With Abner dead, and David’s popularity growing all the time, Ish-Bosheth must realise just how futile his own rule is. Everyone else probably does, and two men, Recab and Baanah, work a plan to gain favour with David by taking Ish-Bosheth’s life. Murder is the easy part, but they lose their own lives for committing this outrage (4.5-12). God’s king doesn’t need favours, least of all, favours gained at the cost of innocent life. And in deaths of the guilty murderers, David’s new nation will learn what sort of king she has.
The king wins his people over, but he wants a city fitting for his rule. Once Jerusalem is his, “he became more and more powerful, because the Lord Almighty was with him” (5.10). This is the real start of his reign, a reign born with the promise of God’s blessing, refined through the years of danger and exile as Saul hunted him, and now begun in earnest with the possession of Jerusalem. All the glory must go to God, for He has established this kingship – people, city, palace and all – as David recognises (v.12). And it is God who defeats David’s enemies, as David obeys Him (vv.19-25).
A good king, and one day a great one. All human greatness is flecked by sinful desires and habits, though, even if culture endorses them. Is our historian making this hint, as he records David’s concubines and wives (v.13)? We remember that, however great king David was, his rule points us to a far greater Promised Son. The only palace Jesus entered was a Roman one, and not to be honoured, but tried and sentenced to death. He took no wife, led no armies, had no wealth. And yet, as with David, the Lord handed over His enemies to Him. Jesus is a King, the King of God’s once-rebels, who bow the knee to Him. His kingdom has no borders, but only grace, a grace which keeps on reaching out to all who seek peace with Him.
A Prayer to Pray
“Hail, the heaven-born Prince of Peace, Hail, the Son of righteousness. Light and Life to all He brings, risen with healing in His wings.” Lord Jesus, I celebrate Your magnificent rule, and adore You as a blood-bought subject. Today, let me celebrate Your Lordship in my life, and let my heart rest content as You have Your way in my life. Amen.