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2 Samuel 3:6-5:16 – David Becomes King of Israel

Summary

David's accession to the throne of Israel follows the same pattern as his accession to Judah's throne.

Analysis

David's accession to Israel's throne follows the pattern established in 1:1-3:5:

Activity Judah Israel
(1:1-3:5) (3:6-5:16)
A warrior meets with David 1:1-13 3:6-21
The warrior is executed 1:14-16 3:22-32
David laments 1:17-27 3:33-34
Rivals eliminated (lacking) 4:1-12
David anointed king 2:1-7 5:1-5
David consolidates through war2:8-3:1 5:6-12
List of children born to David 3:2-5 5:13-16

Only the elimination of David's rivals in Israel--Ishbaal the son of Saul and Mephibosheth, Jonathan's son--breaks the pattern. Ishbaal is executed (4:5-8) and Mephibosheth is shown to be unfit as king due to his physical limitations (4:4). All these texts are at pains to show that David was not responsible for the deaths of his rivals.

2 Samuel 3:6-5:16

6 While there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner was making himself strong in the house of Saul. 7Now Saul had a concubine whose name was Rizpah daughter of Aiah. And Ishbaal* said to Abner, ‘Why have you gone in to my father’s concubine?’ 8The words of Ishbaal* made Abner very angry; he said, ‘Am I a dog’s head for Judah? Today I keep showing loyalty to the house of your father Saul, to his brothers, and to his friends, and have not given you into the hand of David; and yet you charge me now with a crime concerning this woman. 9So may God do to Abner and so may he add to it! For just what the Lord has sworn to David, that will I accomplish for him, 10to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul, and set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan to Beer-sheba.’ 11And Ishbaal* could not answer Abner another word, because he feared him.

12 Abner sent messengers to David at Hebron,* saying, ‘To whom does the land belong? Make your covenant with me, and I will give you my support to bring all Israel over to you.’ 13He said, ‘Good; I will make a covenant with you. But one thing I require of you: you shall never appear in my presence unless you bring Saul’s daughter Michal when you come to see me.’ 14Then David sent messengers to Saul’s son Ishbaal,* saying, ‘Give me my wife Michal, to whom I became engaged at the price of one hundred foreskins of the Philistines.’ 15Ishbaal* sent and took her from her husband Paltiel the son of Laish. 16But her husband went with her, weeping as he walked behind her all the way to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, ‘Go back home!’ So he went back.

17 Abner sent word to the elders of Israel, saying, ‘For some time past you have been seeking David as king over you. 18Now then bring it about; for the Lord has promised David: Through my servant David I will save my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines, and from all their enemies.’ 19Abner also spoke directly to the Benjaminites; then Abner went to tell David at Hebron all that Israel and the whole house of Benjamin were ready to do.

20 When Abner came with twenty men to David at Hebron, David made a feast for Abner and the men who were with him. 21Abner said to David, ‘Let me go and rally all Israel to my lord the king, in order that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may reign over all that your heart desires.’ So David dismissed Abner, and he went away in peace.

Abner Is Killed by Joab

22 Just then the servants of David arrived with Joab from a raid, bringing much spoil with them. But Abner was not with David at Hebron, for David* had dismissed him, and he had gone away in peace. 23When Joab and all the army that was with him came, it was told Joab, ‘Abner son of Ner came to the king, and he has dismissed him, and he has gone away in peace.’ 24Then Joab went to the king and said, ‘What have you done? Abner came to you; why did you dismiss him, so that he got away? 25You know that Abner son of Ner came to deceive you, and to learn your comings and goings and to learn all that you are doing.’

26 When Joab came out from David’s presence, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the cistern of Sirah; but David did not know about it. 27When Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gateway to speak with him privately, and there he stabbed him in the stomach. So he died for shedding* the blood of Asahel, Joab’s* brother. 28Afterwards, when David heard of it, he said, ‘I and my kingdom are for ever guiltless before the Lord for the blood of Abner son of Ner. 29May the guilt* fall on the head of Joab, and on all his father’s house; and may the house of Joab never be without one who has a discharge, or who is leprous,* or who holds a spindle, or who falls by the sword, or who lacks food!’ 30So Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.

31 Then David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, ‘Tear your clothes, and put on sackcloth, and mourn over Abner.’ And King David followed the bier. 32They buried Abner at Hebron. The king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept. 33The king lamented for Abner, saying,
‘Should Abner die as a fool dies?
34 Your hands were not bound,
   your feet were not fettered;
as one falls before the wicked
   you have fallen.’
And all the people wept over him again. 35Then all the people came to persuade David to eat something while it was still day; but David swore, saying, ‘So may God do to me, and more, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun goes down!’ 36All the people took notice of it, and it pleased them; just as everything the king did pleased all the people. 37So all the people and all Israel understood that day that the king had no part in the killing of Abner son of Ner. 38And the king said to his servants, ‘Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? 39Today I am powerless, even though anointed king; these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too violent for me. The Lord pay back the one who does wickedly in accordance with his wickedness!’

Ishbaal Assassinated

4When Saul’s son Ishbaal* heard that Abner had died at Hebron, his courage failed, and all Israel was dismayed. 2Saul’s son had two captains of raiding bands; the name of one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab. They were sons of Rimmon, a Benjaminite from Beeroth—for Beeroth is considered to belong to Benjamin. 3(Now the people of Beeroth had fled to Gittaim and are there as resident aliens to this day).

4 Saul’s son Jonathan had a son who was crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled; and, in her haste to flee, it happened that he fell and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth.*

5 Now the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, set out, and about the heat of the day they came to the house of Ishbaal,* while he was taking his noonday rest. 6They came inside the house as though to take wheat, and they struck him in the stomach; then Rechab and his brother Baanah escaped.* 7Now they had come into the house while he was lying on his couch in his bedchamber; they attacked him, killed him, and beheaded him. Then they took his head and travelled by way of the Arabah all night long. 8They brought the head of Ishbaal* to David at Hebron and said to the king, ‘Here is the head of Ishbaal,* son of Saul your enemy who sought your life; the Lord has avenged my lord the king this day on Saul and on his offspring.’

9 David answered Rechab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, ‘As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life out of every adversity, 10when the one who told me, “See, Saul is dead”, thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and killed him at Ziklag—this was the reward I gave him for his news. 11How much more then, when wicked men have killed a righteous man on his bed in his own house! And now shall I not require his blood at your hand, and destroy you from the earth?’ 12So David commanded the young men, and they killed them; they cut off their hands and feet, and hung their bodies beside the pool at Hebron. But the head of Ishbaal* they took and buried in the tomb of Abner at Hebron.

David Anointed King of All Israel

5Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron, and said, ‘Look, we are your bone and flesh. 2For some time, while Saul was king over us, it was you who led out Israel and brought it in. The Lord said to you: It is you who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you who shall be ruler over Israel.’ 3So 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. 4David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for forty years. 5At Hebron he reigned over Judah for seven years and six months; and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah for thirty-three years.

Jerusalem Made Capital of the Combined Kingdom

6 The king and his men marched to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, ‘You will not come in here, even the blind and the lame will turn you back’—thinking, ‘David cannot come in here.’ 7Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, which is now the city of David. 8David had said on that day, ‘Whoever wishes to strike down the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft to attack the lame and the blind, those whom David hates.’* Therefore it is said, ‘The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.’ 9David occupied the stronghold, and named it the city of David. David built the city all around from the Millo inwards. 10And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him.

11 King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar trees, and carpenters and masons who built David a house. 12David then perceived that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.

13 In Jerusalem, after he came from Hebron, David took more concubines and wives; and more sons and daughters were born to David. 14These are the names of those who were born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet.

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v 2.2.7
10 February 2011

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