2 Samuel 2:1-11
2 In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord. “Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” he asked. The Lord said, “Go up.” David asked, “Where shall I go?” “To Hebron,” the Lord answered. 2 So David went up there with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 3 David also took the men who were with him, each with his family, and they settled in Hebron and its towns. 4 Then the men of Judah came to Hebron, and there they anointed David king over the tribe of Judah. When David was told that it was the men from Jabesh Gilead who had buried Saul, 5 he sent messengers to them to say to them, “The Lord bless you for showing this kindness to Saul your master by burying him. 6 May the Lord now show you kindness and faithfulness, and I too will show you the same favor because you have done this. 7 Now then, be strong and brave, for Saul your master is dead, and the people of Judah have anointed me king over them.” 8 Meanwhile, Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ish-Bosheth son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim. 9 He made him king over Gilead, Ashuri and Jezreel, and also over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel. 10 Ish-Bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The tribe of Judah, however, remained loyal to David. 11 The length of time David was king in Hebron over Judah was seven years and six months.
The substance of David the man is shown in this passage. He had been chased down often by Saul and Saul’s men, usually with violent intent. And yet when he learns of Saul’s men, in loyalty to their dead King, respectfully burying him, David is quick to extend them honour and favour himself.
This is not eye-for-eye and tooth-for-tooth behaviour. This is mercy, this is nobility, this is a higher ethic than pure revenge. Oh, how our world needs such leaders – it did then, and it still does now.
Not everyone accepts David’s leadership and approach – those too set in the old way seek to keep their power and authority (Abner). But this doesn’t deter David and those loyal to him.
Lord, let me, a man like David, learn the lessons of leadership and honourable influence here – life is not a popularity contest, but a walk of mercy, nobility and courage in the midst of many lesser alternatives. Let me, by your grace, choose the better way. For Your name, not so that everyone will agree with me and follow me – because clearly, that didn’t happen for David, and in truth, it never does.
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh