David Anointed King of Judah
2 Samuel 2:4
And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying…

Course of events:

1. David's message to the men of Jabesh (vers. 5-7).

2. Ishbosheth made King of Israel by Abner (vers. 8-11).

3. Civil war, and the death of Asahel (vers. 12-32).

4. Increasing strength of the house of David (2 Samuel 3:1-5).

5. Dissension between Ishbosheth and Abner.

6. Abner's negotiations with David, restoration of Michal, communication with the tribes, and formal league (2 Samuel 3:12-21).

7. Abner slain by Joab (2 Samuel 3:22-28).

8. Lamented by David (2 Samuel 3:31-39).

9. Ishbosheth murdered (2 Samuel 4:1-8)

10. His assassins executed (2 Samuel 4:9-12). It was a great day in Hebron. The ancient city among the hills of Judah (where the remains of the patriarchs had slumbered for centuries) was stirred by the assembling of the elders for the coronation of David. His presence among them, at the head of his six hundred heroes, had been virtually a "public assertion of his claims to sovereignty" on the ground of his Divine consecration by Samuel. His first anointing was essentially of a private nature. "This second one, performed by the elders of Judah, was his public solemn installation (based on that anointment) into the royal office." Then followed the acclamation of the people (1 Samuel 10:24; 1 Samuel 11:15). "Now doth David find the comfort that his extremity sought in the Lord his God; now are the clouds for a time passed over, and the sun breaks forth; David shall reign after his sufferings" (Hall). It has been supposed that he wrote about this time Psalm 27. (inscription, "Before the anointing," LXX.).

"Jehovah is my Light and my Salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
Jehovah is the Strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?" It is not likely that David's muse went to sleep when the death of Saul at Gilboa opened his way to the throne, or that it produced nothing but such comparatively secular songs as the lament for Saul and Jonathan. It is rather remarkable, however, that there is not a single psalm of which one can affirm with confidence that it was written during the seven years and a half that David reigned at Hebron over the tribe of Judah (Binnie). Those who took part in his inauguration acted in fulfilment, not only of the Divine purpose concerning him, but also of the Divine predictions concerning themselves; for the pre-eminence of Judah had been long foretold (Genesis 49:8). "In all great questions the men of Judah are the foremost and the strongest. From the time of David's establishment on the throne, the greatness of the tribe follows in some measure that of his family (1 Chronicles 5:2; 38:4)" (Davison). "And as they had the right to choose their own prince, they might reasonably have expected that the other tribes would have followed their example, and, by uniting in David, have quietly submitted to the appointment of God, as they themselves had done" (Chandler). In their conduct we see -

I. AN EXALTED ESTIMATE OF HIS PERSONAL WORTH. One of themselves (Deuteronomy 17:15), "chosen out of the people" (Psalm 89:19), he could understand and sympathize with them. He possessed eminent military abilities and noble moral qualities; and he had rendered invaluable services to his country, and shown special kindness to the elders of his own tribe (1 Samuel 30:26). His previous career was well known to them, and had won their confidence and affection. The character of a people is commonly manifested in that of its chosen ruler. As Saul embodied and reflected the prevailing spirit of Benjamin and Ephraim, so David embodied and reflected what was best in Judah; its independent spirit, lion-like courage, and religious devotion.

II. LOYAL ACCEPTANCE OF HIS DIVINE APPOINTMENT. With that appointment they were familiar. They recognized Jehovah as their King; the Source of authority and of the endowments which were needful for the kingly office. Their condition isolated them in feeling, to some extent, from the other tribes (as afterwards more fully appears); but in acting independently of them they rebelled against no existing and legitimate authority, and they neither aimed at dominion over them nor separation from them. They displayed a truly theocratic spirit. And, in the election of a ruler, a people should always recognize the authority and obey the will of God. "Kings derive their kingly majesty immediately from God, but also mediately from their subjects" (J. Lange).

III. VOLUNTARY SUBMISSION TO HIS ROYAL AUTHORITY. He was to them "a minister of God." Their obedience to God required their submission to the king of his choice; whose authority, however, great as it was, was not absolute. It is not said, as on a subsequent occasion (ch. 5:3), that "he made a league with them;" but they doubtless submitted to him on the understanding that he would rule according to the Divine will. The efficiency of a ruler depends upon the free submission of his people; and there is not a nobler exercise of freedom than submission to the highest order.

IV. UNBOUNDED CONFIDENCE IN HIS BENEFICENT RULE. They expected, under the government of "the man worthy of the sceptre," deliverance from their enemies, by whom they were now threatened; the establishment of justice, from the want of which they had long suffered; and the attainment of power and prosperity. Nor were they disappointed. The pre-eminence of this tribe was ordained with reference to the advent and exaltation of Christ, the promised Shiloh, "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" (Revelation 5:5); and the conduct of the men of Judah may be taken as illustrating the free acceptance of "him whom God hath anointed with his Holy Spirit" on the part of his people; their humble obedience to his rule, and their fervent desire for his universal reign. "Thou art worthy."

"Come, then, and, added to thy many crowns,
Receive yet one, the crown of all the earth,
Thou who alone art worthy! It was thine
By ancient covenant, ere Nature's birth;
And thou hast made it thine by purchase since,

And overpaid its value with thy blood.
Thy saints proclaim thee King; and in their hearts
Thy title is engraven with a pen
Dipped in the fountain of eternal love."

(Cowper.) D

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, That the men of Jabeshgilead were they that buried Saul.

WEB: The men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. They told David, saying, "The men of Jabesh Gilead were those who buried Saul."

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