Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, "Here we are, your own flesh and blood.
I. THE GROUNDS OF THEIR ACCEPTANCE OF HIM.
1. Close relationship. "Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh" (comp. Ephesians 5:30). God has given to us a King who is one with us in nature. The Ruler of the Church, yea, of all things, is a Man; the throne of the universe is filled by a human form (see Hebrews 2:5, et seq.) - a fact which endears the Christ to his willing subjects.
2. Previous service. (Ver. 2.) "In time past," etc. In which service David had both displayed and increased his capacities for ruling men. With this may be compared Christ's period of service when on earth, especially during his public ministry and last sufferings. By these he was trained and prepared for his throne (made "perfect through sufferings," Hebrews 2:10); and it is in and by these that he reveals himself and attracts the hearts of men.
3. Divine appointment. (Ver. 2.) "The Lord said to thee, Thou shalt feed ['shepherd,' 'be the shepherd of'] my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain [literally, 'foremost man, leader'] over Israel." A king is to be as a shepherd to his subjects, not only ruling them, but caring for, watching over, protecting, guiding, uniting them; guarding and preserving the weak from violence and oppression, as a shepherd his lambs. The image was natural to the Hebrews, and runs through the Scriptures, extending even to the visions of heaven (Revelation 7:17). The king was also to be leader in peace or war, ever "to the front," worthy to be followed, first and foremost in all noble deeds, accepting courageously the perils of such a position. David was such a king, imperfectly; Christ is such a King, perfectly. Both were divinely designated to the office of Ruler of God's people, Kings by Divine right in the strictest sense. As such David is here recognized at length by the tribes of Israel, as before by the tribe of Judah. As such the Lord Jesus is recognized by his followers. These reasons had existed and should have been as powerful immediately after Saul's death; but they had not been allowed to operate. But the experience of these tribes whilst holding aloof from David, their present disorganized condition, possibly also their knowledge of the benefits of David's rule to Judah, combined to open their eyes, and so impress these considerations on their hearts as to produce a general willingness to accept him whom they had been rejecting. And thus it is with many in respect to the great King. His claims are known, but other lords are preferred, until, after delay more or less protracted, they become convinced of their sin and folly, and surrender themselves to him. Let those who are thus procrastinating beware lest they become convinced too late.
II. THE SOLEMNITIES BY WHICH THEIR ACCEPTANCE OF DAVID, AND HIS OF THEM, WERE SIGNIFIED,
1. A mutual covenant. He engaging to rule them, and they to serve him according to the Law of God (Deuteronomy 17:14-20). In like manner, when men receive Christ as their King, promising loyalty and obedience, he on his part promises to be to them all that his gospel represents him. These Israelites, indeed, may have imposed special stipulations not expressed in the Law; but we, in accepting Christ, have simply to submit to the terms of the Divine covenant, as we are not in any degree independent parties.
2. The anointing of David as king. The third time he was anointed - once by Samuel, once by the tribe of Judah, and now by the rest of the tribes. For the people could in a measure give him authority over them. But our King Jesus can receive no authority from us. He is the Christ (the Anointed) of God; we have simply to recognize his Divine authority.
3. The presence of God was recognized. "Before the Lord." This was fitting, as he was supreme Monarch, to whom both king and people were bound to submit, whose blessing was necessary to render the union happy; and an engagement made as in his sight would be felt as peculiarly binding. So should we, in accepting Christ, place ourselves in the presence of God, first in secret, then in his house, and at the Lord's Table.
4. A joyful feast concluded the proceedings. (See 1 Chronicles 12:39, 40.) It was to the whole people a suitable occasion for rejoicing. They were again one nation. Their union would be cemented by eating and drinking together. They would the better retain the feeling of union when they had separated to their various localities and homes, and would be the better prepared to perform their common duties to the king and the nation. Thus also our Lord enjoins his subjects to eat and drink together in his Name, that they may recognize each other as his, rejoice together in their privileges, and be more closely united to him and the whole "Israel of God." In conclusion:
1. Happy is the nation whose rulers and subjects alike recognize God as the supreme Ruler over them, and his will as their supreme law; act as in his sight, and invoke his blessing.
2. Closer union amongst Christians must spring from more thorough acceptance of the royal authority of Christ. They are one in him, and they will become more completely, more consciously, and more manifestly one in proportion as they, all alike, renouncing merely human authorities, come to Christ himself, listen to him, and submit to his authority in all things. - G.W.
Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake saying, Behold we are thy bone and thy flesh.
1. Blood-relationship: "We are thy bone and thy flesh." It was with these words that Laban welcomed his nephew Jacob to Haran (Genesis 29:14); with these words also Abimelech sought the allegiance of the men of Shechem (Judges 9:2).
2. David had been, under Saul, their leader in war, and as he had been a victorious leader they are ready to acknowledge him as their king.
3. He had been called of God to be a shepherd and a prince over Israel.As the representatives of the tribes the elders come to Hebron with this petition, and a covenant is entered into "before the Lord."
1. All the tribes of Israel were now united and the family circle was one under David.
2. There was peace in Israel, instead of the long, bitter strife of so many years.
3. Their anointed king was he whom God had selected, so that, instead of fighting against the Divine purpose, they were now in harmony with that purpose, and the smile of Jehovah rested on their union.
4. The future was bright before them. So long as they were contending with one another they had no strength to overcome the enemies of God, and the Jebusites could not be driven out of Jerusalem. But now, the tribes united, led by such a prince as David and with God on their side, they were strong to conquer all their enemies.There are two profound thoughts in this closing verse:
1. The recognition by David of the hand of God in his position as king over Israel.
2. The recognition of the truth that the purpose of this providence was for the temporal and spiritual interests of the people of God. The people are not created for the king, but the king for the people.
(A. E. Kittredge, D. D.)
Monday Club Sermons.I. LOOK AT ISRAEL IN THOSE YEARS OF WAITING FOR THEIR KING. Near five centuries before the founding of the kingdom, the rule which was to govern the conduct of their coming king had been lodged in the archives of their nation. He had been seen at the helm of human affairs, of whom it was written: "He worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." The steppings of God are not swift enough for us. Time spent waiting for deliverance or advancement seems lost time. We forget that preparation is demanded for all promotions, all changes that are radical. Because Israel would not wait for God to choose for them a king in his own time, he gave them Saul, of their own choosing. They, however, found little comfort in him. His life was "one long tragedy." Human wisdom is often folly. That which we judge will be for our large advantage often proves our peril. There is no safety but in waiting for God to go before and lead.
II. NOTICE GOD'S CHOICE OF DAVID AS KING. In the midst of the commotion and desolation of Israel, Samuel was commanded to go to Bethlehem, and there anoint one of the sons of Jesse. No explanation was given of the meaning of that anointing. Neither Jesse nor David understood it, though both must have had conception of some great honour indicated. The choice was of God. Mighty changes were to take place in the rule of Israel; a mighty man was required. He was found. God always has instruments at hand for use.
III. NOTICE DAVID'S PREPARATION FOR THE KINGSHIP. God was preparing him, through the persecutions of enemies and the treachery of friends, by a long and painful discipline, for the kingship of Judah, at Hebron. There he reigned seven and a hail years, when the throne of Israel became vacant. Purified in the furnace of affliction and humiliations, grown strong in faith through wonderful deliverances and exaltations, he was ready for the place which God had made ready for him.
IV. NOTICE DAVID'S EXALTATION TO THE THRONE.
(Monday Club Sermons.)
1. "David was thirty years old when he began to reign" (v. 4). How old was Christ when he entered his public ministry? Was he not thirty years old? The full meaning of this it is impossible to find out; nevertheless the coincidence itself is a lesson: we stop, and wonder, and think. Providence thus reveals itself little by little, and we are permitted to take up the separate parts, bring them together, and shape them into significance.
2. "And they anointed David king over Israel" (v. 3.) Is that the word which is used when men are made kings? Is there not another word which is employed usually? Do we not say, And they crowned the king? The word here used is anointed — a better word, a word with more spiritual meaning in it, and more duration. The oil penetrated; the oil signified consecration, purity, moral royalty. There was a crown, but that was spectacular, and might be lost. Was not Jesus Christ anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows? Have not we who follow Him and share His kingship, an unction, or anointing, from the Holy One, through whom we know all things?
3. David reigned forty years. Forty is a perfect number. There are many numerals which represent perfectness, and forty — the four tens — is one of them. Or making the whole life seventy years we come again upon another aspect of perfectness: perfectness in the life and in the royalty: perfectness in both senses and in both aspects. And is not Jesus Christ to come to a perfect reign? Has He not His own forty and His own seventy — His own secret number, which represents to Him mysteriously the perfectness of His reign? He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.
4. The Jebusites mocked David when he would go and reign in Jerusalem; they said, "Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither" (v. 6). In other words: If you can overcome the lame and the blind, you may enter into Jerusalem, but other soldiery we will not interpose: even they will be strong enough to break the arms of David. Has no defiance been hurled at the Messiah? Has He not been excluded from the metropolis of the world? Are there not those who have mocked Him and wagged their heads at Him? Are there not those who have spat upon His name, and said, We will not have this man to reign over us? Let history testify, and let our own conscience speak.
5. David advanced more and more. The tenth verse has a beautiful expression: "And David went on, and grew great." The words are short, but the meaning is boundless. David was a persistent man — he "went one" It is the man who steadfastly goes on, who enters the city and clears a space for himself, in all departments and outlooks of life. And is not Jesus Christ going forth from conquering to conquer? Is He not moving from land to land, from position to position. "And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords." "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ." Go on thou mighty Son of God!
6. Then we read in the eleventh verse, "And they built David a house." Even those who were averse to Him came to this at the last. And is no house being built for Christ? Once He said, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head." Is it to be always so? or is not the whole earth to be the house of the living Christ, the sanctuary of the crowned Lord? This is the voice of prophecy; this is the testimony of all history: in this inspiration we pray our bolder prayer and utter our grander hope. Jesus shall reign, and a house shall be built for Him, and it shall be called the house of God.
7. "But when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines came up to seek David; and David heard of it, and went down to the hold" (v. 17). Christ has enemies to-day. There are Philistines who are banded against Him: they want to deplete His name of all spiritual meaning, to take away from Him all the glory of His miracles, to deny even His incarnation, to treat Him as a myth, a vision, or a dream; but still He goes down to the hold, and still He advances His position.
8. Having overthrown the Philistines in one conflict, we read in the twenty-second verse, "And the Philistines came up yet again." These words have modern meaning — namely, the words "yet again." The enemy is not easily foiled. One repulse is not enough. The victory is not secured until the enemy is under foot — no truce, no compromise, no modification, no temporising, no living by mutual concession.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
1. David was king by Divine ordination (v. 2, 12.) And so Christ was elected from eternity to be the Monarch of mankind, was predicted of old. "His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom." (Daniel 4:3, 34.) It was asserted by Himself, "My kingdom is not of this world." He claimed kingship of Divine origin and authority.
2. David was ordained to be king for two purposes: "Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel." It is the function of a shepherd to feed; of a captain to guide and protect. So Christ is the good Shepherd and the Captain of Salvation. He supplies the need of His people, and leads them to victory.
3. David was qualified by kindred relationship. "We are thy bone and thy flesh." So Jesus took our nature, "in all things was made like unto His brethren." "He is not ashamed to call us brethren." His humanity, linked with His deity, qualified Him to be the "Mediator between God and men"; THE Shepherd-King of His people; "the Man Christ Jesus."
4. David was king by mutual covenant. The Son of David is proclaimed from heaven as King of men; and He engages to rule in equity, and to guard His people from harm. We, on our part, accept Him as our Lord: we declare that we desire Him to rule over us; there is a mutual covenant. He says, "Ye are My people"; and we say, "Thou art our King."
5. David assailed the strong fortress of his foes. David's greater Son lays siege to the human heart, fortified against Him by unbelief and sin. He summons it to surrender; brings the battery of truth against its walls; promises pardon if it will open its gates.
6. David conquered the-fortress and dwelt in it. So Jesus has entered many a heart by its opened doors, and has proved His power to subdue the most determined resistance. He then makes it His abode.
7. David enlarged the captured city. "He built round about." Thus the kingdom of David's Son is constantly being enlarged. Faith in the soul grows as seeds. The leaven leavens the whole lump. Every part of our nature progressively owns the sway of its Lord.
8. The King of Tyre sent cedar-trees and carpenters to help to build David's house. So the Gentiles built up the Church of Christ. Earthly wealth is consecrated to His service. Not Tyre alone, but every people and clime shall help in raising up Jerusalem, and making Zion a praise throughout the earth.
9. David reigned in Hebron and Jerusalem forty years. David's Son reigns everywhere, and His kingdom shall have no end. "He shall reign for ever and ever."
10. David had the joy of being assured that God had exalted His throne. "He perceived that the Lord had established him king over Israel." And David's Son "shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied." LESSONS: — Let us individually enter into covenant with Christ as our King. Let us open our hearts for Him to dwell in. Though "blind and lame," He will heal us, and help us to fight His battles and share His triumph.
(N. Hall, D. D.)
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