2Samuel 5:1 ¶ Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh.
2Samuel 5:2 Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel.
2Samuel 5:3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel.
2Samuel 5:4 David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.
2Samuel 5:5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah.
At some point the leaders of the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron to make him their king. They first presented themselves as brothers—all children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They noted that even when Saul was king, David had established himself as a great military leader. Interestingly, they then admitted that they knew that it was the LORD’s will for David to be their leader and protector. (So why had they not made him king in the first place?)
Interesting note: The word for “feed” in verse two references tending a flock. David’s early days were spent as a shepherd for his father’s flocks. His days as the king of Israel would be spent as shepherd of his Heavenly Father’s flocks.
David welcomed them and made a covenant of peace with them with the LORD as witness, so they anointed David as King over Israel. According to 1Chronicles 12, over 340,000 men were part of this delegation, and we are told that there was a great time of celebration that followed the declaration of a united nation under King David.
1 Chronicles 12:38–40 “All these men of war, that could keep rank, came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel: and all the rest also of Israel were of one heart to make David king. And there they were with David three days, eating and drinking: for their brethren had prepared for them. Moreover they that were nigh them, even unto Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, brought bread on asses, and on camels, and on mules, and on oxen, and meat, meal, cakes of figs, and bunches of raisins, and wine, and oil, and oxen, and sheep abundantly: for there was joy in Israel.”
We are also told that David was 30 years old when he began his 40-year reign as king. The first 7.5 years he reigned over Judah in Hebron; the next 33 years he reigned over all Israel and Judah from Jerusalem.
2Samuel 5:6 ¶ And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither.
Though we aren’t given any of David’s reasoning, he wanted to make Jerusalem his capital. The IVP Old Testament Commentary adds some insight: “The city is strategically located along an east-west road that runs from the fords of the Jordan near Jericho to the coastal highway. It is also by the most significant north-south road that runs through the hill country from Beersheba to Beth Shan. Its location is also strategic because of its position by the border between Judah and Benjamin. The deep valleys on the east and west of the ridge and the reliable water supply found at the Gihon spring combined to make the location defensible and desirable.”
The Jebusites that lived in Jerusalem, however, were not ready to give him their city. They taunted David saying that even the blind and lame of their city could prevent him from conquering their city.
JFB provides some insight regarding this taunt: “To understand the full meaning and force of this insulting taunt, it is necessary to bear in mind the depth and steepness of the valley of Gihon, and the lofty walls of the ancient Canaanitish fortress.”
2Samuel 5:7 Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David.
2Samuel 5:8 And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, that are hated of David’s soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.
2Samuel 5:9 So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward.
2Samuel 5:10 And David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him.
The taunts had no effect on David. He took the stronghold of Zion, Jerusalem, which would become known as the city of David. I like the wording of the CJB for verse 8: “What David said on that day was, “In order to attack the Y’vusi, you have to climb up [from the spring outside the city] through the water tunnel. Then you can do away with those [so-called] ‘lame and blind’” (whom David despises — hence the expression, “The ‘blind and lame’ keep him from entering the house”).”
The attack, led by Joab, was successful, and David took up residence there and called it the city of David.
1 Chronicles 11:5–6 “And the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, Thou shalt not come hither. Nevertheless David took the castle of Zion, which is the city of David. And David said, Whosoever smiteth the Jebusites first shall be chief and captain. So Joab the son of Zeruiah went first up, and was chief.”
David immediately began fortifying the city, building from Millo inward. He prospered and became great because the LORD God of hosts was with him. “Hosts” is a reference to the armies of heaven.
2Samuel 5:11 ¶ And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons: and they built David an house.
2Samuel 5:12 And David perceived that the LORD had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel’s sake.
This is an interesting section to me. David is a new king whose power has grown quickly in the region, so Hiram, king of Tyre, decides to build David a house or palace. Though there is no mention of an alliance, it would make sense to me that there had to be some sort of agreement between them. Tyre was the kingdom of the Phoenicians in the area of today’s Lebanon. It was known for its great cedar trees and expertise in the shipping industry among other things.
The IVP OT Commentary adds some insight concerning the choice of cedar for a palace: “Beautiful grain, sweet-smelling aroma and durability combined to make cedar the wood of choice for most temples and palaces of the ancient world. High resin content inhibited the growth of fungus.”
David knew that his kingship was a work of the LORD and that his growing power and authority throughout the region was part of God’s will to bless His people Israel.
2Samuel 5:13 And David took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he was come from Hebron: and there were yet sons and daughters born to David.
2Samuel 5:14 And these be the names of those that were born unto him in Jerusalem; Shammua, and Shobab, and Nathan, and Solomon,
2Samuel 5:15 Ibhar also, and Elishua, and Nepheg, and Japhia,
2Samuel 5:16 And Elishama, and Eliada, and Eliphalet.
Sadly, we are told that David proceeded to take more concubines and wives in Jerusalem. These women bore him yet more sons and daughter; following is a list of his sons: Shamua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada and Eliphalet. According to 1Chronicles, Bathsheba was the mother of the first four sons. The Chronicler also notes that there were other sons born by his concubines and names Tamar as his daughter, but no other daughters are named.
1 Chronicles 3:9 “These were all the sons of David, beside the sons of the concubines, and Tamar their sister.”
It seems that though David had great faith in the LORD and often sought His will and direction, he ignored God’s command not to multiply wives and followed the customs of other kings. He would certainly suffer the consequences of that choice.
2Samuel 5:17 ¶ But when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines came up to seek David; and David heard of it, and went down to the hold.
2Samuel 5:18 The Philistines also came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim.
2Samuel 5:19 And David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up to the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the LORD said unto David, Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand.
2Samuel 5:20 And David came to Baalperazim, and David smote them there, and said, The LORD hath broken forth upon mine enemies before me, as the breach of waters. Therefore he called the name of that place Baalperazim.
2Samuel 5:21 And there they left their images, and David and his men burned them.
Once the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, they came up to the valley of Raphaim, the land of the giants, to confront him in war. They knew David’s reputation as a warrior. They figured they had better deal with him immediately before he was able to get more powerful.
David sought the LORD’s will concerning what to do. The LORD told him to go and fight the Philistines, and He would deliver them into David’s hand. David and his troops met the Philistines at Baalperazim in battle and defeated them. The defeat is pictured as water bursting forth from a break in whatever was holding it back. He gave all glory to the LORD for giving him the victory. David and his troops burned all the idol images that they found on the battlefield.
The IVP Old Testament Commentary added this insight on the place the Philistine’s chose to meet David in battle: “…the Valley of Rephaim turns east-southeast toward the area between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. It joins the north-south road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and then heads northeast into Jerusalem. This would be a strategic location for the Philistines to cut David off from potential reinforcements from Judah.”
2Samuel 5:22 And the Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim.
2Samuel 5:23 And when David enquired of the LORD, he said, Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees.
2Samuel 5:24 And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the LORD go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines.
2Samuel 5:25 And David did so, as the LORD had commanded him; and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer.
The Philistines were not to be deterred and once again gathered in the valley of Rephaim. David again sought the LORD’s will concerning what to do. This time the LORD told him not to go out and meet the enemy, but to go behind them and approach from a stand of mulberry/balsam trees. When he heard the sound of marching in the tops of the trees, he was to attack and know that the LORD went before them. David did exactly as the LORD had command him and slaughtered (from the Hebrew for smote) the Philistines from Geba to Gazer.