2 Samuel 5 – David Made King Over A United Israel
A. David reigns over all Israel.
1. (1-3) The elders of Israel recognize David as king over Israel.
Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and spoke, saying, “Indeed we are your bone and your flesh. Also, in time past, when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out and brought them in; and the LORD said to you, ‘You shall shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over Israel.’” Therefore all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD. And they anointed David king over Israel.
a. Then all the tribes of Israel came to David: Prior to this, only one of the tribes of Israel recognized David as king. The other tribes recognized the pretender-king, Ishbosheth, a son of Saul. Ishbosheth was murdered as recorded in 2 Samuel 4 – so now the tribes turned to David.
i. It’s sad that the tribes only turned to David when their previous choice was taken away. On the same principle, it’s sad when Christians only finally recognize Jesus as King when their other choices fail. We should choose Jesus outright, not just when other options fail.
b. We are your bone and your flesh: The elders of Israel received David’s leadership because he was an Israelite himself. This was significant because for a period of time David lived as a Philistine among the Philistines. The elders of Israel put that away and embraced David as one of their own.
c. You were the one who led Israel out and brought them in: The elders of Israel received David’s leadership because he had already displayed his ability to lead.
d. The LORD said to you, “You shall shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over Israel”: The elders of Israel received David’s leadership because it was evident God had called him to lead.
i. These three characteristics should mark anyone who leads God’s people.
· A leader must belong to God’s people in heritage and heart.
· A leader must demonstrate the capability to lead.
· A leader must have an evident call from God.
ii. The elders of Israel received David’s leadership when they saw these things in David. When we see these same things in leaders, we should also receive their leadership.
e. And they anointed David king over Israel: 1 Chronicles 12:23-40 describes the great assembly that gathered in Hebron to recognize David as king over all Israel. Chronicles describes the impressive army that came to Hebron and numbers the soldiers at over 340,000 men. It then describes the scene: All these men of war, who could keep ranks, came to Hebron with a loyal heart, to make David king over all Israel; and all the rest of Israel were of one mind to make David king. And they were there with David three days, eating and drinking, for their brethren had prepared for them…. for there was joy in Israel (1 Chronicles 12:38-40).
2. (4-5) The duration of David’s reign.
David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah.
a. David was thirty years old: This is a good measuring point for David’s life. Samuel anointed David when he was about 15, and he did not take the throne until 30. David spent at least 15 years in preparation for the throne of Israel.
b. In Hebron he reigned…in Jerusalem he reigned: All told, David reigned 40 years. His 15 years of preparation were not too long compared to his reign. God uses great preparation when the task is great.
B. David captures Jerusalem.
1. (6-8) The capture of Jerusalem.
And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who spoke to David, saying, “You shall not come in here; but the blind and the lame will repel you,” thinking, “David cannot come in here.” Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David). Now David said on that day, “Whoever climbs up by way of the water shaft and defeats the Jebusites (the lame and the blind, who are hated by David’s soul), he shall be chief and captain.” Therefore they say, “The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.”
a. The king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites: Up to this time, Jerusalem was a small Canaanite city in the center of Israel. Some 400 years after God commanded Israel to take the whole land, this city was still in Canaanite hands.
b. You shall not come in here; but the blind and the lame will repel you: Because of its location, Jerusalem was an easily defended city. This made the Jebusites overconfident and quick to mock David and his troops.
c. Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion: Despite the difficulty, David and his men took the city. Since the water shaft is mentioned, some think that David sent his men through what is called “Warren’s Shaft.” Whatever exactly their tactics, David and his men persisted through difficult circumstances to defeat an overconfident enemy.
i. On the same principle, King Jesus conquers old strongholds when He becomes King over our lives. Territory that should have been given to Him long ago is now conquered. “I want to say to you in the name of the Lord Jesus that there is no habit that has gone so deep but that the power of the blood of Jesus can go deeper, and there is no entrenchment of sin that has gone so far but the power of the risen Lord, by His Holy Spirit, can go further.” (Redpath)
2. (9-10) Jerusalem is David’s new capital city.
Then David dwelt in the stronghold, and called it the City of David. And David built all around from the Millo and inward. So David went on and became great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him.
a. David dwelt in the stronghold: Jerusalem became the capital city of David’s kingdom. It was a good choice because:
· It had no prior tribal association and was therefore good for a unified Israel.
· The geography of the city made it easy to defend against a hostile army.
b. So David went on and became great: David knew greatness, but he was by no means an “overnight success.” David was long prepared for the greatness he later enjoyed, and he came to the place of greatness because the LORD God of hosts was with him.
i. In God’s plan there is almost always a hidden price of greatness. Often those who become great among God’s people experience much pain and difficulty in God’s training process.
3. (11-12) David’s palace and greatness.
Then Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters and masons. And they built David a house. So David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel, and that He had exalted His kingdom for the sake of His people Israel.
a. They built David a house: This showed David’s influence and importance. Neighboring kings honored him with the finest craftsmen and wood to build a palace. This relationship with Hiram king of Tyre also showed that David was more than a man of war. He knew how to build important political alliances.
b. So David knew: David knew three things that made his reign great. Every godly leader should know these three things well.
· David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel: David knew that God called him and established him over Israel.
· He had exalted His kingdom: David knew that the kingdom belonged to God – it was His kingdom.
· For the sake of His people Israel: David knew God wanted to use him as a channel to bless His people. It was not for David’s sake that he was lifted up, but for the sake of His people Israel.
4. (13-16) David’s many wives.
And David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he had come from Hebron. Also more sons and daughters were born to David. Now these are the names of those who were born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet.
a. David took more concubines and wives: This was in direct disobedience to Deuteronomy 17:17: Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away.
b. More sons and daughters were born to David: Certainly, David (and everyone else) saw these many children as God’s sign of blessing upon David and his many marriages. Yet most of the trouble to come in David’s life came from his relationships with women and problems with his children.
i. It is often true that the seeds to our future trouble are sown in times of great success and prosperity. In some ways, David handled trials better than success.
C. David defeats the Philistines.
1. (17-19) David fights against Israel’s old enemies.
Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. The Philistines also went and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. So David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?” And the LORD said to David, “Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.”
a. The Philistines also went and deployed themselves: David’s success brought new challenges from the outside. As God worked mightily in David’s life, the devil also got to work and brought opposition against David.
b. David inquired of the LORD: As David sought God and looked to Him for guidance, he was blessed. God honored David’s dependence on Him and gave him the promise of victory.
2. (20-21) David defeats the Philistines at Baal Perazim.
So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, “The LORD has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.” Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim. And they left their images there, and David and his men carried them away.
a. The LORD has broken through my enemies before me: At the battle of Baal Perazim, David defeated the Philistines with an overwhelming force, like a breakthrough of water.
b. They left their images there, and David and his men carried them away: The Philistines brought their idols to the battle, thinking they would help defeat the Israelites. Because David inquired of God and obeyed God, they carried away the Philistine idols.
3. (22-25) David defeats the Philistines at the Valley of Rephaim.
Then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. Therefore David inquired of the LORD, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the LORD will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” And David did so, as the LORD commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.
a. David inquired of the LORD: After the first victory over the Philistines, David was wise enough to wait on the LORD before the second battle. It is easy for many in the same situation to say, “I’ve fought this battle before. I know how to win. This will be easy.” David always triumphed when he sought and obeyed God.
b. You shall not go up; circle around them: God directed David differently in this battle. Even against the same enemy, not every battle is the same.
i. In his commentary on this passage, Adam Clarke noted the remarkable guidance of God in David’s life and asked a good question. “How is it that such supernatural directions and assistances are not communicated now? Because they are not asked for; and they are not asked for because they are not expected; and they are not expected because men have not faith; and they have not faith because they are under a refined spirit of atheism, and have no spiritual intercourse with their Maker.” (Clarke)
c. The LORD will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines: At the battle of Rephaim David waited for the LORD to strike the camp of the enemy first. The sign of the LORD’s work was the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees.
i. “As the Rabbis have it, and it is a very pretty conceit if it be true, the footsteps of angels walking along the tops of the mulberry trees make them rustle; that was the sign for them to fight, when God’s cherubim were going with them, when they should come, who can walk through the clouds and fly through the air, led by the great Captain himself, walking along the mulberry trees, and so make a rustle by their celestial footsteps.” (Spurgeon)
ii. At the signal that the LORD was at work, David and his troops rushed forward to victory. This principle is true in our every-day walk with God. When we sense that the Lord is at work, we must advance quickly, and we will see a great victory won. “We must also, in the spiritual warfare, observe and obey the motions of the Spirit, when he setteth up his standard; for those are the sounds of God’s goings, the footsteps of his anointed.” (Trapp)
iii. There is something wonderful about the King James Version translation of 2 Samuel 5:24: When thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself. When you hear the work of God happening, bestir thyself– advance quickly. Spurgeon liked to point out that it said bestir thyself– often we think we must stir others up. That often just becomes hype and emotionalism. Instead, stir yourself.
iv. When we see the work of God happening around us, it is like the sound in the mulberry trees – the rustling sound should awaken us to prayer and devotion. A time of crisis or tragedy is also like the sound in the mulberry trees – the rustling sound should awaken us to confession and repentance. “Now, what should I do? The first thing I will do is, I will bestir myself. But how shall I do it? Why, I will go home this day, and I will wrestle in prayer more earnestly than I have been wont to do that God will bless the minister, and multiply the church.” (Spurgeon)