1 Kings 1:1-31

Talks for Growing Christians

David’s Declining Years; Adonijah's Plot to Take Over the Throne

1 Kings 1:1-31

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Lesson Number 1

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”
  2. “Ask, and you shall receive.”

Practical Application

  1. Are you a Joab or a Benaiah?


  1. Who is the human author of 1 Kings?
  2. What is the purpose of 1 Kings?
  3. What was happening in 1 Kings 1:1-31? Summarize the story.
  4. What are two lessons that can be drawn from this account?


  1. The author is unknown, but probably it was either Ezra, Ezekiel, or Jeremiah. Jewish tradition goes with Jeremiah as the author.
  2. The purpose is not just to teach the facts of history, but to teach the lessons of history as well.
  3. King David was advanced in years and not well, so he needed to name his successor. Unknown to King David, his son Adonijah exalted himself, preparing to take over the throne. Adonijah aligned some of his father’s top men to help him in this endeavor. However, Nathan, David’s prophet, went to David’s wife Bathsheba to counter this plot and give the throne to Solomon, whom David previously had vowed would be his successor.
  4. Two of the lessons are given as the doctrinal / teaching points: “Spare the rod and spoil the child” and “Ask, and you shall receive.”


  1. The key verse in this section is, “His father had not rebuked him at any time.” (1 Kings 1:6) David was a great king, but he was not always the greatest father. He had failed to discipline his son Absalom, who committed treason against his father (see 2 Samuel 15), and he had failed to discipline his son Adonijah, who was plotting to take over his father’s throne. By their self-exaltation and charisma, both sons gained support from some of David’s trusted men. The problem? The sons had never been disciplined. The same is true today, “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly (early).” (Proverbs 13:24). In other words, “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” Children must be disciplined or there will be bad consequences in the future. Are you disciplining your children because you love them, or are you encouraging self-centeredness to the point that they will be disrespectful of others, including you?
  2. Adonijah and his supporters were conducting sacrifices and holding a feast and people were proclaiming, “Long live King Adonijah!” It was at this point that Nathan the prophet went to Bathsheba to remind her of King David’s vow that Solomon would be his successor. Bathsheba made request to King David to make Solomon the next king. Her request was based on King David’s word. As believers, we need to come to our Lord and King Jesus, making requests based on His word. How well do you know the word of God? When you make a request to the Lord, are you sure that your request is based on His word? The principle, “Ask, and you shall receive,” comes from our Lord’s words in Matthew 7:7.


  1. Joab and Benaiah were both military men who served David. Both had performed mighty deeds. (Read about Joab in 2 Samuel 8:16;10:7-19; 20:23). But when Adonijah declared himself king, Joab forsook David and changed his allegiance to Adonijah. His reasoning was, “What’s in it for me?” On the other hand, Benaiah remained loyal and faithful to David. (Read about his mighty deeds in 2 Samuel 23:20-22). When it looked like Adonijah was going to become the next king, Benaiah never wavered. His allegiance was with David, who was still the rightful king. What about your allegiance to the Lord? When times are tough and the crowd is moving in the opposite direction, where is your allegiance? Are you a Joab or a Benaiah?

Key Verses

  • “Adonijah…exalted himself, saying, ‘I will be king.’” 1 Kings 1:5
  • “Assuredly Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place.” 1 Kings 1:30
  • “His father had not rebuked him at any time.” 1 Kings 1:6

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