2 Samuel 1:1 After the death of Saul, David returned from striking down the Amalekites and stayed in Ziklag two days.
David was unaware of Saul’s death until a messenger arrived with an account of the battle. When [Saul] turned around and saw me . . . he said to me, Stand here by me and kill me! I’m in the throes of death, but I’m still alive. So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that after he had fallen he could not survive. And I took the crown that was on his head and the band on his arm and have brought them here to [you] (2 Samuel 1:7-10), he said.
More accurately, Saul was wounded in battle and killed himself to avoid being tortured (1 Samuel 31:3-4). This man was probably a scavenger who got to Saul’s body before the Philistines. He likely invented this story to gain David’s favor, and a position in his new administration. He thought he was being wise, but he was playing the fool.
2 Samuel 1:15-16 Then David called one of his men and said, Go, strike him down! So he struck him down, and he died. For David had said to him, Your blood be on your own head. Your own mouth testified against you when you said, I killed the Lord’s anointed.
Instead of the reward he hoped for, this man met with death. He underestimated David’s respect for God’s king. Saul was chosen by God (1 Samuel 10:1), and only God had the right to remove him. By claiming to kill God’s king, this man gave up his life.
Those who want to advance too quickly often turn to schemes. Whoever plots evil will be known as a schemer (Proverbs 24:8). A fool finds pleasure in wicked schemes (Proverbs 10:23). And [God] condemns those who devise wicked schemes (Proverbs 12:2), says Proverbs.
An American investor was sentenced to one hundred fifty years in prison for cheating customers out of billions of dollars. He lived high for a while, but not for long. Better the poor whose walk is blameless than the rich whose ways are perverse (Proverbs 28:6), says Proverbs.
2 Samuel 2:4 Then the men of Judah came to Hebron, and there they anointed David king over the tribe of Judah.
David was thirty years old at this time (2 Samuel 5:4-5), and it would be another seven years before he was king over the whole nation of Israel. The transition would not be smooth.
Abner (the commander of Saul’s army) met with Joab (the commander of David’s army) at the town of Gibeon—each with troops. To minimize bloodshed, twelve soldiers were put forward from each side to engage in mortal combat.
Then each man grabbed his opponent by the head and thrust his dagger into his opponent’s side, and they fell down together (2 Samuel 2:16). Since there was no obvious winner, a battle broke out in which Judah lost twenty men, and Israel lost three hundred sixty men (2 Samuel 2:30-31). It could have been worse, but nothing was settled.
Some time later, Abner agreed to unite Israel under David, but Joab was angry because Abner had killed his brother in the previous battle (2 Samuel 2:23). So Joab took him aside into an inner chamber, as if to speak with him privately. And there, to avenge the blood of his brother [he] stabbed him in the stomach (2 Samuel 3:27).
Meanwhile, Saul’s son Ish-Bosheth was ruling as king in Israel. He was taking a noonday rest when he was stabbed to death in his bed. His murderers took his head to David, hoping for approval. But David was not pleased, and had them killed as well (2 Samuel 4:1-12). Then at last, the kingdom was united under David.
The church should be united under Jesus Christ (John 17:23), but is often at war with itself. Professing Christians have used both torture and murder against other professing Christians. Thankfully, it will not always be that way. When Christ returns, he will bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth (Ephesians 1:10), wrote Paul. The transition may be painful, but the reign of Christ will last forever.
2 Samuel 5:6 The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there.
Israel had taken Jerusalem before (Judges 1:8, 21), but the Jebusites had taken it back. With valleys on three sides it was easy to defend and hard to conquer. David and his men entered the city through a water shaft that still exists today. The Jebusites were defeated, and Jerusalem became the City of David (1 Samuel 5:9).
Jerusalem has been around for at least three thousand years (Genesis 14:18), and probably longer. It is also known as Zion, and is mentioned in the Bible over eight hundred times. It is where the temple was built (1 Kings 6), where Jesus was crucified (John 19:20), and where Jesus will return (Zechariah 14:4). God is also planning a new Jerusalem.
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.
They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away (Revelation 21:2-4), wrote John. This will be our eternal home.
Reflection and Review
Why do some people turn to schemes?
Why is the church often divided?
What is significant about Jerusalem?