I couldn’t believe it! I had asked to build Him a house and instead He had promised to build up my house. From this time forth every King of Israel would be descended from me.
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
My first order of business after becoming King was to begin capturing portions of the Promised Land that had either never been claimed or else had been lost in battle. Several hundred years had passed and it was long past time to complete the work of conquest begun by Joshua.
When the Philistines heard about this they massed a large army against me. In his defeat at Beth Shean, Saul had lost much of the northern part of the country, and the conquering Philistines didn’t want me to get it back. They figured a pre-emptive attack would be their best defense. They soon gathered for battle in the Valley of Rephaim, so I inquired of the Lord and He said “Go get ’em.” We did and defeated them soundly.
When they re-grouped and assembled in the valley a second time, the Lord told me to circle around behind them and wait. Then He started the battle Himself. I don’t know what He did but it sure scared the you-know-what out of them. They dropped everything, including their precious idols and took off running. We chased them all the way back to Gezer. Then we burned all their idols. This time they didn’t come back for more.
The Walled City of the Jebusites, which we call Jerusalem, was a formidable obstacle, but with the Lord’s blessing, we conquered it. I moved into the Fortress of Zion there and after enlarging and re-fortifying it I named it the City of David. Today the City of David is a small suburb south of the Temple mount in a vastly expanded Jerusalem, but the name Zion has stuck with us and refers to all of Jerusalem, and in some circles all of Israel.
Once these areas were captured and secured I received a delegation from Hiram, King of Tyre. He wanted to build a palace for me, the first sign of international recognition of my kingship. It made sense for him to offer this. We had two things he needed. First was the inland route south to Egypt and beyond. It came right through Israel, and he needed to be certain it would always be open to his merchants. And second, much of the food consumed by the Phoenicians came from northern Israel. Without it they would starve. Phoenicia was a very narrow strip of land bordering on the Mediterranean and didn’t have room for fields to grow the food their people needed.
For those two reasons their survival depended on friendly relations with their southern neighbor, and indeed from my time all the way to the Babylonian captivity 400 years later Israel and Phoenicia were best of friends. Of course, you know Phoenicia today as Lebanon, and sadly things are much different now.
King Hiram sent select logs of cedar (for which Lebanon is famous) and stonemasons and carpenters who built a fine palace for me. In my time a king’s residence was the primary symbol of the legitimacy of his rule, so I took this gift as a sign from the Lord that He had blessed my ascension to the Throne of Israel.
When the palace was ready, I relocated to Jerusalem from Hebron and soon took more concubines and wives. My family grew to quickly fill our spacious new quarters.
Once I was settled in, I decided to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem as well. Remember, the Tabernacle had been moved to Nob after the Philistines defeated Saul at Shiloh and stole the Ark. The problems they encountered with this stolen symbol of our Lord’s power caused them to return it quickly, but Saul had left it in the care of a Levite named Abinadab in Kiraith Jearim, a town in the territory of Benjamin which was just north of Jerusalem.
I had a new wagon built, took some men, and set out to bring it to Jerusalem. It seemed like all of Israel joined in behind us, singing and dancing while playing their musical instruments. Coming down a hill, the oxen pulling the cart stumbled and Uzzah, one of the men guiding the Ark instinctively reached out to steady it. He was immediately struck dead. Only certain members of the family of Levi were permitted to touch it and Uzzah wasn’t one of them.
This scared me so much I left the Ark there in the home of Obed-Edom and refused to bring it into Jerusalem. There it sat for three months while I tried to figure out what had happened. Maybe I was trying to do something the Lord was against.
Finally when they told me how Obed-Edom’s house and family had been blessed by having the Ark there, I decided it was OK to bring it to Jerusalem. This time I did it right. I had men who were authorized to touch the Ark carry it. When they had taken six steps, I stopped them and we sacrificed a bull and a calf. Then we proceeded, with all the people shouting and trumpets blaring. I danced with all my might at the head of the procession.
We arrived safely and I placed the Ark in a tent I had specially made to house it. Again we sacrificed to the Lord, both burnt and fellowship offerings. I blessed the people in the Name of the Lord and distributed a loaf of bread, and cakes of dates and raisins to each person there.
After the celebration my first wife Michal scolded me angrily. She said my dancing was vulgar and embarrassing since I was wearing only a linen ephod, normally an undergarment. She said I had made a fool of myself in front of all the servant girls, exposing myself this way.
I said I was dancing for the Lord and would be willing to humiliate myself even more if that’s what it took to please Him. Her outburst must have angered the Lord, because He made her barren from that day forward.
Sometime later, after I had settled in and the Lord had given us peace with all our neighboring countries, it bothered me that I was living in a fine palace of cedar, while the Ark of the Lord rested in a mere tent. I spoke to the Prophet Nathan about this and that very night the Lord answered me through Him.
He said, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’ ”
“Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you.
“Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.
” ‘The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’ ”
As the Lord had commanded, Nathan repeated all of this to me.
Then I went in and sat before the LORD in the tent of His Ark, and said, “Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in your sight, O Sovereign LORD, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant. Is this your usual way of dealing with man, O Sovereign LORD?
“What more can I say to you? For you know your servant, O Sovereign LORD. For the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made it known to your servant.
“How great you are, O Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears. And who is like your people Israel—the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to make a name for himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt? You have established your people Israel as your very own forever, and you, O LORD, have become their God.
“And now, LORD God, keep forever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised, so that your name will be great forever. Then men will say, ‘The LORD Almighty is God over Israel!’ And the house of your servant David will be established before you.
“O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, you have revealed this to your servant, saying, ‘I will build a house for you.’ So your servant has found courage to offer you this prayer. O Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, O Sovereign LORD, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever.”
I couldn’t believe it! I had asked to build Him a house and instead He had promised to build up my house. From this time forth every King of Israel would be descended from me. His promises would be partially fulfilled through my son Solomon, the next King of Israel, who would build the Lord’s Temple on Earth. But the ultimate fulfillment would come when God’s own Son would come to Earth to rule not only the Nation Israel but the entire world as well. And His kingdom would never end, nor would it be given to another. Our God is an awesome God! 05-07-05