|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:1-5 David was anointed king a third time. His advances were gradual, that his faith might be tried, and that he might gain experience. Thus his kingdom typified that of the Messiah, which was to come to its height by degrees. Thus Jesus became our Brother, took upon him our nature, dwelt in it that he might become our Prince and Saviour: thus the humbled sinner takes encouragement from the endearing relation, applies for his salvation, submits to his authority, and craves his protection.
Verse 3. - A league. The early kings of Israel were not invested with despotic power. Thus, on Saul's appointment, "Samuel wrote in a book the manner of the kingdom" (1 Samuel 10:25, made most emphatic in the Revised Version by the note in the margin, that the Hebrew is "the book"). The revolt against Rehoboam was the result of the too great extension of the royal power in the days of Solomon (1 Kings 12:4). Though subsequently the kings seemed to have retained their supremacy, yet when the good and patriotic Jehoiada restored the family of David to the throne, he reverted to the old ways, and "made a covenant between the king and the people" (2 Kings 11:17). Besides personal rights, the tribes, accustomed to their own leaders, and unused to yield obedience to a central authority, would certainly stipulate for a large measure of tribal independence, and the management of local matters by themselves. They anointed David king. This was the public ratification of Samuel's anointing, and by it David became de facto, as well as de jure, king. The prophets could not give any right over the people without the consent of the people themselves. But all religious men would see in the Divine command an obligation upon their conscience to accept as their king the man whom the prophet had anointed; and Saul acted in an irreligious manner in seeking to frustrate God's will. And this impiety culminated in his murder of the priests at Nob, which was the open avowal that he would trample all scruples of conscience underfoot.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron,.... Which either explains what is meant by the tribes coming to him, 2 Samuel 5:1; namely, coming by their elders as their representatives; or else the meaning is, that the messengers the tribes sent, when they returned and reported the favourable reception they had met with from David; the elders of the several tribes, the princes or principal men met, and came together to David in Hebron:
and King David made a league with them before the Lord; the states of the nation; he entered into a covenant with them; he on his part promising to rule them in justice and judgment according to the laws, and they promising to yield a cheerful obedience to him in all things just and lawful: and this was done "before the Lord"; either before the ark of the Lord, as Abarbinel; but that was in Kirjathjearim, from whence it was after this brought by David to this city; rather, as Kimchi observes, wherever all Israel, or the greater part of them, were assembled, there the divine Shechinah or Majesty dwelt; so that what was done in a public assembly was reckoned as done before the Lord, and in his presence; or this covenant was made before the Lord, and each party appealed to him as witness of it, so that it was a very solemn one:
and they anointed David king over Israel; that is, over all Israel, which was the third time of his being anointed; the first was by Samuel, pointing out the person the Lord chose and appointed king; the second was by the tribe of Judah, when they invested him with the office of a king over them; and now by all the tribes, when he was inaugurated into the whole kingdom of Israel; and not only the elders came at this time, but great numbers of the people from the several tribes, and continued with David some days, eating, drinking and rejoicing, see 1 Chronicles 12:1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. King David made a league with them in Hebron before the Lord—(see on 1Sa 10:17). This formal declaration of the constitution was chiefly made at the commencement of a new dynasty, or at the restoration of the royal family after a usurpation (2Ki 11:17), though circumstances sometimes led to its being renewed on the accession of any new sovereign (1Ki 12:4). It seems to have been accompanied by religious solemnities.
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