Scripture reading – 2 Samuel 5; 1 Chronicles 11

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2 Samuel 5 and 1 Chronicles 11 are parallel accounts of events surrounding the coronation of David as the King of Israel. Together, they give 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 crowned him king (2 Samuel 2:10-11), all the tribes of Israel assembled in Hebron to acknowledge David as Saul’s successor.

Three Reasons David was Readily Accepted as King (2 Samuel 5:1-2)

First, he was a Hebrew, and in their words, “we are thy bone and thy flesh” (2 Samuel 5:1). Secondly, David’s leadership had garnered their respect in the past, for in times of war, he had served as their leader during Saul’s reign (2 Samuel 5:2). 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” (2 Samuel 5:2).

David’s Reign as King (2 Samuel 5:3-5)

David reigned as king of Judah in Hebron. Therefore, the elders of Israel came to that place, and “David made a league [covenant] with them in Hebron before the Lord: and they anointed David king over Israel” (2 Samuel 5:3). He was thirty years old when he was crowned king (2 Samuel 5:4), and “he reigned over Judah seven years and six months” (2 Samuel 5:5). Altogether, he would be king forty years (2 Samuel 5:4), for “in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah” (2 Samuel 5:5).

David Conquered and Established Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital (2 Samuel 5:6-12)

David’s first act as Israel’s king was establishing Jerusalem as his capital. However, that city was still occupied by the Jebusites (2 Samuel 5:6). Jerusalem was built upon the range of mountains known as Zion. It was a natural fortress with valleys on three sides and was only vulnerable to attack from the north. The Jebusites, confident in the walls of their stronghold, mocked David’s army and suggested that even the blind and lame could defend their city against Israel (2 Samuel 5:6).

Evidencing the brilliance of a tactician of war, David challenged his soldiers. He said, “Whosoever getteth up to the gutter (most likely a tunnel and passage for water that was cut through rock), and smiteth the Jebusites…he shall be chief and captain” (2 Samuel 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” (2 Samuel 5:10). Hiram, king of Tyre, offered to build the newly crowned king of Israel a palace fit for his reign in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:11). We read that “David perceived that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he [the LORD] had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel’s sake” (2 Samuel 5:12). David understood that the LORD’s blessings were upon him because Israel was His chosen people.

David’s Wives and His Sons Born to Them in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:13-16)

Though a great man, we are reminded that David was not perfect. He followed the pattern of the kings of the world and “took him more concubines and wives…and there were yet sons and daughters born to David” (2 Samuel 5:13). While the divine pattern of marriage is “one flesh” (one husband and one wife, Genesis 2:24), David followed the way of the world. As we will see, his wives and the children born to them would bring heartbreak to his household and calamity to the nation. 

David’s Victory Over the Philistines (2 Samuel 5:17-25)

The Philistines wasted no time challenging Israel’s new king (2 Samuel 5:17-18). Yet, David, showing humility and dependence on the LORD that he lacked in later years, “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” (2 Samuel 5:19).

Israel’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” (2 Samuel 5:21; Deuteronomy 7:5, 25). When the Philistines challenged Israel again (2 Samuel 5:22), David sought the LORD’s direction (2 Samuel 5:23).

This time, rather than a frontal assault, the LORD directed David to lead his army behind the Philistines (2 Samuel 5:23). When he heard the wind rustling through “the tops of the mulberry trees,” it was then that he would arise to smite the Philistines. Then he would know the Lord would go before him (2 Samuel 5:24). David obeyed the LORD, and God gave Israel a victory over their enemy (2 Samuel 5:25).

1 Chronicles 11 – The Mighty Men of Israel 

Account of David’s Coronation and the Siege of Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 11:1-9)

While 2 Samuel 5 gave 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. We met Joab when he proved himself a warrior during the siege of Jerusalem and defeated the Jebusites. He became the captain of David’s army (1 Chronicles 11:6-8).

David’s Mighty Men (1 Chronicles 11:10-47; 2 Samuel 23:8-39)

Recorded in 1 Chronicles 11 are also the names of David’s other “mighty men” (1 Chronicles 11:10), including Jashobeam, who slew three hundred men in one battle (1 Chronicles 11:11). There was Eleazar, who was acknowledged as “one of the three mighties” (1 Chronicles 11:12-14).

Thirty captains served David (1 Chronicles 11:15), three of whom were particularly notable. “Abishai the brother of Joab,” who was said to be the “more honourable” (1 Chronicles 11:20), Benaiah, who was applauded for slaying “two lionlike men of Moab…[and] a lion in a pit” (1 Chronicles 11:22), and an Egyptian that stood some seven feet, six inches tall (1 Chronicles 11:23). Finally there was Asahel (1 Chronicles 11:26). Completing the record of David’s mighty men are the names of “valiant men” (1 Chronicles 11:26-47), and included among them was “Uriah the Hittite” (1 Chronicles 11:41). 

Closing thoughts – 

I conclude our Bible study by being reminded of the secret to David’s greatness. Many attributes were evidenced in his life that earned him the respect of his subjects. For instance, he was a great warrior. He was a leader who inspired loyalty. He was surrounded by valiant soldiers who risked their lives serving him. Yet, those are not the reasons for his success.

David was prosperous because he believed in the LORD and in God’s calling (2 Samuel 5:10, 12). He was a man who humbled himself, “inquired of the LORD” (2 Samuel 5:19, 23), and obeyed Him (2 Samuel 5:25).

What about you? Is that your life testimony? Do you call on the LORD and seek His way? Are you dependent on His leading? Are you submissive to His will?

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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