2 SAMUEL 1, 2, 3 and 4
Saul and his claims to kingship over Israel are both emphatically dead – as is his son Jonathan. It now remains for David to claim what his previous anointing has prepared for him – kingship over all Israel. But David was a man of patience and planning, as well as having a fierce sense of justice. He firstly made it clear to all that he regarded the position of ‘The Lord’s Anointed’ (i.e. the King) as beyond reproach. When an Amalekite came to David and claimed the credit for Saul’s death (falsely as it happens), he hoped to gain David’s favour and a large reward; David was so zealous for the one whom the Lord anoints (being so zealous for the Anointer) that he was scandalised that anyone would harm the king. So he had the hopeful claimant executed!
In the next chapter, the obvious thing for David to do would have been to have marched on Jerusalem and taken the kingship over all Israel. Instead, realising that Saul’s family still had some degree of support, he sought the Lord, who commanded him to go to Hebron – a Judean city – and become king over just Judah for the first seven years. David’s patience and obedience is shown up so well in this incident – as well as his willingness to seek God’s will in every key decision; something that we would do well to emulate! So David continued to battle the forces of Saul’s family, and in particular, the honourable and decent Abner, who was commander of their army.
In all three following chapters, the stabbing of men in the stomach as a means to their death seems to be the preferred execution method. The killing of Abner himself was the only occasion when such a death was murder and David himself was filled with righteous anger that even an enemy had been treated in such a way. Joash, his own commander was the guilty party, and David ensured that eventually he would pay for such underhand behaviour. God is no respecter of persons and will not tolerate illegal behaviour by his own people.
Eventually, Abner (obviously, before his untimely death) brokered a deal that meant that David would become king over all Israel. This took place in fulfilment of earlier prophecies by Samuel. Like David, we must wait patiently for the Lord’s declared will to prevail, not forcing our destiny ahead of time. David was not idle during this ‘waiting years’ and married another four wives and had at least six children! Eventually, with all rival candidates to the throne removed by various means, the time had come for David to be exalted to the role that had been prepared for him by God before the beginning of time. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap a harvest”.