2 Samuel 5:1-25

1] Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “Behold, we are your bone and flesh.

Ishbosheth has been dead for a while. The tribes at first were probably very skeptical; some were angry because of Abner’s death in David’s territory. They expected David to make a move for the entire throne of Israel after these two deaths. He doesn’t do this. He waits on God’s timing. He waits for the other eleven tribes to come to him to crown him as Israel’s king and that is what they do. David is an example of a New Testament principle.

Matthew 23:12— And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

All of his suffering, trials, afflictions, heartache, and waiting for God’s promises to be fulfilled are now worth it all as he will be crowned king of Israel. This chapter fulfills a dream and God’s promise comes true. The wait was worth it all.

2] In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. And the Lord said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.’ ”

3] So 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.

David is anointed for a third time, now as king of Israel. He who has suffered now reigns and is exalted. God used his trials and tribulations to develop character and patience in his life.

David bound himself formally to certain obligations toward the Israelites, including their rights and responsibilities to one another and to the Lord (cf. 2Ki 11:17). As good as this covenant was, it did not end the underlying sense of separate identity felt by Israel and Judah as the revolt of Sheba (20:1) and the dissolution of the united kingdom under Rehoboam (1Ki 12:16) would later demonstrate. they anointed David. David’s third anointing (2:4; 1Sa 16:13) resulted in the unification of the 12 tribes under his kingship. John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), 2 Sa 5:3.

4] David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.

5] At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.

6] And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, “You will not come in here, but the blind and the lame will ward you off”—thinking, “David cannot come in here.”

No sooner David is crowned, he is in conflict. When you crown Christ as your king, it will not free you of problems and battles.

The account of David’s kingship over Israel starts with the capture of Jerusalem, on the boundary between Judah and Benjamin. It had not been controlled by any tribe, and thus it was both symbolically and geographically better suited to be the capital of all Israel than Hebron (in central Judah). Jerusalem was the “Salem” of Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18). It has been fortified since the Middle Bronze Age, i.e., the first half of the second millennium b.c. In the second half of the millennium it was one of the city-states of Canaan that was under the influence of Egypt. Several letters from the king of Jerusalem to the pharaoh exist among the fourteenth-century Amarna letters. The Jebusites are listed among the Canaanites in Gen. 10:16 and, broadly speaking, were considered to be among the Amorites (Josh. 10:5). The city was too strong to be conquered at the time of Joshua (Josh. 15:63; Judg. 1:21). The Jebusite city, the stronghold of Zion, was located on the western slope of the Kidron Valley above the city’s water source, the spring of Gihon. An extensive network of water tunnels has been excavated, one of which was probably the water shaft through which David’s men entered the city. This water shaft is often identified with “Warren’s Shaft,” which is directly over the water channel near the spring, though recent archaeological finds have challenged this. According to 1 Chron. 11:6, Joab led the attack and was therefore made David’s chief commander. Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 549.

7] Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David.

This is the first occurrence of “Zion” in the Bible and the only one in 1 and 2 Samuel. Referring here to the Jebusite citadel on the southeastern hill, the name was also later used of the temple mount (Is 10:12) and of the entire city of Jerusalem (Is 28:16). city of David. Both Bethlehem, David’s birthplace (Lk 2:4), and Jerusalem, David’s place of reign, were called by this title. John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), 2 Sa 5:7.

8] And David said on that day, “Whoever would strike the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft to attack ‘the lame and the blind,’ who are hated by David’s soul.” Therefore it is said, “The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.”

9] And David lived in the stronghold and called it the city of David. And David built the city all around from the Millo inward.

10] And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him.

11] And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, also carpenters and masons who built David a house.

Hiram king of Tyre is mentioned in 1 Kings 5:1–18 as a friend of Solomon who provides the cedars to build the temple, just as here he provides David with cedars to build his house. Tyre was a trading empire, and it was in its interest to keep the inland trade routes, especially those through Israel to Egypt, open to its merchants. According to Josephus, however, Hiram did not begin to reign until near the end of David’s own reign. If that is correct, either this construction should be dated toward the end of David’s reign or the Hiram in 1 Kings is the successor (probably son) of the Hiram here, who continued his father’s good relationship with David. The cedars of Lebanon (which have now all but disappeared) were famous throughout the Near East. There are Assyrian reliefs of men cutting them down and transporting them to Nineveh. Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 551.

12] And David knew that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.

13] And David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he came from Hebron, and more sons and daughters were born to David.

This is a summary statement about David’s kingship in Jerusalem (cf. 3:2–5); it does not mean that these sons were all born before 5:17. The birth of Solomon is mentioned in 12:24. None of the other sons play a major role in the Samuel-Kings narratives. The parallel passages 1 Chron. 3:5–8 and 14:4–7 list two more sons in addition, and comparison with a Dead Sea Scroll suggests that the two names might have been omitted in the Masoretic text of Samuel. Nathan (2 Sam. 5:14) was an ancestor of Jesus (Luke 3:31; see note on Luke 3:23–38), as was Solomon (Matt. 1:6–7). Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 551.

14 And these are the names of those who were born to him in Jerusalem: 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, all the Philistines went up to search for David. But David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. 

18 Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim.

19 And David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand?” And the Lord said to David, “Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand.” 

20 And David came to Baal-perazim, and David defeated them there. And he said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me like a breaking flood.” Therefore the name of that place is called Baal-perazim.

21 And the Philistines left their idols there, and David and his men carried them away. 

22 And the Philistines came up yet again and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim.

23 And when David inquired of the Lord, he said, “You shall not go up; go around to their rear, and come against them opposite the balsam trees. 

24 And when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then rouse yourself, for then the Lord has gone out before you to strike down the army of the Philistines.”

25 And David did as the Lord commanded him, and struck down the Philistines from Geba to Gezer.

One of the most important statements in this chapter is verse 19, “And David enquired of the Lord.” He was the king of a great realm, but David felt that even on a throne he needed the Lord’s counsel. David was not satisfied without something higher and greater than himself. There is no status in life beyond the necessity of prayer. The day will come when prayer gives way to only praise. But in this world no one can rise above their circumstances. No one can escape the many needs to be filled, sins to be forgiven, and tears to be wiped away. We need to inquire of the Lord. There is nothing so small that He does not know, care for, and control. Do you inquire of the Lord as you should? How can you grow in your prayer life?

God leads His people in different ways, and we must learn to be sensitive and open to Him. It was just the sound of rustling leaves that was David’s sign to move against the enemy—something very ordinary and very subtle. Yet having prayed for God to lead, he was paying attention to the divine instruction. Too often in seeking God’s will we try to set the terms or devise scenarios in which we challenge the Lord to act in the most obvious of ways (fleece after fleece). Sometimes He does. But more often it is just the “whisper” of His Spirit through His Word that gives the answer we need. The key is to fear Him so that He gives us His counsel (Ps. 25:14). Joel R. Beeke, Michael P. V. Barrett, and Gerald M. Bilkes, eds., The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2014), 437–438.