Second Samuel Chapter Five
“All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. 2 In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler. ’”
3 When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a compact with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel.
4 David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. 5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.
6 The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there. The Jebusites said to David, “You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off.” They thought, “David cannot get in here.” 7 Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion, the City of David.
8 On that day, David said, “Anyone who conquers the Jebusites will have to use the water shaft to reach those ‘lame and blind’ who are David’s enemies.” That is why they say, “The ‘blind and lame’ will not enter the palace.”
9 David then took up residence in the fortress and called it the City of David. He built up the area around it, from the supporting terraces inward. 10 And he became more and more powerful, because the Lord God Almighty was with him.
11 Now Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar logs and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built a palace for David. 12 And David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.
13 After he left Hebron, David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and more sons and daughters were born to him. 14 These are the names of the children born to him there: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15 Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16 Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet.
17 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went down to the stronghold. 18 Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 19 so David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?”
The Lord answered him, “Go, for I will surely hand the Philistines over to you.”
20 So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, the Lord has broken out against my enemies before me.” So that place was called Baal Perazim.
21 The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David and his men carried them off.
22 Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 23 so David inquired of the Lord, and he answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. 24 As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move quickly, because that will mean the Lord has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” 25 So David did as the Lord commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.
This sermon was written by Dr. S. Lewis Johnson and edited by standrewscumberland. The original can be found at: http://sljinstitute.net/sermons/old_testament/history/pages/lessons18.html
Special note: Just to the south on the edge of Jerusalem is Zion. Mount Zion is to the west but Zion is that part, contiguous to the city of Jerusalem where David had his kingdom. That is what he is speaking about when he mentions the stronghold of Zion that is the City of David.
This chapter doesn’t see all that special. We see that David is crowned king in Hebron and crowned king of all Israel. David had already been crowned king of Judah. But in the light of the whole of the Scriptures, it becomes very significant. Two things of great importance are found in this chapter.
First there is David’s anointing. The figure of David lies behind all of Christianity. When Christ is born, Gabriel said, “He will be great, he will be called the son of the highest, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father, David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Jesus will be given the throne of his father, David.
In last chapter of the Book of Revelation the Lord says, “I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright and the morning star.”
The second thing that makes this chapter so important is Jerusalem’s choice as David’s military and national capital. His own palace was built by Hiram on Zion, which was right next to Jerusalem but is now part of Jerusalem. The stronghold of Zion is the place where he and other kings lived and carried out the ministry that was given to them as rulers. Throughout Scripture, many things are spoken about Jerusalem. In fact, all of the events of the Scripture ultimately gather round the city of Jerusalem. It became for Israel the only accepted spiritual center for Israel and here is the beginning of the golden age of Israel’s history, the rule of David and Solomon.
In Jerusalem, the suffering and death of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ was accomplished. And when we turn to the conclusion of the Bible, in Revelation chapter 21, John the Apostle sees the New Jerusalem coming down from Heaven, the heavenly Jerusalem, underlining again the importance of both David and Jerusalem for the story that is found in the word of God.
2 Samuel chapter 5 is a chapter that is exceedingly important from the standpoint of the whole program of the word of God.
David is crowned as king. This is a testimony to the virtue of patience. His most cherished hopes are realized after years of patient waiting. It’s no wonder that David wrote so many psalms in which he expresses the fact that we ought to wait on the Lord God. In Psalm 37, we read, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.” The 9th verse, “For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the Lord, They shall inherit the earth.” And in the 34th verse, “Wait on the Lord, and keep His way, And He shall exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.”
After all of the years that have passed since Samuel spoke to him and told him, as a very young man, that God intended to make him king, David finally comes to the goal to which Samuel had directed his eye and it’s now reached. It really is a climactic event for David and it’s just the beginning of his glorious reign.
Look for a few moments through the chapter. The author begins with an account of the making of the covenant with Israel. Abner, who was Saul’s general, had really prepared the way for David’s rule over the whole of the Twelve Tribes. In chapter 3 we read in verse 17.
“Now Abner had communicated with the elders of Israel, saying, “In time past you were seeking for David to be king over you. Now then, do it! For the Lord has spoken of David, saying, ‘By the hand of My servant David, I will save My people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and the hand of all their enemies.’” And Abner also spoke in the hearing of Benjamin. Then Abner also went to speak in the hearing of David in Hebron all that seemed good to Israel and the whole house of Benjamin.”
And so, we read here in chapter 5, “Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and spoke, saying.”
Note that they had three grounds for making David king over all of the Twelve Tribes.
First of all, they spoke, saying, verse 1, “Indeed we are your bone and your flesh.” So the ties of kingship were, first of all, mentioned as the qualifications of David for the rule. Moses had said some things about the king of Israel, a long time ago. It seemed strange because at the time they had no king and it was not God’s will for Israel to ever have a king except the Lord himself. But they longed to have a king, just like the nations, and God did finally give them Saul.
Moses had some instructions about the king. Deuteronomy chapter 17 verse 15 states, “You shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother.”
This was to be, ideally, the Lord Jesus Christ but because of Israel’s desire to have a king just like the others, they got Saul. It’s difficult for Christians to be what they really are, different. It’s difficult to realize that a different kind of life flows through the veins and the spirits of believers. It’s difficult for us to realize that we are not of this world. We are separate. And so, in the case of Israel, they were told in the beginning that they were to have one of them, and one of them only, as a king. God intended, ideally, only our Lord Jesus Christ. But Israel was not willing to trust the Lord God alone as their king and so a succession of kings comes. And David is one of the line but they all point forward to the Lord Jesus Christ. So first of all then, they point out that David is one of them. The ties of kingship, “Indeed, we are your bone and your flesh.” And so David qualified in that respect.
Secondly, they point to his proven leadership, they say, “Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out and brought them in,” and so, consequently, they appeal to the fact that he stood out as a leader. You could go back and read the passages in 1 Samuel chapter 18 verse 5, verse 13, verse 16, and verse 30. And they all make that point that when David was serving Saul, the soul of the nation was knit to him because of the accomplishments of him in his leading role. So, consequently, his proven leadership.
And we can put it down into the principles of this, that his calling is evidenced in his conduct as of the Lord. “By their fruits you shall know them.” And in David’s case, not only was he one of them, but he also had been proven to be a leader with excellent qualities.
And then, finally, at the end of verse 2, the third of the reasons, we read, “And the Lord said to you, ‘You shall shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over Israel.’” So, ultimately, it was the divine approval. They had resisted him, the eleven tribes, under Ishbosheth, under Saul, but now they’ve become reconciled to him, acknowledged that God’s choice all along has been David.
As a result of it, they came and came to him at Hebron. And David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord. And they anointed David king over Israel. And he was anointed, as a shepherd king. He was to shepherd them and to be a shepherd king.
One of the great themes of the word of God is that the Lord Jesus is our shepherd. David makes a great deal of it. Jacob, of course, spoke about the God who shepherded him all the days of his life. Micah speaks about one who shall stand and shepherd his people Israel. And so the kind of king that Israel is to have is not the kind of king such as a Saddam Hussein or a Joseph Stalin an autocratic dictator but a shepherd king; one who rules but one who rules with the care and the concern that a shepherd manifests for his flock. Samuel doesn’t tell us this but 1 Chronicles chapter 12 tells us that when they came to Hebron and anointed him king they had a feast for several days.
1 Chronicles chapter 12 and right at the end of the chapter. “And they were there with David three days, eating and drinking, for their brethren had prepared for them. Moreover those who were near to them, from as far away as Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, were bringing food on donkeys and camels, on mules and oxen, provisions of flour and cakes of figs and cakes of raisins, wine and oil and oxen and sheep abundantly, for there was joy in Israel.”
And so they celebrated it with three days of feasting. Then there is a brief chronological note in verses 4 and 5 that we will pass over. But we note now that after David has been anointed king, his thoughts turn toward Jerusalem.
Jerusalem had a Jebusite fortified citadel right in its midst. As David looked out over the scene and reflected upon the fact, he realized that the Jebusites, a Canaanite people, should not be allowed to live within Israel, and particularly right in the city. So in a remarkable exhibition of faith and political and military foresight, David and his men go to Jerusalem to take the citadel of the Jebusites. We read, “And the king and his men,” that’s the six hundred men, “who were his army for so long, and they went 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 all along that it’s impossible for David to overcome this citadel.”
It was remarkable foresight that David thought of Jerusalem. If you look back at the history of that part of the country, you can remember that it must have had for him a great deal of nostalgia. Abraham had offered up Isaac at Mount Moriah, right nearby. The great men of the Old Testament had often passed by, those that preceded David, had often passed by that hill and they looked at it. And now David, in thinking about his kingdom, looks at it as the ideal place to have his kingdom. But, when he arrives, the Jebusites hold it. And they are so confident that they will keep that stronghold that they say to him, look, if we only have cripples, you cannot take it. The cripples can keep this city. It’s such a stronghold. They thought themselves impregnable, obviously. And so a garrison of cripples they felt could defend the city against David and his men.
One of the reasons that David wanted this was the simple reason that the presence of alien Jebusites in the land was something that disturbed him because God had said that Israel was to be a separate people. To have Jebusites right in the midst of the land and among them was something that he could not take. The presence of alien peoples in the midst of the peoples of God, defiant of David and worshippers of blind and lame idols, it was something that he felt he ought to get rid of.
Someone has put it this way, “For such an alien element to occupy a strong hold in the very heart of the country, was a most galling thought to one intensely patriotic and brave, and could not but have suggested to him the defective courage and faith of his ancestors in Israel, who allowed such a thing to be possible. It was no mere love of fighting, no desire to create a diversion on his accession to power that induced him to challenge his best men to seize the position. It was statesmanship, regard for the purity of the national life, and the honor of him who originally gave the land to Israel for an inheritance. The people of God must be separate from the heathen.” So for fundamentally spiritual reasons but spiritual reasons that had military significance for him, he determined that the powers of darkness represented by the Jebusites would not have a foothold in his land. And so he came and he offered a challenge to his men and the challenge is represented in verse 8, “Who ever climbs up by way of the water shaft and defeats the Jebusites” he shall be chief and captain.
There was a spring, the spring of Gihon, which was to the south and east of that mountain or that citadel, and it as there that the Jebusites and others who lived up on the stronghold got their water. And there was a shaft that went from the top down, within, to the spring. And so David conceived the idea that the way to get in to the stronghold is by the water shaft. It was a brilliant piece of military maneuvering and Joab and some of the men managed to go up the shaft and into the city and overcame the Jebusites on the top of it. By so doing, he conquered the stronghold, masterminded by David but conquered by his men. The city, as a result of that, came to be called the City of David. David did some construction around it to strengthen it further. And the writer of the chapter adds the important point in verse 10, “So David went on and became great, and the Lord God of hosts was with him.”
You may have wondered about the expression, “The blind and the lame” and especially that clause “Who are hated by David’s soul, who are hated by David’s soul.” What he intends for us to understand by it is the same thing that we are to understand when Jesus says, “If a man does not hate father and mother, brother and sister, he cannot be my disciple.” He means, in other words, hate in the sense of despising anything that is contrary to the purpose of God. And these individuals were hated by David, not personally, but because they represented the intrusion of the kingdom of Satan within the kingdom of the Lord God. And so, the city was taken.
The author of the Epistle of the Hebrews makes a great deal over the fact that the Lord Jesus is a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. Melchizedek appears in the Bible in Genesis 14 and then one verse in Psalm 110, written by David, “Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” Why is Jesus is called a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek? Melchizedek is called King of Salem. Salem is the old name for Jerusalem. Melchizedek had a priesthood, of God Most High, on Salem, or in Salem, inclusive, evidently, of the stronghold of Zion.
So when David conquered Jerusalem, the priesthood that belonged to Melchizedek was regarded as now belonging to him. And so, in the case of David, we have one who is both king and the inheritor of the priesthood of the Most High God.
Jesus is a king and a priest, High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, but also one who has the throne of David. So the figure of the king/priest is the result, ultimately, at least in David’s thinking, of the taking of the old kingdom of Salem, where the high priesthood of Melchizedek existed.
From verse 9 on, we read of the consolidation of David’s kingdom, a local consolidation, and he constructs the citadel in a way to further protect his palace.
And then, Hiram, King of Tyre, they did have economics in those days, business, and Hiram at Tyre had a large business and one of his businesses was in woodwork. And he wanted to have good relationships with this rising and budding kingdom, and so he provided for David messengers with the promise of cedar trees and carpenters and masons and they built David a palace, a house. Now, as a result of that, we read in verse 12, “So David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel.”
You would never know that David had some of the feelings that you and I have. That is, at times, we want some confirmation. And David seems to have no problems. But every now and then, you can see evidence of the fact that David is just like you and me. He follows what he thinks is the will of God but from time to time the confirmations are given to encourage him further. I like to read that because it reminds me how I, too, feel much the same thing when I fell I’m doing the Lord’s will but then there comes a confirmation from the Lord that it really is the Lord’s will.
So we read Hiram’s response to David’s kingdom and all that had happened, brought him further knowledge that the Lord had established him as king over Israel, and that “He had exalted His kingdom for the sake” not of David, you’ll note but “for the sake of His people Israel.”
The remainder of the chapter records decisive defeats of the Philistines. They heard the news that David had been anointed king over the Twelve Tribes and they recognize here an enemy. The fact that he now was in Jerusalem, and had conquered the Jebusites made the enemies of the people of the Lord attack.
When the Philistines came up, David went down to the stronghold and there gathered his men together and thought about what they were going to do. He inquired of the Lord and the Lord said, “Go up against the Philistines, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hands.” The result was that David went to Baal Perazim and defeated them there. David said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me, like the breakthrough of water.” In other words, the victory was so decisive it’s as if the Lord had burst through ahead of him. He’s the Lord of the Breakthrough. And the result was that the gods of the Philistines, who had been carried there by their men, had been left on the field and David and his men gathered them up. It’s a terrible thing to have a god that you have to carry around, isn’t it? How much better is it to have a God who carries us around. And Isaiah, in one of his great chapters in his prophesy makes that point. “The heathen have to carry their gods around. They have to put them on wagons with beasts of burden, who have a hard time carrying them about. But our God carries us.”
And so they won. But that’s not enough because the Philistines decide they are going to attack again. And so they come up again in the Valley of Rephaim. And this time, when David inquired of the Lord, the Lord said, “Now, we’ll not do it the same way this time.” No doubt the Philistines were prepared for the frontal attack this time. And so, the Lord said, “Now, we’ll just have a little surprise attack from the rear. And David, you gather around and get in the rear of them. That will also cut off their escape, so if they manage to try to escape, they’ll have to go a circuitous route. And when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees,” the Rabbis like to speak of this as the angels in the top of the trees. Probably related to the fact that in Psalm 104, the angels are called winds and spirits. In fact, spirit is a term used of angels in the word of God. But, “When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” And so they gathered around in the rear and concealed themselves until finally, the sound came and the wind of the spirit of God, flowing through the trees, made the rustling sound, sound like marching men. And David said, “Quick, attack. And they attacked the sleeping Philistines,” at least, they were sleeping in the sense of totally unprepared and God drove the Philistines back through David from Geba as far as Gezer. There is a place for waiting and there is a place for acting. And this was the time to act.
You can see, as you read this chapter and ponder it that under girding and controlling David’s life is the sovereign electing grace of God. Verse 3, verse 7 and 8, verse 10, verse 12, verse 20, verse 24, all underline the fact that the secret of David’s success is the blessing of the sovereign God who is caring for him and who is with him. When we realize that God as the sovereign God is with us through Jesus Christ, what a blessing that is to know that fact, the gods of the heathen are not like our God.
A T-shirt said, “Their rock is not like our Rock.” That comes from Deuteronomy chapter 32:31, “For their rock is not like our rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.” There were probably quite a few Philistines, after those two battles, who said the problem with us is we have the wrong god. Our gods are different from their gods. Our rocks are weaker than their rock, their Jehovah.
It’s wonderful to have the confidence that God’s sovereign grace sustains us in all the experiences of our lives. But sudden reversals may come to God’s saints also. Just as David has been anointed king and just as he has taken Jerusalem, and everything seems wonderful, the Philistines attack. It’s not surprising that when we think we have everything nice and easy, that things turn out otherwise. These things happen to wean us from confidence in men, things, and self and to keep us from building too permanent a nest down here upon this earth. But we can rest in the knowledge that God is going to fulfill his promise.
The Lord Jesus is baptized as the Son of God and the voice from Heaven comes. “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” And then, the Spirit drives him into the wilderness to be tested for forty days.
Joseph has his dream and his brethren bow down before him, and it looks as if Joseph is going to have a marvelous future. And what happens? His brethren hate him and send him into captivity. As a matter of fact, hope he might die.
The motto of King Alfred is very fitting. “If today thou be conqueror or err of the fight, tomorrow.” If today thou be conquered, prepare for the fight of tomorrow. So, it’s not surprising then that the reversals come.
Finally notice David constantly seeking divine guidance. He used his God-given mind but he also submitted his mind to the sovereign control of the Lord God. So, using his own mind, he inquired of the Lord.
The methods of God vary. He sometimes wins battles by frontal attack. Sometimes by the attack from the rear, but the constant touch with the Lord God was the secret of David’s success. That’s the only way in which you and I will be able to accomplish the Christian life, to the blessing of us and the pleasure of the Lord God.
When the Lord Jesus was ready to choose his apostles, he prayed all night as he selected the twelve men. When the Lord Jesus left the apostles to cross the sea, he went up into the mountain. And as they were dealing with the wind and the waves, he was on the mountain praying. In Gethsemane, as he faced his greatest trial, he was on his knees praying, constantly. As a matter of fact, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews adds something not found in the Gospels. He prayed with strong crying and tears.
Spurgeon wrote “No doubt, by praying we learn to pray. And the more we pray, the oftener we can pray and the better we can pray.” He also made the point that you don’t become a prayer warrior unless you learn to persevere in prayer. Abraham and Jacob praying all night at Peniel, the Lord’s praying all night, Elijah praying to shut up heaven, these folks didn’t just pray on occasion. Rather, their lives were characterized by constant prayer and growth in perseverance in prayer.
As Christians, that that’s the only way in which you and I will truly live a life that is pleasing to the Lord God. But, as we look over this chapter, we see the great statesmanlike leader, King David, so spiritual that he wrote the magnificent psalms. Yet, in times of stress, this man turned to the Lord. May we do the same. There is no way that you and I, less gifted than King David, can succeed if we do not make it a habit of our lives, to inquire of the Lord God.