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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible

2 Samuel 5

 

 

Verses 1-25

Yet the sovereign wisdom of God has been over all these matters, and David's way becomes clear without his fighting for it. God's time had now come for the voluntary submission of the other tribes to David's dominion. They came to him at Hebron, presenting three reasons for their recognizing him as king (v.2). First, they were related to him as Israelites; secondly, thy knew his reputation, even while Saul was king, that it was David who was really the leader of Israel's forces; and thirdly, they knew that the Lord had promised the kingdom to David. The last of these three was conclusive, though they had been slow to recognize it in their allowing Abner to dominate them.

David willingly made a league with them, and they anointed David king there in Hebron. This is the third time we read of his being anointed; first by Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:13; secondly in Hebron by Judah (2 Samuel 2:4); and in this case by all Israel. This is a picture of God's having first anointed the Lord Jesus at the river Jordan when He was baptized by John (Matthew 3:16), then of His eventually being recognized by Judah as King (Zechariah 12:7-10), and afterwards by the rest of the tribes (Ezekiel 37:21-22) when they will be joined together with Judah after centuries of separation.

The years of David's preparation for reigning were not lost. He took the throne at the age of 30, the same age as the Lord Jesus was when He began His public ministry (Luke 3:23). It may seem that those 30 years of quiet obscurity are out of proportion to the short 3 ½ years of the public ministry of the Lord Jesus. But God's ways are not ours. Private life is far more important than we often think. Yet David reigned for forty years altogether, dying at 70 years of age. In Hebron he reigned 7 ½ years, then 33 years in Jerusalem.

Though Israel had anointed David king, when he went to Jerusalem the inhabitants (Jebusites) were quite haughty in refusing him entry into the city. They told him that the blind and the lame would have sufficient power to drive them away (v.6). There is a lesson here typical of the future establishing of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus. The spiritual blindness and lameness of many in Israel will seem to be in formidable opposition to the blessed Lord of glory. Will it be so great that the true King of Israel cannot overcome it? When He came in grace to Israel, He showed His living power in healing the blind and the lame. Will He be any less capable when He comes in great power and glory? Jerusalem's opposition was nothing to David. He took the city and from that day it has been called "the city of David" (v.7).

In the N.A.S.B. verse 8 is translated "And David said on that day, Whoever would strike the Jebusites, let him reach the lame and the blind, who are hated of David's soul, through the water tunnel." When the gates were barred, the watercourse was a way of entering the city that the Jebusites overlooked. How true is this typically also. The fresh water supply is typical of the living word of God. If we attack evil in the vital power of God's word, it cannot withstand us. The blindness of Israel to the truth of God, and their lameness as to walking in the paths of righteousness have been great obstacle to the blessing of the nation. If the blind and the lame of Israel will not bow to the authority of the Lord Jesus in order to be healed, then the opposers, remaining blind and lame will be "hated of his soul," and bear their well deserved judgment. "Therefore they say, The blind or the lame shall not come into the house." While many in Israel will be saved in the coming day of the Lord's glory, yet two thirds, remaining in unbelief, "will be cut off and die" (Zechariah 13:8). They will never know the blessing of the house of God.

David then dwelt in Jerusalem, called "the stronghold" and "the city of David," and built up the city, evidently to strengthen its defenses. "The Millo" is mentioned here, which was evidently a citadel or tower in the city which was of significant importance. From this time David's greatness increased (v.10), only a faint type of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus, of whom we read "There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace" (Isaiah 9:7).

Verse 11 tells of Hiram, King of Tyre, sending messengers to David and supplying cedar trees, carpenters and masons in order to build David a house. Tyre was famous as a merchant city, always on the alert for profitable business.

By this time David recognized that the Lord had established his kingdom, all Israel being subject to him (v.12). In fact, his rule was for the sake of God's people Israel: they were blessed by having such a king. The nations surrounding Israel were not yet subdued, as they would be eventually, but the unity of Israel under David was a vitally important prerequisite to this end.

However, David could not rightly bear the greatness of the glory given to him. He took advantage of his greatness to take more wives and concubines, though he already had seven wives (ch.3:2-5; 13-16). From the very first of Israel's history of the kings, we see this sad fact, that neither Saul nor David, nor any kings that followed, could rightly bear the glory that comes with exalted authority. There is only One, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will be able to properly bear the great dignity of ruling over men. "He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory" (Zechariah 6:13).

Added to David's six sons born in Hebron are the eleven born in Jerusalem (vs.14-16). There were daughters also born to him, but we are not told how many. Some of his sons caused him great sorrow, however, and he had to confess how great was the contrast of his own house to that of the promised Messiah: "My house is not so with God" (2 Samuel 23:5).

As soon as he was anointed king over Israel, the animosity of the Philistines was freshly awakened. These were their closest neighbors, and their most constant enemies. Their name means "wallow," and they are typical of those who merely "wallow" in Christianity, those who have the forms and language of the Christian "religion," but not the vital, personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus. For this reason images and idols are prominent among them, as we know is true of various companies one of the most persistent enemies of true Christianity, and just as David found it necessary to be continually on guard against the attacks of the Philistines, so such formalistic religion calls for our constant watchfulness and spiritual energy in withstanding this persistent enemy of our Lord.

When David heard of the Philistine advance, he "went down to the hold," evidently going toward the Philistines rather than remaining in Jerusalem, which was also called "the hold," but it was not "down." It is an interesting expression, that the Philistines "spread themselves" in the valley of Rephaim. They like at least a show of taking possession But David sought the face of the Lord as regards guidance. Should he go and meet the Philistines? Would God give him the victory over them? The answer from God is positive. He is to go with thorough confidence that God would deliver the enemy into his hand. The exercise of waiting in dependence on God will always bring an answer from God that will give confidence in acting on it.

David's victory is there complete (v.20). He give the Lord the credit for breaking forth upon his enemies as the breach of waters, as though a dam was breached and the flood waters overwhelmed the enemy. He therefore named the place "Baal-Gerazim," meaning "Lord of the breaches." The Philistines had brought their images with them even into battle. But the images were no help, and in their haste to retreat they left them behind. David and his men did not take them, nor the materials of which they were made, but burned them (v.21).

However, religious zeal does not easily die out of man's heart. The Philistines later returned to the same location and with the same display of strength (v.22). It is good to observe that David did not rely on his past experience in meeting this fresh attack. The same circumstances do not always call for the same method of meeting them. In every case we must depend on the Lord Himself. David again inquired of Him, and received different instruction. This time they are not to attack as before from the front, but to circle around behind the enemy near to a group of baca trees. Then they would hear the sound of marching in the tops of the baca trees, which would be the signal for them to attack the Philistines, for the Lord would go before them to accomplish the victory (v.24). Whatever spiritual significance there is in the baca trees, at least we are to learn that when we discern the evidence of the Lord's leading we may go forth in confidence. the details of the victory are not necessary to be told us, except the distance they pursued the Philistines in defeating them, from Gibeon to Gazer, about 20 miles.

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 5:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/2-samuel-5.html. 1897-1910.

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