2 Samuel 2:1-11
2 After Saul and Jonathan died, David asked the Lord for advice. “Should I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” he asked. The Lord said, “Go up.” David asked, “Where should I go?” “To Hebron,” the Lord answered. 2 So David went up there with his two wives. Their names were Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail from Carmel. Abigail was Nabal’s widow. 3 David also took his men and their families with him. They settled down in Hebron and its towns. 4 Then the men of Judah came to Hebron. There they anointed David to be king over the people of Judah. David was told that the men of Jabesh Gilead had buried Saul’s body. 5 So he sent messengers to them to speak for him. The messengers said, “You were kind to bury the body of your master Saul. May the Lord bless you for that. 6 And may he now be kind and faithful to you. David will treat you well for being kind to Saul’s body. 7 Now then, be strong and brave. Your master Saul is dead. And the people of Judah have anointed David to be king over them.” 8 Abner, the son of Ner, was commander of Saul’s army. He had brought Saul’s son Ish-Bosheth to Mahanaim. 9 There he made him king over Gilead, Ashuri and Jezreel. He also made him king over Ephraim, Benjamin and other areas of Israel. 10 Ish-Bosheth was 40 years old when he became king over Israel. He ruled for two years. But the people of Judah followed David. 11 David was king in Hebron over the people of Judah for seven and a half years.
The anointing of a king is always a regal and momentous event. This can be said of David’s anointing in this passage as well. David is caught, between his grief for Saul and Jonathan, and his joy at being made king. In the midst of these emotions he has the presence of mind to thank the men from Jabesh Gilead for burying, with dignity, Saul.
The men of Judah anoint David king. Leaders need the followership of their people, to be anointed by your people is a considerable vote of confidence. Israel decided to anoint Ish-Bosheth showing the division in the nations.
It is in these circumstances that David becomes king.
Leaders are appointed in a variety of circumstances, they are never ‘ideal’. Conflicting emotions, division, outright rebellion,
affirmation can all accompany one’s rise to leadership. How you carry yourself is crucial. You will be feeling many of these emotions as will the people. Handling your emotions, without them being present in a dominating manner, is important as you will have to help your people through before you concentrate on yourself. Yet you also need to express your emotions, particularly more acute ones like grief, so as you do not carry them with you.
One of the obvious first tests of leadership is the manner of the rise, David’s anointing was characterised by
humility, thanks and acceptance, all good ways to receive any leadership appointment.
Father, may we all understand that it is You who appoints and anoints and so we ask that we may remain humble, thankful and accepting of Your grace at all times.
Written by Ps. Richard Botta