2 Samuel 5:1-10 – David, King of Israel


2 Samuel 5:1-10


The house of Judah had already anointed David as king. Now the tribes of Israel commit themselves politically to David by anointing him king of Israel as well. David consolidates his rule by making the politically neutral Jerusalem his capital and home, and defeating the Philistines, twice, all because “the LORD was with him.”


The lectionary text (2 Samuel 5:1-10) needs the rest of the chapter for a complete understanding of David’s accession, especially as that is revealed in the paneled structure of 2 Samuel 5:
A David anointed as king over Israel (vv. 1-3)
B Statistics of David’s reign (vv. 4-5)
C David defeats the Jebusites (vv. 6-8)
X God establishes David as king in Jerusalem (vv. 9-12a)
A′ David’s kingdom exalted (v. 12b)
B′ Statistics of David’s family (vv. 13-16)
C′ David defeats the Philistines (vv. 17-25)
Structurally, acclamation for David or his kingdom (vv. 1-3; 12b) is followed by pertinent statistical information (vv. 4-5; 13-16) and accounts of David’s military success (vv. 6-8; 17-25). The theologically significant matter of Jerusalem becoming the political and ultimately the religious center of the empire anchors the text, along with references to the divine favor David enjoyed (vv. 9-12a). Theologically important points include the following:
1. The elders of Israel came to David at Hebron in the south, thus demonstrating their acceptance of God’s decree that David would rule Israel (v. 2; see 1 Samuel 25:30). The unification of the tribes only exists in their mutual acceptance of David as king; a unification that will rupture upon the death of Solomon (1 Kings 12).
2. David’s choice of Jerusalem for his capital was politically astute. Jerusalem had ties with neither the north nor the south and was somewhat centrally located between those two entities. In addition, it already boasted an infrastructure that David could utilize to his own political advantage. It was truly “the city of David” (v. 9). Later, David’s transfer of the ark to Jerusalem would consolidate the city religiously (chapter 6).
3. David’s defeat of the Jebusites and capture of their city is matched with a dual victory over the Philistines who may have perceived David’s unification of Judah and Israel as a threat (vv. 17-25), although, historically speaking, most interpreters are convinced that these battles preceded the conquest of Jerusalem. They are arranged in this literary pattern to lift up the theological significance of David’s accession rather than its chronological order.
4. Most important, each of the three sections (vv. 1-8, 9-12a, and 12b-25) includes at least one reference to the divine favor David enjoyed:

  • “It is you who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you who shall be ruler over Israel” (v. 2).
  • “And David became greater and greater, for the LORD, the God of hosts, was with him” (v. 10).
  • “David then perceived that the LORD had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom” (v. 12).
  • Twice, “David inquired of the LORD” and received a positive answer (vv. 19, 23).