Now when David was old, Adonijah thought, "I will be ruler of Israel." So he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen and fifty men to run before him. His father, David, had never in his life troubled him by saying, "Why have you done thus and so?" Adonijah was very good-looking and was the next younger son after Absalom. He also had made an agreement with Joab and with Abiathar the priest to help him. But Zadok the priest and Benaiah and Nathan the prophet, as well as Shimei and Rei and David's famous warriors, were not on his side.
Adonijah held a feast and killed for it sheep, oxen, and fat beasts by the Serpent's Stone, which is beside the Fuller's Spring; and he invited to the feast all his brothers and all the royal officials of Judah; but he did not invite the prophet Nathan nor benaiah nor the famous warriors nor his brother Solomon.
Then Nathan said to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, "Have you not heard that Adonijah has been made ruler without David our lord knowing it? Now, therefore, let me advise you that you may save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. Go at once to David and say to him, 'Did you not, my lord, solemnly promise your servant that Solomon your son should rule after you? Why then has Adonijah been made ruler?' While you are still talking with him, I will come in and repeat your words."
So Bathsheba went into David's room; he was very old, and Abishag the Shunamite was caring for him. When David said, "What do you wish?" she said to him, "My lord, you solemnly promised your servant by the LORD: 'Solomon your son shall rule after me.' But now Adonijah has been made ruler without your knowledge, my lord! Now, my lord, all the Israelites are looking to you, to tell them who shall rule after you. If you do not tell them, then, when my lord dies, I and my son Solomon will be treated as criminals."
While she was still talking with David, Nathan the prophet came in. And they told David, "Nathan the prophet is here." So he came in and bowed before David with his face to the ground. Then Nathan said, "My lord, have you said, 'Adonijah shall rule after me?' For he has gone down this day and killed many oxen and fat beasts and sheep and has invited all your sons and the commanders of the army and Abiathar the priest; and there they are eating and drinking before him and saying, 'May the new ruler Adonijah live!' But he has not invited me, even me your servant, nor Zadok, the priest, nor Benaiah nor your servant Solomon. If you have done this, my lord, you have failed to show your servants who is to rule after my lord."
David answered, "Call Bathsheba to me." So she came in and stood before him. Then David made this solemn promise; "As surely as the LORD lives, who has delivered me from all trouble, as I have solemnly promised to you by the LORD, the God of Israel, saying, 'Solomon your son shall rule after me'; so I will certainly do to-day." Then Bathsheba bowed her face to the earth and said, "May my lord live forever."
Then David said, "Call to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada." When they came before him, he said to them, "Take with you the servants of your lord. Let Solomon my son ride upon my own mule, bring him down to Gihon, and there let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet make him ruler over Israel and blow the trumpet and say, 'May Solomon the ruler live!' Then you shall go up after him, and he shall go in and sit upon my throne, for he shall rule after me; and I have appointed him to be chief over Israel and Judah." Benaiah answered David, "So may it be! May the LORD confirm the words of my lord. As the LORD has been with my lord, even so may he be with Solomon, and may he make his throne greater than the throne of my lord David!"
Then Zadok, Nathan, and Benaiah together with the Philistine body-guards, went down and put Solomon on David's mule and brought him to Gihon. Zadok the priest took the horn of oil out of the tent and poured oil on Solomon's head, and they blew the trumpet, and all the people said, "May Solomon live!" Then all the people followed him and the people played on flutes and rejoiced so loudly that the earth seemed to be shaken by the sound that they made.
Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard it just as they had finished eating. And they were terrified and each rose up and went away. But Adonijah in his fear of Solomon went and caught hold of the horns of the altar. When it was reported to Solomon, "See, Adonijah fears Solomon the ruler, for he has caught hold of the horns of the altar and says, 'Let Solomon solemnly promise me first that he will not kill his servant with the sword,'" Solomon said, "If he shall show himself a worthy man, not one of his hairs shall be touched, but if he is found guilty of disloyalty, he shall die." So Solomon had him brought from the altar. And he came and bowed before Solomon the ruler. And Solomon said to him, "Go to your home."
Then David died and was buried in the City of David, after having ruled over Israel forty years.