1 - 5 David King over Israel
1 Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “Behold, we are your bone and your flesh. 2 Previously, when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out and in. And the LORD said to you, ‘You will shepherd My people Israel, and you will be a ruler over Israel.’” 3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them before the LORD at Hebron; then they anointed David king over Israel. 4 David was thirty years old when he became king, [and] he reigned forty years. 5 At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah.
After seven and a half years David becomes king of all the people. It has taken so long. All the time Saul ruled over them, all the tribes knew who in reality led Israel. Although they knew it, they never openly chose David’s side. There can be knowledge, but when faith is lacking, one does nothing with it.
The chapter begins with the word “then”, i.e. after the events described in the previous chapter. The ten tribes have seen that David is innocent of Ish-bosheth’s death and has punished the murderers. Then the time has come for all the tribes of Israel declare openly that they are his family. They can say this because they all descend from Jacob (cf. Jdg 9:2).
At the end of verse 2 we see a remarkable sequence. First there is talk about “shepherd” and then about “be a ruler”. That means that the first task is to care for God’s people and then the government comes. Be shepherd first, then become king. We also see this with the Lord Jesus. He is already the good Shepherd and will soon openly accept His kingship.
For our personal lives, it is clear from this that we will submit to His dominion over our lives, precisely because He takes care of us every day. There is also a lot to learn here for the attitude of the man towards his wife and for the attitude of parents towards their children. It is also important for the authority in the church of God.
If God has given persons a place of authority, whether in the church or in the family, that authority can only be properly exercised by those who know what it is to serve, to be the least and to care for fellow believers. Such persons show the picture of the Lord Jesus. Subservience is much easier to bring up towards someone who cares about you, who cares for you with love, than to someone who only wants to control you and abuses his position of authority in this way. With God, authority is never separated from care and love, and this has become perfectly visible in and through the Lord Jesus.
Then David is anointed king for the third time, now over all Israel. The first time he was anointed by Samuel among his brothers (1Sam 16:13a). The second time he was anointed by the men of Judah over the house of Judah (2Sam 2:4a). Here the third anointing of David takes place. This third anointing speaks of the coming of the Lord Jesus on earth, when He is accepted as Messiah by all the people, who are all twelve tribes returned to the land.
6 - 9 David in Jerusalem
6 Now the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, and they said to David, “You shall not come in here, but the blind and lame will turn you away”; thinking, “David cannot enter here.” 7 Nevertheless, David captured the stronghold of Zion, that is the city of David. 8 David said on that day, “Whoever would strike the Jebusites, let him reach the lame and the blind, who are hated by David’s soul, through the water tunnel.” Therefore they say, “The blind or the lame shall not come into the house.” 9 So David lived in the stronghold and called it the city of David. And David built all around from the Millo and inward.
David goes to Jerusalem. This is an important step. Hebron is not a suitable capital city. Jerusalem is centrally located for all the tribes of the kingdom. Politically speaking, it is therefore wise to go there. It is also a good choice from a military point of view. Jerusalem is high and is an excellent fortress.
Besides a good military reason there is also a more important one, more a spiritual one. The place where he goes is the place where Abraham sacrificed his son, Mount Moria. Right next to it is Sion.
Jerusalem has been mentioned before in history as the city taken by Judah, but they have not been able to drive out all the Jebusites (Jdg 1:8; Jos 15:63). The sons of Benjamin also failed to drive the Jebusites out of Jerusalem (Jdg 1:21). So there is still a camp of enemies in Jebus. David is going to drive them out.
Jerusalem is the religious name. Therein is the word Salem, the city where Melchizedek was king (Gen 14:18). Salem means ‘peace’ (Heb 7:1-2). Yet the city is also called Jebus, which means ‘trample’. It is still a trampled city. In the future, the city will once again be “trampled under foot by the Gentiles” (Lk 21:24). Then the Lord Jesus comes to earth to make Jerusalem the city of peace. He will judge the people for this and free the city from enemies. Then the Prince of peace will reign. We see David doing that here prophetically.
The enemy in Jebus doesn’t just surrender. The Jebusites are convinced of their own strength. In his reaction David is not a picture of the Lord Jesus. He is obviously offended, he is the hurt leader. When the Lord Jesus is later in this city, it becomes clear how much He loves, for example, the blind. The lame and the blind are excluded by David, but the Lord Jesus says that they should be invited into the house (Lk 14:13).
For us, the lesson is how we feel about the poor in the church. When we think of the ‘lame’ we can think of people who have no strength for a good walk and when we think of the ‘blind’ we can think of those who have no insight in certain truths.
David’s aversion to this group is not according to God’s mind. Luckily, he acts differently with Mephibosheth later (2Sam 9:3,6-7,13).
It is also possible that here in David we can see a type of the Lord Jesus. Then it is not so that David has an abhorrence of lame and blind people in general, but of these lame and blind people because they resist him in his right to Jerusalem. The lame and blind are those who, as the Jebusites say, could turn David away. In their view, David’s weakness is so great that even people with disabilities are strong enough to chase him away. If such people manifest themselves as enemies of the rightful owner of Jerusalem, the city of David, it is right that he should abhor them. The Lord Jesus also hates all those who commit iniquity.
Once David is king, we see in him less and less the man of faith he was when he was chased by Saul. Then he was in circumstances that made him walk in dependence on God. Yet we can say that David is generally guided by God.
10 - 12 David Becomes Greater and Greater
10 David became greater and greater, for the LORD God of hosts was with him. 11 Then Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David with cedar trees and carpenters and stonemasons; and they built a house for David. 12 And David realized that the LORD had established him as king over Israel, and that He had exalted his kingdom for the sake of His people Israel.
Not only does the city become more powerful, David also becomes more powerful. Because God is with him, he grows in power. Here He is a picture of the Lord Jesus. We also see this in the nations that come and acknowledge his kingship.
David is not proud of his greatness, but realizes that everything comes from the LORD. He also realizes that it is not primarily about him, but about God’s people. It shows the love of the LORD for His people. God so loves His people that He gives them such a king. That also applies to us now. God so loves us that He has given us the Lord Jesus as Lord. God also wants the dominion of the Lord Jesus to increase in our lives.
13 - 16 David’s Wives and Sons
13 Meanwhile David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he came from Hebron; and more sons and daughters were born to David. 14 Now these are the names of those who were born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15 Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16 Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet.
These verses are again an interruption of the establishment of his kingship. In these verses a new sin of David is mentioned. Despite the prohibition God has given in His law for the king (Deu 17:17a), He takes even more wives to underline His greatness. It does not prevent him from later coveting his neighbor’s wife and committing adultery with her (2Sam 11:2-4), but it rather must have prompted him to do so. Those who do not remain with the institution of God, open themselves up to all forms of evil. If sin is not judged, it will take on greater proportions.
By the grace of God we find two names of his sons in the two genealogies of the Lord Jesus we have in the Gospels, namely Nathan and Solomon. We find Nathan in the genealogy that Luke gives of the line of Mary (Lk 3:31). Solomon can be found in the genealogy that Matthew gives, where the legal right of the Lord Jesus to the throne is established (Mt 1:6).
17 - 21 David Defeats the Philistines
17 When the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek out David; and when David heard [of it], he went down to the stronghold. 18 Now the Philistines came and spread themselves out in the valley of Rephaim. 19 Then David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You give them into my hand?” And the LORD said to David, “Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand.” 20 So David came to Baal-perazim and defeated them there; and he said, “The LORD has broken through my enemies before me like the breakthrough of waters.” Therefore he named that place Baal-perazim. 21 They abandoned their idols there, so David and his men carried them away.
The wars of David with the Philistines come after the conquest of Jerusalem and after all the people anointed him king. They are the first enemies to come forward. More will come later. A defeated enemy is no warning to other enemies. The same resistance against the God-given king characterizes them all. The defeating of the Philistines is one of the commands David received as a king over the house of Judah (2Sam 3:18).
When Jerusalem is taken, all enemies are not yet subject to David. This also applies to Christ. If He descends from heaven, He will first destroy the Assyrians. Then He will establish His throne in Jerusalem, after which He will destroy other enemies of Israel through His own people.
The Philistines first kept quiet, but now that David is so strong and they see a threat in him, they go up against him. The establishment of the throne of David sets the Philistines in motion to kill David and take away his influence. It is with it as with the return of the Lord Jesus to the earth. The human being will then resist to the extreme and thus bring a quick destruction on himself.
The action of the Philistines has a spiritual meaning for us. Nominal Christians take action if we want to give the Lord Jesus full reign in our lives. They will try to gain influence in our lives to diminish His authority.
Here we see the dependent David again. Despite his strong army he asks the LORD if he should go up. David wins the victory through dependence. He takes the idols with him to burn them (1Chr 14:12).
22 - 25 The Philistines Once Again Defeated
22 Now the Philistines came up once again and spread themselves out in the valley of Rephaim. 23 When David inquired of the LORD, He said, “You shall not go [directly] up; circle around behind them and come at them in front of the balsam trees. 24 It shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then you shall act promptly, for then the LORD will have gone out before you to strike the army of the Philistines.” 25 Then David did so, just as the LORD had commanded him, and struck down the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.
The enemy has not been defeated definitively. The Philistines come up once again. David asks the LORD again what he should do. The previous permission (verse 19) does not mean a continuous permission. We are dependent on the Lord step by step. That applies to all of us. Each has his own relationship to the Lord. What the Lord allows one to do, He forbids another. God does not always explain why He sometimes says this and sometimes that. It is about obeying, even if we do not understand. The Lord’s purpose never changes, but His ways sometimes change.
David is attacked twice and both times he asks God what to do. Twice he gets an answer, twice he obeys and twice he defeats the enemy. The second time he gets a different answer than the first time. God has no standard answers to our questions. Therefore we have to go to Him again and again. We should not be like Samson, who said: “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free” (Jdg 16:20). However, he did not know that the LORD had departed from him and with it his strength, so he suffered the defeat. Dependence on the Lord is always the secret of victory in our lives.
David gets clear clues for the battle. Only by following this up victory will be certain. This time he has to wait until he hears the sound of footsteps in the tops of the balsam trees. This means that while waiting he has to listen carefully to determine the way the LORD is going ahead of him. It is important to us that our ears are open to God’s Word, that our eyes are open to His directions, and that our feet are on His ways.
Hearing the footsteps of the LORD is a special experience for David. The LORD walks on ‘weeping trees’, that is the literal meaning of the name “balsam trees”. In Psalm 84 the ‘valley of weeping’ is made into a ‘valley of springs’ (Psa 84:6). Where there are tears, God unlocks a source of refreshment. In struggles that give effort, God gives strength.
David is also an example for us as a picture of the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus is our Lord. We are dealing with Philistines, people who are on the Christian territory, but are unbelievers. They are people who, in the picture, never went through the Red Sea, the desert and the Jordan. They are false brothers, people who do not belong to the church. David has the power to fight them. He is also an example of leaders who protect God’s people from wrong influences.
The next chapter shows that the Philistine not only comes to us from outside, but is also in us. There we see that David uses a Philistine method to transport the ark.