David becomes the king of Israel

Chapter 5

This chapter records three very important things that David did:

(1)        He united the nation of *Israel.

(2)       He made the city of Jerusalem his capital. (This city is still the most important city for the *Jewish people now, almost 3000 years later.)

(3)        He defeated the *Philistines. They were never a big problem again for the *Israelites.

The author of this book recorded these events. But he did not tell us when they happened.

(Verses 1-10 See also 1 Chronicles 11:1-9.

Verses 11-16 See also 1 Chronicles 3:5-9 and 4:1-7.

Verses 17-25 See also 1 Chronicles 14:8-17.)

David becomes the king of Israel

v1 All the *tribes of *Israel came to David while he was at Hebron. They said, ‘We are all members of your family. v2 In the past, Saul was king. But you led the *Israelites in their battles. The *Lord said to you, “You will be like a *shepherd for my people, the *Israelites. You will become their leader.” ’

v3 So all the leaders in *Israel came to King David at Hebron. In that town, David made an agreement with them in front of the *Lord. And they *anointed David as the king over all *Israel.

v4 David was 30 years old when he became the king. He ruled the *Israelites for 40 years. v5 While he lived in Hebron, he ruled over the *tribe of *Judah for 7 years and 6 months. When he lived in Jerusalem, he ruled over all the *tribes in *Israel and *Judah for 33 years.

In chapter 3, Abner had intended to make David the king over all *Israel. Now Abner and King Ish-Bosheth were dead. The leaders from the 10 northern *tribes had to choose a new king. David did not go and make himself their king. Instead, they came to David. In Deuteronomy 17:15, God gave two commands about *Israelite kings;

  • The king must be a ‘brother *Israelite’. In other words, he must belong to the families of the *Israelites.
  • The king must be the person that the *Lord chooses.

All the *Israelites belonged to the same family although they were in different *tribes. They all came from the family of Jacob (Genesis chapter 35). So the northern *tribes emphasised this family unity. The *Israelites also knew that David was a great military leader. God had given David success in every battle that he fought. David had even had more success than King Saul had. Also, the *Israelites knew that God had chosen David as their king. The people knew God’s promise about David. The Bible does not record God’s words in verse 2 anywhere else. But God had told Samuel to *anoint David. This meant that he would become king one day (1 Samuel 16:1).

In verse 2, a ‘leader’ is a prince or a king. He rules a *tribe or a nation. The word also refers to the captain of an army. In this verse, God called the *Israelites ‘my people’. The *Israelites did not belong to David. They belonged to God. So David had to look after the *Israelites in the proper way.

The word ‘*shepherd’ describes how the ruler should do his work. David had been a *shepherd when he was young (1 Samuel 16:11 and 17:14-15). A *shepherd looks after sheep. He leads them. And he feeds and protects them. Genesis 49:50 calls God a *shepherd. In John 10 Jesus taught about *shepherds. He said, ‘I am the good *shepherd.’ David wrote the famous Psalm 23. He described God as the *shepherd. David knew how God had been like a *shepherd to him. So, David understood how to look after God’s people. He did not become an unkind or cruel king.

Samuel had *anointed David as king in 1 Samuel 16:6-13. In 2 Samuel 2:4 the men of *Judah *anointed David as king of the *tribe of *Judah. At last, all *Israel *anointed David as their king. David had waited many years for this to happen. But David did not try to make it happen. He trusted God when the situation with Saul was very difficult. In the end, God worked everything out. In 1 Samuel 10:25, Samuel had explained to the people about the duties of the *Israelites and their king. In verse 3, David and the *Israelites made an agreement. This was probably like the agreement that Saul made in order to become king. ‘In front of the *Lord’ probably means that the priest led this event at a special holy place.

David defeats the people in Jerusalem and he goes to live there

v6 David and his men marched to the city called Jerusalem and they attacked it. The people called Jebusites lived in Jerusalem. They said to David, ‘You will never get into this city. Even the *lame and blind people will be able to stop you.’ The Jebusites thought that David would not be able to enter the city. v7 However, David attacked and defeated the *stronghold called Zion. He called it the city of David. v8 That day, David said, ‘If you want to defeat the Jebusites you will have to go through the water tunnel (underground passage). You will reach the people who call themselves “*lame and blind” people. They are David’s enemies.’ This is why people say, ‘The “blind and the *lame people” will not enter the palace.’ v9 So David went to live in the *stronghold. He called it the city of David. He built the city round the *stronghold. He started at the place where they had made the land level. v10 David continued to become more powerful because God supported him. And God is the most powerful ruler.

v11 Hiram was the king of the town called Tyre. He sent some men with a message for David. He sent wood from trees called cedars. He also sent workmen. Some of the men worked with wood. Other men worked with stone. They built a palace for David. v12 Then David was sure that the *Lord had made him king over *Israel. And David was sure that the *Lord loved the people of *Israel. This is why the *Lord had made David’s *kingdom great.

v13 David left Hebron and he lived in Jerusalem. He had more *concubines and he married more wives. So, he also had more sons and daughters. v14-16 These are the names of the children that David had in Jerusalem:

  • Shammua
  • Shobab
  • Nathan
  • Solomon
  • Ibhar
  • Elishua
  • Nepheg
  • Japhia
  • Elishama
  • Eliada
  • Eliphelet.

The people called Jebusites lived in the country called Canaan (Israel) before God gave it to the *Israelites (Genesis 10:15-19; 15:18-21). Jerusalem was an ancient city in their country. They called it Jebus (Judges 19:10). It was in the land that God gave to the *tribe of Benjamin. The men from *Judah and Benjamin had tried to take control of Jerusalem in the past (Joshua 15:63; Judges 1:8, 21). But they could not defeat the Jebusite people. They would not leave their city. So the Jebusites and *Israelites lived together in the country.

David wanted a new capital city. Jerusalem was better than Hebron. But the Jebusites believed that the *Israelites could never take control of the city. The city was on the top of a steep hill. The name of the hill was Zion. The city had a wall round it. The Jebusites felt safe in their city. They could throw stones down onto anyone who attacked them. They thought that even very weak people could defend the city. But David was the first person to defeat the Jebusites in Jerusalem. He called this city by his own name, ‘the city of David’. Verse 8 might show that David did not kill the Jebusites (see also 2 Samuel 24:18-25). He may have let them live under his control. He referred to them as ‘the blind and *lame people’. And they could not go into the palace that Hiram built for David in verse 11.

When David lived in Jerusalem, David made the city bigger. The *Jewish people still live in Jerusalem today. They believe that it is a very special place. They still call it the ‘city of David’. They also call it the ‘city of Zion’. It is now a very large city. People have tried to discover more about the old city of Zion. They found an underground passage that went down through the rock to a stream. The people called Jebusites used this passage to get water when people attacked them. This is the ‘water tunnel’ in verse 8. David may have discovered this stream and well many years before. He knew that it was the only way to get into the city.

Verse 11 probably happened many years after David became king. King Hiram lived outside of *Israel. He saw that David had become a powerful king. Hiram respected King David. He wanted to build David a palace. Tyre was an important port for trade. Many workmen lived there. There were not many men in *Israel who could build houses from wood and stone. Hiram got wood from cedar trees. That wood was very strong. It lasted for a long time. David probably sent grain and food as a gift to King Hiram.

Verses 10 and 12 say that David became powerful. He felt like a proper king as soon as he had a palace to live in. His *kingdom became great. But David did not become proud. He knew that the *Lord God had given him everything. And the *Lord did this because of the *Israelites. The *Lord loved the people that he had chosen (Deuteronomy 7:6-11).

In Deuteronomy 17:17, God says that a king should not have many wives. But David did not follow this law. Instead, he behaved like the kings in the countries round *Israel. Later in 2 Samuel, we see that there was a lot of trouble between David’s sons. There are other lists of David’s sons in 1 Chronicles 3:5-9 and 14:4-7. The lists are not quite the same. Some sons may have died when they were young. And some may have had different names. There is no list of David’s daughters. Solomon became the king after David. Luke 3:31 says that Nathan was a previous relative of Jesus. The Bible does not mention any of David’s other sons that are in verses 14-16 again.

David defeats the *Philistines twice

v17 The *Philistines heard that the *Israelites had *anointed David as the king over *Israel. So the whole *Philistine army went to find him. When David heard about this, he went down to the *stronghold.v18 The *Philistines army arrived at the valley called Rephaim and they camped all along it. v19 So David asked the *Lord, ‘Shall I attack the *Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?’

The *Lord answered, ‘Go and attack them. I will certainly hand them over to you.’

v20 So David went to Baal Perazim and he defeated the *Philistines. David said, ‘The *Lord has burst through my enemies like a flood of water.’ So, David named that place ‘Baal Perazim’. v21 The *Philistines left their *idols behind at Baal Perazim. So David and his men took the *idols away.

v22 Again the *Philistines came and camped in the valley of Rephaim. v23 So David asked the *Lord again what he should do. The *Lord said, ‘Do not attack the *Philistines from the front. Go round behind them. Attack them in front of the trees that are called balsam trees. v24 You will hear a sound like marching feet in the tops of the trees. Then you must quickly go and attack. I will be marching ahead of you and I will defeat the *Philistine army.’ v25 So David obeyed the *Lord. And David killed the *Philistines all along the way from Gibeon (or Geba) to Gezer.

The *Philistines had not attacked David when he was the king of *Judah. But when he became the king of all *Israel he was more powerful. So the whole *Philistine army went to find him. This probably happened before David attacked Jerusalem. But David heard that the *Philistines were coming to attack him. The ‘*stronghold’ in verse 7 was probably one of the places where David used to hide from Saul in southern *Judah. Rephaim was south west of Jerusalem. The Bible does not tell us many details about these two battles. But it tells us one important thing. David first asked the *Lord what he should do. David did not fight until the *Lord answered him. David probably went to Abiathar, or another priest. The priest used the *ephod to find the *Lord’s answer (see 1 Samuel 23:9-12). This contrasts with Saul in 1 Samuel, especially in chapter 28.

David defeated the *Philistines in the first battle. However, he knew that the *Lord had really defeated them. So, David gave that place a new name. This gave honour to the *Lord because of his action in the battle. ‘Baal Perazim’ means the ‘*Lord burst through’. The *Philistines believed that their gods lived in the *idols. The account in 1 Chronicles 14:12 says that David burned the *idols. So the *Lord defeated the *Philistines and their false gods.

The *Philistines went to attack David again. And David asked the *Lord again what he should do. The *Lord gave David a different plan. He attacked the *Philistines from behind. They did not expect David to attack them in that way. (Balsam is a type of small tree.) In 1 Samuel 8:19-20 the *Israelites had asked for a king. They wanted the king to lead their army into battle. But, in verse 24, the *Lord said, ‘I will be marching ahead of you.’ The *Lord led David and his army into the battle. David did not attack until he heard the sound of the *Lord in the trees. Again, David and his army fought, but the *Lord defeated the *Philistines.

After these battles, the *Philistines were never a big problem for the *Israelites. The *Philistines still attacked some of the cities in *Israel. But they knew that they could never defeat the whole nation. The nation of *Israel was safer with David as king. David obeyed the *Lord.