The reader will notice that 2 Samuel 5 and 1 Chronicles 11 are somewhat parallel accounts of events surrounding the coronation of David as the King of Israel. Together, the two accounts give us a panorama of the occasion, and a stunning reminder that God is Sovereign over heaven and earth!
2 Samuel 5 – A Coronation
Seven and one-half years after the tribe of Judah had crowned him king (2 Samuel 2:10-11), all the tribes of Israel assembled in Hebron to acknowledge David as Saul’s successor. I find three reasons the men of Israel accepted David as king. The first, he was a Hebrew, and in their words, “we are thy bone and thy flesh” (5:1). David’s leadership had also garnered their respect in the past, for in times of war he had served as a leader among them (5:3). Finally, and most importantly, David was God’s choice to lead the nation. The people testified, “the Lord said to thee [David], Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain [prince]over Israel” (5:2).
Gathering at the place he had reigned as king of Judah, “the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league [covenant] with them in Hebron before the Lord: and they anointed David king over Israel” (5:3). David was thirty years old when he was crowned king of Judah, and he reigned “seven years and six months” (5:5). Altogether, he was king forty years (5:4), for “in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah” (5:5).
David’s first act as the king of Israel, was to establish Jerusalem as his capital, although it was occupied by the Jebusites (5:6). The siege of Jerusalem gave opportunity for David to lead all the armies of Israel. That ancient city, built upon the range of mountains known as Zion, was a natural fortress, with valleys on three sides, and only vulnerable to attack from the north. Confident in the walls of their fortress, the Jebusites mocked David’s army, suggesting even the blind and lame could defend their city against Israel (5:6).
David, evidencing the brilliance of a tactician of war, challenged his soldiers saying, “Whosoever getteth up to the gutter (most likely a passage for water that was cut through rock), and smiteth the Jebusites…he shall be chief and captain” (5:8). Joab, David’s general from the wilderness years, took up the challenge, and after conquering the Jebusites, became the captain of David’s armies (1 Chronicles 11:6).
The early years of David’s reign were blessed, and he “went on, and grew great, and the Lord God of hosts was with him” (5:10). Hiram, king of Tyre, offered to build the newly crowned king of Israel a palace fit for his reign in Jerusalem (5:11). “David perceived [knew; realized] that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he [the LORD] had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel’s sake” (5:12). David understood that the LORD’S blessings were upon him, because Israel was His chosen people.
Though chosen by the LORD to be king of Israel, David was not a perfect man. Following the pattern of the kings of the world, “David took him more concubines and wives…and there were yet sons and daughters born to David” (5:13). While the divine pattern of marriage is “one flesh” (one husband and one wife, Genesis 2:24), David followed the pattern of the world, and the wives and children of his household would later become a sorrow to him.
The Philistines wasted no time in challenging Israel’s newly crowned king (5:17-18). Showing a humility and dependence on the LORD that would be lacking in later years, “David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go up to the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the Lord said unto David, Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand” (5:19).
David’s army so soundly defeated the Philistines, that they fled from before them, leaving behind “their images” (idols), “and David and his men burned them” (5:21; Deuteronomy 7:5, 25). When the Philistines challenged Israel a second time (5:22), David sought the LORD’S direction again (5:23). Rather than a frontal assault, the LORD directed David to lead his army behind the Philistines (5:23), and when he heard the wind rustling through “the tops of the mulberry trees,” it was then that he would arise to smite the Philistines and then he would know the Lord would go before him (5:24). David obeyed the LORD, and God gave Israel a victory over their enemy (5:25).
1 Chronicles 11 – The Mighty Men of Israel
While 2 Samuel 5 has given us an account of the first battles David won as king of Israel, 1 Chronicles 11 gives us the names of the great men of war on whom David depended to carry out his orders. I have introduced you to Joab (11:6-8).
We also find the names of David’s other “mighty men” (11:10), including Jashobeam who slew three hundred men in one battle (11:11), Eleazar, acknowledged as “one of the mighties” (11:12), thirty captains, whom I will label, “The Thirty” (11:15), “Abishai the brother of Joab,” who was said to be the “more honourable” (11:20), Benaiah, who was applauded for slaying “two lionlike men of Moab…[and] a lion in a pit” (11:22), and an Egyptian that stood some seven feet, six inches tall (11:23). There is also Asahel (11:26), and a long list of “valiant men,” and included among them is “Uriah the Hittite” (11:26-47).
Closing thoughts – I close being reminded the secret of David’s greatness: It was not that he was a great warrior, although he was. He was not great because he was a man who inspired loyalty, which he did. He was not great because he was surrounded by great warriors, and he had many great fighters willing to go to war with him.
If not, will you bow your heart before the LORD, confess your lack of dependence and lack of faith, and covenant to yield your will to His will?
Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith