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Poole on 2 Samuel 5:1-5: David, King over All Israel

Verse 1:[1]  Then (1 Chron. 11:1; 12:23) came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, (Gen. 29:14) we are thy bone and thy flesh.

[All the tribes came, etc.]  Overcome, not by arms, but, which is a more illustrious victory, by the righteousness and piety of David (Grotius).  The people voluntarily submitted themselves to David.  In which He was a type of Christ, Psalm 110 (Martyr).

[The tribes]  That is, the ambassadors of the tribes (Piscator and Malvenda out of Junius).  Or, a few thousand out of all the tribes.  Who, and how many, see in 1 Chronicles 12 (Martyr).

Then came all the tribes, etc.:  To wit, by their ambassadors, Ish-bosheth and Abner being now dead, and that without David’s concurrence.

[Thy bone, and thy flesh]  We will not be sinning against the law in Deuteronomy 17:15, if we take a King from among the people (Grotius, thus Menochius, Martyr).  Even if not begotten of the same tribe, yet of the the same patriarch, Jacob (Martyr).  We are thy relatives and kinsmen (Malvenda out of Vatablus, thus Piscator).  See the expression, Genesis 29:14; Judges 9:2 (Malvenda).

Thy bone and thy flesh, that is, thy brethren, or kinsmen, of the same nation and parentage, though not of the same tribe; and therefore, as God’s law, Deuteronomy 17:15, permits us, so our own relation and affection incline us, to choose thee for our king; and we doubt not thou wilt receive us for thy subjects and people, and pardon our offences against thee.


Verse 2:[2]  Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, (1 Sam. 18:13) thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel:  and the LORD said to thee, (1 Sam. 16:1, 12; Ps. 78:71; see 2 Sam. 7:7) Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel.

[Yesterday and the third day]  That is, previously (Vatablus).  Obviously in times past (Junius and Tremellius).  Χθὲς καὶ πρωὴν, yesterday and the day before.  A Proverb common among the Greeks, as Athenagoras,[3] Eusebius,[4] and Irenæus[5] show (Drusius’ Proverbs[6] 2:3:90).

Thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel:  Thou wast our chief commander in our expeditions against the Philistines, and therefore art most fit to be king over us.

[The Lord said]  When He anointed him, 1 Samuel 16:13.  Even if this is passed over in silence there for the sake of brevity (Malvenda out of Junius).  Not all things said by the Prophets were committed to writing.  See on 2 Samuel 3:18 (Sanchez).  The hidden law of fate, and the signs and oracles which predestined Vespasian and his sons for Power, we believed only after his success was secured, says Tacitus in his Histories 1 (Grotius).

The Lord said to thee, to wit, by Samuel, 1 Samuel 16:11-13; for though the words vary, yet the sense is the same.

[Thou shalt feed]  Thus Homer calls the King the shepherd of the people (Malvenda out of Piscator).

Thou shalt feed my people Israel, that is, rule them, and take care of them, as a shepherd doth of his sheep, Psalm 78:70, 71.  This expression he useth to admonish David, that he was not made a king to advance his own glory and interest, but for the good and benefit of his people; and that he ought to rule them with all tenderness, and to watch over them with all diligence.


Verse 3:[7]  (1 Chron. 11:3) So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; (2 Kings 11:17) and king David made a league with them in Hebron (Judg. 11:11; 1 Sam. 23:18) before the LORD:  and they anointed David king over Israel.

[The elders of Israel came]  The great Elders of the Sanhedrin (Grotius); or those seventy, concerning which Numbers 11 (Tirinus out of Sanchez), and with these princes (Sanchez, Martyr).  These came, either, 1.  Before the arrival of the tribes (Vatablus, Malvenda).  Or, 2.  When they by their legates had considered the conditions of the covenant (Malvenda out of Junius).

[He struck a covenant with them]  This covenant was a mutual promise, wherein David promised that he was going to rule according to the laws, Deuteronomy 17; and the people, that they were going to obey him and be loyal (Lapide, Menochius).  Every compact among the Hebrews is called a בְּרִית, which sort was this, wherein David promised to them indulgence for things done previously, and they promised obedience to him as King (Grotius).

King David made a league with them; whereby he obliged himself to rule them according to God’s laws; and the people promised fidelity and obedience to him.

[Before the Lord]  That is, either, 1.  With Jehovah watching, and invoked as a witness of the covenant (Vatablus, similarly Menochius, Sanchez, Malvenda).  Or, 2.  Before the whole assembly of the faithful, over which God was presiding (Lapide).  Or, 3.  Before the Ark, which they were wont to bring to public assemblies of this sort.  See 1 Samuel 14:18 (Malvenda).  Or, 4.  Before the tabernacle of the Lord, which David appears to have set up in Hebrew.  For, it was not prudent that the subjects of David transport themselves three time each year to Gibeon, which was subject to Ish-bosheth.  And out of 2 Samuel 15 it is evident that sacrifices were wont to be offered in Hebrews (Tirinus out of Sanchez).  See what things we said on the end of 1 Samuel 7 (Sanchez).

Before the Lord; either, 1.  Before the ark, which might be here, though that be not mentioned in this place.  Or, 2.  Before the priest clothed with the ephod; whereby he was in a manner put into God's presence.  Or rather, 3.  In the congregation of the mighty, or magistrates, where God used to be present, Psalm 82:1; in the public assembly now met together in God’s name and fear, and as in his presence, to call upon him, to appeal to him as the witness and judge of their transactions.  Compare Judges 11:11; 1 Samuel 23:18.

[And they anointed]  Neither the high priest nor the holy oil were wanting at this time (Sanchez).

They anointed David; either by a prophet, or the priest, to whom this office belonged.  See 2 Samuel 2:4.

 Verse 4:[8]  David was thirty years old when he began to reign, (1 Chron. 26:31; 29:27) and he reigned forty years.

[Forty years]  Whole years, with some months omitted, mention of which follows (Grotius, thus Piscator).  A rounded number (Piscator).

Forty years:  And some odd months, as it follows.


Verse 5:[9]  In Hebron he reigned over Judah (2 Sam. 2:11; 1 Chron. 3:4) seven years and six months:  and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah.

[1] Hebrew:  ‎וַיָּבֹ֜אוּ כָּל־שִׁבְטֵ֧י יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל אֶל־דָּוִ֖ד חֶבְר֑וֹנָה וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ לֵאמֹ֔ר הִנְנ֛וּ עַצְמְךָ֥ וּֽבְשָׂרְךָ֖ אֲנָֽחְנוּ׃

[2] Hebrew: גַּם־אֶתְמ֣וֹל גַּם־שִׁלְשׁ֗וֹם בִּהְי֙וֹת שָׁא֥וּל מֶ֙לֶךְ֙ עָלֵ֔ינוּ אַתָּ֗ה הָיִ֛יתָה מוֹצִ֥יא וְהַמֵּבִ֖י אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיֹּ֙אמֶר יְהוָ֜ה לְךָ֗ אַתָּ֙ה תִרְעֶ֤ה אֶת־עַמִּי֙ אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְאַתָּ֛ה תִּהְיֶ֥ה לְנָגִ֖יד עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

[3] Little is known about Athenagoras of Athens (c. 133-c. 190 AD), except that he was a philosopher and Christian apologist.  His Legatio pro Christianis (c. 177) was addressed to Marcus Aurelius and his son Commodus.

[4] Eusebius (c. 267-338) was Bishop of Cæsarea, author of that famous Ecclesiastical History, and supporter of Constantine the Great.

[5] Irenæus was a second century Church Father, born near Smyrna, but serving as Bishop in Lyon.  He was a disciple of Polycarp, who was in turn a disciple of the Apostle John.

[6] Proverbiorum Classes.

[7] Hebrew: וַ֠יָּבֹאוּ כָּל־זִקְנֵ֙י יִשְׂרָאֵ֤ל אֶל־הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ חֶבְר֔וֹנָה וַיִּכְרֹ֣ת לָהֶם֩ הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ דָּוִ֥ד בְּרִ֛ית בְּחֶבְר֖וֹן לִפְנֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה וַיִּמְשְׁח֧וּ אֶת־דָּוִ֛ד לְמֶ֖לֶךְ עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ פ

[8] Hebrew:  ‎בֶּן־שְׁלֹשִׁ֥ים שָׁנָ֛ה דָּוִ֖ד בְּמָלְכ֑וֹ אַרְבָּעִ֥ים שָׁנָ֖ה מָלָֽךְ׃

[9] Hebrew:  בְּחֶבְרוֹן֙ מָלַ֣ךְ עַל־יְהוּדָ֔ה שֶׁ֥בַע שָׁנִ֖ים וְשִׁשָּׁ֣ה חֳדָשִׁ֑ים וּבִירוּשָׁלִַ֣ם מָלַ֗ךְ שְׁלֹשִׁ֤ים וְשָׁלֹשׁ֙ שָׁנָ֔ה עַ֥ל כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל וִיהוּדָֽה׃


Matthew Henry: 'Here is, I. The humble address of all the tribes to David, beseeching him to take upon him the government (for they were now as sheep having no shepherd), and owning him for their king. Though David might by no means approve the murder of Ishbosheth, yet he might improve the advantages he gained thereby, and accept the applications made to him thereupon. Judah had submitted to David as their king above seven years ago, and their ease and happiness, under his administration, encouraged the rest of the tribes to make their court to him. What numbers came from each tribe, with what zeal and sincerity they came, and how they were entertained for three days at Hebron…


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