After Saul died, his son, Ish-Bosheth, was taken by force by Saul’s general, Abner, and made king. Ish Bosheth knew he wasn’t the anointed leader of Israel, but Abner pressed him into the role anyway.
Soon after Saul died, Ish Bosheth is murdered and the murderers bring David his head as proof of their deed.
Unfortunately for these murderers, David has sworn an oath to Saul that he would not cut off any of his descendants. Resultantly, David has the murderers executed.
After this action of righteousness, David begins to repair his communion with God.
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 covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. 2nd Samuel 5:1-3 niv 2011
…the king made a covenant…
Some translations also say compact. The word there is:
berît—Covenant or a compact (because made by passing between pieces of flesh) […]
—Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary
And how I’m going to explain that is to have you look at Genesis 15. In this chapter we see God making a promise to Abram that he will have a son, “your own flesh and blood” v. 4, and that Abram was going to take possession of the land before him, v. 7.
Beginning at verse 8:
8 But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”
9 So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.”
10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. 11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.
12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. 13 Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. 15 You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”
17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land…” Genesis 15:8-18 niv 2011
Here’s what I found about covenants in my NIV Study Bible:
In ancient times the parties solemnized a covenant by walking down an aisle flanked by the pieces of slaughtered animals […]. The practice signified a self-[curse promising] oath: “May it be so done to me if I do not keep my oath and pledge.”
—NIV Study Bible © 1984
And that’s where God Almighty put Himself, in the form of the smoking firepot and blazing torch – may I be torn asunder as these animals have been If I don’t keep my promise to you, Abram.
And that’s what David does with the people of Israel. He promises to lead them as their anointed king, according to what the Lord said to him, “You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.”
David is a gifted warrior and God puts him in charge of defending and protecting His peculiar treasure – this is part of what a good shepherd does. Remember David’s testimony before Saul? Just as he was going to fight Goliath, David declared:
34… “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1st Samuel 17:34-37 niv 2011
And what was it that Jesus said about the good shepherd? I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:11 niv 1984
God wants that kind of a shepherd, and He has anointed it in the person of David.
When David calls on God, there’s enormous victory for the flock. For instance,
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 deliver them into my hands?”
The Lord answered him, “Go, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into your hands.”
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 poplar trees. 24 As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar 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. 2nd Samuel 5:18-25 niv 2011
And when David finally takes Jerusalem and calls it the City of David:
12 Then David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel. 2nd Samuel 5:12 niv 2011
So we know God is in all of that.
But David is covered in the same flesh that we have – and within it dwells a besetting weakness.
13 After he left Hebron, David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and more sons and daughters were born to him. 2nd Samuel 5:13 niv 2011
He has a slug of children that he would have never had had he consulted with the Lord about taking additional wives – and, as we’ll learn in this series, some of the children born of those wives and concubines will make the kind of troubles that Saul could have only fantasized of making for David.
With David’s conquests came some prosperity and freedom. He could finally have some peace. This is a comfortable man at this point, as evidenced by the taking of the additional intimate partners.
Honestly, you cannot have this kind of recreation unless you’re in the midst of some peace and quiet.
And knowing how my flesh influences me during times of prosperity and the peace that comes with it, my personal opinion is that David got sort of full of himself…unfortunately, this condition besieged him shortly before he decided to move the Ark – which we will talk about next week.
Please come back next week for It Seemed Right to all of the People – Part 1 in our series: The Lion of Judah.
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© 2018, Ta`Mara Hanscom