah only appears here. There was a (3) Zechariah who was a son of King Jehoshaphat, one who was king of Israel (743 BCE) and a later prophet of the 6th century BCE, but this Zechariah is not one of these, unless possibly the son of the king. Although there are 10 biblical people with the name of (4) Nethanel, this one could be the trumpet blower or the son of Obed-edom. I wonder if this (5) Micaiah is the same prophet who King Jehoshaphat wanted later in this chapter. As for the 9 Levites, (1) Shemaiah was a common name among Levites, but this one is only mentioned here. This (2) Nethaniah might be one of the sons of Asaph or his descendents. (3) Zebadiah was a common name, but this one is not mentioned elsewhere. (4) Asahel was the name of a nephew of David who died, but this is not him. (5) Shemiramoth was at the time of David, but this is a different Shemiramoth. (6) Jehonathan is only mentioned here. (7) Adonijah was the name of a son of David, but this is not him. There was a later prophet with the name of (8) Tobijah. (9)Tob-adonijah appears only here. The 2 priests were Elishama and Jehoram. (1) Elishama was the name of a son of David, but this one is a priest. (2) Jehoram is a complicated name since two kings had that same name, one was the son of King Jehoshaphat who ruled from (848-840 BCE) and that other was the king of Israel (852-842 BCE). This priest could possibly be the son of King Jehoshaphat.

The sons of David at Hebron (1 Chr 3:1-3:4)

“These are the sons of David that were born to him in Hebron. The first-born Amnon, by Ahinoam the Jezreelite, the second Daniel, by Abigail the Carmelite, the third Absalom, son of Maacah, daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur, the fourth Adonijah, son of Haggith, the fifth Shephatiah, by Abital, the sixth Ithream, by his wife Eglah. Six were born to him in Hebron, where he reigned for seven years and six months.”

David had 6 sons while living in Hebron for a little over 7 years, based on 2 Samuel, chapter 3. One major difference is the name of the second son. Here he is called Daniel and not Chileab as in 2 Samuel. The most famous Daniel is in the Book of Daniel. Of note is the fact that each son had a different mother as this was outright polygamy since they were explicitly called the 6 “wives” of David. Who are these 6 wives? Ahinoam and Abigail were mentioned before as they were with David before he came to Hebron. Remember that Saul’s daughter was a wife that Saul took away from David, so that would be 7 wives. Maacah had a territory named after her that was close to Geshur. We know very little about the other 3 wives, Haggith, Abital, and Ithream, since their names do not appear elsewhere. As for the sons, (1) Absalom put (2) Amnon, the first born to death because of his treatment of his sister Tamar in 2 Samuel, chapter 13. Absalom then revolted against David before he was defeated and killed in 2 Samuel, chapters 15-18. (3) Adonijah assumed that he would become king in 1 Kings, chapters 1-2, until Solomon was crowned king. The other three of sons (4) Daniel, (5) Shephatiah, and (6) Ithream, are hardly mentioned at all, since none of these six sons became king at David’s death.

The prophet Nathan and King David (1 Kings 1:22-1:27)

“While Bathsheba was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet came in. The king was told. ‘Here is the prophet Nathan.’ When he came in before the king, he did obeisance to the king, with his face to the ground. Nathan said. ‘My lord the king, have you said. ‘Adonijah shall succeed me as king. He shall sit upon my throne?’ For today he has gone down and has sacrificed oxen, fatted cows, and sheep in abundance. He has invited all the king’s children, Joab the commander of the army, and the priest Abiathar. They are now eating and drinking before him, and saying. ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ But he did not invite me, your servant, the priest Zadok, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and your servant Solomon. Has this thing been brought about by my lord the king? Have you not let your servants know who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?’”

The prophet Nathan went in to see the king also, while Bathsheba was still talking. He used perfect decorum in bowing to the king. Then he said exactly the same thing that Bathsheba had just finished telling him. He pointed out who had not been invited to this coronation, himself, the priest Zadok, and David’s body guard Benaiah, as well as his son Solomon. Why had he let all this happen? David had to let everyone know who was to succeed him.

Bathsheba with King David (1 Kings 1:15-1:21)

“Bathsheba went to the king in his room. The king was very old. Abishag the Shunammite was attending the king. Bathsheba bowed and did obeisance to the king. The king said. ‘What do you wish?’ She said to him. ‘My lord, you swore to your servant by Yahweh your God, saying. ‘Your son Solomon shall succeed me as king. He shall sit upon my throne.’ But now suddenly Adonijah has become king, although you, my lord the king, do not know it. He has sacrificed oxen, fatted cattle, and sheep in abundance. He has invited all the children of the king, Abiathar the priest, and Joab the commander of the army. But Solomon your servant he has not invited. But you, my lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are upon you, to tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. Otherwise it will come to pass, when my lord the king sleeps with his ancestors, that my son Solomon and I will be counted as offenders.’”

Bathsheba went into the old king’s room where Abishag was taking care of him. She bowed and showed the proper attitude to the king. She, in fact, was his wife. He wanted to know what she wanted. She then told King David that he had promised her that her son Solomon would be the next king and sit on the throne of David. However, Adonijah was now the king. Abiathar the priest and Joab the commander of the army were with him sacrificing animals. All the children of the king were there except for Solomon. It was time for David to speak out about his successor. Otherwise, Bathsheba and Solomon would be the outside offenders.

The meeting at En-rogel (1 Kings 1:9-1:10)

“Adonijah sacrificed sheep, oxen, and fatlings by the stone Zoheleth, which is beside En-rogel. He invited all his brothers, the king’s sons, and all the royal officials of Judah. But he did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, David’s warriors, or Solomon his brother.”

Now we see that the plot thickens. There is going to be a big sacrifice near En-rogel, a place near the Judah/Benjamin border where there was a stone that is only mentioned here. Adonijah invited lots of people, the king’s sons and all the royal officials. However, Nathan the prophet and Benaiah, David’s body guard, were not invited. Neither were David’s thirty warriors or his brother Solomon. This could mean that trouble is brewing.