As we closed out the book of 1 Samuel, we saw the death of Saul and his sons. We pick up right there as we begin 2 Samuel. David is anointed as King in chapter 2, and the rest of the book tells about David’s forty year reign.
The man who brought the report of Saul’s death to David made a terrible miscalculation, didn’t he? As we read at the end of 1 Samuel, Saul fell on his own sword because he didn’t want to fall into the hands of the Amalekites. This soldier must have thought that David would be pleased to meet the one who killed Saul, since it was widely known that Saul had been pursuing David for so long. But remember, David had no desire to harm Saul, and considered him to be the Lord’s anointed.
So when David heard that this man killed Saul, he had him executed right there on the spot.
David’s grief over Saul and Jonathan is genuine and deep, as evidenced by the song he wrote and his tearing of his clothes and the mourning, weeping and fasting he and his men did.
In chapter two, we see David seeking God’s direction. He certainly did so while running for his life from Saul, but now that that threat is gone, he doesn’t forget his need of God. It is so important to keep God at the center of our life in good times as well as bad.
God tells David to go to Hebron, which is a priests’ city and one of the cities of refuge. There he is anointed by the Judahite men as King of the tribe of Judah.
Ish-bosheth, a son of Saul and the nephew of Abner, is made king of the rest of Israel. And this sets up the so-called contest between David’s men and Ish-bosheth’s men.
Abner wants to keep the throne in the family. He wants Ish-bosheth to be king over Judah as well as the rest of the 12 tribes. Everyone knows that David is God’s anointed king, and David has proven that he is willing to wait until God brings it about in HIs own time. But Abner has his own plans.
So he proposes a contest to the general of David’s army, Joab. In order to save face, Joab accepts the challenge. Things got out of hand, and the contestants end up killing each other. This causes the armies on both side to engage, and before you know it a total of 20 of David’s men and 360 of Abner’s men are dead, including the young nephew of David, Asahel, at the hand of Abner.
So Israel is a divided kingdom at this point. There is the tribe Judah, the house of David, and the rest of Israel which is under the house of Saul. How do you suppose this is going to play out? We’ll find out in the weeks to come.