2 Samuel 1:1, 2
Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites…
When he came to David he fell to the earth, and did obeisance (ver. 2). The title of David to the throne was primarily conferred upon him by the will of God, as declared by Samuel. But it remained in abeyance while Saul lived, and began to take effect only at his decease. On returning to Ziklag from his pursuit of the Amalekites, David occupied himself in repairing its ruins, and awaited tidings from the field of battle. On the morning of the third day there came a young man, "the son of a stranger, an Amalekite," bringing news of the defeat of Israel and the death of Saul and Jonathan. In proof of his statement he brought the king's diadem, "a small metallic cap or wreath which encircled the temples, serving the purpose of a helmet, with a very small horn projecting in front, as an emblem of power" (Jamieson), and bracelet (or armlet worn above the elbow), and laid them at the feet of David, as the future king (ver. 10). His conduct reminds us of a well-known custom, according to which, whenever a French monarch departed this life, an official of the royal household appeared at the window, broke his staff, and cried, Le roi est mort! ("The king is dead!"); then took a new staff and shouted, Vive le roi! ("Long live the king!"). The change that occurred was -
I. OCCASIONED BY THE FALL OF AN UNFAITHFUL RULER. "After the death of Saul" (ver. 1).
1. Men are entrusted with power by God that they may employ it, not according to their own will and for their own honour, but according to his will and for his glory. This Saul failed to recognize.
2. Whenever a man misuses his trust he is sooner or later deprived thereof, and suffers the penalty of his sin (1 Samuel 15:23).
3. No man can fall into sin and destruction without involving others in his ruin. How often has a monarch's unfaithfulness caused the downfall of his dynasty!
4. The place from which he falls is thereby prepared for a more faithful man, and such a man is seldom wanting for the place. "Take therefore the talent," etc. (Matthew 25:28). "Saul's elevation was a first experiment in monarchy doomed to failure from the beginning; it was only when the people had been trampled down by his tyranny and involved in his fatal defeat that a lasting monarch was set according to the Divine will in the person and family of David, who was in this sense the man after God's own heart" (P. Smith, ' Ancient History,' 1:168).
II. AWAITED WITH PATIENCE BY A RIGHTFUL SUCCESSOR. "David abode in Ziklag." He was long ago assured of his royal destination. But:
1. The purpose of God is often slow in its accomplishment; which requires to be waited for in faith and patience.
2. Its slow accomplishment presents a strong temptation to impatience, and the. adoption of rash and unworthy expedients that hinder rather than promote the desired end. David was subject to such a temptation, and for the most part overcame it. In so far as he yielded to it he suffered the consequences of his imprudence (1 Samuel 27:1).
3. By patient continuance in well-doing men are best prepared for what God has prepared for them. David did not deem the crown "a thing to be grasped at." "What God has destined for him, he would not have until God gave it to him (Hengstenberg). "Endurance is the crowning quality." Qui dura vince ("He conquers who endures').
4. To those who await the accomplishment of the Divine purpose in a right spirit, it comes surely and at the right time, often suddenly and by unexpected means. "By degrees doth the Lord perform, his works to exercise the faith, the hope, the patience, and constancy of his chosen, but at last to the full he accomplisheth whatsoever he promiseth" (Guild).
III. RECOGNIZED AS INEVITABLE BY A SELF-SEEKING OBSERVER. It is remarkable that one of an alien and hostile race should be the first to perceive and acknowledge the speedy and certain transfer of the crown. He was a watchful observer of the course of events; acquainted, probably, with the general opinion concerning David, and with his present position; and, although possessing little love for his character and expecting little good to the Amalekites from his accession, he was desirous of using the occasion for the furtherance of his personal ends.
1. The tendency of human affairs is often so apparent that its result may be easily anticipated by all but the most obtuse.
2. A stranger or an enemy frequently perceives the destination of a man of ability more clearly than those who are intimately connected with him.
3. One who is supremely concerned about his own interest is quick to see anything that may be made conducive to it, however blind and unfeeling he may be in other respects.
4. His attempt to turn it to his own advantage sometimes turns only to the advantage of another, and to his own disappointment and ruin. "David had been long waiting for the crown, and now it is brought to him by an Amalekite. See how God can serve his own purpose of kindness to his people, even by designing men who aim at nothing but to set up themselves" (Matthew Henry).
IV. EFFECTED BY THE OPERATION OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. "The Lord slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse' (1 Chronicles 10:14). "God is the Judge; he putteth down one and setteth up another" (Psalm 75:7; 1 Samuel 2:1-10). By his providential working:
1. His purposes are fulfilled and the truth of his Word is confirmed. "By a series of events following in the ordinary course of Providence, without any miracle interposed, this prediction (given by Samuel and exhibited in the act of anointing) was brought to pass. David was raised to his divinely appointed station, when his shepherd's staff became a sceptre, and his flock a great people; none contributing more to the preparation of this event than Saul himself.... The complicated narrative is the exposition of the prophetic prescience' (Davison).
2. Those who oppose his purposes are overthrown.
3. He who humbly waits their fulfilment in the way of obedience is promoted.
4. Individuals and nations are constrained to turn from their own way, and submit to his plans as the wisest and best (2 Samuel 2:4; 2 Samuel 3:9; 2 Samuel 5:2). "The secret springs of revolutions are unaccountable, and must be resolved into that Providence which turns all hearts as the rivers of water" (Matthew Henry). "Notwithstanding those appearances which obscure the providence of God, it often makes itself conspicuous in the midst of them all. When we have allowed to human agency, to human wisdom and human power, a large circle of events imputed to nothing else, we see the Divine wisdom frequently disencumber itself from all communication with second causes, and stretch itself out in the face of all men, in defeating and confounding the plans of human wisdom, in the failure of the deepest schemes" (R. Hall). - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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;