Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will be king…

King Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada;

and he struck him

[Adonijah] down, and he died (1 Kings 1:5; 2:25, NKJV)


I am a firm believer in servant-leadership. In other words, the higher up on the “leader” ladder you go, the more people you serve. The world seldom observes that practice, instead seeking its own exaltation and purpose. Adonijah is the perfect example.

King David was old at this point, nearly ready to depart from this world. If he didn’t leave clear instructions behind as to which of his sons was to take his place on the throne, those sons would quickly begin vying for that coveted position. Adonijah decided he wasn’t going to take any chances and wait for his father to die, particularly since everyone knew Solomon was most likely the first in line to become king of Israel when David died.

And so Adonijah began moving stealthily behind his father’s back, currying favor with the king’s subjects and setting himself up to take the throne from David even before the old king had breathed his last. But Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, and Nathan the prophet alerted King David to the plot, and the king quickly took the necessary steps to have his son Solomon anointed as king before Adonijah could fulfill his treacherous plan. Ultimately Adonijah’s self-exalting ways cost him his life.

God has called us as believers to be leaders who use our God-ordained positions to humbly serve others, walking in the footsteps of Jesus and giving ourselves away for the sake of those we serve, even as our Savior did when He was on this earth. That’s true leadership, and it is a privilege to be called to such a position.