Character of Jonathan I am amazed at the relationship between Jonathan and David. Jonathan knew that David was the one selected to be king over Israel, and with that knowledge came the realization
that he, Jonathan, would never be king of Israel. Because of the sins of his father, Jonathan knew that his friend David would wear the crown originally meant for him. Yet the relationship continued. He loved David more and more and, in fact, risked his own life for David.
Chapter 19:8 records that David again fought the Philistines
and was victorious. Although everyone benefited, Saul, in
his petty jealousy, was angered because he was not included.
He did not care that the nation prospered and was victorious over its
historic enemy. His anger waxed hot against David and he attempted to kill him. However, Michal lowered David, her husband, down from a window and he escaped Saul’s hand. That night David became a fugitive and will remain a fugitive until the end of the book of First Samuel.
XXVI DAVID THE FUGITIVE
FIRST SAMUEL David had fled from Saul, confused, wondering what it all meant, knowing the prophet Samuel had anointed him to be king of Israel, but now forced to flee from the man who currently occupied the throne.
His Flight His first encounter after leaving his wife and home, was with Ahimelech the priest at Nob. Ahimelech had heard about the military exploits of David, and he came trembling, wondering what David wanted with him. I am sure Ahimelech knew that Saul hated David and had on occasion tried to kill him. To ease his mind, David resorted to a lie, saying (vs. 2): “The king has commissioned me with a matter. “ This lie later caused the death of Ahimelech and his entire family as we will see in chapter 22:18. David’s lie, like the commitment of Joshua to the Gibeonites many centuries before, resulted in the suffering of many innocent people a short time later.
The priest helped David by giving him food and the sword of
Goliath which had been kept wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod in
the area where the priest lived. David then went to the most logical
place, in his mind-the place where Saul would never go-that was to
Achish, the king of Gath, one of the five major Philistine cities. David, I
assume, believed he would not be recognized; but when he arrived at
Gath, the Philistines looked at him, squinted just a little bit, and
said, “Isn’t this the one about whom they sang ‘Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?”’ They knew that the song had been created because of David’s victory over their own armies.
When David realized that they recognized him, he feared Achish.
In those times, a person who was insane was considered to be holy or possessed by spirits. Being superstitious, the people did not wish to harm such a one. In many of the royal courts, insane people were kept as good luck charms, or as a prevention against evil spirits. David, probably realizing this, pretended to play the madman before Achish. He began to scribble and scratch on the city gates. He let saliva run out of the comer of his mouth onto his beard, and acted completely incoherent. It was the perfect disguise in the presence of the Philistines. Achish said (vss. 14-15):
Lo, ye see the man is mad: wherefore then have ye brought
him to me? Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought
this fellow to play the mad man in my presence? shall this
fellow come into my house? Because of this deception, they drove him away and verse 22:1 says that David “escaped to the cave Adullam.”
Gathering Supporters When David’s brothers and his father’s household learned where he was, they went down and joined him. The cave Adullam was about fifteen miles southwest of Bethlehem and approximately fifteen miles east of Gath. It was not a long journey from the city of Gath where Achish dwelt, but far enough to be safe from him and safe from King Saul as well. It was a perfect hideout.
The superscription of Psalm 57, which is part of the inspired Psalm,
says that it was written by David when he fled from Saul in the cave.
(vs. 1) Be merciful unto me 0 God, be merciful unto me: for my
soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make
my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. (vs. 4) My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.
(vs. 6) They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed
down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof
they are fallen themselves. (vs. 7) My heart is fixed, 0 God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. (vs. 10) For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.
After his family joined him, chapter 22:2 goes on to say, all those
who were in debt, all who were discontented, all who were in distress,
gathered to him there, about four hundred men. David, in effect, be-came the Robin Hood of the Old Testament. All the “rabble” of the land gathered themselves to him. He became captain over a mob, but eventually he would make this mob of malcontents a formidable fighting force.
David went from Adullam to Mizpeh of Moab. He crossed the
Jordan and said to the king of Moab, “Let my father and my mother, I pray thee, come forth, and be with you. “ So “they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the stronghold.” That is, the stronghold of Engedi west of the Dead Sea. Certainly, when Saul found out that David was organizing a small army, it would be looked upon as an attempt at a military coup. David knew his family would be in danger, so he left them with the king of Moab.
Massacre of the Priests Before very long, Saul discovered what was happening and he accused his servants of conspiring with David. Saul was becoming paranoid about everyone and everything. At that point, Doeg the Edonite stepped forward (22:9), and reported that he happened to be present when David went up to Nob and conversed with Ahimelech the priest.
His presence there was recorded in 21:7. He also reported that Ahimelech helped David by giving him, and the men with him, provisions and the sword of Goliath. Saul promptly sent for Ahirnelech and asked, “Why have ye conspired against me?” After hearing Ahimelech’s explanation, he pronounced the death sentence on him (vs. 16). “Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father’s house.”
With these words of Saul, our minds should flash back to I Samuel
2:31 where we read the curse on Eli’s household. The king turned to
his soldiers and commanded them to kill the priests, but they were not
willing to put forth their hands against the priests of the Lord. Not so
with Doeg the Edomite. He willingly killed the eighty-five priests who
wore the linen ephod. Then he went to Nob and destroyed it, killing “with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep” (vs. 19). Following this slaughter, the tabernacle and the altar were moved to Gibeon (II Chron. 1:3).
One son of Ahimelech, named Abiathar, escaped this slaughter
and fled to find David. He was the sole survivor of the curse on the
house of Eli. Abiathar told David all that Saul had done. David replied,
no doubt in tears, “I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father’s house” (vs. 22). Then he invited Abiathar to stay with him. We also know from the next chapter (23:9), that Abiathar had escaped with the ephod, and evidently also the breastplate of righteousness. This man was the great-great-grandson of the wicked priest Eli.
Crises and Encouragement Chapter 23 records the continued attempts by Saul to take the fife of David By verse 13, David’s band of four-hundred men had grown to six hundred. He was continually successful in escaping from Saul because “God delivered him not into his hand.“
About that time, Jonathan sought out David in the wilderness of Ziph
and offered him encouragement (vs. 17).
And he said unto him, Fear not for the hand of Saul my father shall
not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next
unto thee, and that also Saul my father knoweth.
What spiritual insight Jonathan had! The two of them made a covenant before the Lord and Jonathan returned home.
The Ziphites reported David’s hiding place to Saul, but before he
could attack it, God sent a diversion. As he went after David (vs. 27), a messenger told Saul that the Philistines had made a raid on the land. Saul returned from pursuing David and went to meet the Philistines. David, having narrowly escaped, returned to his stronghold at En-gedi.
Saul’s Life Spared Chapter 24 opens with Saul returning from his pursuit of the Philistines and learning that David was in the wilderness of En-gedi. With three thousand of his choicest men, he went after him. Along the way, he went into a cave to rest, not knowing that David and his men already occupied it. David’s men were excited urging him to take advantage of the opportunity to do away with his foe. Instead, David secretly cut off the edge of Saul’s robe. David’s heart and con-science were so tender that even this act bothered him. In verse 6, he said, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord’s anointed.”
This is a marked difference between a carnal and a spiritual man.
The carnal man always wants to take God’s program into his own hands. Or, he will not want God’s program to succeed if he is not included in the process. David was a spiritual man who did not wish to intervene in any way with God’s program, but would allow God to eliminate Saul in His own time. Saul, on the other hand, as a carnal man, wanted to make certain that God’s program did not succeed He attempted to kill David even though he was aware of the fact that he was God’s chosen king to be his successor.
Almost one hundred years later, when Solomon discovered that
God was going to take the kingdom from him and leave his descendents with only two tribes, he attempted to make certain that God’s program would not succeed by attempting to take the life of the man God had chosen as his successor over the northern ten tribes. Even Solomon, who began on such a high spiritual plateau, ended his days as a carnal man.
It was not so here. David had a tender heart and would not touch
God’s anointed. As soon as Saul left the cave, David went outside. He
confronted Saul, saying (vss. 9-12):
Wherefore hearest thou men’s words, saying, Behold David seeketh thy
hurt? Behold this day thine eyes have seen how that the Lord had
delivered thee today into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill
thee, but mine eye spared thee, and I said, I will not put forth mine
hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed. Moreover, my
father, see, yea, for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and kill thee
not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in
mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my
soul to take it. The Lord judge between me and thee, and the Lord
avenge me of thee : but mine hand shall not be upon thee.”
Saul, emotionally disturbed, began to cry and in his confused way, admitted his mistake (vs. 17 fl).
And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I. for thou
hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil. And
thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me:
forasmuch as when the Lord had delivered me into thine hand,
thou killedst me not. For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go
well away? wherefore the Lord reward thee good for that thou hast
done unto me this day.
Listen now to his words in verse 20:
And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king, and
that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thine hand.
Why then did he not repent? Why did he not welcome David home?
Because he was evil! He asked, “Swear now therefore unto me by the Lord, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father’s house.“ David swore and Saul returned home. David and his men returned to the stronghold. Remember that David had already sworn this same oath to Jonathan (20:15-16).
By now, Saul appears unable to act rationally. He had committed
his third tragic sin in the murder of the priests of Nob.
David and Nabal The events of chapter 25 occurred only about two years before David was finally crowned king, so they can be dated to about 1012 B.C. We knew this because David lived in the country of the Philistines for a full year and four months, and he would have gone there very shortly after the events of chapters 25 and 26.
By now David and his men had become professional soldiers. Their self-proclaimed job was to protect the inhabit-ants of the land from marauders who would raid the crops, pillage the villages, and from the philistines who occasionally sent war parties into the southern territory. In return for such protection, David and his men expected to receive food and other necessary provisions from the in-habitants of the southern area.
Chapter 25 introduces a wealthy man named Nabal and
his wife Abigail. David had been protecting the southern
part of the country near Carmel, which is southeast of Hebron by Ziph. It was a special time in the life of Nabal, because it was sheep-shearing day, and a time for celebration. So, David sent ten of his young men to meet Nabal and ask provisions for the army. But Nabal answered them roughly (vss. 10-11):
“Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants
now a days that break away every man from his master.
Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have
killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not
whence they be?
The young men returned empty-handed and reported his words to
David. He was enraged and cried, “Gird ye on every man his sword. “ With four hundred of his men, he set out to get revenge.
However, one of Nabal’s servants reported the incident to
Abigail, Nabal’s wife, testifying to the protection David had
offered them. As a result of Nabal’s discourteous behavior,
he concluded, “evil is determined against our master, and against all his house-hold. for he is such a son of belial, that a man cannot speak to him. “ Abigail was afraid for her household, but moving swiftly, she collected generous provisions, including two hundred loaves of bread and five dressed sheep. She started out to meet David, sending some of her servants ahead and cautioning them not to tell Nabal, her husband.
Meanwhile David was determined to kill every man in Nabal’s
household. “He hath requited me evil for good,“ he said in verse 21. David was a rough man in those times, living by his wits and by his sword. Bloodshed had become his way of life, but he trusted in God. He had been forced, because of his fugitive lifestyle, to live in existence apart from the comforts of civilized life.
Abigail hurried to meet him. Falling on her face she pleaded, “Upon
me, my lord, upon me let the iniquity be: ... Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he: Nabal is his name, and folly is with him. “ The name Nabal meant “fool,” and he certainly lived up to his name. then in verse 28, Abigail made a marvelous prophecy, saying, “the Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house.
As a result of her intercession, David’s heart was made tender
and warm. He replied to her (vs. 28): “Blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand. “ The seriousness of what he had been about to do can best be determined when we remember that just a short time before he had said to Saul (I Sam. 24:12), “May the Lord avenge me of thee, but mine hand shall not be upon thee. “ In the heat of anger, David had temporarily forgotten that the Lord is the avenger and he was about to avenge himself. Thanks to Abigail, his temper calmed down, he abandoned his intention, and received from her hand the provisions she had brought in return for the safety he and his men had provided.
Abigail returned home to find Nabal in the midst of a feast,
drunken. She waited until “the wine was gone out of Nabal“
and then told him what she had done. When he heard of his narrow
escape “his heart died within him, and he became as a stone.” Evidently, he had a stroke and as a result, about ten days later he died. When David heard it, he exclaimed, “Blessed be the Lord, that hath pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and hath kept his servant from evil” (vs. 39). God did avenge both Himself and David.
Since Nabal was dead, David took Abigail to be his wife. Actually,
she was his third wife because we learn in verse 43 that he had also
taken Ahinoam of Jezreel. His first wife Michal, the daughter of Saul,
had been given to Phalti, the son of Laish who was from Gallium, after David had fled from the presence of Saul.
Saul Spared Again The Ziphites were a traitorous group of ingrates. Chapter 26 reports that once again they reported David’s whereabouts to Saul; and the insane king, forgetting his earlier promise and the fact that he owed his life to David, set out after him again. David sent out spies who knew his movements and where he was encamped. Saul, with Abner his commander-in-chief, was in the circle of the camp with his men camped around them.
Like commandos, David and Abishai crawled through the
underbrush down to Saul’s camp. Abishai was the son of Zeruiah, David’s sister. Second Samuel 2:18 tells us that Zeruiah had three sons: Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. These three were valiant warriors to whom David often turned until tragedy struck later in II Samuel 2.
Realizing that the Lord had once again put Saul within David’s
grasp, Abishai begged, “Let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear even to the earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time” (vs. 8).
David refused, saying, “Destroy him not. for who can stretch forth
his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?” This is the key to
David’s life. He knew God would bring His program to pass in His
own time. He would let God choose the means (vss. 10-11):
As the Lord liveth, the Lord shall smite him; or his day shall come
to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish. The Lord forbid
that I should stretch forth mine hand against the Lord’s anointed.
Then he instructed Abishai to take the spear and the cruse of
water from beside Saul as he slept. They did so and escaped to a hilltop unobserved because the Lord had caused a deep sleep to fall on Saul and his men. From a safe distance, David called out to Abner, Saul’s commander-in-chief, and taunted him (vs. 15 ft).
Art not thou a valiant man? ... wherefore then hast thou not kept
thy lord the king? ... As the Lord liveth, ye are worthy to die,
because ye have not kept your master, the Lord’s anointed. And
now, see where the king’s spear is, and the cruse of water that was
at his bolster.
Awakened by the noise, Saul recognized David’s voice. David ad-dressed him directly, once more pleading his innocence of any evil intentions toward Saul his king. Saul screamed back, “I have sinned: return, my son ... I have played the fool. “ David knew better than to trust the insane monarch and replied that Saul should send someone over to fetch the king’s spear. Saul again abandoned his pursuit and returned to his home.
XXVII END OF AN ERA
FIRST SAMUEL After so many years of running from Saul, David became despondent. I believe this is the best explanation of I Samuel 27:1.
And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by
the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I
should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and
Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast
of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.
He was about twenty-eight years old at the time. With his army of
six hundred men, he hired himself out to Achish, king of Gath, as a
professional mercenary, a hired soldier of fortune, for Israel’s traditional enemies, the Philistines.
Life Among the Philistines David, his men and their families, including David’s two wives, lived for a time in Gath. When Saul heard of it, he abandoned his pursuit and no longer concerned himself with David. After a time, however, David requested that he and his company be assigned a city of their own based on the reason that it was not fitting for the king’s servants to dwell in the royal city. Verse 6 says, “Then Achish gave him Ziklag that day: wherefore Ziklag pertaineth unto the kings of Judah unto this day. “ Ziklag is on the Philistine border just southeast of Gaza. Verse 7 tells us that David’s mercenary activities for the Philistines lasted sixteen months.
During those sixteen months, David operated as a double agent
for the tribe of Judah. He would promise the king of the Philistines one
thing and then do another. He benefited from the protection of the
Philistines, while at the same time acting as their enemy, although they did not know it.
David’s military exploits were bloody. He and his men raided the
villages of the Geshurites, the Gezrites, and the Amalekites, down through the wilderness toward Egypt, killing every living soul. Periodically, he would report back to his boss, King Achish, taking him captured sheep, cattle, donkeys, camels, and clothing. Achish would ask (vs. 1 0), “Whither have ye made a raid today?” David would lie and answer, “Against the south of Judah, and against the south of the Jerahmeelites, and against the south of the Kenites. “ These three nations were traditional enemies of the Philistines.
That old pirate cliché, “Dead men tell no tales,” was David’s
philosophy at that time. He left no one alive who could report the truth
back to Achish, and so Achish was pleased with his hired soldier as
verse 12 says. “And Achish believed David, saying, He hath made his people Israel utterly to abhor him; therefore he shall be my servant forever.”
Preparation for Battle At about that time, the Philistine lords gathered their armies together to battle against Saul and the army of Israel. Among those leaders was Achish, who naturally planned to include David and his men in his Philistine army. His confidence in David was so great that he even promised to make him his personal bodyguard for life. The scene ended with David and his mercenaries accompanying Achish as he traveled to his rendezvous with the rest of the Philistine armies.
In the meantime, the Israelites were encamped by the spring in
Jezreel while the Philistine armies joined one another at Aphek, which
was about twenty miles west of Shiloh. When some of the Philistines
recognized David and his men among Achish’s personal army, the other chieftains demanded, “What do these Hebrews here?” Achish responded with high praise of David and his faithfulness since he had deserted to him from Saul. But, the other Philistine leaders were suspicious and angry, demanding that he be excluded from the battle. They did not trust him, and feared he would use the opportunity to be reconciled to Saul at their expense. Even these many years later, they remembered how the women of Israel had sung, “Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands.
With apologies and regrets, Achish sent David and his men back to
Ziklag after assuring him that it was only because the other chieftains
demanded it. He (Achish) could not have been more happy with David’s faithfulness to him. (How little did he know!).
Although David pretended to be hurt by his dismissal, he must
have been greatly relieved to escape confronting his Israelite brothers in hand-to-hand combat. In obedience to Achish, David left the Philistine encampment and returned to his headquarters.
Saul and the Witch of Endor Returning to First Samuel 28:5, we learn that Saul, having moved his army to Mount Gilboa, could see, spread out in the distance, the vast number of men in the Philistine army. As a result, “he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled” (vs. 5). Never had he been in more need of divine guidance, though he had long since forfeited it. When he received no answer from the Lord by any of the prescribed routes, he turned in desperation to his servants and demanded, “Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. “ Earlier, he had banished mediums from the land (vs. 3) as the law required, but now he no longer cared where his answers came from. God or demon, it did not matter.
On being informed that there was a medium living at
Endor, about fifteen miles away, Saul disguised himself
and made a secret journey, arriving by night to ask of her:
“Divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall
name unto thee.”
The woman protested, fearing that this stranger might be a spy
from King Saul, who had “cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the
wizards, out of the land. “ It could be dangerous, even deadly, to comply with such a request. “Wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?” the woman replied. With a solemn oath, Saul promised she would come to no harm and then demanded, “Bring me up Samuel.”
Even the woman was surprised, and cried out in terror,
when Samuel actually appeared. We know that Samuel
was a man of God because He had been a prophet, a judge,
and a priest in Israel. After his death, he would have been with Abraham, as Lazarus was later on (Luke 16:22). It would have been impossible for a medium, a servant of Satan, to call up Samuel from the place called Paradise.
When the woman recognized Samuel and realized God was
involved, she saw through Saul’s disguise at once and cried out, “Why
hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul. “ After again reassuring her, he
asked for a description of what she had seen. She replied, “I saw gods
ascending out of the earth, “ and “an old man cometh up, and he is covered with a mantle “ (vs. 14). Saul knew it was Samuel. He fell on his face and poured out his heart in fear and terror (vs. 15). The Philistines were massed against him; God was silent; Samuel was now his only hope. Could he expect the good counsel he had received during the early years of innocence? Never!
God was silent because He has “departed from thee, and is become
thine enemy”, Samuel told him. Then he reviewed the reasons (vss. 17-18):
The Lord hath done ... as he spake by me: for the Lord hath rent
the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour,
even David: Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the Lord,
nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath
the Lord done this thing unto thee this day.
Saul did get a word from God, but it was not a good one. It was not
what he wanted to hear. Samuel continued in verse 19:
Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel with thee into the
hand of the Philistines: and tomorrow shalt thou and thy
sons be with me: the Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel
into the hand of the Philistines.
This statement did not necessarily mean that Saul would be in the
bliss of Abraham’s bosom. It meant death, Sheol, the grave. He said,
“You will be where I am; you will be in the grave.”
This encounter with the witch at Endor was Saul’s fourth tragic
sin. According to I Chronicles 10:13, it was an additional reason for his rejection by God.
When Saul heard Samuel’s words he fainted. The combination of
fatigue, hunger (for he had not eaten all day or night), and terror, were too much for him. When he had been revived, the woman, in pity, insisted on feeding him (vss. 21-22).
I have put my life in thy hand, . . . Now therefore, I pray thee,
hearken thou also unto the voice of thine handmaid, and let
me set a morsel of bread before thee, and eat, that thou mayest
have strength, when thou goest on thy way.
At the urging of his servants, Saul did eat. The woman killed a
fatted calf and baked bread. Like a murderer on death row, Saul ate his last meal. When he had finished, he made the long night journey back to his troops. The Philistines attacked at dawn; Saul met his doom as Samuel had predicted.
Loss and Recovery In First Samuel 30:1 the author returns to David and his departure from the Philistine army. It was a three day journey
back to Ziklag and when they arrived, rather than a “Welcome Home”
sign, they found the city, still smoking and burning from a raid by the
Amalekites. David had been raiding Amalekite cities (27:8), and now
while he was gone, they had retaliated. They took the women and children captive, along with the goods, but did not kill anyone. I draw your attention to the fact that in this regard they were more merciful than David. When he raided an Amalekite city, he killed men, women and children, leaving no one alive, with the philosophy that dead men tell no tales.
David and his men were greatly distressed and wept bitterly. Then,
a feeling of mutiny spread through his army and there was talk of stoning him. The people were angry and bitter, “But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God” (vs. 6). The Psalms record much of David’s distress in times such as this, and of how God was always his refuge and his strength. In this seeming tragedy, he turned to the Lord for wisdom to make the right decision. This event was a turning point in David’s life. Calling on Abiathar the priest, and requesting the ephod which he had rescued during the slaughter at Nob, David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? What a great comfort God’s answer must have been to him. “Pursue: for thou shalt surely over-take them, and without fail recover all. “ With his six hundred men, he went in hot pursuit after the Amalekites. However, about two hundred of David’s men became too faint to go on, so they were left behind at the brook Besor to watch over the baggage which was left by David’s troops.
Recovery As they continued on their way, they found a
fainting Egyptian in a field who had nothing to eat or drink for three
days. They brought him to David, fed him, and when his spirit revived,
David questioned him, learning that he was a slave to an Amalekite and had been with the raiding party, so he was able to describe the burning of Ziklag. With David’s assurance of protection, he led them to where the Amalekite army was encamped.
The Amalekites were reveling and celebrating the success of their
invasion which had included a number of cities in addition to Ziklag.
David’s army attacked them by surprise and overcame them in a fierce battle. According to verses 18 and 19:
And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried
away, and David rescued his two wives. And there was
nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither
sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they
had taken to them: David recovered all.
When they returned to the brook Besor, to the two hundred men whom they had left behind, some of David’s company, described as “wicked men and men of Belial” announced that they would not divide the spoil with those who had not gone to the battle. David rebuked their greed, saying (vs. 23), “Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the Lord hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand. “ Then, in verse 24, he made an important pronouncement that became a statute and ordinance in Israel from that day forward: “As his part is that goeth down to the
battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff. they shall part alike.” David developed a tremendous truth and an effective management philosophy. It also applies today in every branch of Christian work. The office worker who stays behind and handles the finances, the
letters and mailings of missionaries overseas, will share in the same
spiritual blessings as the missionary.
David was a master politician. With an eye to the future,
to endear himself to the hearts of the people who dwelled
in the south of Israel. This was the area of the tribe of Judah.
To the elders of Judah, his old friends, he sent generous presents from the spoil he had taken from the Amalekites, with the message, “Behold a present for you of the spoil of the Lord. “ His largest gifts went to Bethel, Ramoth, Jattir, to Hebron and a number of other cities. He also sent gifts to the cities occupied by the Jerahmeelites and the Kenites, “and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt.” You may be sure that the inhabitants of those places would not forget the name of David. Very shortly, this wise political move would pay off a hundred fold.
Saul’s Last Battle In chapter 31, we again return to the battle which was raging on Mount Gilboa. The fighting went heavily gainst
the Israelites so that many were slain while others fled. As many soldiers retreated, Jonathan and his two brothers were killed while Saul was mortally wounded by an arrow. Turning to his armour-bearer he begged, “Draw thy sword, and thrust me through there with,
lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. “ The
armour-bearer was afraid to do such a thing, so Saul put the hilt of the sword against the ground and fell on it. When his armour-bearer saw that he was dead, he did likewise and died. Verse 6 summarizes the situation, saying, “So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armour-bearer, and all his men, that same day together.”
The next morning, the Philistines returned to the battle
field to strip the bodies of the slain of their valuables; a
practice still followed by the Arabs as recently as World
War II in North Africa. To their surprise and delight, they
discovered a prize beyond their highest expectations-the bodies of Saul and his sons. They cut off Saul’s head, fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan, and hung his armor in the temple of Ashtaroth.
Can it be that we have a discrepancy here? Sixty-five years
earlier, following the battle of Aphek, the Philistines placed the Ark of
God in the temple of Dagon. We know the Philistines worshiped the
fish-headed god Dagon. But here in First Samuel 31, it says that they
put his weapons in the temple of Ashtaroth. First Chronicles 10:10 adds to the confusion when it says they put his armor in the house of their gods and fastened his head in the temple of Dagon. Chronicles records the temple of Dagon; Samuel records the temple of Ashtaroth; two different pagan worship systems. Is there an answer to this? Certainly there is. Archaeologists have discovered eleventh century B.C. dual temples.
The Philistines, who were worshipers of the fish-headed god
Dagon during their conquest and henotheistic practices, had adopted
the worship of Ashtaroth as well. The Bible could not be more accurate in this matter. First Samuel 31:10 mentions the temple of Ashtaroth; I Chronicles 10:10 mentions the temple of Dagon, and not until the discovery y the archaeologists, did we know that the Philistines worshipped both Dagon and Ashtaroth.
When. the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what the
Philistines had done, the valiant men of the city walked all
night and, at the risk of their lives, took the bodies of Saul and his sons down from the wall of Bethshan, carried them back to Jabesh and burned them there. Why would these inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead risk their lives for the bodies of dead men? Because almost forty years earlier, Saul’s first military exploit as the rescue of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead from the invasion of Nahash the Ammonite. The first exploit was not forgotten, nor did their gratitude cool, because almost forty years later, these men risked their lives to remove the body of the man who had rescued their ancestors.
With the death of Saul and his sons, his dynasty came to an end,
and the ninety-year period covered by the book of I Samuel also came to an end.
XXVIII TIME OF TRANSITION
SECOND SAMUEL David’s first news of the defeat at Gilboa, and the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, came from a young Amalekite who showed him the dead king’s crown and bracelet, probably stolen from his corpse. He claimed to be the one who had given the death thrust at the wounded king’s request. But, the account of Saul’s death in First Samuel 3 1, and the corresponding passage in 1, Chronicles 10, makes it quite evident that Saul died by his own hand.
After a spontaneous expression of grief, David turned to the
informer and delivered a reward he did not expect. “How wast thou not
afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed, “ he asked (II Sam. 1:14). And immediately had him put to death. David had refused to touch God’s anointed on two occasions and he would not condone it or tolerate it at the hand of another man.
Every time I read David’s tender expression of love and compassion
for the man who had on several occasions attempted to kill him, I
am amazed and touched by the Christ-like attitude he displayed toward his enemy (vss. 11-12). His formal lamentation, recorded in verses 19- 27, is one of the great literary masterpieces of the Bible. It is a heroic poem which combines the manly virtues of honor and love.
King in Hebron With both King Saul and Prince Jonathan dead, David’s previous political maneuvers began to work in his favor. Remember, he had sent generous gifts throughout the Southland while working for King Achish. Following the Lord’s instruction, David and his followers moved to Hebron. There he was met by the elders of his tribe, who anointed him king over the tribe of Judah.
Civil War Meanwhile, up in the north across the Jordan, Abner, the son of Ner, the late Saul’s commander-in-chief, had proclaimed a surviving son of Saul, named Ish-bosheth, as Israel’s king in Mahanaim. Verse 9 says he: ...made him king over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel.
All of Israel, that is, except the tribe of Judah. Verse 10 says that Ish-bosheth was forty years old when he became king over Israel and that he was king for two years. The tribe of Judah, however, gave its loyalty to King David. The time that David was king in Hebron, over the tribe of Judah, was seven years and six months, five and one-half years longer than Ish-bosheth reigned in the North.
As a result of the divided loyalties, there were now two separate
kingdoms in the land; eleven tribes following Ish-bosheth and one tribe following King David. David’s military commander was Joab, and Ish-bosheth retained Abner, who was in reality the real power behind the throne. Although Abner had put Ish-bosheth on the throne as a convergent puppet king because he was a son of Saul, Abner was still the one in control of the eleven tribes.
Soon after, the representatives of the two armies met on
opposite sides of the pool of Gibeon. General Abner
suggested a contest to demonstrate which had military superiority.
“Let the young men now arise and play before us” (vs. 14). Joab agreed,
and two dozen contestants were chosen, twelve from Benjamin, Saul’s tribe, and twelve from Judah. As they faced one another for hand-to-hand combat, each grabbed his opponent by the head and thrust his sword into his side. As a result of this violent conflict, all twenty-four died together. Both armies then began fighting and King David’s men were victorious.
David’s three nephews, the sons of his sister Zeruiah,
were among the fighting men. They were: Joab (the General),
Abishai, and Asahel. Asahel, who is described as being unusually
fleet-footed, singled out Abner to be his special target, as he and his
men fled before the army of Judah. Abner evidently knew David’s family, because he recognized Asahel and shouted at him to cease his pursuit and choose a lesser-known foe as his objective. He did not want to run the risk of killing Asahel, and asked, “how then should I hold up my face to Joab thy brother?” But, Asahel refused to be turned aside, and Abner killed him with the shaft of his spear.
Joab and Abishai continued to encourage a further pursuit of
Abner. From a hilltop encampment, Abner called for a truce, crying out, “Shall the sword devour forever?” Joab blew a trumpet and both armies returned to their headquarters- Abner to Mahanaim and Joab to Hebron. When the casualties were totaled, Joab had lost twenty men but Abner had lost three hundred and sixty.
The concept of “blood avenger” was customary in those
times. Because of this system which encouraged revenge
and continued bloodshed, Cities of Refuge were established (three on each side of the Jordan) where someone guilty of the accidental death of another, might flee and, under certain conditions, be protected from the blood avenger. If the manslayer could convince the elders of the City of Refuge that the death was an accident, and not premeditated murder, he could live there until the death of the current High Priest. The avenger could not follow him. After the death of the High Priest, he was free to leave the city and it was then illegal for the blood avenger to touch him.
After the skirmish by the Pool of Gibeon, the burden of duty (by
custom) fell on Joab to avenge the death of his brother Asahel and the thought began to consume him. Chapter 3 says there was a long
war(approximately one year) between the house of the deceased King Saul and the house of King David. David’s armed forces kept getting stronger while those of the North under King Ish-bosheth and Abner, became weaker. David’s personal household was also becoming stronger. By that time he had six wives with many sons.
Among the many recognized social and political customs,
it was also assumed that if a man took the wife, or
mistress, of a deceased monarch, he was laying claim to
the throne by succession. According to Samuel 3:7, “Saul
Had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah. . . . and Ish-bosheth said to Abner, Wherefore hast thou gone in unto my father’s concubine? “ The significance of what Abner had done was recognized by Ish-bosheth
and he was both fearful and angry. He was, as we know, only a puppet in Abner’s hands, and Abner’s lengthy reply confirms this (vss. 8-10).
Am I a dog’s head, which against Judah do shew kindness this
day unto the house of Saul thy father... and hath not delivered
thee into the hand of David, that thou chargest me today with
a fault concerning this woman? So do God to Abner, and more
also, except, as the Lord hath sworn to David, even so I do to
him; To translate the kingdom from the house of Saul, and to
set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from
Dan even to Beer-sheba.
In chapter 3, verse 12, Abner began negotiating to transfer
the kingdom from the control of Ish-bosheth over to King
David. He offered to make a covenant with David: “Behold,
my hand shall be with thee, to bring about all Israel unto thee. “ David was
interested, but imposed one condition, “Thou shalt not see my face, except thou first being Michal Saul’s daughter, when thou comest to see my face. Ish-bosheth, admitting his own inadequacy, approved the request and while arrangements were being made to take Michal from her husband (vss. 14-16), Abner was negotiating with the elders of the northern tribes, persuading them to change their allegiance to David and acknowledge him as King. Verses 17 and 18 record his argument.
Ye sought for David in times past to be king over you: Now
then do it: for the Lord hath spoken of David, saying, By the
hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out
of the hand of the Philistines and out of the hand of all their enemies.
He also gave special attention to persuading his own tribe Benjamin
which, because of its historical allegiance to Saul, could have persuaded the others to refuse.
When he was sure of his position in representing the northern
tribes, he went down to Hebron with twenty men. David received him
royally, entertained him lavishly, and sent him away in peace to
complete the transfer of allegiance which would put him in control of
all twelve tribes.
While this summit conference was in progress, Joab, with some of
his soldiers, was away. When he returned and heard what had been
transpiring between the King and Abner, he was furious. Rushing in to the king, Joab cried (vss. 24-25):
What hast thou done? behold, Abner came unto thee, why is
it that thou hast sent him away, and he is quite gone?
Thou knowest Abner the son of Ner, that he came to deceive
thee, and to know thy going out and thy coming in, and to
know all that thou doest.
Joab, in anger, took matters into his own hands. Without
King David’s knowledge, he sent messengers to Abner asking
that he return and meet with him. Then, he arranged for the two of
them to be alone. Under the guise of friendship, Joab killed him. So, verse 27 says, “he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother. “ Ironically, this act of revenge took place in Hebron, which was one of the Cities of Refuge.
I believe there were two reasons for Joab’s action. The first, of
course, was to avenge his brother’s death. Second, he was afraid of losing his position as commander of the Army. He knew that in negotiating with David, Abner would demand some concession for himself and that there was not room for two military commanders. He knew his job, his prestige, and his future, were in the balance. These factors added fuel to his desire for vengeance against Abner.
When King David heard what had happened, he
promptly issued a disclaimer for any responsibility (vs.
28ff). I and my kingdom are guiltless before the Lord forever from
the blood of Abner the son of Ner: Let it rest on the head of Joab and on all his father’s house. “ Imagine the political implications! The Commander-in-Chief of the armies of Israel was murdered, assassinated, under a flag of truce, by the General of the army of King David. David was in danger of attack from the whole northern kingdom. He knew this and immediately ordered Joab and all the people to go into mourning for Abner. “Rend your clothes, and gird you with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner” (vs. 31). The King himself led the mourners in walking behind the bier during the funeral procession.
King David’s behavior pleased the people just “as whatsoever the
king did pleased all the people. “ Verse 37 says that “all the people and all
Israel understood that day that it was not of the king to slay Abner. “ So, with this strategic move, he was successful in averting catastrophe.
An End and a Beginning Chapter 4 once again focuses in on the northern kingdom. Even though Abner was dead, the monarchy did not come to an immediate end even though Ish-bosheth lost all his courage when he heard the news. However, since he was not qualified for leadership, all Israel, without an effective central government was troubled.
About that time, two officers of Ish-bosheth’s army conspired to ingratiate themselves with King David by committing an act of treachery. They arranged, through deceit, to get into Ish-bosheth’s bedroom during his daily siesta time. They murdered him, cut off his head, and traveled all night with the gruesome evidence to present to King David.
Ancient monarchs considered the severed heads of their enemies
to be a great prize. After being chopped off, the head would be soaked in wax or honey, then wrapped up and preserved until it could be presented o the king in exchange for a reward. We know that even later in Babylonian times, heads, dangling from cords in the amphitheater, were included among the decorations for Belshazzar’s feast.
Te two assassins of Ish-bosheth, Rechab and Baanah,
approached David with their prize, saying, “Behold the head
of ... thine enemy, which sought thy life” (vs. 8). David’s reply was to tell
them the story about the Amalekite who had brought him an account of Saul’s death, two years ago, expecting a reward, and what he had done to that man, saying (vs. 10-11),
I took hold of him, and slew him.... How much more, when
wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house
upon his bed? shall I not therefore now require his blood of
your hand, and take you away from the earth?
He ordered the two murderers to be slain, their bodies mutilated,
then hanged in public view. Then, in kindness, he buried the head of
Ish-bosheth in the grave with Abner.
The kingdom united We read in II Samuel 2:10, that Ish-bosheth
was king for only two years. From this we know that his
assassination took place in 1008 B.C., because Saul’s death
and David’s coronation in Hebron occurred in 1010 B.C. As a result,
there is a five year gap between II Samuel 4:12 and 5:1. Chapter 5 says that all the tribes of Israel came to David and, in verse 3, “they anointed David king over Israel”. David had waited twenty-two years for this event.
Verses 4 and 5 sum up his reign:
David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he
began to reign, and he reigned forty years. 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. This second anointing took place in 1003 B.C. when David was thirty-seven years old.
XXIX DAVID TAKES CHARGE
SECOND SAMUEL It had been twenty-two years since Samuel had poured the horn of oil over the head of young David as they stood in the house of his father Jesse. The intervening years had included years of military glory in Saul’s court, years as an outlaw, often discouraged, and always in danger of death at the hand of Saul. Then, in 1010, there was his elevation to a throne, but only over his one tribe of Judah. But now, in II Samuel 5, in 1003, he became king over all Israel and as God’s representative monarch, there was no greater man than David on the face of the earth. As head over God’s chosen people, he began with precision and swiftness, to embark on several projects which would endear him to the hearts of the
people and would solidify his position as king of Israel.
A New Capital He began immediately to seek a new and more strategic location for the capital of his kingdom. Because of his military background, his eyes were drawn to Jerusalem, the city of the Jebusites. It was a natural location, strategically situated near the border of Judah and Benjamin, centrally located for most of his people. Its location on a hilltop was ideal from the standpoint of military defense. However, there was a problem the city was already inhabited by the Jebusites and they held an almost impregnable position. Verse 6 describes the situation.
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. In other words, in this taunt to David, they were saying that their walls were so impregnable that even their crippled could successfully defend them.
The city of Jerusalem had been inhabited by the Jebusites for at
least four hundred years. To get the background of the city, we need to go back to Joshua 15:63.
As for the jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children
of Judah could not drive them out; but the Jebusites dwell with
the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day.
For four hundred years, the tribe of Judah had looked up at the city on its protective hill and were reminded of their failure. Even during Joshua’s time, lack of faith on their part had prevented them from driving out the Jebusites as God had commanded. But, calling on his great talent as a military strategist, David sent his men up through the water tunnel to take the city from the inside. In I Chronicles 11:6-7, we are given additional insight into its capture.
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. And David dwelt in the castle; therefore they
called it the city of David.
Joab had been Commander-in-Chief of the army since the early
years, although there is no record of an official appointment. I wonder
if David’s unhappiness with Joab, following the assassination of Abner, as expressed in II Samuel 3:39, could have been behind his pronouncement.
It could have been an attempt to set Joab aside, hoping that some
other valiant man would be the first in capturing the city of the
Jebusites. But Joab was a very determined man. He captured
the city, thereby maintaining and solidifying his position as
Commander-in-Chief of the armies of Israel under King David.
Second Samuel 5:12 is an important verse because of the additional
information it provides about the spiritual character of David. We read,
And David perceived that the Lord had established him king
over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for his people
This was something Saul never realized. Saul had been a man devoid of faith. He saw the kingdom as his own, and he served only for himself and what he hoped would be his dynasty on the throne of Israel. He never saw the kingdom as belonging to God, only as belonging to him-self.
King David, on the other hand, knew that God had established
him as king, not for his sake, but for that of His people Israel. Because of this, we can identify Saul as egocentric, that is, self-centered. David, however, was Theocentric, God-centered. Everything that King David did was for God and for the advancement of His kingdom.
Philistines Defeated Following the capture of Jerusalem, which was the first thing David did to establish his position as king, he went out to battle against the Philistines. They had come up against him when they heard he had been anointed king of Israel. Perhaps they wished to avenge his duplicity when he served Achish, or perhaps they feared him because of his military reputation and hoped to defeat him before his position was solidified. David defeated them in two separate encounters after first seeking counsel of the Lord in both cases before engaging them in battle This further endeared him to the people of Israel since the Philistines were longtime enemies and it had been the Philistines who had slain Saul, their former king, with his sons.
The Ark Restored Chapter 6 records the third thing David did which demonstrated his Theocentricity. As a spiritual man, versed in the law of Moses, David knew there was no place in Jerusalem where God could be worshiped.
The tabernacle and the altar were still in Gibeon. In fact, II Chronicles
1:3-4 records that they remained there until Solomon removed them to the new temple. However, the altar and tabernacle did not constitute the proper facilities for the worship of Jehovah. It was necessary to have the Ark of the Covenant, the symbol of God’s throne. In Psalm 132:1-8, David recalled how he felt after becoming king and realizing that the Ark of God was not present with him.
Lord, remember David, and all his afflictions: How he sware
unto the Lord, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob;
Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house,
nor go up into my bed, I will not give sleep to mine eyes,
or slumber to mine eyelids, Until I find out a place for
the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob. Lo,
we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of
the wood. We will go into his tabernacles; we will worship
at his footstool. Arise, 0 Lord, into thy rest, thou, and the
ark of thy strength.
David looked for the Ark where it had been abandoned after the
Philistines had returned it following its capture at the battle of Aphek in 1075 B.C. Saul had gone down and tried to use it one time, but it was never returned to its rightful place. In fact, the Ark of God, the symbol of His throne, was abandoned in the woods. Even Samuel never tried to return it; Saul never tried to return it; and David had not been able to return it because he was not in an official position to do so. But after becoming king over Israel, he defeated the Jebusites and acquired a place for worship. He defeated the Philistines and removed the possibility of invasion. Then, he went down into the woods, found the Ark of God, and brought it back up to Jerusalem with a great celebration.
Unfortunately, rather than following the regulations Moses had
set down for transporting the Ark by means of poles through its rings,
they designed and built a cart on which to return it to Jerusalem. The
language of 6:4 suggests that they may have thought more of the cart
than of the Ark. In any case, God was displeased with the disobedience of their method of transportation, and when it began to tilt and upset the Ark, His anger burned against the man who reached out his hand to steady it. Verse 7 says, “and God smote him there for his error, and there he died by the ark of God”.
David was very disturbed at this turn of events. In fear, he left the
Ark at the nearby house of Obed-edom for the next three months.
Because it was there, “the Lord blessed Obed-edom, and all his household” (vs. 11). David must have spent those months restudying the instructions of Moses (Numbers 4:4-6), because when he went back to resume taking the Ark to Jerusalem, he followed the correct methods and brought it into the city with great rejoicing.
The Ark of God was taken to Jerusalem by David and a special
tent was made for it. Throughout David’s reign, from 1010 B.C. to 970
B.C., when someone wanted to go up to the tent of meeting and sacrifice at the brazen altar it was necessary to go to Gibeon. But after c. 1000 B.C., if he wanted to worship where the Ark was, that was done in Jerusalem.
In 959 B.C., following the completion of the temple in the eleventh
year of his reign, Solomon took the tent of meeting, the brazen altar,
and the Ark, and placed them all in the new temple. The Ark of God
was placed in the holy of holies. The tent of meeting was kept in the
archives of the temple.
If you wish to continue in some independent study, refer to the
following Scriptures which demonstrate that during David’s time the
Ark was in a special tent in Jerusalem: I Chron. 15:1; 11 Chron. 1:4; II
Sam. 6:17. The verses that demonstrate the tabernacle and altar were in Gibeon are: I Kings 3:4; 1 Chron. 21:29; II Chron. 1:3,5. The verses that describe how Solomon placed all these items in the new temple are: I Kings 8:4 and 11 Chron. 5:5-9.
XXX THE DAVIDIC COVENANT
SECOND SAMUEL Because of David’s faithfulness and because he had proven him-self to be a Theocentric, God-centered man, God is about to make some amazing promises to him. These promises are known as the Davidic Covenant. It is described in II Samuel 7. In the overall purpose of God, it is equal in its significance to the Abrahamic Covenant.
The chapter begins by saying that after God had given David rest
from his enemies, he began to be concerned because the house of God had not been built. When he contrasted his own palace of cedar, to the tent he had prepared for housing the Ark in Jerusalem, it did not seem to be a fitting comparison. He shared his dream with Nathan, who encouraged him to fulfill it. But, God had different plans and he gave David this message, “Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt” (vss.5-6). Then, verse 11, states, “Also the Lord telleth thee that he will make thee an house.
The occasion for the Davidic Covenant was predicated on the
fact that David wanted to build a house for God. But God “turned
the tables” on David, saying, “I do not need you to build a house for
me, but I will build a house for you.”
In verse 8, God reminded David of his humble beginnings, “I took
thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, even Israel”. It does not take a great deal of imagination to understand what the job of following the sheep involves. The cowboys, during the old round-ups, would avoid at all costs the worst assignment in the round-up, which was called “riding drag.” Those who rode drag be-hind the cattle ate dust from dawn to sunset. God was reminding David of his humble roots and how He took him from the pasture, from following the sheep, to the throne of Israel. He continued (vs. 9):
And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut
off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great
name like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth.
Based on His own past faithfulness to David, God made a great
promise, establishing the Davidic Covenant, which had present and
Terms of the Covenant The Davidic Covenant consists of two parts, with each part having three sections. Part One was fulfilled before David’s death, while Part Two had a later fulfillment. Section One of the first promises to be fulfilled before David died was:. “I have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth” (vs. 9). Looking at II Samuel 8:13, we can see that King David did have a great name among the nations.
Section Two begins with verse 10: “I will appoint a Place for my people
Israel.” He would add more land to the nation. Again, chapter 8 points to the fulfillment by describing David’s conquests over surrounding nations.
Section Three is also in verse 11 where God said He had “caused
thee to rest from all thine enemies. “ Again we read of this in I Chronicles
It is important to know that the Lord did fulfill those promises to
David, because they validated those sections of Part Two of the
covenant which would take place after his death.