II Samuel 5

By Levi Clancy for לוי on

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2 Samuel 5 can be split into four sections: David becomes king of all the tribes of Israel and Judah (2 Samuel 5:1-5); David captures Jerusalem from the Jebusites (2 Samuel 5:6-8); David makes his capital (2 Samuel 5:9-16); and he successfully wars with the Philistines (2 Samuel 5:17-25).

The elders of the tribes of Israel gather at Hebron to anoint David as king, a move justified pragmatically and piously by David's successes during Saul's reign and God's desire for David to shepherd the Israelites. Hebron is the seat of David's throne for seven years and six months, from where he rules Judah; thereafter he rules over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years, from his throne at Jerusalem. David's capture of Jerusalem was a great victory: as the last Canaanite stronghold, David now had completely destroyed the prior hegemon; and David was strategically wise to want Jerusalem as his capital, as it was between Israel and Judah yet belonged to neither.

David acknowledged Jerusalem's value by naming it the City of David and developing it, all under the blessed presence of the Lord, the God of hosts. King Hiram of Tyre sent to David some of the renowned cedars of Lebanon, along with carpenters and masons to build him a house; David now perceived that God had truly established him as king over Israel. He then fills this house with wives and concubines from Hebron, who bore him many children to thus establish the Davidic dynasty. Next, David commences war with the Philistines. With strategic advice from God, David strikes down the Philistines from Geba all the way to Gezer.

The king and his men marched to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, "You wil not come in here, even the blind and the lame will turn you back" -- thinking, "David cannot come in here." Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion, which is now the city of David. David had said on that day, "Whoever would strike down the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft to attack the lame and the blind, those whom David hates." [alternatively those who hate David] Therefore it is said, "The blind and the lame shall not come into the house." 2 Samuel 5:6-8

While it initially seems as though David is hateful to the handicapped, this is actually his clever twisting of rhetoric used against him. Upon marching to Jerusalem, the Jebusites feared little and taunted that even the blind and the lame will turn you back, meaning that even the weakest could fend off David.

Thus, upon breaking into the city, David commands his soldiers to kill the Jebusites, who he taunts as blind and lame. David's great success in seizing Jerusalem cements his reputation, and it is said that his house (his dynasty, his offspring) will be impregnable to blindness and lameness; his descendants will be virile.

The Lord said to David, "Go up; for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand." So David came to Baal-perazim, and David defeated them there. He said, "The Lord has burst forth against my enemies before me, like a bursting flood." Therefore that place is called Baal-perazim. 2 Samuel 5:19-20

Baal-perazim means Lord of Burst Forth. This is a pun much like in Genesis 38.29, though it is unclear whether it is anachronistic (the place had the name, then the events followed to justify the name) or if the place became named based on David's awesome victory there.