2 Samuel 3 - 5
The beginning of chapter 3 aptly summarizes this section in the narrative by saying “David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul became weaker and weaker” (3:1). Having established his reign over Judah in the capital city of Hebron, we begin to see David’s kingship and influence extend up towards the northern kingdom (“the house of Saul”). The two greatest threats to David in northern Israel would have been Saul’s son, Ish-bosheth, and the general of Saul’s army, Abner. Both of these figures are killed in these chapters, further neutralizing any threat to David’s claim to the throne. However, the author emphasizes David’s innocence in both of these deaths as they were not lives that he had wished to claim. While it made secular sense to rid yourself of threats, David valued the lives of both Abner and Ish-bosheth and disregarded any accepted monarchical custom to kill them. To the one who murdered Abner- David’s own general, Joab- David curses him and his household (3:29). And to the assassins of Ish-bosheth, much like the lying Amalekite messenger in chapter 1, David repays them with what was expected to be a reward with their own execution instead (4:9-12). David’s integrity and honor are maintained as he takes the throne to unite all of Israel. Even after he is anointed king of both the northern and southern kingdoms, we see David’s inclination to depend on the Lord become habit (5:19,23).
Much has happened from the time of David’s private anointing as a young boy (1 Sam. 16:12-13) to now this public anointing as king over all Israel. This long-awaited realization through many trials and tribulations served the purpose of preparing David for his role as king. But as he takes this mantle, a core part of David’s identity as king harkens back to a role he served as a young boy those many years ago at the private ceremony with Samuel: a shepherd. The Lord anoints David as king and commissions him to be a “shepherd of my people” (5:2). Rather than rule with an authoritarian fist, he is instead encouraged to liken the image of a tender caretaker.
This prophecy from Micah speaks of a ruler to be born from Bethlehem that would also lead in all majesty of the LORD, but he would do so by shepherding. This is the passage cited in the gospel of Matthew during the Wise Men’s visit to the infant Jesus (Matt. 2:6). In what ways does Christ’s identity as a shepherd-king encourage you today? How does our perspective of his dominion over us change when it is viewed through the lens of a shepherd tending to his beloved sheep?
2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.
3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labor has given birth;
then the rest of his brothers shall return
to the people of Israel.
4 And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth.
5 And he shall be their peace.
- Micah 5:2-5
- Rev. Nameun Cho
This blog is part of the ministry of City Reformed Presbyterian Church. Unless otherwise noted, the entries are written by Matt Koerber. This is part of a project that our church is doing as we read through the narrative sections of Scripture between early January and Easter 2020. New entries will be scheduled to drop automatically at 5:00 am on the scheduled day.