Last week, we saw that the Chronicler mentioned King Saul only in regard to his death, as an introduction into the kingship of David. Tonight, we pick up in chapter twelve, with David being crowned king of Israel.
The people of Israel had recognized David as a leader in many ways. It was David who had singlehandedly killed hundreds of the Philistines. It was David who trusted in the Lord instead of his own flesh. And it was David that the prophet Samuel had anointed to be king (1Sam. 16:13) when Saul was rejected by the Lord (1Sam. 15:23).
You remember from our last study that Saul's rebellion against the command of God disqualified him from leading God's people. He was told by Samuel,
1Sam. 15:23 ..."Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king."
Afterwards, the Lord told Samuel,
1Sam. 16:1 ..."Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons."
It was Jesse's youngest son (1Sam. 16:11) David that God had chosen, so...
1Sam. 16:13 ...Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward...
What the Chronicler has skipped over is the seven and a half year period (2Sam. 2:11) after the death of Saul, when the tribe of Judah had anointed David as their king, but the rest of Israel considered Saul's son Eesh-BO-sheth as their king (2Sam. 2).
The Scriptures tell us that
2Sam. 3:1 ...there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; and David grew steadily stronger, but the house of Saul grew weaker continually.
Finally, all the tribes of Israel asked David to be their king, and he was anointed a third time.
In those days, Jerusalem was called Jebus, and it was occupied by the Jebusites. The tribe of Benjamin had been given the task of driving them out, but like so many of the tribes did when they received their inheritance of the promised land, they faltered in faith and didn't achieve total victory (Judges 1:21).
Fortunately, 20 miles to the south, the tribe of Judah had given Kheb-RONE to Caleb and he was successful in driving out the Anakim (Judges 1:20). This is where David was living when he was the king of Judah (2Sam. 2:11).
When David was made king of Israel, he decided to drive out the Jebusites up in Jebus. Nobody had done so yet because the place was an impenetrable fortress called the Stronghold of Zion. When the Israelites got there, the Jebusites taunted them, saying, "This fortress is so strong that even our blind and lame people could defend it from you" (2Sam. 5:6).
David knew that there had to be a weakness in the stronghold. It was the water tunnel. He told his men that if they entered in through the water tunnel, they would find victory (2Sam. 5:8).
Saints, this is true in our lives as well. You see, in our lives there are strongholds that seem impenetrable. Addictions and hangups, sin habits that keep us in defeat.
We should be encouraged when we read Paul's words to the Corinthians,
2Cor. 10:3-4(KJV) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;)
The strongholds in our lives can be defeated, but not with a frontal assault. If you've been pounding on the gates of your strongholds, you know how discouraging and defeating it feels when you don't get the victory. Here's the secret: get in through the water tunnel. What does that mean? The Scriptures say that the word of God is like water (Isa. 41:17-20; Eph. 5:26). The water of the Word is the only thing that is going to have access into your strongholds.
David made this place his capitol city, and it became known as the city of David. He caused the city to be built larger while his mighty man Yo-AWB oversaw the repairs of what had been damaged in battle.
David had mighty men who gave him strong support in his kingdom. However, they were not all mighty men from the start. We read in 1Samuel that when David was on the run, he was captured in the Philistine city of Gath. He acted insane before the king of Gath, scribbling on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard (1Sam. 21:13). Once he was let go as a lunatic, he ran to the cave of Ad-ool-LAWM.
While David was hiding in this cave, we read...
1Sam. 22:2 Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Now there were about four hundred men with him.
These were the guys who would become David's mighty men. Oh, they weren't mighty at the time. They were in distress, in debt, and in discontent. But by being around David, and following David, they would become more and more like David.
The Chronicler is now going to list these mighty men for us.
Yaw-shob-AWM was one of David's greatest leaders. He was the first of the three mightiest men who followed David.
There are at least six different guys in the Bible named El-aw-ZAWR. Maybe that's why he had to be referred to as the son of Dodo! He was the second of David's three mightiest men.
A notable victory of his was the victory at Pas Dam-MEEM, when he and David defended the Israelites' barley field against the Philistines.
One of the first things that these men did for David after gathering to him at the cave of Ad-ool-LAWM was to risk their lives to give David what he wanted. In this case, David was remembering the water of the well in Bethlehem, his hometown. But the Philistines had taken rulership of Bethlehem, establishing a garrison. This didn't stop three of David's men from breaking through the Philistine camp and getting David a drink of water.
The strange thing is that when the water was brought to David, he refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out to the Lord.
This is what the Bible refers to as a drink offering, an act of worship. It is very much like tithing or fasting, because it is costing you something that you are denying yourself. There are times when the extra money in the bank account sure would help, but you tithe it to the Lord instead. There are times when a cheeseburger would sure hit the spot, but you fast for the Lord instead. David knew that this was the most expensive glass of water he would ever have, and so he would not drink it, but instead gave it to the Lord.
Ab-ee-SHAH-ee was the son of David's sister, his nephew (1Chr. 2:16). He was a prominent mighty man of David who never quite attained the greatness of the three greatest mighty men. Why is that? After all, he had lots going for him. He singlehandedly killed 300 men in battle. But Ab-ee-SHAH-ee had a big strike against him: he was a man who would turn to violence when it was unnecessary and uncalled for.
It was Ab-ee-SHAH-ee who snuck into King Saul's camp with David one night, when they discovered Saul asleep in his tent.
1Sam. 26:8-11 Then Abishai said to David, "Today God has delivered your enemy into your hand; now therefore, please let me strike him with the spear to the ground with one stroke, and I will not strike him the second time." But David said to Abishai, "Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD'S anointed and be without guilt?" David also said, "As the LORD lives, surely the LORD will strike him, or his day will come that he dies, or he will go down into battle and perish. The LORD forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the LORD'S anointed..."
Years later, when David was being run out of the kingdom because of the division caused by David's son Ab-shaw-LOME, they...
2Sam. 16:5-12 ...came to Bakh-oo-REEM, behold, there came out from there a man of the family of the house of Saul whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera; he came out cursing continually as he came. He threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David; and all the people and all the mighty men were at his right hand and at his left. Thus Shimei said when he cursed, "Get out, get out, you man of bloodshed, and worthless fellow! The LORD has returned upon you all the bloodshed of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the LORD has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Ab-shaw-LOME. And behold, you are taken in your own evil, for you are a man of bloodshed!" Then Ab-ee-SHAH-ee the son of Tser-oo-YAW said to the king, "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over now and cut off his head." But the king said, "What have I to do with you, O sons of Tser-oo-YAW? If he curses, and if the LORD has told him, 'Curse David,' then who shall say, 'Why have you done so?'" Then David said to Ab-ee-SHAH-ee and to all his servants, "Behold, my son who came out from me seeks my life; how much more now this Benjamite? Let him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him. Perhaps the LORD will look on my affliction and return good to me instead of his cursing this day."
Ben-aw-YAW was another one of David's leaders (2Sam. 20:23), in charge of David's guard. He accomplished some pretty miraculous feats of strength and bravery in his lifetime.
He also remained faithful to David's son Solomon when Adonijah tried to appoint himself king when David was old and near death (1Kings 1).
The rest of chapter eleven lists the mighty men of the armies.
Chapter twelve begins with a list of the men who came to David at Ziklag. You may recall that when Saul was pursuing David, David had a crisis of hope and said to himself,
1Sam. 27:1 ..."Now I will perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than to escape into the land of the Philistines..."
David and his men went into Philistine territory and worked out a deal with the Philistine lord Aw-KEESH. Aw-KEESH gave him the city of Ziklag. More men joined up with him during this time. They were skillful with weapons, and relatives of King Saul from the tribe of Benjamin. They recognized that God was with David and not their kinsman Saul.
Other mighty men had come earlier from the tribe of Gad to David when he was in the wilderness, hiding from Saul.
David was a bit suspicious when men from the tribes of Benjamin and Judah came to him in the wilderness. He thought that they might be prepared to betray him to King Saul.
But the Holy Spirit came upon their leader Am-aw-SAH-ee, and he pledged their support because they had recognized God was helping David.
When David had been given Ziklag in Philistine territory, he had pretended to be friends with the Philistines. He would report to Aw-KEESH that he was raiding Israelite towns, but in reality, he was raiding the towns of enemies of Israel (1Sam. 27:8), and not leaving anyone alive to report what they had done. This convinced Aw-KEESH,
1Sam. 27:12 ..."He has surely made himself odious among his people Israel; therefore he will become my servant forever."
When the Philistines gathered their armies against Israel, Aw-KEESH believed that David and his men were completely on his side.
It was at this point that more mighty men from Manasseh joined David, and fortunately, the rest of the Philistine commanders didn't trust David or the Hebrews who were with him (1Sam. 29) and sent them back to Ziklag.
As it turned out, the Amalekites had just raided Ziklag, burned it with fire, and taken captive all of the women (1Sam. 30). These new troops from the tribe of Manasseh came in handy for running down the Amalekites and defeating them.
So many men were gathering to David that he ended up with an army of hundreds of thousands. Verses 23 through 37 list the numbers of these men.
So many men had gathered to David that it was clear he should be king of Israel. The rest of the nation agreed. There was a huge inauguration party lasting three days. God's will had been done, and there was joy indeed in Israel.