Solomon Establishes His Kingdom (1 Kings 2:13-46) December 24
When David responded to Nathan's parable following the death of Uriah, he stated that the man in the story should have to pay fourfold for the death of the poor man's lamb (see 2 Sam 12:1-6). It is interesting to note that the Scriptures explicitly record the subsequent untimely deaths of four of David's sons: the child born of his adultery with Bathsheba, Amnon at the hand of Absalom, Absalom at the hand of Joab, and finally Adonijah by the order of Solomon.
Adonijah had been warned to watch his behavior very carefully (1:51-53). His natural birth order had given him a solid claim to the throne. He has the support of the former chief army commander and one of the two highest-ranking priests. Having Abishag would increase his claim a bit more, since the virgins of a king's harem apparently were considered part of the royal property inherited by the next king (2 Samuel 12:8). "The Greek historian Herodotus says that among the Persians a new king inherited the previous king's harem and that to possess the harem was taken as title to the throne. While no such custom is [explicitly] expressed in Scripture, Absalom's earlier public appropriation of his father's concubines did symbolize his determination to take David's throne (2 Sam. 16:21-23). Solomon rightly took Adonijah's request for Abishag, who had been David's concubine, as an indication he was still plotting rebellion" (Bible Reader's Companion, note on 1 Kings 2:13-25). Using Solomon's own mother as an unwitting accomplice in the plot to boost Adonijah's image was the last straw. Solomon is swift and decisive in dealing with his brother's transgression.
Partly because of suspected collusion (verse 22), Solomon formally deposes Abiathar, and apparently the rest of his family, from any further role in the priesthood. Zadok's appointment to replace Abiathar as priest fulfills the prophecy given long before that God would raise up a faithful priest to replace the line of Eli (verses 26-27, 35; 1 Samuel 2:35; Ezekiel 44:15).
Then Joab is executed as a suspected accomplice, which also fulfills David's directive (1 Kings 2:5-6). Shimei, not part of the immediate incident, is given a rather mild sentence to remain in Jerusalem, but under penalty of death if he leaves. After three years, though, it seems he forgets the seriousness of the penalty, or Solomon's resolve to carry it out, and he also is executed.