So Solomon sat on the throne. We find that this was the second time that they made Solomon king. Sometimes it needs to be repeated. It happened with Saul, king of Israel. Samuel said,
'You see the one whom GOD has chosen to be king?'
But there were certain people who despised Saul, son of Kish. So after a tremendous victory over Nahash, the Ammonite, when he delivered the people of Jabesh Gilead from the siege of Nahash, Samuel said, 'Let's go to Gilgal and let us renew the kingdom there.' It wasn't making him king again, but it was reasserting his right to be king, and this is what was happening here. David reasserted Solomon's right.
He had said, if you read in 1st Chronicles, Chapter 23 and 1st Chronicles, Chapter 29, you will find that David reminds the people of this; that Solomon was the one that GOD had chosen. 1st Chronicles, Chapter 23, verse 1:
'So when David was old and full of days, he made his son Solomon king over Israel, and he gathered together all the leaders of Israel, with the priests and the Levites.' And then if you go to Chapter 29 of 1st Chronicles; again we see David reasserts Solomon. (1st Chronicles, Chapter 29, verse 22):
'So they ate and drank before the LORD with great gladness on that day. And they made Solomon, son of David king the second time, and anointed him before the LORD to be the leader, and Zadok to be priest.' This was the second time that we are reading about here; solemnly ratifying GOD's choice.
And then Jonathan went on to say in 1st Kings, Chapter 1, verse 47:
'And moreover the king's servants have gone to bless our lord, king David, saying, 'May GOD make the name of Solomon better than your name, and may He make his throne greater than your throne.' Then the king bowed himself on the bed. Also the king said thus, 'Blessed be the LORD GOD of Israel, Who has given one to sit on my throne this day while my eyes see it.'''Better'! Fancy! - were they really putting David down? No, they weren't. They were saying, 'May his throne be even greater than yours, on the foundation of peace.' David's throne was established through much war; through much conflict. He had much hostilities to subdue from within and from without the nation.
But when they said, 'May GOD make your son's throne better than yours,' it is because Shlomo comes from the word 'shalom'; and he was going to be a peaceful king. He would not need to go to war. David had done it all for him. GOD, through David, had subdued all the enemies and now Solomon, as it were, had the kingdom given to him on a silver platter. And King David, obviously did not take it amiss, because he blessed GOD. He thanked GOD that he lived to see the day when GOD had given him a successor.
There was a further reason why David blessed GOD; because GOD had promised to him that from the fruit of his loins, one day, one of his descendants would turn out to be the Messiah! And when David saw his successor, Solomon, he thought 'GOD is keeping His promise.' And one day, one of Solomon's descendants would turn out to be the Messiah of our people. That's why the Messiah is called 'Ben David', 'Mashiach ben David', the Son of David.
What was the reaction of the guests? Verse 49:
'So all the guests who were with Adonijah, were afraid and arose and each one went his way. Now Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, so he arose and went and took hold of the horns of the altar. And it was told Solomon saying, 'Indeed, Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon, for look, he has taken hold of the horns of the altar saying, 'Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.' Then Solomon said, 'If he proves himself a worthy man, not one hair of him shall fall to the earth. But if wickedness is found in him, he shall die.' So King Solomon sent them to bring him down from the altar. And he came and fell down before King Solomon, and Solomon said to him, 'Go to your house.''
Adonijah was afraid. He was afraid now of the one that he had despised and that he had opposed. He had not invited Solomon to his coronation banquet. He was afraid now of being accused of treason and what he did was to run to the altar. The altar, at that time, was in Gibeon, in Benjamin; in the tribe of Benjamin, some miles away from Jerusalem to the North. It was the altar of sacrifice that Moses had built at GOD's direction. It was still being used in the town of Gibeon where the Tabernacle of Moses was still standing, hundreds of years after they had entered the Promised Land.
He laid hold of the horns of the altar; the altar of sacrifice. It was a symbolic gesture. When someone was afraid of their life and there was no human refuge left, they could run to the altar and grab one of the horns of that altar. It was the place of sacrifice; it was the meeting place of man and GOD. This is where men met GOD, through the sacrifice, through the medium of the sacrifice that was offered. And holding on to that altar, he was saying, 'I plead for GOD's protection.' And GOD allowed it, except for one case. If there was a murderer. A murderer would find no protection even there. He could be taken from the altar and executed for having committed murder.