After toppling the Shang Dynasty, King Wuwang divided the vast territory into fiefdoms, each of which was governed as a separate state. After this had been accomplished, Wuwang, now the king of the Western Zhou Dynasty, hoped to see an end to all wars and chaos. As soon as he returned to the capital, he ordered the horses in the army to be released and the weapons put away in storehouses, a sign of long-lasting peace.
Despite this, he still remained haunted by a sense of insecurity, as there were many people who refused to obey the rulers of the Zhou Dynasty. For example, Boyi and Shuqi claimed to prefer starving to death to eating the food provided by Zhou authorities. Jizi sailed to (what is now) Korea, to flee Zhou's rule; enough was enough. Obviously the rule of Wuwang was not stable. He was extremely concerned about the future of the dynasty, as he himself was feeble and aged, whereas his son, Song, was still too young to succeed him. He grew so anxious that he became seriously ill. On his sickbed, the dying king asked Duke Zhougong to help Prince Song to govern the country.
Zhougong was the fourth son of King Wenwang. Wenwang's eldest son Boyikao had been killed by King Zhouwang of the Shang Dynasty. His second and third sons were Wuwang and Guanshuxian, respectively. Guanshuxian believed that Wuwang, who had ascended the throne because Boyikao had died so young, was expected to pass the throne to him, rather than the younger Zhougong. He tried to persuade other brothers to rally together in opposition to Zhougong.