Biblical Perspectives Magazine, Volume 22, Number 16, April 12 to April 18, 2020

Long Live the King!

2 Samuel 1–25

By Dr. Derek W. H. Thomas

Now turn with me if you would to 2 Samuel 5. And if you were listening carefully to Denny Terry's wonderful prayer earlier on you'll have got some of the salient details of this chapter. We come finally to the point where David will be anointed king in the city of Hebron.

You remember that Ish–bosheth, the last son, well, there was another son, Mephibosheth, who was lame, he was a cripple, and therefore could never have been king. But Ish–bosheth has been murdered by two ambitious young men who in turn were also killed by David and their bodies hung from the walls of Hebron.

I cannot promise in chapter 5 that there are no more deaths. There are no more deaths of Israelites, for sure, but there are going to be some deaths of Philistines in this chapter.

Now before we read the chapter together let's look to God in prayer.

Father, we thank You for the scriptures. Thank You for the privilege that is ours to not just have a copy of the Bible, but multiple copies in various forms; physical, and electronic and otherwise. Thank You for this extraordinary privilege of living in these days. There've been so many centuries when Your people would have to sacrifice a great deal to acquire even a part of scripture.

And so grant to us, Lord, that we might treasure the Bible, love it. Help us now as we read this chapter in the life of David that You would open up the word to us, that by Your spirit You would grant that our minds and hearts and affections and wills might respond God–ward and Christ–ward. Come, Holy Spirit, and enable us to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest and all for Jesus' sake. Amen.

Hear the Word of God:

Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, "Behold, we are your bone and flesh. In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. And the Lord said to you, "You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel." So 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. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years, and six months, and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty–three years.

And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, "You will not come in here, but the blind and the lame will ward you off"–thinking, "David cannot come in here." Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David. And David said on that day, "Whoever would strike the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft to attack 'the lame and the blind,' who are hated by David's soul." There it is said, "The blind and the lame shall not come into the house." And David lived in the stronghold and called it the city of David. And David built the city all around from the Millo inward. And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him.

And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, also carpenters and masons who built David a house. And David knew that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.

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

When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. But David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim. And David inquired of the Lord, "Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand? And the Lord said to David, "Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand." And David came to Baal–perazim, and David defeated them there. And he said, "The Lord has burst through my enemies before me like a bursting flood." Therefore the name of that place is called Baal–perazim. And the Philistines left their idols there, and David and his men carried them away.

And the Philistines came up yet again and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim. And when David inquired of the Lord, he said, "You shall not go up; go around to their rear, and come against them opposite the balsam trees. And when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then rouse yourself, for then the Lord has gone out before you to strike down the army of the Philistines." And David did as the Lord commanded him, and struck down the Philistines from Geba to Gezer.

Thus far, God's holy and inerrant Word.

Now, this morning, I'm told, at ten minutes past ten it was 10–10–10–10–10. It only happens once in a thousand years and you missed it. [Laughter] But 10–10 is the date of this chapter. At least most Bible histories record that the date of David's anointing at Hebron is 10–10–10–10 BC. I didn't plan it. It just happened that way.

This is David's coronation. I don't remember a coronation. The coronation of the queen, the formal coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was about a month or so after I was born. I have somewhere, and my wife and I are still looking for it, a coin that all babies born that year were given in honor of her coronation. I have it somewhere. It's more and more precious to me.

It's been a long time coming, this coronation; ever since that secret anointing of David by Samuel in 1 Samuel 16. This coronation pales into almost insignificance by comparison with some coronations or investitures of presidents. Some of you might have seen the brouhaha in North Korea. Was it yesterday or Friday. I forget. All pomp and circumstance and soldiers marching and lots of memories of Communism of a bygone era, almost.

There's no throne here. Not yet. There's no palace in Hebron. There's no, well, Jerusalem. That is yet to be. Elders, messengers from the northern tribes come to David and they say, "We are your bone and flesh."

You might suspect their motive. After all, their rump, which was the Northern Kingdom is now almost gone. They had little choice. They were wise in doing what they did, of course. Ish–bosheth has been murdered. The only other surviving son of Saul was Mephibosheth and he was a cripple. There was no future for Israel so they were very wise to come down to David in Hebron to throw in their lot with David. Truth is, of course, they'd been trying to kill David. But all of that is in the past and God, they now declare, had said to David that he would be the shepherd of Israel and that he would be the leader of Israel.

It's been a long time since that secret anointing in 1 Samuel 16 down to this point. Perhaps it's difficult to trace their timeline exactly, in terms of years backwards. It may be fifteen years. It may be a little more than that. God's purposes in David's life have been extraordinary. The providence – you wouldn't have written it this way. The threats on his life, the moments of despair, the time when he throws his lot in with the Philistines. You remember when he feigns madness at one point for survival's sake, when he hid in caves.

God's purpose will come to pass. That's one of the lessons of this chapter stamped all over 2 Samuel 5. What God says will happen. God's promises will always happen. When God says something, He will do it. He may not do it according to our chronology. He may not do it according to our timepiece. He may not do it according to our measurement of comfort. God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform.

Some of you tonight have sadness in your life; melancholy, things that you don't want to even to think about tonight so we won't dwell there. But all the while, from the past to the present, to this day that you were here tonight, it's all part and parcel of God's extraordinary providence, His care of you just as He has cared for David and kept David.

I. Coronation

This is David's coronation. David has been anointed as king–king over a united twelve tribes over the entirety of what there is of Israel; his coronation.

I have six 'C's tonight. That's the first one–coronation. It's a lesson about providence. We can't get ever tired. We can't ever get tired of reminding ourselves that God is a God of providence and that the One who oversees, the One who superintends is Jesus. The one who died on the cross for us, He's the One who superintends our lives. Providence is always cross–shaped. The love that is expressive of the cross of Calvary is at the heart of God's providence in our lives however harsh, however difficult it may appear to be. David is King. At last, David is King.

II. Conflict

The second 'C' is conflict. And in this chapter there are two episodes. They occur toward the end of the chapter. The Philistines, when the Philistines here, and it's difficult to know the chronology and some commentators think this event with the Philistines may have taken place before he captured Jerusalem. The Philistines must have been nervous that finally there's a king over all of the tribes of Israel, that there is a united policy of North and South. And if you were to look at a map, and I urge you to look at the maps in the back of your Bible sometime or get hold of the extraordinary detailed English Standard Version book of maps. It's one of those things that you can't almost live without when you're reading the Old Testament and just look at what the Philistines are trying to do. They're trying to do what has been tried and attempted always and forever, divide and conquer. Divide and conquer. If the Philistines were to prevent David, they must divide the kingdom. They must divide the kingdom in some way. And they camp in the Valley of Rephaim.

Now, notice with me here, David in verse 19 and again in verse 22, David inquires of the Lord. What kind of king is David? He's a king who trusts in the Lord. He's a king who is prayerful. He's a king who looks to God for guidance. He's not a king to do his own will. He's not there to rule and reign simply out of his own power. He wants to do what God wants him to do and he inquires. We're not told the method here. No doubt involved prayer. It probably involved asking the High Priest, the descendant of Aaron, probably involved the Urim and Thummim and that method of guidance in the Old Testament, but the point is that God guided him and that He guided him at the request of David. David inquired of the Lord.

You might have thought the answer was obvious. The Philistines are threatening so David really has no choice. He must deal with this threat to the stability of his kingdom, but he inquires of the Lord. He inquires about the strategy and the strategy in both cases was different. In the first strategy it was a frontal attack. It was a classic choreographed battle, but in the second occasion, perhaps to test David, perhaps to teach David a sense of dependence. You might think having been victorious in the first battle that David would do the same in the second battle, but again he inquires of the Lord. And this time God says, "No. Don't go up. Go behind."

And he must wait, he must wait for a signal and the text seems to be suggesting that there is some kind of sovereign, miraculous event; the sound of marching troops in the leaves of these trees. Perhaps God sent a wind. Perhaps it was just a pure miracle. And the sound of these marching feet almost terrified the Philistines and a great victory was won.

He's a king who meets conflict. All through David's life there's been conflict. There's always been tension. There's always been opposition. There's been a battle. There's always been the Lord's army and there's an opposing army. There's an opposing threat. Here's the Lord's anointed king, crowned, but he faces conflict.

III. Conquest

Bear that thought in mind for a minute while I go to my third 'C' and my third is conquest. It has to do with the city of Jebus where the Jebusites, the native Canaanites who were in the land before Israel ever came into the land. They were there when Joshua came. But this city of Jebus on Mt. Zion, situated right by the place where Abraham would have offered Isaac as a sacrifice, and God told Abraham to stay his hand and provided a ram caught in the thicket in the place of Isaac. Right there, that city had never been conquered, and with that had come pride and conceit so that they say, in this taunting fashion, that even the blind and the lame would be able to withstand David, that David had no hope of conquering this city. No one had ever conquered this city. It was a strategic city. Geographically it's a strategic city. Topographically, if you've ever been to Jerusalem, you know immediately that it's a city that's set on a hill. It's on Mt. Moriah. It's on Mt. Zion. It's strategic geographically because the kingdom of Israel will stretch all the way down to the south and to the sea in Solomon's time and all the way up to the north and Jerusalem would be central. It was strategic because in fostering the union of the twelve tribes, Jebus didn't belong to anybody. There was no sense of favoritism and therefore capturing this city and making it the capital city was politically strategic for David to foster and coalesce the twelve tribes into a form of union, but how was he going to capture this city.

And engineers here tonight, and there are several engineers here tonight, will be fascinated as to the way in which David captured this city. Archeologists have excavated this tunnel, this water tunnel. This isn't Hezekiah's tunnel that some of you, like myself, have actually walked through: one of the great marvels of the city to this day. That was a tunnel–Hezekiah's tunnel was a tunnel to bring water into the city. This was a tunnel that they walked through. There was a thirty–five, forty foot drop, vertical drop, down into a pool of water. The Gihon pool, and that pool no doubt was camouflaged, but David knew all about it. And it seems that when David heard of this tunnel that probably the way they captured this city and the parallel account in Chronicles suggests that David took some of his men to the front gates of the city, but Joab, David's nephew, you remember, who had killed Abner at the gates of the city of Hebron, Joab led some men and managed somehow to get through that tunnel and into the city and captured this city–a conquest, a strategic conquest.

Actually it's a fulfillment of a promise way, way back in Genesis 15. God had said to Abraham when God entered into a covenant with Abraham, God had said that one of the things that would happen would be that they would conquer the Jebusites. It's right there in Genesis 15:18–21. This is the fulfillment. Maybe a thousand years and this is the fulfillment of that promise to Abraham that the Jebusites have been conquered. You've got to smile a little bit because David calls it 'David's city', 'David–opolis', this is the city of David.

You and I know, because we are three thousand years ahead of David, we know how strategic Jerusalem will be. We know that this will be the place where great David's greater Son will be crucified. This is where the temple will be built. David, I don't think, had even thought about a temple at this point. It will be his son who will build that temple and he will build it here in this city of Jerusalem. To this day, it's a center of world politics. And here's the account through a water tunnel in some kind of military way David captures this extraordinary important city, redemptively, politically, geographically.

IV. Cedars

My fourth 'C' is cedars. And you have to go back to the section that discusses the king of Tyre, verse 11, Hiram the king of Tyre. Now, there's a Hiram, a king of Tyre in Phoenicia up in the north where the mountains were and great big trees–think Seattle, think Washington State. Think of those extraordinary trees, all that water, all that rain that pours on the northwest coastline.

There's a Hiram king of Tyre that occurs right at the end of David's reign. He will provide the wood for the temple that Solomon will build. This can't possibly be that person. This is probably the father of that person so that that Hiram king of Tyre is the son of this king and this king sends wood, timber, quality wood, the best wood imaginable and masons and carpenters.

Now, you understand the point. Tyre is outside of Israel. This is a little glimpse of the nations of the world bowing to the king of Jerusalem. That kingdom that you spoke of this morning, that kingdom that's like a mustard seed and grows and grows and grows until it's so big that the birds make their nests in this kingdom and there will be people from every tribe and tongue and nation in the kingdom of God and you've just got a little glimpse of it here. This foreign king is bowing and acknowledging the king of Jerusalem.

V. Covenant

My fifth 'C' is covenant. It's in verse 3. It's very strategic. When the tribes come down, representatives of the tribes, the elders of the tribes come down in this coronation ceremony in Hebron in verse 3, what does David do? He enters into a covenant. Just as other kings, Josiah at the time of Josiah's reform will do something very similar. He will enter into a covenant. He'll have the law read. He will remind them of God's promises and God's threats and he will enter into a covenant. David enters into a covenant. He becomes, do you see, a covenant mediator between God and the people of Israel. He will represent God to the people and he will represent the people to God. It's a little glimpse that here the king, this king who faces conflict, this king who conquers, this king to whom the nations of the world seem now to be bowing, this king is a covenant maker. He makes a covenant. He reminds the people that he is the Lord's servant and he'll bring to the attention of the people the Lord's word and the Lord's promises and the Lord's threats, the Lord's gospel, the obligations that now are incumbent upon the people of God to heed the terms of that covenant and to, as we did this morning at the Lord's table in reading the Ten Commandments. And Ligon explained to us that a part of the reason we read it at the Lord's Supper as God's people is to remind us of the pattern, the shape of the Christian life, and that's what David is doing. And he's a covenant mediator.

VI. Compromise

But there's a sixth 'C', you see. Are you following? Because there's a king who experiences conflict, who conquers, to whom the nations of the world are bowing and enters into a covenant. Ah, tell me you've got it. It's Jesus. Right? It's Jesus. It's a little glimpse. The little flashes of light in the Old Testament and they're saying this is what God is doing. This is where redemption is going. It's going in the direction of a King who will experience conflict, who will conquer, to whom the nations of the world will bow, who will enter into a covenant with His people.

Ah, but there's a sixth 'C' here. It's compromise. See David, ah, David is such a great figure in the Old Testament. You know, Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, that's it! That's the Old Testament. This is David, verse 13, and David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem. Ah, David, David, David, David, what are you doing? He's a man of his time. He's doing what conquering kings did. This is what they did. This was the measure of their greatness and stature as if he didn't have enough. We already read in a few chapters earlier that he had six of them, Michal. And he will rue the day of bringing Michal back in a few chapters. It's compromise. Here's the Lord's anointed king and here are the seeds of what will be David's downfall. In just a few chapters, in just five chapters from now we'll read of David and Bathsheba, his Achilles' heel, his failing, his sin.

Ah! For all of David's greatness, he's not Jesus. He's not Jesus who's pure and spotless and undefiled and separate from sinners and there's no one like Him. He's a King who experiences conflict and He conquers and the nations of the world will bow to Him and He will enter into a covenant. Held that little cup in my hand this morning and Ligon so graciously asked me to say those words 'cause I love those words this morning, "This cup is the New Covenant in my blood, shed for many for the remission of sins. Drink of it because it's for you." David can't save me. I'm looking forward to meeting David in heaven. He's such a great figure, but he can't save me. But through this fallen, marred, perishable figure, little glimpses of great David's greater Son, Jesus.

Father, we thank You. Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the patient way in which history enfolded in the Old Testament to find its apex and culmination and the coming of Jesus, the seed of David, the Son of David, David's Lord, great David's greater Son.

We thank You for providing Him and we thank You for His conquest and triumph over death and hell and the grave and, as the little children were reminded, of the prospect that we will spend eternity, Lord Jesus, in Your presence.

Now grant Your blessing on the close of this Sabbath day. May Your Word burn in our hearts. For Jesus' sake we ask it. Amen.

Please stand. Receive the Lord's benediction:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Ⓒ2013 First Presbyterian Church.

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