The following commentary covers Chapters 10, 11, and 12.
ruin of Saul's house: Jehovah's establishment of David
A brief recital of the
ruin of Saul's house introduces Jehovah's establishment
of the house of David. All that took place before the
people gathered themselves to David at Hebron, and before
the kingdom was established in his house over all Israel
at Jerusalem, is passed over in silence.
The order of
kingly power and the Davidic kingdom
After this we find, as a
general subject, the order of the kingly power, and of
the kingdom as established in the house of Davidthe
kingdom, looked at as ordained of God in blessing, rather
than the historical account of all that took- place;excepting,
so far as was necessary to furnish this picture. There is
not perfection here; but there is the order which God
appointed. The faults and the sufferings of David,
whether before or after he was made king, are
consequently passed over in silence.
The king and the
strength and glory of his kingdom
After having mentioned the
king himself, anointed by Samuel according to the word of
Jehovah to rule over all Israel, the history begins with
that which constituted the strength and glory of David's
kingdom. The high priest no longer occupies the
foreground. Jehovah's anointed is essentially a man of
war, although it is not always to be so. Joab and the
mighty men who had been David's companions in arms come
immediately after the king.
The first place next to
the king is his who delivered Zion out of the enemy's
hands ; and this spot, chosen of Jehovah,
becomes the city of David and the seat of royal power. We
are then told how David's companions in arms successively
joined him, though yet for a long time rejected and
pursued by Saul, mean as yet in appearance, a fugitive
and without power to resist.
The first who are pointed
out as having come to hima proof that God and the
knowledge of His will had more value in their eyes than
parentage and the advantages which flow from thenceare
from among the brethren of Saul (that is, of the tribe of
Benjamin), and men of the greatest skill in handling the
bow and the sling, the weapons with which Saul was slain
in the battle in which he was overthrown.
There were some who came
from beyond Jordan to David, while he was still concealed
in the wilderness; for faith and the manifestation of God's
power tend to bring into play the energy and strength of
those who connect themselves with it. He with whom God is
attracts those with whom God is working; and their energy
develops itself in proportion to the manifestation of His
presence and favour. Many of these had been with Saul,
but when with him they were not mighty men; many also had
never been with him. Yet even in Saul's camp David had
been able to slay the Philistines when all Israel was in
terror. After that, similar achievements become almost
common. At the beginning such things required immediate
communion with God, so as to shut out the influence of
all that surrounded the man who enjoyed this communion.
Afterwards the surrounding influence was favourable, and,
in this sense, faith propagates itself. These were but
the chief of the mighty men whom David had. When God acts
in power, He gives strength to the weak, and produces, by
the energy of faith and of His Spirit, an army of heroes.
In those who came from
Benjamin and Judah we see that there was this link of
faith (chap. 12: 16). They knew that David's God helped
him. David committed himself to God with respect to those
who joined him, for he was in a very difficult position
towards the end of his career of trial and affliction.
Those to whom God had given energy and strength came to
him in great numbers; for everything was ripe for his
elevation to the throne of Israel, and for the transfer
of Saul's kingdom to him.
characteristics of God's army, but their one heart and
There were various
characteristics in this army of God: all famous for their
valour, some among them had understanding of the times to
know what Israel ought to do, and, in this case, all
their brethren were at David's command; others were armed
for battle; others had all instruments for war, and were
not of a double heart. And these things were according to
the gift of God, and they all came with one heart to make
David king; their brethren had prepared everything in
abundance, for there was joy in Israel. It is always thus
when Christ is really magnified by upright hearts who
only seek His glory.
 David having
built the city from Millo round about, Joab repaired the
rest of the city. We may observe that Shammah the
Harorite is not mentioned here. Perhaps it is Shammah in
chapter 11:27: but this is doubtful (see 2 Samuel 23: 25).
It may also be observed that the exploits of these mighty
men consisted especially of victories over the
Philistines, the enemies by whom Saul, who had been
raised up for the purpose of destroying them, was
overcome. Whatever may have been their subsequent
achievements, it was there they learnt to conquer, and
that they acquired the reputation which procured them a
place in the archives of God.
It is well that the reader should remember
the connection between this whole history, and the
establishment of the power of Christ, the Son of David,
on the earth.