II Samuel 5

The Word Made Fresh

1Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron. They said, “We are all family together. 2When Saul was our king, you were the one who led Israel’s men out and brought them back. The LORD told you that you would be Israel’s shepherd, and Israel’s ruler.” 3So their elders came to him and acknowledged him as their king at Hebron, and David their king made a pact with them before the LORD, and they anointed him king over all Israel. 4David was thirty years old and would reign for forty years; 5seven and a half years at Hebron over the territory of Judah, and thirty-three years at Jerusalem over them all, Judah and Israel.

6Then the king with his soldiers marched against Jerusalem. The Jebusites who lived there said, “You’ll never come in here. Even our blind and lame can fight you off.” They really believed they could hold out.

7But David took the fortress called Zion, which later became the City of David. 8He had told his men earlier that day, “If you would conquer the Jebusites, enter the city by the water tunnel and attack those ‘blind and lame’ enemies of David.” They did and from then on, they would taunt, saying, “Now the ‘blind and lame’ can’t come in here.”

9David occupied the fortress and named it the City of David. He built up the city around it from the earthen terraces inward. 10And David grew more and more powerful because the LORD, the God of hosts, was with him.

11Hiram, king of Tyre, sent ambassadors to David. They brought cedar logs and carpenters and masons to build a house for him. 12David knew then that the LORD had indeed established him as king over Israel and had strengthened his kingdom for the LORD’s people.

13After he had completed the move from Hebron to Jerusalem, David took more concubines and married more wives who gave him more sons and daughters: 14Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet.

17The Philistines heard that David had been made king of Israel. They combined all their forces and went after him. David got wind of it and went down to his old stronghold. 18The Philistines spread out in the Rephidim valley. 19David made inquiry to the LORD. “Will you hand them over to me?” he asked.

The LORD’s answer was, “Yes. I will give you the victory.”

20So, David went to Baal-Perazim (‘Lord who breaks out’) and routed the Philistines there. He said, “The LORD has broken out like a flood over my enemies,” which is why the place is called Baal-Perazim. 21The Philistines discarded their idols there, and David and his men carried them off.

22The Philistines attacked again and spread their men across the Rephaim valley. 23When David inquired of the LORD, the LORD said, “This time don’t attack them directly, but go around behind them and approach them through the balsam forest. 24When you hear the wind in the treetops sound like soldiers marching, get ready, because that means the LORD is leading you down to attack the Philistines.”

25David did as the LORD directed him, and struck down Philistine soldiers from Geba to Gezer.


1-5: All the tribal leaders have come to Hebron and a coronation ceremony is held, making David king over all the tribes. David is 37 years old now.

6-10: David’s first act as king is to establish a new capital city, a bit further north and more central than Hebron. He conquers Jerusalem, variously called Salem and Jebus in earlier passages. He fortifies the fortress within the city walls and calls it the City of David.

11-12: A long and prosperous relationship with Lebanon seems to have its starting point here. We are not told how this alliance comes to be, only that Hiram of Tyre offers to build a house for David; a gift from a wealthy neighbor, and perhaps calculated to avoid becoming one of David’s conquests.

13-16: Eleven more sons are born to David, but their births are spread out over a number of years. The passage hints that they include sons of concubines, but we will see that Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, one of David’s wives, becomes a powerful broker in David’s later administration.

17-21: Good news: David repulses a Philistine attack after inquiring of the LORD. Bad news: David and his men confiscate the idols left behind by the Philistines. I see a red flag.

22-25: Another victory over the Philistines, this one won by the use of superior tactics revealed to David during his consultation with the LORD, probably through the office of the high priest Abiathar, son of Ahimelech (see I Samuel 22:20), using the Urim and Thummim, the “holy dice.”


So far, David is the ideal king and leader. His leadership skills are apparent at every turn. He is willing to humble himself to pay tribute to his opponents — Saul and Abner. Whenever he is faced with a dangerous situation, he calls on the LORD for guidance. These attributes make him a good role model for leaders. He has other inclinations that should not be aped, as we shall see.