1 Kings, Chapter 1, Verse 49-50
49 All the guests of Adonijah got up trembling, and went each their way, 50 but Adonijah, in fear of Solomon, got up and went to grasp the horns of the altar.
In King David’s old age, he developed circulatory problems, and a beautiful young woman named Abishag was brought to the king to attend him and “keep him warm.” Abishag slept in the king’s bed to provide body heat, though she and David were never sexually intimate (1 Kings 1:1–4). After David’s death, his son Solomon became king. Shortly afterward, another of David’s sons, Adonijah, who had at one time tried to take over the kingdom, hatched another plot to wrest control from King Solomon. Adonijah’s first step was to ask Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, to secure Solomon’s permission to give him Abishag as a wife. Adonijah’s request seems innocuous enough, but it was full of subterfuge. Solomon’s initial response was one of indignation. He said to his mother, “Why do you request Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? You might as well request the kingdom for him—after all, he is my older brother” (1 Kings 2:22). Solomon rightly saw Adonijah’s desire to marry Abishag as part of his brother’s ongoing attempt to take over the kingdom of Israel. In those days of royal harems, taking possession of a king’s concubines was a declaration of one’s right to the throne. This had been one of Absalom’s methods when he led a coup against David (2 Samuel 16:22). Since Abishag was considered part of David’s harem, her marriage to Adonijah would have strengthened the usurper’s claim to the throne. In judgment for Adonijah’s request, Solomon said, “God do so to me and more also if this word does not cost Adonijah his life!” (1 Kings 2:23). He quickly sent Benaiah, one of their father’s mighty men, to execute Adonijah. The tension between Adonijah and Solomon had been longstanding. Adonijah was older than Solomon and therefore, under normal circumstances, in line before Solomon for the throne. But God promised that Solomon would be king. Adonijah had already attempted to set himself up as king while David was still alive; when David was notified of the plot, he quickly made Solomon’s kingship official (1 Kings 1:38–40). Adonijah’s followers had fled, leaving him in a situation where he could have been killed for his rebellion. King Solomon mercifully granted Adonijah his life on the condition that he pay homage to the king and give up his claim to the throne (1 Kings 1:52–53).
What does it mean to grasp the horns of the altar?
The innocent blood of the bull represents life over death rubbed on the horn of salvation. The horns represent salvation, forgiveness of sins, power over death, strength, and mercy for mankind which put together describes God. Rubbing the blood on the horn with a finger illustrates reconciliation of man with God and no death when The horn is touched because the sacrificial blood stands in the gap between man and God on his finger. So this is access to God through the blood of no sin which Adam housed before he disobeyed God. Adam had this power to cover Eve but chose disobedience instead of utilizing his power. Jesus is the blood between the finger and horn. That's the intercession for man.