David king over all Israel. (1-5) He takes the strong-hold of Zion. (6-10) David's kingdom established. (11-16) He defeats the Philistines. (17-25)
Verses 1-5 David was anointed king a third time. His advances were gradual, that his faith might be tried, and that he might gain experience. Thus his kingdom typified that of the Messiah, which was to come to its height by degrees. Thus Jesus became our Brother, took upon him our nature, dwelt in it that he might become our Prince and Saviour: thus the humbled sinner takes encouragement from the endearing relation, applies for his salvation, submits to his authority, and craves his protection.
Verses 6-10 The enemies of God's people are often very confident of their own strength, and most secure when their day to fall draws nigh. But the pride and insolence of the Jebusites animated David, and the Lord God of hosts was with him. Thus in the day of God's power, Satan's strong-hold, the human heart, is changed into a habitation of God through the Spirit, and into a throne on which the Son of David rules, and brings every thought into obedience to himself. May He thus come, and claim, and cleanse, each of our hearts; and, destroying every idol, may he reign there for ever!
Verses 11-16 David's house was not the worse, nor the less fit to be dedicated to God, for being built by the sons of the stranger. It is prophesied of the gospel church, The sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee, ( Isaiah 60:10 ) . David's government was rooted and built up. David was established king; so is the Son of David, and all who, through him, are made to our God kings and priests. Never had the nation of Israel appeared so great as it began now to be. Many have the favour and love of God, yet do not perceive it, and so want the comfort of it; but to be exalted to that, and to perceive it, is happiness. David owned it was for his people's sake God had done great things for him; that he might be a blessing to them, and that they might be happy under him.
Verses 17-25 The Philistines considered not that David had the presence of God with him, which Saul had forfeited and lost. The kingdom of the Messiah, as soon as it was set up in the world, was thus attacked by the powers of darkness. The heathen raged, and the kings of the earth set themselves to oppose it; but all in vain, ( Psalm 2:1 ) . The destruction will turn, as this did, upon Satan's own kingdom. David owns dependence on God for victory; and refers himself to the good pleasure of God, Wilt thou do it? The assurance God has given us of victory over our spiritual enemies, should encourage us in our spiritual conflicts. David waited till God moved; he stirred then, but not till then. He was trained up in dependence on God and his providence. God performed his promise, and David failed not to improve his advantages. When the kingdom of the Messiah was to be set up, the apostles, who were to beat down the devil's kingdom, must not attempt any thing till they received the promise of the Spirit; who came with a sound from heaven, as of a rushing, mighty wind, ( Acts 2:2 ) .
2 Samuel 5:1-5 . THE TRIBES ANOINT DAVID KING OVER ISRAEL.
1, 2. Then came all the tribes of Israel--a combined deputation of the leading authorities in every tribe. possessed the first and indispensable qualification for the throne; namely, that of being an Israelite ( Deuteronomy 17:15 ). Of his military talent he had furnished ample proof. And the people's desire for his assumption of the government of Israel was further increased by their knowledge of the will and purpose of God, as declared by Samuel ( 1 Samuel 16:11-13 ).
3. King David made a league with them in Hebron before the constitution was chiefly made at the commencement of a new dynasty, or at the restoration of the royal family after a usurpation ( 2 Kings 11:17 ), though circumstances sometimes led to its being renewed on the accession of any new sovereign ( 1 Kings 12:4 ). It seems to have been accompanied by religious solemnities.
2 Samuel 5:6-12 . HE TAKES ZION FROM THE JEBUSITES.
6. the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites--The first expedition of David, as king of the whole country, was directed against this place, which had hitherto remained in the hands of the natives. It was strongly fortified and deemed so impregnable that the blind and lame were sent to man the battlements, in derisive mockery of the Hebrew king's attack, and to shout, "David cannot come in hither." To understand the full meaning and force of this insulting taunt, it is necessary to bear in mind the depth and steepness of the valley of Gihon, and the lofty walls of the ancient Canaanitish fortress.
7. the stronghold of Zion--Whether Zion be the southwestern hill commonly so-called, or the peak now level on the north of the temple mount, it is the towering height which catches the eye from every quarter--"the hill fort," "the rocky hold" of Jerusalem.
8. Whosoever getteth up to the gutter--This is thought by some to mean a subterranean passage; by others a spout through which water was poured upon the fire which the besiegers often applied to the woodwork at the gateways, and by the projections of which a skilful climber might make his ascent good; a third class render the words, "whosoever dasheth them against the precipice" ( 1 Chronicles 11:6 ).
9. David dwelt in the fort, &c.--Having taken it by storm, he changed its name to "the city of David," to signify the importance of the conquest, and to perpetuate the memory of the event.
David built round about from Millo and inward--probably a row of stone bastions placed on the northern side of Mount Zion, and built by David to secure himself on that side from the Jebusites, who still lived in the lower part of the city. The house of Millo was perhaps the principal corner tower of that fortified wall.
11, 12. Hiram . . . sent carpenters, and masons--The influx of Tyrian architects and mechanics affords a clear evidence of the low state to which, through the disorders of long-continued war, the better class of artisans had declined in Israel.
2 Samuel 5:13-16 . ELEVEN SONS BORN TO HIM.
13. David took him more concubines and wives--In this conduct David transgressed an express law, which forbade the king of Israel to multiply wives unto himself ( Deuteronomy 17:17 ).
2 Samuel 5:17-25 . HE SMITES THE PHILISTINES.
17. when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel--During the civil war between the house of Saul and David, those restless neighbors had remained quiet spectators of the contest. But now, jealous of David, they resolved to attack him before his government was fully established.
18. valley of Rephaim--that is, "of giants," a broad and fertile plain, which descends gradually from the central mountains towards the northwest. It was the route by which they marched against Jerusalem. The "hold" to which David went down "was some fortified place where he might oppose the progress of the invaders," and where he signally defeated them.
21. there they left their images--probably their "lares" or household deities, which they had brought into the field to fight for them. They were burnt as ordained by law ( Deuteronomy 7:5 ).
22. the Philistines came up yet again--The next year they renewed their hostile attempt with a larger force, but God manifestly interposed in David's favor.
24. the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees--now generally thought not to be mulberry trees, but some other tree, most probably the poplar, which delights in moist situations, and the leaves of which are rustled by the slightest movement of the air [ROYLE].