II. Jerusalem, the Davidic Covenant, and Military Victory (2 Samuel 5:6–10:19)

5:6 Until he was anointed king over all Israel, David had been reigning from Hebron. Now, he set out to conquer a new capital, a city that would become one of the most well-known in history. David did not know at this point that his choice would become the holy city, the place of God’s temple. But, God would make that clear in time.

7:11-16 Don’t miss the shock value of this statement: The Lord himself will make a house for you (7:11). God was engaging in word play. Instead of David building God a house (that is, constructing a temple for him), God would build David a house (that is, he would raise up a kingly dynasty for him). God promised that he would establish the kingdom of David’s descendant (7:12). It was this king who would build a house (a temple) for the name of the Lord (7:13). God would be his father, and the king would be his son (7:14). If he rebelled, God would discipline him, but his faithful love would never depart from him (7:14-15). Thus, the house and kingdom and throne of David would be established forever (7:16).

Clearly, the near-term fulfillment of these promises would be David’s son Solomon. God would indeed establish his kingdom, paving the way for Israel’s golden age. Solomon would be the one to build the temple. And, when Solomon (and subsequent kings) sinned, God’s discipline would fall.

But, ultimately, it would take more than a mere man to fulfill the promises of this Davidic covenant. To have a kingdom and throne established forever, the God-man, Jesus Christ, was needed. The divine Son of God fulfills the Father-Son relationship in the truest sense. As Matthew and Luke show, Jesus in his humanity is a descendent of David and heir to the throne (see Matt 1:1-16; Luke 3:23-38). As the angel proclaimed to Mary, he is “the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David” (Luke 1:32). “He will reign forever and ever” (Rev 11:15). Jesus will take up his right and rule from David’s throne in Jerusalem when he returns in glory to reign in his millennial kingdom. Then, he will rule for all eternity as King of kings and Lord of lords.

7:17-29 When Nathan reported all of this to David, the king was overwhelmed. He responded with a prayer of praise and humble worship, recognizing his unworthiness. He asked God, Who am I . . . that you have brought me this far? (7:18). (If that isn’t the testimony of your own heart, you don’t yet see the depth of your sin and the lavish grace and kindness of God.) David also magnified the Lord for doing great things for him, for Israel, and for future generations (7:19-24). Finally, David prayed that God would fulfill his promise (7:25-29).

In this last part of David’s request, we see a reminder that when you don’t know what else to pray, you should ask God to fulfill his promises, because “if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14). So, like David, pray that the promises God has made in eternity become a reality in your history.

8:1-2 God had promised that David would have “rest from all [his] enemies” (7:11), and now he set about to accomplish it. David began by defeating and subjugating Israel’s ever-present foes to the west, the Philistines (8:1). He also defeated the Moabites, who lived to the southeast of Israel, and he executed two-thirds of their captive troops. Then, they became David’s subjects (8:2).

8:3-6 David’s expansion of his kingdom continued in every direction. His campaigns in the north included the conquest of Had-adezer . . . king of Zobah, whose area lay just north of Damascus (8:3). When the Arameans of Damascus came to assist King Hadadezer . . . David struck down twenty-two thousand Aramean men (8:5). David then placed garrisons in Aram, a kingdom that would be later known as Syria, and also made these people his subjects who paid him tribute. The reason for David’s unbroken success was unmistakable: The Lord made David victorious wherever he went (8:6).

8:7-8 David also took large amounts of plunder from his defeated enemies in the form of the gold shields of Hadadezer’s officers and huge quantities of bronze from Betah and Berothai, Hadadezer’s cities, which he took to Jerusalem and added to his royal coffers.

8:9-12 Not every kingdom north of Israel was sad to see David march north and conquer territory. A king named Toi ruled over Hamath, another Aramean city-state that was about a hundred miles north of Damascus. Toi was so glad that David had defeated the entire army of Hadadezer that he sent his son Joram to David with expensive gifts to congratulate him on his victory, because Toi and Hadadezer had fought many wars (8:9-10). As he did with all his spoil and gifts, David also dedicated these to the Lord (8:11). Notice the pattern: “The Lord made David victorious” (8:6), and David dedicated his spoils to the Lord (8:11). The gracious provision of God should inspire our gratefulness and giving, too.

8:13-14 Turning to the south, David gained widespread fame when he defeated an army of eighteen thousand Edomites in Salt Valley (8:13). These were the descendants of Esau and proved to be bitter enemies of the Israelites. David also subjugated the Edomites to make sure they didn’t rise up against him again. As before (see 8:6), the author tells us that the Lord made David victorious wherever he went (8:14). God’s might enabled David’s army.

By now David ruled over a kingdom territory promised to Abraham by covenant (see Gen 15:18). But, this was not the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant, because David did not occupy all of this territory, and Israel did not possess it permanently. This covenant will not be fulfilled until Jesus Christ returns to rule in his millennial kingdom.

8:15-18 At this point, David’s reign over all of Israel was in its relatively early stages. But, he still needed religious, political, and military leaders to help him in administering justice and righteousness for all his people (8:15). Joab was military commander (8:16). The priests Zadok and Ahimelech were from two different priestly lines descended from Aaron (8:17). Ahimelech was from the line of Eli, whose family was cursed because of the sins of Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas, and Eli’s failure to restrain them. Samuel had said this family line would come to an end (see 1 Sam 3:10-14). The line of Zadok, however, would continue on through the end of the Old Testament. Benaiah was the leader of the Cherethites and the Pelethites, elite troops of David. His sons served as chief officials (8:18).

9:1-4 David never forgot his covenant promise of friendship with Saul’s son Jonathan. He wanted to honor that promise with kindness to anyone in Saul’s family for Jonathan’s sake (9:1). Ziba had been a servant in Saul’s house who had kept up with the family (9:2-3). He knew that Jonathan had a crippled son, Mephibosheth (introduced in 4:4), and Ziba knew that he was living in Lo-debar on the opposite side of the Jordan River—possibly in hiding (9:3-4).

9:5-7 David immediately sent for Mephibo-sheth, who bowed down to the ground and paid homage to David, perhaps not knowing the fate that awaited him as the heir of the disgraced former king (9:5-6). But, David quickly laid the young man’s fears to rest by repeating his covenant promise to Jonathan and assuring Mephibosheth that he was to be the recipient of that blessing. These blessings included all his grandfather Saul’s fields and a permanent seat at the king’s table (9:7).

9:8-13 Mephibosheth was understandably grateful and deeply humbled because he knew that he had done nothing to deserve this favor from David’s hand (9:8). The change in circumstances came as a result of sheer grace. David also arranged for the administration of Mephibosheth’s new estate. He assigned Ziba and his family to manage the grant he had just made to Mephibosheth (9:9-11). The land David had restored was to be cultivated to feed the rest of Mephibo-sheth’s household, while he himself lived in Jerusalem and ate at the royal table with David.

There was no precedent in the ancient world for what David did on behalf of Mephibosheth. But then, there was no king like David, a type and forerunner of Jesus Christ, who took mercy on us as crippled sinners and extended to us his kindness (see Titus 3:4-5).

10:1-2 Chapter 10 begins with another story of David’s kindness. This time, however, his kindness was rejected, and he received gross insult in return. David sent a delegation to Ammon, the kingdom directly east of Israel, to express his sympathy at the death of the king of the Ammonites (10:1). The late king, Nahash, had been an enemy to Saul and Israel many years earlier (see 1 Sam 11:1-10). But, in later years, he had apparently shown some unnamed kindness to David. So, David wanted to express his condolences to Nahash’s son Hanun (10:2).

10:3-5 Hanun had foolish counselors who had no love for Israel or her king. Without evidence, they accused David of sending his delegation as spies to scope out the capital so he could come with his army and demolish it (10:3). Unfortunately for Hanun and his people, he listened to his counselors and humiliated David’s representatives by shaving their beards and exposing their nakedness (10:4). The men were understandably and deeply humiliated (10:5). David would not let the insult pass without response.

10:6-10 The Ammonites realized they had become repulsive to David, so they began preparing for war with Israel. Taking on a formidable enemy like David would require extra troops, so Hanun hired tens of thousands of mercenaries from the Arameans, and from the smaller kingdoms of Maacah and Tob (10:6). David sent Joab and all the elite troops (10:7). The enemy split their forces, with the Ammonites guarding the city while the mercenary troops were in the field by themselves (10:8). So, Joab also divided Israel’s forces and sent his brother Abishai against the Ammonites while he attacked the Arameans (10:10).

10:11-14 Joab and Abishai agreed to help each other if one of their lines faltered and prayed for God’s will to be done (10:11-12). As a result of their strategy (and God’s help; see 8:6, 14), the Arameans fled from Joab, and when the Ammonites saw this they lost courage and retreated into their city (10:13-14). Thus, Israel won another great victory, and Joab called off the attack against the Ammon-ites. He and his forces returned in triumph to Jerusalem (10:13-14).

10:15-19 The Arameans, however, couldn’t take their whipping, learn their lesson, and go home. Instead, they regrouped (10:15). Hadadezer called for even more troops and lined up for battle (10:16). This time, David responded in person. He gathered all Israel and engaged the Arameans in battle (10:17). The outcome was a foregone conclusion. David and Israel not only routed the enemy, but David also killed Shobach commander of their army, a devastating psychological blow to the Aramean troops (10:18). At last, the Arameans realized that fighting against David was a hopeless cause, so they made peace with Israel and became their subjects (10:19).As a man after God’s own heart (see 1 Sam 13:14), David had been a faithful follower of God as a young shepherd, an unjustly persecuted fugitive, and then as a powerful king. God had blessed him with a powerful kingdom and rest from his enemies on every side. David’s fame and power were at their height. Unfortunately for David and Israel, it was at this point that he faltered.

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