Conversation in the succession narrative of Solomon

Joyce Willis*, Andrew Pleffer, Stephen Llewelyn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Reading 1 Kings 1-2, the account of the succession of Solomon, one is left with a strange impression. On the one hand, in its current telling and context it clearly seeks to offer a favourable account of the process. On the other hand, one just has to scratch the surface of this story to see an underlying and less favourable account. The paper notes the importance role that private conversations play in the story to argue that an earlier telling of the story was largely fabricated by a party opposed to the Davidic monarchy and Solomon in particular. According to this telling, a cloud stood over Solomon's legitimacy; David was hoodwinked by Nathan and Bathsheba into believing that he had made an earlier promise that Solomon would succeed; Solomon came to the throne by means of a palace coup; Abishag was not David's concubine and Adonijah's request for her was quite innocent; however, his approach and private conversation with Bathsheba was manipulated by Solomon and his supporters to remove significant personal opponents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-147
Number of pages15
JournalVetus Testamentum
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • succession narrative
  • Solomon's legitimacy
  • Bathsheba
  • private conversations
  • Abishag


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