THE DAVIDIC MONARCHY: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO US?
History and Literature of Ancient Israel
September 24, 2006
According to author Ray C. Stedman (1997), David came in to power rather unexpectedly, as he "began with a few sheep-and suddenly…God exalted him and made him King over Israel, a man of extraordinary wealth and power" (p. 164). Although it would be many years before David could physically take the throne, he would eventually become one of the most well known kings in the history of Israel. In this paper we will discuss the rise and fall of King David, examine his significance in history and in his relationship with God, and compare his sins to the reoccurring sins of humanity as a whole. Let us first begin with the story of his journey to the throne.
After God rejected the foolish and corrupt Saul, Israel's first king, He sent Samuel to Bethlehem to anoint David as the successor (1 Samuel 16:1-13). However, the transition was painfully gradual. Rather than claiming the throne that day, David returned to caring for the sheep, but "The Spirit of The Lord came upon David from that day forward," (1 Samuel 16:13) and "The Spirit of The Lord departed from Saul" (1 Samuel 16:14). Author of _An Historical Survey of the Old Testament_, Eugene Merrill explains that, coincident with God's rejection of Saul and subsequent anointing of David, the Spirit left the king and an evil spirit began to trouble him incessantly" (2004, p. 194). Although Saul was no longer considered King in the eyes of God, he remained ruler of the physical kingdom for many years.
In the years to come, David would spend his time tending to his flocks and occasionally acting as court musician and armor bearer for "King" Saul (Merrill, 2004, p. 194). Then followed one of the most famous incidents of The Bible: the interaction between David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17:1-58). In the valley of Elah just outside the town of Bethlehem, David overcame the giant Goliath with a mere stone and the faith of the Lord in his heart. David's defeat of Goliath put the Philistines to flight and resulted in a great victory for Israel (Merrill, 2004, p. 195). The heroic act made David a favorite of the people, much to the disfavor and jealousy of Saul (1 Samuel 18:6-16). From then on, Saul's envy dominated his existence, leading him to make many attempts on David's life (1 Samuel 18-30).
When Saul made his first attempt to kill David, the young shepherd fled, seeking the aid of Samuel in Ramah where he was given refuge for a time among the prophets (1 Samuel 19:12-18). When Saul discovered David's whereabouts, David fled again, this time to Nob (1 Samuel 21:1-9), and then to Gath among the Philistines. For some time, David found himself in the rather bizarre situation of fighting Saul's enemies while simultaneously fleeing the danger of his wrath. After David and his men had driven the Philistines from Keilah (1 Samuel 23:1-14) they moved to the hill country of Judah to escape Saul once again. Although Saul would readily have killed David, David refused to lift his sword against Saul. David remained a fugitive until Saul was killed in battle against the Philistines on Mount Gilboa (1 Samuel 31:1-6)
Upon Saul's death, David went to Hebron where he was anointed as king of Judah, according to The Lord's instructions (2 Samuel 2:1-4). A seven and a half year civil war followed between the forces that supported David, and those that supported Ish-bosheth, Saul's only surviving son, for the kingship of all Israel. The military and political situation grew steadily in favor of David however, and when Ish-bosheth was assassinated, David was anointed king over all 12 tribes of Israel at last (2 Samuel 4:1-12, 5:1-5).
David then moved his capital from Hebron to Jebus, the Canaan name for the city that would eventually become Jerusalem. The king and his men marched to Jebus to attack the...