From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

ADONIJAH (‘Jah is Lord’). 1 . The fourth of the six sons of David who were born in Hebron; his mother was Haggith, a name which is possibly of Philistine origin (  2 Samuel 3:4 ). The story of Adonijah (typical of many an Oriental court intrigue) is recorded in   1 Kings 1:1-53;   1 Kings 2:1-36; as here recounted it permits of more than one interpretation, for that this passage has been subjected to an ‘editorial’ process can scarcely be doubted, and, in face of the difficulties of interpretation brought about by this, we are forced to reconstruct the course of events to some extent.

After the death of Absalom, Adonijah became the rightful heir to the throne; there was no sort of doubt about his right, it was taken for granted both by himself and by the people at large ( 1 Kings 2:15 ). But Bathsheba, it appears, was anxious to secure the succession for her son, Solomon; with this object in view, she, assisted by the prophet Nathan, heads a party at the court inimical to the claims of Adonijah. It would not have been long before the friends of Adonijah discovered the intrigue that was on foot; and Adonijah, learning the peril he was in of losing his rightful succession, concerts means for counteracting the machinations of his enemies. The old, trusted servants of the kingdom, Joab and Abiathar, rally round him, as one would expect; he gathers his friends together at the stone of Zoheleth, and by the visible act of sacrificing, proclaims his kingship; this last was, however, an act of unwisdom, as it gave a handle to his enemies, for king David was still alive. These, naturally on the alert, represent the gathering to David, now very aged, as an attempt to usurp the throne while he is yet alive; Bathsheba reminds David of his promise that Solomon, her son, should succeed him on the throne (  1 Kings 1:17 ) [this may or may not have been the case; there is no reference to it elsewhere, and it certainly does not accord with what we read in   1 Kings 1:6 ,   1 Kings 2:15 ]; David, remembering perhaps the rebellion of Absalom (whom Adonijah seems to have resembled in temperament as well as in outward appearance), is easily prevailed upon to transfer the succession to Solomon (  1 Kings 1:33 ff.). Even so it is very doubtful whether Bathsheba would have succeeded in her plan had it not been that she was enabled to gain Benaiah to her side; as captain of the king’s body-guard (the Cherethites and Pelethites), Beuaiah was the man upon whom the issue really depended, for he commanded the only armed troops that were immediately available. In an emergency such as this, everything would depend upon who could strike the first decisive blow. Had the old commander-in-chief Joab had time to assemble his forces, no doubt the issue would have been different; but Bathsheba and her friends had laid their plans too well, and they won the day. Adonijah is ‘pardoned’ (  1 Kings 1:52-53 ); it would nave been dangerous, owing to the attitude of the people (  1 Kings 2:15 ), to put him to death until Solomon was secure on the throne; but as he was rightful heir, the safety of Solomon’s throne could never be guaranteed as long as Adonijah was alive. Bathsheba was not the woman to be oblivious of this fact, accordingly she recommences her intrigues; she represents to Solomon that Adonijah is desirous of marrying Abishag the Shunammite, the maiden who was brought to David in his old age (  1 Kings 1:3-4 ), and who, according to Oriental ideas, was regarded as one of the royal wives. Such a desire was naturally interpreted by Solomon as an intention of seeking the kingdom (  1 Kings 2:22 ), and self-preservation compelled him to decree Adonijah’s death, a sentence which was carried out by Benaiah (  1 Kings 2:25 ).

The above is not in entire accord with the Biblical account, which in its present form gives rise to a number of serious difficulties. We shall mention but two of these. The request which Adonijah asks Bathsheba to convey ( 1 Kings 2:17 ) was the most grievous insult that could have been offered to the king; Adonijah would have known precisely what the result would be, viz. death to himself, unless supported by an army; but there is no hint that he contemplated an armed rising. Secondly, Bathsheba is quite the last person he would have asked to prefer this request; as mother of the king, and prime mover in the successful conspiracy which had robbed him of his succession, he would know better than to place himself so gratuitously within her power.

Adonijah is one of those men whose cruel fate and tragic death, both undeserved, must call forth deep sympathy and commiseration.

2 . Perhaps = Adonikam , one of those that sealed the covenant (  Nehemiah 9:38;   Nehemiah 10:16 ).

3 . One of those sent, in the third year of Jehosbaphat, to teach the Law in the cities of Judah (  2 Chronicles 17:7-9 ).

W. O. E. Oesterley.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [2]

(See Abiathar ) and Absalom). Means "My Lord is Jehovah", or, "Jah my Father".

1. Fourth son of David, by Haggith, born at Hebron. Very goodly in looks, like Absalom. Foolishly indulged by his father, who "had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so?" Never crossed when young, he naturally expected to have his own way when old; and took it, to his father's grief in his old age, and to his own destruction. Compare  Proverbs 13:24;  Proverbs 22:6; "Train up a child in the way he should go;" not in the way he would go:  1 Kings 1:6. When David was seemingly too old to offer energetic resistance, Adonijah as now the oldest son, about 35 years old (compare  2 Samuel 3:2-4 with  2 Samuel 5:5), Amnon, Chileab, and Absalom being dead, claimed the throne, in defiance of God's expressed will, and David's oath to Bathsheba that Solomon should inherit the throne ( 1 Chronicles 22:9-10). Like Absalom ( 2 Samuel 15:1) he assumed regal state, with chariots, horsemen, and 50 men to run before him (2 Kings 1; 2).

Nathan the prophet, Zadok (Eleazar's descendant, and so of the older line of priesthood), Benaiah son of Jehoiada, captain of the king's guard, Shimei and Rei (or Shimma, Raddai), David's own brothers, supported Solomon. Adonijah was supported by Abiathar, Eli's descendant of Ithamar's (Aaron's fourth son's) line, the junior line, and Joab who perhaps had a misgiving as to the possibility of Solomon's punishing his murder of Abner and Amasa, and a grudge toward David for having appointed the latter commander in chief in his stead ( 2 Samuel 19:13). Adonijah had also invited to a feast by the stone Zoheleth at En-rogel all the king's sons except Solomon, and the captains of the host, the king's servants, of Judah. A meeting for a religious purpose, such as that of consecrating a king, was usually held near a fountain, which En-rogel was. Nathan and Bathsheba foiled his plot by inducing David to have Solomon conducted in procession on the king's mule to Gihon, a spring W. of Jerusalem ( 2 Chronicles 32:30).

Upon his being anointed and proclaimed by Zadok, all the people hailed him, God save the king! Adonijah's party, surprised suddenly amidst their feasting, typify sinners' carnal security, from which the Lord's coming suddenly shall startle them to their destruction ( Matthew 24:48;  Luke 12:45;  1 Thessalonians 5:2-3; compare  1 Kings 1:49). Adonijah, at the tidings announced by Jonathan, Abiathar's son, fled for sanctuary, to the horns of the altar. Solomon would have spared him had he shown himself "a worthy man." But on David's death he, through the queen mother Bathsheba, now exalted to Special dignity, sought Abishag, David's virgin widow, to be given him, a contemplated incest only second to that perpetrated by Absalom, whom he so much resembled, and also a connection which was regarded in the East as tantamount to a covert claim to the deceased monarch's throne. (See Abner and (See Absalom .) Benaiah dispatched him.

2. A Levite in Jehoshaphat's reign ( 2 Chronicles 17:8), sent with the princes to teach the book of the law throughout Judah.

3.  Nehemiah 10:16, called Adonikam in  Ezra 2:13, whose children were 666 (compare  Revelation 13:18, the numerical mark of the beast),  Revelation 8:13;  Nehemiah 7:18;  Nehemiah 10:16, but 667 in  Nehemiah 7:18.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [3]

Adoni'jah. (My Lord Is Jehovah).

1. The fourth son of David, by Haggith, born at Hebron, while his father was king of Judah.  2 Samuel 3:4. (B.C. about 1050). After the death of his three brothers, Amnon, Chileab and Absalom, he became the eldest son; and when his father's strength was visibly declining, put forward his pretensions to the crown. Adonijah's cause was espoused by Abiathar and by Joab the famous commander of David's army. See Joab .

His name and influence secured a large number of followers among the captains of the royal army belonging to the tribe of Judah, compare  1 Kings 1:5, and these, together with all the princes except Solomon, were entertained by Adonijah at the great sacrificial feast held "by the stone Zoheleth, which is by En-rogel." See En-Rogel .

Apprised of these proceedings, David immediately caused Solomon to be proclaimed king,  1 Kings 1:33-34, at Gihon. See Gihon . This decisive measure struck terror into the opposite party, and Adonijah fled to the sanctuary, but was pardoned by Solomon on condition that he should "show himself a worthy man."  1 Kings 1:52.

The death of David quickly followed on these events; and Adonijah begged Bath-sheba to procure Solomon's consent to his marriage with Abishag, who had been the wife of David in his old age.  1 Kings 1:3. This was regarded as equivalent to a fresh attempt on the throne; See Absalom; Abner ; and therefore, Solomon ordered him to be put to death by Benaiah.  1 Kings 2:25.

2. A Levite in the reign of Jehoshaphat.  2 Chronicles 17:8.

3. The same as Adonikam .  Nehemiah 10:16. See Adonikam .

People's Dictionary of the Bible [4]

Adonijah ( Ăd'O-N Î'Jah ), My Lord Is Jehovah. 1. The fourth son of David, by Haggith, born at Hebron.  2 Samuel 3:4;  1 Chronicles 3:2. When his father was old, he, being a man of fine person and probably popular, aspired to the crown, in order to exclude Solomon. He was joined by Joab and Abiathar, and seems to have had the countenance of his brothers. But David, being informed by Bath-sheba and Nathan, immediately ordered Solomon to be anointed king; and the intelligence of this broke up the conspiracy. Solomon promised, if Adonijah remained quiet, that this offence should be overlooked.  1 Kings 1:1-53. He did not remain quiet, but, after David's death, persuaded Bath-sheba to ask for him Abishag, a woman of bis father's harem. Solomon, regarding this as a renewal of his attempt upon the crown, commanded him to be executed.  1 Kings 2:13-25. 2. A Levite in Jehoshaphat's time.  2 Chronicles 17:8. 3. One who sealed the covenant.  Nehemiah 10:16.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [5]

During what appeared to be the last days of the aged king David, his son Adonijah decided to establish himself as king before David died. He was the eldest of David’s surviving sons (cf.  2 Samuel 3:2-4), and had the support of the army commander Joab and the senior priest Abiathar ( 1 Kings 1:5-7). But God had showed David that Solomon was to succeed him ( 1 Chronicles 28:5), and Solomon had the support of the commander of the royal bodyguard Benaiah, the other leading priest Zadok, and the prophet Nathan ( 1 Kings 1:8). As a result of swift action by Nathan, David promptly declared Solomon to be king. The ambitious Adonijah could do nothing but cry to Solomon for mercy ( 1 Kings 1:6-53).

Soon after David’s death, however, Solomon executed Adonijah for treason. He considered Adonijah’s request for Abishag as wife was a claim to David’s concubines, and therefore a claim to David’s throne ( 1 Kings 2:13-25; see Abishag ).

Morrish Bible Dictionary [6]

1. Fourth son of David by Haggith, born at Hebron.  2 Samuel 3:4 . He was apparently the oldest of David's sons at the close of David's life, and may have supposed that he would succeed to the throne; but without consulting his father he said, "I will be king," and both Joab and Abiathar helped him. David at once proclaimed Solomon as king. Adonijah ran in fear to the horns of the altar, but Solomon promised if he showed himself a worthy man he should not be hurt. He afterwards asked to have as wife Abishag with whom David had shared his bed. According to Herodotus (3. 68) this was in eastern countries considered as a pretension to the crown, which agrees with Solomon saying, 'Ask for him the kingdom also,' and explains also the advice given by Ahithophel to Absalom, to go in publicly to his father's wives. Adonijah was at once put to death.  1 Kings 2:19-25 .

2. Levite in the time of Jehoshaphat.   2 Chronicles 17:8 .

3. One who sealed the covenant in  Nehemiah 10:16 .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [7]

  • The fourth son of David (2Samuel 3:4). After the death of his elder brothers, Amnon and Absalom, he became heir-apparent to the throne. But Solomon, a younger brother, was preferred to him. Adonijah, however, when his father was dying, caused himself to be proclaimed king. But Nathan and Bathsheba induced David to give orders that Solomon should at once be proclaimed and admitted to the throne. Adonijah fled and took refuge at the altar, and received pardon for his conduct from Solomon on the condition that he showed himself "a worthy man" (1Kings 1:5-53). He afterwards made a second attempt to gain the throne, but was seized and put to death (1Kings 2:13-25).
  • A Levite sent with the princes to teach the book of the law to the inhabitants of Judah (2Chronicles 17:8).
  • One of the "chiefs of the people" after the Captivity ( Nehemiah 10:16 ).

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [8]

The fourth son of David, by Haggith,  2 Samuel 3:4 . After the death of Amnon and Absalom, he aspired to the throne, although it was promised to Solomon, his younger brother. Having gained over Joab and Abiathar and other adherents, he at length openly revolted and claimed the crown while David was yet living. The news of this revolt being brought to the king at once; upon which the friends of Adonijah dispersed, and he took refuge at the horns of the altar. Solomon dismissed him with only an admonition. But soon after the death of David, he applied for the hand of Abishag, thus renewing his pretensions to the throne, for which he was put to death,  1 Kings 1:1-2:46 .

Holman Bible Dictionary [9]

 2 Samuel 3:4 1 Kings 1:5-50 1 Kings 2:13-28 2 Chronicles 8:1 3 Nehemiah 10:16

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [10]

The fourth son of David. His name forms a wonderful compound of two glorious names of the Lord. So very earnest were the children of Israel to preserve the constant remembrance of the Lord God of their fathers in their families, ( 1 Kings 1:5)

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [11]

ad - o - nı̄´ja ( אדניּהוּ , ădhōnı̄yāhū or אדניּה , 'ădhōnı̄yāh , "my lord is Yahweh"):

(1) The son of David and Haggith, the forth of David's sons, born in Hebron after David became king of Judah, principally known for his attempt to become king instead of Solomon ( 2 Samuel 3:4;  1 Chronicles 3:2; 1 Ki 1 and 2). The record gives no details concerning Chileab, the son of David and Abigail. Leaving him out, Adonijah was the oldest living son of David, after the death of Amnon and Absalom.

In treating the record it has been needlessly obscured by neglecting or distorting the time data. It says that the rebellion of Absalom broke out "at an end of forty years" ( 2 Samuel 15:7 ). The natural meaning is not forty years after the last-mentioned preceding date, but at the close of the fortieth calendar year of the reign of David. Since David reigned 40 1/2 years ( 2 Samuel 5:4 ,  2 Samuel 5:5 ), the close of his fortieth calendar year was the beginning of has last year. That the date intended was at the beginning of a vernal year is confirmed by the references to the season ( 2 Samuel 17:19 ,  2 Samuel 17:28 ). Instead of giving this number Josephus says that 4 years had elapsed since the last preceding date, which is very likely correct.

Many considerations show that the outbreak cannot have occurred much earlier than the fortieth year of David; for Amnon and Absalom were born after David's reign began, and were men with establishments of their own before Amnon's offense against Tamar, and after that the record, if we accept the numeral of Josephus, accounts for 2 plus 3 plus 2 plus 4, that is, for 11 years ( 2 Samuel 13:23 ,  2 Samuel 13:38;  2 Samuel 14:28; Ant , VII, ix, 1). In the year following David's fortieth year there was ample room for the rebellions of Absalom and of Sheba, the illness of David, the attempt of Adonijah, and the beginning of the reign of Solomon. All things confirm the number forty as giving the date of the outbreak. The common assumption that the forty is to be reduced to four, on the basis of the number in Josephus, is contrary to the evidence.

On this view of the chronology all the events fall into line. David's idea of making Solomon king was connected with his temple-building idea. This is implied in Kings, and presented somewhat in full in Chronicles. The preparations described in Chronicles (1 Ch 22 through 29) seem to have culminated in David's fortieth year ( 1 Chronicles 26:31 ). David's policy was not altogether popular with the nation. His assembly ( 1 Chronicles 28:1 ) is mostly made up of sarim and other appointed officials, the hereditary Israelite "princes" and "elders" being conspicuous by their absence. The outbreak under Absalom was mainly a matter of skillful manipulation; the hearts of the people were really with David. And yet the party of Absalom was distinctly a legitimist party. It believed in the succession of the eldest son, and it objected to many things in the temple-building policy. Joab and Abiathar and others sympathized with this party, but they remained with David out of personal loyalty to him.

The Absalom campaign began early in the calendar year. There is no reason to think that it lasted more than a few weeks. Later in the year a few weeks are enough time to allow for the campaign against Sheba. Joab must have been more or less alienated from David by David's appointment of Amasa to supersede him. Then came David's serious illness. Abishag was brought in, not to "attend upon David during has declining years," but to put her vitality at has disposal during a few weeks. Joab and Abiathar did not believe that David would ever do business again. Their personal loyalty to him no longer restrained them from following their own ideas, even though these were contrary to his wishes.

The narrative does not represent that Nathan and Bathsheba influenced David to interfere in behalf of Solomon; it represents that they succeeded in arousing him from has torpor, so that he carried out his own wishes and intentions. Perhaps resting in bed had done something for him. The treatment by Abishag had not been unsuccessful. And now a supreme appeal to his mind proved sufficient to arouse him. He became himself again, and acted with has usual vigor and wisdom.

Adonijah is described as a handsome and showy man, but has conduct does not give us a high opinion of his capabilities. He had no real command of the respect of the guests who shouted "Live King Adonijah." When they heard that Solomon had been crowned, they "were afraid, and rose up, and went every man his way." Adonijah made has submission, but afterward attempted to engage in intrigues, and was put to death.

(2) One of the Levites sent out by Jehoshaphat, in his third year, with the Book of the Law, to give instruction in Judah ( 2 Chronicles 17:8 ).

(3) One of the names given, under the heading "the chiefs of the people," of those who sealed the covenant along with Nehemiah ( Nehemiah 10:16 ).

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [12]

(Heb. Adoniyah , אֲדֹנַיָּה , My Lord is Jehovah, otherwise Lord [i.e. Worshipper comp. AB-] Of Jehovah; also in the prolonged form Adoniya Hu, אֲדֹנַיָּהוּ ,  1 Kings 1:8;  1 Kings 1:17;  1 Kings 1:24-25;  1 Kings 1:41-51;  1 Kings 2:13-24;  2 Chronicles 17:8; Sept. Ἀδωνίας , but in  2 Samuel 3:4;  1 Chronicles 3:2, Ἀδωνία ; in  Nehemiah 10:16, Ἀδανία v. r. Ἀαναά , Ἀανία ), the name of three men. (See Tob-Adonijah).

1. The fourth son of David, and his second by Haggith; born while his father reigned over Judah only ( 2 Samuel 3:4). B.C. cir. 1050. According to Oriental usages, Adonijah might have considered his claim superior to that of his eldest brother Amnon, who was born while his father was in a private station but not to that of Absalom, who was not only his elder Brother, and born while his father was a king, but was of royal descent on the side of his mother. When, however, Amnon and Absalom were both dead, he became, by order of birth, the heir-apparent to the throne. But this order had been set aside in favor of Solomon, who was born while his father was king of all Israel. Unawed by the example of Absalom (q.v.), Adonijah took the same means of showing that he was not disposed to relinquish the claim of primogeniture which now devolved upon him (comp. Josephus, Ant. 7:14, 4). But it does not appear to have been his wish to trouble his father as Absalom had done; for he waited till David appeared at the point of death, when he called around him a number of influential men, whom he had previously gained over, and caused himself to be proclaimed king. In all likelihood, if Absalom had waited till a similar opportunity, Joab and Abiathar would have given him their support; but his premature and unnatural attempt to dethrone his father disgusted these friends of David. This danger was avoided by Adonijah; but his plot was, notwithstanding, defeated by the prompt measures taken by David, who, at the instance of Nathan and Bathsheba, directed Solomon to be at once proclaimed king, with solemn coronation by Zadok, and admitted to the real exercise of the sovereign power. Adonijah then saw that all was lost, and fled to the altar, (See Asylum), which he refused to leave without a promise of pardon from King Solomon. This he received, but was warned that any further attempt of the same kind would be fatal to him ( 1 Kings 1:5-53), B.C. cir. 1015.

Accordingly, when, some time after the death of David, Adonijah covertly endeavored to reproduce his claim through a marriage with Abishag (q.v.), the virgin widow of his father, his design was at once penetrated by the king, by whose order he was instantly put to death ( 1 Kings 2:13-25), B.C. cir. 1012. See SOLOMON. Far from looking upon this as "the most flagrant act of despotism since Doeg massacred the priests at Saul s command" (Newman, Hebrew Monarchy, ch. 4), we must consider that the clemency of Solomon, in sparing Adonijah till he thus again revealed a treasonable purpose, stands in remarkable contrast with the almost universal practice of Eastern sovereigns. Any one of these, situated like Solomon, would probably have secured his throne by putting all his brothers to death, whereas we have no reason to think that any of David s sons suffered except the open pretender Adonijah, though all seem to have opposed Solomon s claims; and if his execution be thought an act of severity, we must remember that we cannot expect to find the principles of the Gospel acted upon a thousand years before Christ came, and that it is hard for us, in this nineteenth century, altogether to realize the position of an Oriental king in that remote age. (See Niemeyer, Charakterist. 4, 349 sq.; Kitto, Daily Bible Illust. in loc.)

2. One of the Levites sent by Jehoshaphat to assist in teaching the law to the inhabitants of Judah ( 2 Chronicles 17:8), B.C. 909.

3. A chief Israelite after the captivity ( Nehemiah 10:16); probably the same elsewhere ( Ezra 2:13;  Ezra 8:13;  Nehemiah 7:18) called ADONIKAM (See Adonikam) (q.v.).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [13]

Adoni´jah (Jehovah [is] my Lord) the fourth son of David, by Haggith. He was born after his father became king, but when he reigned over Judah only ( 2 Samuel 3:4). According to the Oriental notion developed in the article Absalom Adonijah might have considered his claim superior to that of his eldest brother Amnon, who is supposed to have been born while his father was in a private station; but not to that of Absalom, who was not only his elder brother, and born while his father was a king, but was of royal descent on the side of his mother. When, however, Amnon and Absalom were both dead, he became, by order of birth, the heir-apparent to the throne. But this order had been set aside in favor of Solomon, who was born while his father was king of all Israel. Absalom perished in attempting to assert his claim of primogeniture, in opposition to this arrangement. Unawed by this example, Adonijah assumed the state of an heir-apparent, who, from the advanced age of David, must soon be king. But it does not appear to have been his wish to trouble his father as Absalom had done; for he waited till David appeared at the point of death, when he called around him a number of influential men, whom he had previously gained over, and caused himself to be proclaimed king. This was a formidable attempt to subvert the appointment made by the Divine king of Israel; for Adonijah was supported by such men as Joab, the general-in-chief, and Abiathar, the high-priest; both of whom had followed David in all his fortunes. But his plot was, notwithstanding, defeated by the prompt measure taken by David, who directed Solomon to be at once proclaimed, and crowned, and admitted to the real exercise of the sovereign power. Adonijah then saw that all was lost, and fled to the altar, which he refused to leave without a promise of pardon from King Solomon. This he received, but was warned that any further attempt of the came kind would be fatal to him. Accordingly, when, sometime after the death of David, Adonijah covertly endeavoured to reproduce his claim through a marriage with Abishag, the virgin widow of his father [ABISHAG], his design was at once penetrated by the king, by whose order he was instantly put to death (1 Kings 1;  1 Kings 2:13-25).