ADONIJAH ("Yah is Lord").
1. Fourth son of David, by Haggith. After Absalom's death he claimed to be the rightful heir to the throne, by summoning the court officials to a solemn sacrifice (I Kings, i. 5). Adonijah was supplanted by Solomon through the influence of Bathsheba, the mother of the latter, and through the diplomacy of the prophet Nathan. After his retirement he was put to death by Solomon for seeking in marriage Abishag, David's concubine. This was regarded as an act of constructive treason (I Kings, ii. 25 [A.V. 26]).
According to the rabbis, the expression "and his mother bare him after Absalom" (I Kings, i. 6) is used to indicate that both these sons of David were of the same type and that their actions were similar (B. B. 109b, Midr. Teh. on ii. 7), as is shown by the fact that both were pretenders to the throne, and that each kept fifty runners. These were not ordinary footmen, but were men whose spleens had been cut out and the fleshy soles of whose feet had been cut away, both of which operations were held to make running easy (Sanh. 21b; 'Ab. Zarah, 44a). All this, however, was of no avail to Adonijah. His incapacity for the throne was revealed by the fact that the crown of David did not fit him: this crown miraculously fitted the legitimate kings of the house of David only (Sanh., l.c.). The rabbis ascribe Adonijah's death at the hands of Solomon to his anxiety to usurp the throne, in consequence of which Solomon seized the first pretext offered to put his brother out of the way (I Kings, ii. 13 et seq.; Yer. Peah, i. 16a).
2. A Levite of the time of Jehoshaphat (II Chron. xvii. 8). 3. One of the chiefs of the people at the time of the restoration (Neh. x. 16). In Ezra, ii. 13; viii. 13, and Neh. vii. 18 he appears under the name of Adonikam. The latter form is probably correct.