HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN
Yesterday we looked at the tragic end of King Saul. As the Second Book of Samuel begins David is visited by the armor-bearer who according to I Samuel 31:4 refused to take the life of Saul at Saul's request/order. But, the armor bearer reports to David: "Hey! I'm the guy who did in King Saul!" David wasn't pleased at all. Instead, David had the armor-bearer killed. David mourned the deaths of Saul and his sons. David laments:
"Your glory, O Israel, lies slain on your heights. How the mighty have fallen!" ( II Samuel 1:19) This continues the theme of the Books of Samuel.
Here's a thought for you: Had there never been a Saul there could have never been a David. Think about that for a bit. Saul's decent led to David's rise. It had been prophesied that the kingdom of Saul would be torn from him and given to his neighbor...David. Now, in in the Book of II Samuel we see the rise of King David. Or should we say: the rise and the fall and the rise again of King David.
O.K., we need to understand that when it came to Israel there was a northern territory and a southern territory. In the Old Testament these are later known as Israel and Judah, with Judah being in the South. Saul was never the king over both territories. David comes across as being very slick when it comes to politics. David did not express pleasure in the fact that Saul was dead. Had he of done so he would have alienated the supporters of Saul. David kept every door open for Saul's supporters to join him in political union. In a way, I guess we can call this bi-partisanship.
In Chapter two of II Samuel, David is anointed king, but is anointed king in the South (Judah). The Northern section of Israel now has a new king. He is Ishbaal and he has been proclaimed king by Abner (the commander of Saul's army). Now, it is the House of David verses the House of Saul. But, remember, King Saul could never do anything right. His story was of a man going downhill quickly. So, should anything bearing his name be any different? The house of Saul turned against itself. Abner, who proclaimed Ishbaal king, defected. He was killed by Joab (David's right hand man) and David had Joab killed because he was sensitive to the feelings of Saul's loyalists. Conditions in the North deteriorate quickly and two of Ishbaal's officers attack and kill him. They carry his head to David proving their loyalty to David and, guess what? Yep, David has them killed. David will not condone violence done to the house of Saul. I guess we can say that it paid off for David. The tribes of the North ask David to be their king. The nation of Israel is now united under King David.
With a united nation a new capital is needed. "The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there. The Jebusites said to David, 'You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off.' They thought, 'David cannot get in here.' Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion, the City of David." (David named it this: verse 9) (II Samuel 5:6)
At one time Jerusalem was called Jebus. Jerusalem is now the capital instead of Hebron. If he had kept Hebron as his capital it would seem that he would have been favoring his ancestral tribe of Judah. David eventually brings the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. (Chapter six)
"And he became more and more powerful, because the Lord God Almighty was with him. After he left Hebron, David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and more sons and daughters were born to him." (II Samuel 5:10,13)
David is not that little shepherd boy any longer. Let me try to clarify the meaning of a concubine. Many ancient cultures had concubines. A concubine enjoyed many of the privileges of a wife, except the concubine was not legally married to the husband. This was often due to such reasons as social or economic status. While a wife involved a dowry, a concubine did not. There were other reasons as well. Many concubines were kept in what might be called a harem and many of them bore children. Yes, it is true, the men of the Old Testament married many women, at once.(And had others they were not married to) This continues to beg the questions: Why and How? Why would they want so many wives and how in the world could they make them all happy. You've heard the old saying: "If Momma ain't happy, there ain't nobody happy?" Wow! (multiply times 10, 20, 100, or more) O.K., seriously keep in mind the point of David's song: "How the mighty have fallen."
*I'm jumping ahead of myself just a bit, so tomorrow we might backtrack a little.
God makes David a promise in chapter seven. "Your house and your kingdom will endure before me; your throne will be established forever." (II Samuel 7:16) Do not forget this passage as we move forward. God promises to always support, not only David, but his offspring. This makes me say once again: "Poor Saul!" This is just the opposite of God's response to Saul. But, remember, this does not say that God will always be happy with David. Again, that verse: "How the mighty have fallen."
Join me tomorrow as we take a somewhat humorous look inside the home of David and one of his many wives Michal. Remember, she was the daughter of King Saul. Have a great day! -Pastor Rick