David's Reign
Part Three: David's Early Reign

1 Samuel 31:1-2 Samuel 7:29


Up to this point in the story of David we have seen the wonderful episodes of his slaying Goliath, of his friendship with Jonathan, and of his conflict with Saul. Much is to be gleaned from these stories; however, they take on added significance because of what happens in today's passages. David will not only ascend the throne of Israel; he will also receive a covenant (contract) from God which will have major implications for our understanding of who Jesus is. In this lesson we will pull out 3 episodes which probably influenced God to make this covenant with David.


The Death of Saul (1 Sam. 31:1-2 Sam. 1:27)

Twice we saw Saul pursuing David to kill him. Twice when David had the opportunity to kill Saul, he spared Saul's life. The second time impacted Saul permanently. From then on he refused to pursue David to kill him.

Attention though now turns to the Philistine threat. Once more the Philistines attack Israel, this time at Mt. Gilboa in the north of Israel, just to the southwest of the Sea of Galilee. The battle goes badly for Saul and the Israelites. First, 3 of Saul's sons, including Jonathan, are killed in battle. Saul is so wounded in battle that he despairs of living. He asks his armor-bearer to finish him off. The armor-bearer refuses. What does Saul do then after his armor-bearer refuses to slay him (1 Sam. 31:4)?

David in the meantime is residing in Ziklag which is in the southwest of Judah on the border with Philistia. An Amalekite who had been with the Israelite army carries the message to David that Saul has fallen. Now because he probably knew about the hostility between David and Saul, he thought that David would rejoice at this news. Moreover, he probably thought that David would honor the man responsible for Saul's death. Although Saul died by his own hand, what does the Amalekite claim for himself (2 Sam. 1:5-10)?

Although the Amalekite thinks that David is going to reward him for "his lie," how does David respond to this claim (1:14-16)?

Why does David respond this way (1:14)?

Next, follows one of the most beautiful pieces of poetry in the entire Bible, a lament for Saul and Jonathan. Read 2 Sam. 1:19-27 and briefly describe the contents of this song:

What is amazing about this song is not that it speaks of great love for Jonathan but that it speaks so highly of Saul. Look at the following clauses and see how highly David regarded Saul: “How have the MIGHTY fallen!” “How beloved and gracious were Saul and Jonathan; They were together in life and death; They were swifter than eagles; they were stronger than lions!” “O women of Israel, weep for SAUL!”

David so much exemplifies a magnanimous, generous nature. Just months earlier Saul is wanting to kill him. In fact if you trace back David’s relationship with Saul, with the exception of the one brief moment after David killed Goliath, Saul was always trying to kill David.

Why did David treat Saul this way? Simply because he was God’s Anointed. His love for God meant that he loved the one God chose to lead Israel. In the same way we should look at people on the basis of the way God looks at them. We so often condemn people who have wounded us. We feel like God should rearrange all the affairs of heaven so that He can avenge the wrong done us. Well, God does not look at people that way. Nearly every morning when the church staff prays together, we pray that we remember that each and every person we meet that day is someone Jesus has died for. Each person who comes through the door of the church office is either God’s son or daughter or somebody God wants to be His son or daughter. They are not to be used, dismissed, looked down upon, made fun of; they are to be treated as persons so very special in the eyes of Jesus.

David Becomes King Over All Israel (2 Sam. 2.1-5:5 )

Upon the death of Saul the southern tribe of Judah immediately hails David as king (2:4). The 10 northern tribes though do not rush to crown David. Instead they crown Ishbosheth, Saul's sole surviving son. He is kept in power for the next 7 1/2 years by Abner, one of Saul's powerful generals. After 7 1/2 years though Abner defects to David, bringing about the permanent downfall of the house of Saul. Read 2 Sam. 4:5-7 and then briefly describe the death of Ishbosheth:

Recab and Baanah mistakenly assume that David is going to be elated over their actions. How does David respond (4:8-12)?

The 10 northern tribes now crown David as king over Israel (5:5). When you read 2 Samuel 5:2 did the Israelites know all along that David was to succeed Saul to the throne?

Because the Israelites at first rejected God's will, both Abner and Ishbosheth are dead. God's will is eventually going to be done. What we have to decide is whether or not we are going to get on board with God and enjoy the blessings of His will, or else oppose God's will and suffer as a result. The choice is ours.


Now that David has a kingdom, David wants a capital worthy of that kingdom. He sets his sights on the Jebusite city of Jerusalem. This city built upon a hill was considered impregnable. David's commander Joab leads the troops through the water system, sneaks into the city, and captures the city. From this time forward Jerusalem becomes the political center of the Jewish people.

David though wants his city to be more than just the political center of his kingdom. He wants it to be the spiritual center of his kingdom as well. The ark of the covenant which was previously taken by the Philistines during the days of Eli, Samuel's mentor, is now residing Baale-judah. David takes a company with him to bring the ark of the covenant and the tabernacle into Jerusalem. After some major mishaps David successfully brings the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem. How does he act when he escorts the ark into the city (6:14)?

Although one of David's wives, Micah, despises David for this "shameless exhibition," David is unshamed of his conduct. His love for the Lord is so much greater than his love for his own wife that he neglects her from that day forward. She dies childless.

These 3 episodes have been selected to demonstrate David's character. More than all the other people in the OT David exemplified the character of Christ during the first 37 1/2 years of his life. Although he will mess up royally towards the end of his life, David so impressed God with his life that God now enters with David into the second greatest covenant of the OT, the Davidic covenant.


What did David want to build for God (7:1-2)?

At this time Nathan is the major prophet in Israel. When David asks Nathan about his wish, how does Nathan respond (7:3)?

Notice that 2 Samuel does not mention that Nathan approached the Lord with David's request. It seemed like a good idea to him; therefore, he probably thought the Lord thought it was a good idea. How does the Lord though feel about David's request (7:5-7)?

Even godly men, prophets, can get it wrong sometimes. Even godly men get it wrong when they fail to approach God about the issues they are facing. Godly men need to remember what it is that makes them godly--they seek after GOD'S WILL, not their own. Whenever they fail to seek God's will, they fail to be godly men, no matter how moral or good or pious they are.

God gives a message to relay to David. What is that message first regarding David's name or reputation (7:9)?
Regarding his house or dynasty (7:11)
Notice the play on words here. David was going to build a house for God. God now turns the tables; He is going to build a house for David. Whereas the house David was going to build for God was made up of precious stones, valuable gems, and the finest wood, God was going to build up for David a dynasty, a house of rulers, specifically one ruler.

What is the message regarding David's seed or son (7:12)?
Regarding GOD'S House (7:13)?
How long will the kingdom of David's son last (7:13, 16)?

From this time forward the Jews look for the birth of David's great son whose kingdom will be forever and ever. They don't look simply for a son of David; they look for one of his sons, descendants, whose throne will be forever and ever. This son the Jews call "the Messiah," or "the Christ," ("Christ" being the Greek translation of the Hebrew word "Messiah"). The word "Messiah" ("Christ") literally means "the "Anointed One." Just like Samuel anointed David with oil when he became king over Israel, so God will anoint the Messiah/Christ with His Holy Spirit when He becomes king over all the world.