I. The Recruit (1Kings 1:1-4)
King David was now old… and cold. His blood circulation wasn’t what it used to be. His attendants tried extra blankets, then extra coals in the fireplace… but finally settled on an extra body. They didn’t turn to his wife, Bathsheba… or a warm dog. They looked for another woman. They didn’t look for a woman who had a perpetual fever… or just hot skin. They looked for a young, beautiful woman… actually, a girl, still a virgin. Why?
She was a young VIRGIN… as to not agitate the wives. She was a YOUNG virgin… in the hope it might stir up a fire from within David, not just from without.
They found their girl in Abishag… a beautiful young teenager from Shunem/Shulam.
But, the plan of the advisers didn’t work. The Bible clearly says David was never intimate with her. Whatever warmth David would feel would come from Abishag lying next to him.
Maybe you’ve seen that show on TV… Dirty Jobs. The host spends a day doing a dirty, or humiliating, job… a job most people would not want to do. It would be hard to imagine a job less appealing than Abishag’s job. David was king, but he was also a very old man. And, it was her job to lie as close as she could to him in the bed he rarely left.
But, Abishag “took care of the king and waited on him” (v.4) and “attended to him” (v.15). You would be hard-pressed to find a more humble example of a servant in the whole Bible!
II. The Race to be King (1Kings 1:11-16)
No one was closer to King David in his later years than Abishag was… literally! She saw more political maneuverings than anyone else did, and she surely wondered where she fit in all of that.
David’s sons knew that, when King David died, one of them would be king. Adonijah did more than wonder; he tried to manipulate his path to the throne. His 2 older brothers, Amnon & Absalom, were dead; he was next in line. But, God had already said Solomon would be the next king.
Those closest to David were purposely left out of Adonijah’s plans, but they found out. From them… to the prophet, Nathan… to Bathsheba; they persuaded David to go ahead and crown Solomon king.
Abishag could only watch. The king she was closest to would soon exit the scene; 1 of these 2 sons would be the next king. What would happen to her? What did she want to happen to her?
We sometimes find ourselves in situations like this. We feel like pinballs in someone else’s game, not in control. And we don’t like it. We like to be in control. It’s hardest to trust hen we’re not in control. But, it’s not really trust until we’re not in control!
III. Round 2 (1Kings 2:10-12,13-18)
Adonijah had been outmaneuvered. He had been outwitted and humiliated. Solomon could have ordered Adonijah’s death, but he didn’t. Instead, Solomon offered a pardon.
This pardon must have emboldened Adonijah once again. He came up with another possible route to the throne… Abishag! He went to Bathsheba and begged her to ask Solomon for permission to marry Abishag.
Who was closest to David in his latter days? Abishag. So, if he could be the one most closely associated to the one who was most closely associated to David, David’s popularity might become his popularity.
IV. The Request (1Kings 2:19-21)
Bathsheba took Adonijah’s request to her son, Solomon. Evidently, she wasn’t as politically savvy… and didn’t see what her request might mean for her son. We’re not told how much of this Abishag knew. But, if she knew, what might she have thought? She had no future stability. If Adonijah were to get her, he would want her to become his wife in every way… and it was obvious he didn’t want her for her, but for what she could do for him. She would leave the palace for something less than the palace… the “lesser prince’s home”. And, if she gave any indication who she might choose between these 2 sons, her life would be in danger from the other.
V. The Rebuke (1Kings 2:22,23,25)
Solomon saw through Adonijah’s plan… and he was angry! Solomon said this would end. He ordered Banaiah to come to him; see 2Sam. 23:20,21. He sent Banaiah to kill Adonijah… and before the sun set that day, Adonijah was dead.
What about Abishag? Maybe she was shipped back to Shunem. Maybe she stayed in Solomon’s palace. Maybe she married someone in Solomon’s court.
Or, maybe, she starred as the lead actress in the greatest love story recorded in the BIble; see Song of Solomon 1:1-3.
You can read Abishag’s story in 1Kings 1:1-4,11-16; 2:10-18,19-21,22,23,25 (& possibly the Song of Solomon).