David Becomes King
1Later, David asked the Lord, “Should I go back to one of the towns of Judah?”
The Lord answered, “Yes.”
David asked, “Which town should I go to?”
“Go to Hebron,” the Lord replied.
2 David went to Hebron with his two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail. Ahinoam was from Jezreel, and Abigail was the widow of Nabal from Carmel. 3David also told his men and their families to come and live in the villages near Hebron.
4 The people of Judah met with David at Hebron and poured olive oil on his head to show that he was their new king. Then they told David, “The people from Jabesh in Gilead buried Saul.”
5David sent messengers to tell them:
The Lord bless you! You were kind enough to bury Saul your ruler, 6and I pray that the Lord will be kind and faithful to you. I will be your friend because of what you have done. 7Saul is dead, but the tribe of Judah has made me their king. So be strong and have courage.
1This battle was the beginning of a long war between the followers of Saul and the followers of David. Saul's power grew weaker, but David's grew stronger.
And now what? David was in a difficult position. He knew that Samuel had anointed him to be king, and that Samuel was acting from God. Saul may be dead, but he had many supporters who were still living. How was this supposed to work out?
David was careful. The city of Ziklag, where he and his band of supporters had been living, had recently been destroyed by the Amalekites (1 Samuel 30:1). He asked God for guidance, and God told him to go to Hebron, 19 miles from Jerusalem. There the people of Judah, his own tribe, recognized him as king. There would be seven more years of war before he was recognized as king of all Israel.
His first act was one of peace-making. He reached out to the supporters of Saul by honouring the people of Jabesh Gilead who had given proper burial to his body. Even when Saul was dead, David continued to honour him as God’s first anointed king.
You can see in these events the qualities of character in David that contrasted with the character of Saul. These qualities also set David apart from the men around him, now and in the years ahead.
- he understood himself as a servant of God, even though he was anointed to be king of Israel,
- he had faith, and trusted God to bring about what he had promised,
- he had patience (in spades!),
- he was never petty or vindictive,
- he looked to God for guidance, not relying on his own wisdom,
- he was nevertheless, proactive. He didn’t just sit back, waiting for God to act,
- he was as wise as a snake, yet innocent as a dove (Matthew 10:16),
- he kept his eye on the big picture.
These are leadership qualities. They are just as applicable to us in our workplaces, in our families, and even in our churches.
Father God, my shepherd and my king, teach me from David’s example to become like Jesus, especially at those times when I find myself in a difficult environment. Amen