The Missing Prophet


As David neared the end of his life, one of his sons, Adonijah, presumed to make himself king in David’s place (1 Kings 1:5). However, both David and the Lord indicated that Solomon should be king (1 Kings 1:17; 1 Chronicles 22:9-10). In the end, Solomon succeeded David on the throne (1 Kings 1:39) and Adonijah was put to death (1 Kings 2:24-25).

When we compare the rule of these two men — Solomon’s legitimate rule and Adonijah’s illegitimate rule — we find a notable difference between their administrations.

Now Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, ‘I will be king.’ […] He had conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest; and following Adonijah they helped him” (1 Kings 1:5, 7).

So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon ride on King David’s mule, and brought him to Gihon. Zadok the priest then took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon. They then blew the trumpet, and all the people said, ‘Long live King Solomon!’” (1 Kings 1:38-39).

Both men received praise as king (1 Kings 1:25, 39). Both men had a military leader with them — Adonijah had Joab, Solomon had Benaiah. Both had a priest allied with them — Abiathar with Adonijah, Zadok with Solomon. But Solomon had someone else — Nathan the prophet. Where was Adonijah’s prophet?

The fact that Adonijah did not have a prophet on his side was significant. After all, he was the one who was denied the throne. Solomon, with the support of the prophet of God, ascended to the throne of his father.

The role of a prophet was to reveal the will of God. God has already revealed through Nathan that Solomon was to sit on David’s throne (2 Samuel 12:24-25). Even though Adonijah had already been exalted as king and had both a military and religious presence supporting him (Joab and Abiathar), the fact that he did not have a prophet with him indicated that his rule was not the will of God and would therefore fail.

This provides a simple, yet important lesson for us today with regard to our service to God. Imagine a church that has a charismatic and attractive leader (like Adonijah, 1 Kings 1:6), strong numbers (like Adonijah had with Joab and his army), and, of course, engaged in religious service (Adonijah had Abiathar the priest). These characteristics exist in many denominations today. But does leadership, numbers, and religious service automatically denote God’s approval?

The answer to the above question is, of course, no. Adonijah did not have the revealed will of God on his side (indicated by the fact that he had no prophet with him). If we are not following the word of God, then it does not matter who our leaders are, how many people we have with us, or how much religious zeal we have. If we are not following God’s word, we are in the wrong.

When it comes to our service to God today, we must be sure that we are following the pattern that has been revealed in the New Testament (2 Timothy 1:13). We must teach and practice the pure, unadulterated gospel (Galatians 1:6-9), completely (Acts 20:27), and without compromise (2 Timothy 4:2-5).

Do not follow some preacher, church, or religious movement without first testing them according to the word of God. The Bereans were commended because “they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). They did not blindly follow after Paul. They first tested his teachings with the Scriptures. We must do the same today. Do not be fooled by those who do not have the truth on their side. As the prophet wrote, “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn” (Isaiah 8:20).

This article is one of the fifty articles included in the book Plain Bible Teaching: The First Ten Years. Click on the link to read more about the book.

When you subscribe, you’ll also receive 3 free PDF’s: Plain Bible Teaching on the Gospel, the latest issue of Plain Bible Teaching Quarterly Review, and Road Trip.


  1. […] Read the article: The Missing Prophet […]