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Verses 1-25


Conquest of Jerusalem (5:1-25)

All the tribes of Israel now sent a representative force of soldiers to Hebron to present themselves to David, their new king (5:1-3; 1 Chronicles 12:23-40). The two-year civil war had now finished, and for the next five and a half years David reigned in Hebron over a unified Israel (4-5; cf. 2:10-11).

David probably realized that so long as he remained in the territory of his own tribe in the south, the northern tribes would hesitate to give him their full and enthusiastic allegiance. He therefore set out on the bold task of making Jerusalem his capital. The conquest of Jerusalem was sure to win him nationwide support, for it had been lost to the Jebusites soon after Joshua’s conquest and had remained in Jebusite hands ever since (Judges 1:8,Judges 1:21; Judges 19:10-12). Also, since it belonged to no tribe and was situated centrally between the northern and southern sections of Palestine, there could be no cause for any tribal jealousy if David made his capital there.

The Jebusites thought the city’s position and defences so strong that no attack against them could succeed. They mocked the Israelites by saying that even the blind and crippled along the city walls could defend the city against them. But Joab gained entrance through a water tunnel and conquered the city in a surprise attack. As a reward for his victory, he was now appointed army commander of all Israel, not just Judah (6-10; 1 Chronicles 11:6). David firmly established himself in his new capital by building a palace and enlarging his harem (11-16).

A new unity was appearing in Israel, and the Philistines saw this as a danger to their power. They attacked David in the area south of Jerusalem in an effort to split the country into two parts again. David lost no time in responding. He launched a surprise attack (probably from his established stronghold in Adullum; cf. 1 Chronicles 11:15-19), drove the enemy back, and captured and burnt their idols (17-21; 1 Chronicles 14:12). Later, when the Philistines launched a second attack, David drove them from Israel’s territory and carried the conquest across the border into the Philistines’ territory. This was a decisive victory for the Israelites, and never again did the Philistines gain power over them (22-25).

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