II Samuel 5:1-16
5 All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. 2 In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’” 3 When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. 4 David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. 5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years. 6 The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there. The Jebusites said to David, “You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off.” They thought, “David cannot get in here.” 7 Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion—which is the City of David. 8 On that day David had said, “Anyone who conquers the Jebusites will have to use the water shaft to reach those ‘lame and blind’ who are David’s enemies.” That is why they say, “The ‘blind and lame’ will not enter the palace.” 9 David then took up residence in the fortress and called it the City of David. He built up the area around it, from the terraces inward. 10 And he became more and more powerful, because the Lord God Almighty was with him. 11 Now Hiram king of Tyre sent envoys to David, along with cedar logs and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built a palace for David. 12 Then David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel. 13 After he left Hebron, David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and more sons and daughters were born to him. 14 These are the names of the children born to him there: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15 Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16 Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet.
1. The New King 1-5
All the tribes come to David asking him to form a government. David would not have been able to make use of the staff, officers or people in those positions as a carry-over from the previous administration. The people were now as sheep having no shepherd and though late, yet of their own accord, they wanted him for their king. David clearly did not approve of the murder of Ish-Bosheth, yet he accepted the advantages he gained by it and received the request to become king of all Israel. Judah had submitted to David as their king seven years and six months earlier and possibly the comfort, security and happiness Judah enjoyed under his administration encouraged the rest of the tribes to receive David as well.
I Chron. 12:23-40 gives a full account of the numbers from each tribe, the zeal, sincerity and the entertainment they all enjoyed together for three days. Get this. They are described as "warriors ready for battle," "a brave young warrior," "brave warriors, famous in their own clans," "men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do," "experienced soldiers prepared for battle with every type of weapon," "carrying shields and spears," "experienced soldiers prepared for battle," and "armed with every type of weapon." II Samuel only records that they were all of one heart to make David king and the several reasons why.
One reason was their relation to him: "We are your own flesh and blood." Not only are you our flesh and blood and as one of us qualified by the law given by Moses (Deut. 17:15), but we are yours. Let's put an end to this long civil war, take pity on us, protect us, be our king and lead us. Those who take Christ for their king may make the same appeal to Him: We are your flesh and blood, you became a human, you are our brother. "For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way," (Heb. 2:17); therefore please be our Ruler. Isaiah 3:6 says, "A man will seize one of his brothers in his father's house, and say, 'You have a cloak, you be our leader; take charge of this heap of ruins!'" We and our lives may be such a pile of ruins, a pile of self-pity, lust, sin, doubt, fear and anxiety, but when King Jesus takes charge of these ruins, He can make them into a beautiful collection of generosity, confidence, joy, gentleness, faith, courage, assurance and peace.
They mentioned his former good services to the public in the past. Though Saul was king, it was you, David, who "led Israel on their military campaigns." You led Israel to battle, and brought our soldiers home in triumph. Who besides you is so able now to fill the vacant throne? He that is faithful in a little deserves to be entrusted with more. Former beneficial assistance rendered should be remembered and rewarded.
But the most convincing reason they gave was that the Lord has said it: "the Lord said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.'" (v 2) The divine appointment was the strongest, "you will become their ruler." Kings are to feed their people as shepherds, in everything consulting the subjects' benefit, feeding, not fleecing them. David, you will not only be their king in time of peace, but also a captain to lead them in war, be exposed to the rigors and difficulties of war in your role as shepherd. Since God has said so, now let's do it.
The elders of Israel and David formalized the agreement and a contract was confirmed on both sides. (v 3) David obligated himself to protect them as their judge in peace and captain in war; and they promised to obey him. He made a covenant with them to which God was a witness: they did this "before the Lord." With this, David was anointed king for the third time. His advances had been gradual, that his faith might be tried and that he might gain experience at each stage to prepare him subsequent phases. In this respect David's kingdom illustrates Jesus' kingdom which also is to come about by degrees. The writer of Hebrews says, in Heb. 2:8, God "put everything under their feet," referring to Jesus the human. "In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them." However, I Cor 15:25 reminds us that the fulfillment has not yet occurred; it will yet come, "For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet." David's day came and the day for Jesus to reign will also come.
A general account of David's reign, age and the role of Hebron is given to us next. He was thirty years old when he began to reign, upon the death of Saul (v 4). At that age men are thought to come to their full maturity of strength and judgment. At age 30 the Levites were appointed to begin their administrations, (Num. 4:3). About that age the Son of David entered his public ministry, (Luke 3:23). David reigned, in all, forty years and six months, of which seven years and a half were in Hebron and thirty-three years were in Jerusalem, (v 5).
Hebron, Abraham's burial city, had been famous even before David moved there. "Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly. (Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba after Arba, who was the greatest man among the Anakites." (Josh. 14:13-15). It was a priest's city. Yes, Hebron was famous, but Jerusalem was to be more so, and to be the holy city. Great kings beginning with Nimrod (Gen.10:11) raised cities of their own, and David did too, Jerusalem became the city of David. It is a name famous through the Bible to the book of Revelation, where a new Jerusalem is described.
2. The New Capital 6-12
If Salem, the place of which Melchizedec was king, was Jerusalem, as indicated in Psalm 76:2, it was already famous in Abraham's time. Joshua, in his time, found it to be the chief city of the south part of Canaan. A decisive battle is recorded in Josh. 10 after which all five kings were killed. "Now Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had taken Ai and totally destroyed it, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and that the people of Gibeon had made a treaty of peace with Israel and had become their allies. He and his people were very much alarmed at this, because Gibeon was an important city, like one of the royal cities; it was larger than Ai, and all its men were good fighters. So Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem appealed to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachishand Debir king of Eglon. ‘Come up and help me attack Gibeon,’ he said, ‘because it has made peace with Joshua and the Israelites.’ Then the five kings of the Amorites—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon—joined forces.”
So Joshua had conquered Jerusalem, but it had gone to the Benjamites at the division of the land, and eventually it was taken over by the Jebusites. In the book of Judges it is referred to as a city of the Jebusites (Judges 19:11). By the time of David it had to be reconquered. The very first striking notable deed David did, after he was anointed king over all Israel, was to gain Jerusalem from the Jebusites. However, because it belonged in Benjamin's territory, he would not attempt this until that tribe, which belonged to Saul's house, joined his team.
The Jebusites defied David out of their extreme self-confidence. "You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off" (v 5). Many years later Jeremiah lamented the invasion of Jerusalem indicating that Jerusalem was, in his time too, considered unconquerable. "The kings of the earth did not believe, nor did any of the peoples of the world, that enemies and foes could enter the gates of Jerusalem" (Lam 4:12). The Jebusites may have relied on the strength of their fortifications, which they thought were made so impregnable by nature or art, or both, that the blind and the lame were sufficient to defend them against the most powerful assailant. Possibly they set blind, lame people, invalids or maimed soldiers, to make an appearance of strength on the walls, in scorn of David and his men, thinking that just these invalids would be and equal match for him.
David enjoyed great success against the Jebusites. Their pride and insolence, instead of daunting him, animated him, and when he made a general assault he gave this order to his men, "Anyone who conquers the Jebusites will have to use the water shaft to reach those ‘lame and blind' who are David's enemies." David had grown up in Bethlehem, ten kilometers south of Jerusalem. He quite possibly had hiked around that entire area and knew the geography, folklore, caves, wells, tunnels, shafts and secrets of the area. He would have know about the tunnel and water shaft through which a person could crawl and climb to enter the city without going through a gate or over a wall. That is why he said, "will have to use the water shaft." If Joab entered this way then that would explain why Joab became David's lead general.
David made Zion his royal city. He himself had stayed in the fort which had been difficult to conquer, but now that same strength in defense became a defense of safety for him, he was free to move. Today in Jerusalem just south of the Temple Mount it is possible to visit the outstanding ruins of the City of David and see where he and his neighbors lived. He proceeded and prospered in all he set his hand to, grew great in honor, strength, and wealth, more and more honorable in the eyes of his subjects and formidable in the eyes of his enemies. The simple and beautiful reason for all of this success was "because the Lord God Almighty was with him" (v 10). God has all creatures at His command, makes what use He pleases of them, and serves His own purposes by them; and He was with him, to direct, preserve, and prosper him. Those that have the Lord of hosts for them need not fear what hosts of men or devils can do against them. Those who grow great must ascribe their advancement to the presence of God with them, and give him glory for it.
The Jews were farmers and shepherds, and were no builders, businessmen or manufactures. Verse 9 says, "He built up the area around it, from the terraces inward" and verse 11 says, "Hiram king of Tyre sent envoys to David, along with cedar logs and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built a palace for David." David's house needed to be a royal palace, suitable for the reception of his guests. Hiram, king of Tyre, a wealthy king, when he sent to congratulate David on his accession to the throne, offered him workmen to build a house for him. David thankfully accepted the offer, and Hiram's workmen built David a house, undoubtedly a better house than David or his fellow Hebrews could have built. How is it that a godly man such as David could rely on a gentile to build him a house? Many have excelled in architecture, construction, arts and sciences who do not know the Lord and yet those of us who do know the Lord can make use of the educations and skills of those who do not. Hiram did not know the Lord. Yet David's house being built by a gentile was very useful to David. Isaiah 60:10a says, "Foreigners will rebuild your walls and their kings will serve you." Just as the Hebrews of Moses' generation made good use of gold from Egypt, so God's people today can make use of the wisdom, educations, knowledge, arts and sciences we can learn from secular scholars—even nonbelievers. Augustine of Hippos, a wise Christian leader in North Africa many centuries ago, recommended study of rhetoric to become better preachers, making a holy use of secular knowledge. The man and woman of God who takes the time and makes the effort to get an education so he or she can serve the Lord more effectively is doing a good and wise thing. David needed help with his house. He received it from Hiram. Who is the Hiram in your life? What skill do you need to learn so that you can carry on your God-given calling more productively?
David's government was settled and built up. His kingdom was established, there was nothing to shake it, none to disturb his possession or question his title. God who made him king established him, because he was to be a demonstration of Christ and His kingdom which is unshaken and unshakable. Do you think God loved David more than He loves you? Do you think He is any less willing to establish you and the work you are doing and want to do for Him? Notice what Psalm 89:20-28 says:
20 I have found David my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him. 21 My hand will sustain him; surely my arm will strengthen him. 22 The enemy will not get the better of him; the wicked will not oppress him. 23 I will crush his foes before him and strike down his adversaries. 24 My faithful love will be with him, and through my name his horn will be exalted. 25 I will set his hand over the sea, his right hand over the rivers. 26 He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.’ 27 And I will appoint him to be my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth. 28 I will maintain my love to him forever, and my covenant with him will never fail.
These wonderful promises can apply to you too. Saul was made king, but he was not established because of his disobedience; also Adam was given innocence but because of disobedience was not established in it. David was established as king, so is the Son of David. David was exalted in the eyes both of his friends and enemies. Never had the nation of Israel looked so great or made such a figure as it began to do now. So it is promised of Christ our example that He would be “the most exalted of the kings of the earth.” And why did God exalt Him? How could it be said of Him “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name”? Because Jesus obeyed. And we can too.
David perceived, by the wonderful blessings of a house, good relationships with those about him, evidences of his establishment and advancement, that God was with him. “ I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me.” Some men and women of God have the favor of God, but because they do not know it, they do not enjoy the comfort, happiness and confidence that goes with it.
And now we approach the secret of David’s success. “Then David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.” David knew it was for Israel’s sake that God had done great things for him, that he might be a blessing to them and they might be happy under his administration. God did not make Israel his subjects for his sake, that he might be great, and rich, and absolute: but he made him their king for their sake, that he might lead, and guide, and protect them.
You are no more nor less important in this generation than David was in His. Through prayer for people and the ministry of the Word of God to them you have the ability and opportunity to minister to the sheep God gives you, sheep that are no less important to God now than the sheep God committed to David in his day. God loves His sheep and gives them pastors. He does not give sheep to pastors; he gives pastors to sheep. Just as God gave David to His people long ago, so He wants to bless, enrich, encourage, empower and qualify you to be His shepherd today. You are to be a blessing; not so much to seek a blessing for yourself as you are to be a blessing to God’s sheep. You are blessed to be a blessing.
3. New Wives 13-16
This is the sad part of this lesson. David's family multiplied and increased, but not in a way that was honorable. All the sons that were born to him after he came to Jerusalem are here mentioned together, eleven in all, besides the six that were born to him before in Hebron. Interestingly earlier the mothers are mentioned, not here; only, in general, it is said that he took more concubines and wives (v 13).
Psalm 127:4-6 Says, "Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court." Having many children is not immoral; having many wives is. Even if one has them one at a time in a series of multiple marriages, which is want happens when a divorce is followed by another marriage, another divorce, another marriage etc., still having many wives is immoral and against God's plan for marriages. One vine by the side of the house, with the blessing of God, may send branches in many directions to bless the seas and mountains. The influence of many children gained by one wife can go to many places. Adam, by one wife, peopled the world, and Noah re-peopled it. David had many wives, and yet that did not keep him from coveting his neighbor's wife and defiling her; for men that have once broken the fence will wander endlessly. David is an example in many respects, but if we want to learn all the lessons possible to learn from him we will also be willing to learn this one, that one wife is enough.
There are multiple reasons why Paul told Timothy in I Tim. 3:2 that a church overseer (pastor) should be "faithful to his wife." If you want to learn more about how God uses our marriages and families to teach and benefit many others, see my teachings about "How to Grow in Character as your Marriage Grows," "How to Raise Confident Children" and "How to Raise Obedient Children" in either written or multi-media form on leresources.com.