Read 2 Samuel 2
David Anointed King Over Judah
1 In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord. “Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” he asked.
The Lord said, “Go up.”
David asked, “Where shall I go?”
“To Hebron,” the Lord answered.
2 So David went up there with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 3 David also took the men who were with him, each with his family, and they settled in Hebron and its towns. 4 Then the men of Judah came to Hebron, and there they anointed David king over the tribe of Judah.
When David was told that it was the men from Jabesh Gilead who had buried Saul, 5 he sent messengers to them to say to them, “The Lord bless you for showing this kindness to Saul your master by burying him. 6 May the Lord now show you kindness and faithfulness, and I too will show you the same favor because you have done this. 7 Now then, be strong and brave, for Saul your master is dead, and the people of Judah have anointed me king over them.”
War Between the Houses of David and Saul
8 Meanwhile, Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ish-Bosheth son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim. 9 He made him king over Gilead, Ashuri and Jezreel, and also over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel.
10 Ish-Bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The tribe of Judah, however, remained loyal to David. 11 The length of time David was king in Hebron over Judah was seven years and six months.
12 Abner son of Ner, together with the men of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, left Mahanaim and went to Gibeon. 13 Joab son of Zeruiah and David’s men went out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. One group sat down on one side of the pool and one group on the other side.
14 Then Abner said to Joab, “Let’s have some of the young men get up and fight hand to hand in front of us.”
“All right, let them do it,” Joab said.
15 So they stood up and were counted off—twelve men for Benjamin and Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, and twelve for David. 16 Then each man grabbed his opponent by the head and thrust his dagger into his opponent’s side, and they fell down together. So that place in Gibeon was called Helkath Hazzurim.“
17 The battle that day was very fierce, and Abner and the Israelites were defeated by David’s men.
18 The three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab, Abishai and Asahel. Now Asahel was as fleet-footed as a wild gazelle. 19 He chased Abner, turning neither to the right nor to the left as he pursued him. 20 Abner looked behind him and asked, “Is that you, Asahel?”
“It is,” he answered.
21 Then Abner said to him, “Turn aside to the right or to the left; take on one of the young men and strip him of his weapons.” But Asahel would not stop chasing him.
22 Again Abner warned Asahel, “Stop chasing me! Why should I strike you down? How could I look your brother Joab in the face?”
23 But Asahel refused to give up the pursuit; so Abner thrust the butt of his spear into Asahel’s stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He fell there and died on the spot. And every man stopped when he came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died.
24 But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner, and as the sun was setting, they came to the hill of Ammah, near Giah on the way to the wasteland of Gibeon. 25 Then the men of Benjamin rallied behind Abner. They formed themselves into a group and took their stand on top of a hill.
26 Abner called out to Joab, “Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize that this will end in bitterness? How long before you order your men to stop pursuing their fellow Israelites?”
27 Joab answered, “As surely as God lives, if you had not spoken, the men would have continued pursuing them until morning.”
28 So Joab blew the trumpet, and all the troops came to a halt; they no longer pursued Israel, nor did they fight anymore.
29 All that night Abner and his men marched through the Arabah. They crossed the Jordan, continued through the morning hours and came to Mahanaim.
30 Then Joab stopped pursuing Abner and assembled the whole army. Besides Asahel, nineteen of David’s men were found missing. 31 But David’s men had killed three hundred and sixty Benjamites who were with Abner. 32 They took Asahel and buried him in his father’s tomb at Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched all night and arrived at Hebron by daybreak.
David’s time of grief has come to an end, and now he looks to the Lord and the future. David often inquired of the Lord, ensuring that he was in the middle of God’s plans and that his judgment was not clouded by his own selfish desires. God was faithful to David and answered him and led David to Hebron, in the territory of Judah.
What we learn in this passage is the great parallel of David’s rule over Israel and Jesus’ reign on the throne. David did not force his rule or reign on anyone. He understood the importance of God lifting him up through others (the elders of Judah) instead of striving to advance himself. David also knew the weight of the responsibility he was given. Turmoil and suffering were inevitably going to surround him as he held authority on the throne. What we know to be true about God is that whenever He puts someone in a position of power or leadership, it is to bring glory to His name.
However, as we continue to read, what we see is the enemy’s attack and disruption. The scheme of the enemy is disunity, and as the war between the tribe of Judah and other tribes of Israel breaks out, there is constant division in the land. Of all the lessons we can learn from this passage, it is wise to see that unity matters to God. In John 10:16, we see God’s perspective of “one flock and one shepherd.” This proves to us that unity does not need to be created, it needs to simply be protected.
- How do you inquire of the Lord? Do you desire to be in the middle of His plans?
- Where are we creating division? How are we fighting amongst ourselves? How are you fighting against the enemy’s schemes for disunity?
- Jesus’ last prayer was for unity, that we would be one. How do you practice peace and oneness with other believers? (Ephesians 4:3)
“Unity creates belief. Disunity fosters disbelief. Who wants to board a ship of bickering sailors? Paul Billheimer may very well be right when he says: ‘The continuous and widespread fragmentation of the Church has been the scandal of the ages. It has been Satan’s master strategy. The sin of disunity probably has caused more souls to be lost than all other sins combined. Could it be that unity is the key to reaching the world for Christ? The world will be won for Christ when the church is one in Christ. If unity is the key to evangelism, shouldn’t it have precedence in our prayers?’”
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