James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and David had abode two days in Ziklag;2 Samuel 1:1-5:5
DAVID MADE KING
LAMENTING THE DEAD (2 Samuel 1)
Surely the harshness and gentleness of David are strangely blended in this chapter. That one should so lament an enemy and slay the man who professed to murder him surpasses ordinary thought; but David was built on a large mould. Of course the Amalekite lied to David, for the inspired record of the death of Saul in the preceding book must be regarded as correct.
Observe the motive governing David: “Wast thou not afraid.., to destroy the Lord’s anointed?” (2 Samuel 1:14). It is his zeal for God that moves him, and furnishes the key to his whole life, notwithstanding his defects and iniquities. This is the thing which distinguishes him from Saul, and gives him the right to the peculiar appellation attached to him.
The obscurity of 2 Samuel 1:18 is perhaps explained thus: “The use of the bow,” might be rendered “the song of the bow,” and doubtless refers to the song which follows (2 Samuel 1:19-27), and which David composed, after the manner of the times, on the death of Saul and Jonathan. The Book of Jasher, or the book of the upright, is mentioned in Joshua (Joshua 10:13), and seems to have been a compilation of sacred poems not otherwise known to us.
WAR BETWEEN THE HOUSES (2 Samuel 2:1 to 2 Samuel 3:6)
The leading facts of this section are: David’s anointing as king over Judah, his own tribe (2 Samuel 2:4), including his tactful commendation of the men of Jabesh-Gilead (2 Samuel 2:4-7). David was a diplomat as well as a warrior. Second, the succession of Ish-bosheth to the throne left vacant by his father, Saul (2 Samuel 2:8-10). Third, the earliest battle between the opposing forces, precipitated by the failure of the duel to settle the question between them (2 Samuel 2:12-17). “Hel-Kath-hazzurim” means “the field of strong men,” appropriately named from the deed of valor wrought that day. Fourth, the remarkable armistice (2 Samuel 2:18-32). Evidently if Abner had not asked for a stay, Joab would have put it into execution the next day, and for the same reason (2 Samuel 2:25-28). The great value of Asahel is graphically expressed in the words “nineteen men and Asahel” (2 Samuel 2:30). He was more than merely a twentieth. God needs such men in His service. Can He count on us?
DAVID COMES INTO HIS OWN (2 Samuel 3:6 to 2 Samuel 5:5)
The circumstances leading up to David’s ascendancy are as follows: Abner’s indignity to the memory of Saul, and Ish-bosheth’s protest against it (2 Samuel 3:7-11); The former’s league in consequence with David (2 Samuel 3:12-21); The murder of Ish-bosheth (2 Samuel 4:1-12); The anointing to the office of king (2 Samuel 5:1-5).
The intervening verses (2 Samuel 3:22 to 2 Samuel 4:12) tell their own story of jealousy and murder. It was a dastardly act of Joab, and Abner seems to have been all through the better man, although Joab was valiant and loyal to his king. Note, however, the curse David puts upon him (2 Samuel 3:28-29), notwithstanding that he continued to use him as his chieftain. David was a noble soul, and his sincere lament for Abner won him the hearts of Israel (2 Samuel 3:31-39).
1. Where in this lesson is there an illustration of the difference between the truth of the record and that which the record contains?
2. What illustrates David’s personal loyalty to God?
3. What can be told about The Book of Jasher?
4. How long did David reign over Judah alone?
5. How long over Israel and Judah?
6. In how many instances are David’s wisdom and tact shown in this lesson?