David the King
David’s coronation as king of Israel was a day of great joy that meant more than an end to conflict. It was the beginning of a new era. The road to this momentous occasion, however, was not without hardship or challenges.
For nearly a decade, David had been forced to live as a fugitive because of Saul’s attempts to circumvent God’s rejection of his own reign as Israel’s first king. When Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle with the Philistines, the elders of Israel seized the opportunity to anoint David king (1 Sam. 31; 2 Sam. 5:1).
“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” (2 Sam. 5:1-3.)
Prior to that anointing, however, not all were ready to pledge fealty to David. A faction led by Abner, the captain of Saul’s army, hastily crowned 40-year-old Ishbosheth king (2:9). While he was also a son of Saul, Ishbosheth was not necessarily the people’s choice. The army under Abner’s leadership overruled the will the people out of defiant loyalty to Saul.
For the next seven and a half years, David was forced to deal with Abner’s attempts to thwart God’s will. The biblical record reveals,
“there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. But David grew stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker” (3:1).
Ultimately, Ishbosheth was assassinated without David’s knowledge or consent. David wisely exacted swift judgment on the two perpetrators for their murderous act; they were executed (4:9-12).
Recognizing David’s genuine grief and obvious innocence in the affair, those in Israel who had supported the line of Saul acted to end the conflict between Judah and Israel. Sending delegations to Hebron where David had established headquarters, the words of the people are significant on the occasion of his coronation.
The delegates appealed to David saying, “Indeed we are your bone and your flesh” (5:1). In recognizing their moral obligation to unite under common ancestry as descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, unity was in their best interest—especially under David’s capable leadership.
They also reminded David that, “when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out and brought them in” (v. 2). The delegates acknowledged that David had already distinguished himself as a leader over a united Israel.
God had given David spectacular success which established his reputation as a great leader and endeared him to the people of Israel (1 Sam. 18:16). The Israelites in the military had seen David in action and sanctioned his rapid promotion in Saul’s army.
The ten northern tribes were now openly admitting readiness to unite under David’s leadership in obedience to God. They concluded their speeches saying,
“and the Lord said to you, ‘You shall shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over Israel’” (2 Sam. 5:2).
While it should have been their first line of reasoning, seven years of rebellion preceded the people’s recognition of God’s obvious choice for the throne.
More than 349,000 mighty men had come in the delegations to Hebron on behalf of the 12 tribes of Israel (1 Chr. 11-12). They were the military elite from the Tribes of Israel now united as the army loyal to David, “and all the rest of Israel were of one mind to make David king” (12:38).
That day the people publicly confirmed God’s choice and anointed David king of Israel (2 Sam. 5:3). Food was brought from surrounding areas on mules, donkeys, camels and oxen; and, the nation gathered in Hebron for three days of celebration, “for there was joy in Israel” (12:40).
The epic event marked the beginning of the Davidic Dynasty. What had begun when Samuel anointed David some 15 years earlier was realized at his coronation in Hebron. While it didn’t happen overnight, God fulfilled His plan for the young shepherd who was now king of united Israel.
When you’re tempted to think God isn’t doing anything in your life, remember what God did for David. It isn’t always easy to see what God is doing. But at the right moment, the fulfillment of God’s plan and purpose will be visible for all to see.
1) Details: King David statue, Jerusalem. By Djampa (Own work) [GFDL]/Wikimedia Commons/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios
2) Detail: Palace of King David, Jerusalem, Israel. Copyright © Charles E. McCracken Archives
Copyright © 2016 Charles E. McCracken. Repost/Reprint with permission. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.