2 Samuel 2:1-11 – Competing Kings


2 Samuel 2:1-11


David is proclaimed King of Judah in Hebron, while Ish-bosheth is proclaimed King of Israel in Mahanaim. 


The presentation of the two kings can hardly be more different. David enquired of the LORD who sent him to Hebron, he and his two wives, and all the loyal men who were with him. David sent words of thanks, and an invitation to join him to those men of Jabesh-Gilead who had bravely rescued Saul’s and Jonathan’s remains. David actively follows God and rewards loyalty, even loyalty to Saul, David’s former pursuer. 

In the same vicinity of Jabesh-Gilead, Abner takes Ish-bosheth to Mahanaim to make him king over Israel. Interestingly, Hebron was inside the land west of the Jordan, whereas Mahanaim was east of the Jordan, in the territory of Gad. David would later flee to Mahanaim while on his retreat from Absalom, and it was there that David would learn of his son’s death.

As its name suggests (Mahanaim is translated as “two camps”) the place will signify in 2 Kings that Israel is divided among itself and not at peace. The place was named earlier, according to Genesis, by Jacob when he fled from a family member trying to kill him (Genesis 32:2).