Leadership in the Bible - Young David
I. Re-cap and Introduction
II. Read I Samuel 16:10-13.
10 Jesse presented seven of his sons to Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord hasn’t picked any of these.” 11 Then Samuel asked Jesse, “Is that all of your boys?” “There is still the youngest one,” Jesse answered, “but he’s out keeping the sheep.” “Send for him,” Samuel told Jesse, “because we can’t proceed until he gets here.”
12 So Jesse sent and brought him in. He was reddish brown, had beautiful eyes, and was good-looking. The Lord said, “That’s the one. Go anoint him.” 13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him right there in front of his brothers. The Lord’s spirit came over David from that point forward.
Q1. What do we see in this first description of David that leads us to wonder about whether he might be a leader, but then also to think he just well might be?
The first thing we
learn of David is his humility relative to the distinction and power of
leadership. While his brothers go to the feast, to be considered, David stays
back tending to the sheep.
David and Goliath
Here’s a shortened version of the great story of David and Goliath.
Read 1 Samuel 17:4-11, 26, 32-37, 38-44, 48-51.
4 A champion named Goliath from Gath came out from the Philistine camp. He was more than nine feet tall. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore bronze scale-armor weighing one hundred twenty-five pounds. 6 He had bronze plates on his shins, and a bronze scimitar hung on his back. 7 His spear shaft was as strong as the bar on a weaver’s loom, and its iron head weighed fifteen pounds. His shield-bearer walked in front of him. 8 He stopped and shouted to the Israelite troops, “Why have you come and taken up battle formations? I am the Philistine champion and you are Saul’s servants. Isn’t that right? Select one of your men, and let him come down against me. 9 If he is able to fight me and kill me, then we will become your slaves, but if I overcome him and kill him, then you will become our slaves and you will serve us. 10 I insult Israel’s troops today!” The Philistine continued, “Give me an opponent, and we’ll fight!” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard what the Philistine said, they were distressed and terrified.
26 David asked the soldiers standing by him, “What will be done for the person who kills that Philistine over there and removes this insult from Israel? Who is that uncircumcised Philistine, anyway, that he can get away with insulting the army of the living God?”
32 “Don’t let anyone lose courage because of this Philistine!” David told Saul. “I, your servant, will go out and fight him!”
33 “You can’t go out and fight this Philistine,” Saul answered David. “You are still a boy. But he’s been a warrior since he was a boy!”
34 “Your servant has kept his father’s sheep,” David replied to Saul, “and if ever a lion or a bear came and carried off one of the flock, 35 I would go after it, strike it, and rescue the animal from its mouth. If it turned on me, I would grab it at its jaw, strike it, and kill it. 36 Your servant has fought both lions and bears. This uncircumcised Philistine will be just like one of them because he has insulted the army of the living God.
37 “The Lord,” David added, “who rescued me from the power of both lions and bears, will rescue me from the power of this Philistine.”
38 Then Saul dressed David in his own gear, putting a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David strapped his sword on over the armor, but he couldn’t walk around well because he’d never tried it before. “I can’t walk in this,” David told Saul, “because I’ve never tried it before.” So he took them off. 40 He then grabbed his staff and chose five smooth stones from the streambed. He put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s bag and with sling in hand went out to the Philistine.
41 The Philistine got closer and closer to David, and his shield-bearer was in front of him.42 When the Philistine looked David over, he sneered at David because he was just a boy; reddish brown and good-looking.
43 The Philistine asked David, “Am I some sort of dog that you come at me with sticks?” And he cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said to David, “and I’ll feed your flesh to the wild birds and the wild animals!”
48 The Philistine got up and moved closer to attack David, and David ran quickly to the front line to face him. 49 David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone. He slung it, and it hit the Philistine on his forehead. The stone penetrated his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. 50 And that’s how David triumphed over the Philistine with just a sling and a stone, striking the Philistine down and killing him—and David didn’t even have a sword! 51 Then David ran and stood over the Philistine. He grabbed the Philistine’s sword, drew it from its sheath, and finished him off. Then David cut off the Philistine’s head with the sword.
David Faces Goliath
The Philistines were clearly emboldened by Saul’s melancholia and weakness, as was Jewish morale sapped by it.
David cuts straight through the fear of the Jews and the arrogance of Goliath, “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he disgraces the battalions of the Living God?” Significance was timeless and universal - a victory of God over those who deny His sovereignty.” 17:26. To Saul: “let no one lose heart because of him.” 17:32.
He holds that the One who caused his defeat of the lion and bear will cause his victory over Goliath. 17:37. He foresees this as a portent as Mordechai saw Esther’s coming into the court as a sign of the people’s salvation.
4. David sees that his
approach can’t be traditional, with arms and garments. His tactics must be his
own - the 5 smooth stones and the sling. Goliath is cocky and over-confident.
David has confidence in God’s place in their destiny, and that Goliath’s defeat
will sanctify God’s Name before all.
Challenge from Saul
Read 19:18-21, 23:15-18, 24:4-8.
19-18 So David fled and escaped. When he reached Samuel at Ramah, he reported to him everything Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went to stay in the camps.
19 When Saul was told that David was in the camps at Ramah, 20 he sent messengers to arrest David. They saw a group of prophets in a prophetic frenzy, with Samuel standing there as their leader. God’s spirit came over Saul’s messengers, and they also fell into a prophetic frenzy. 21 This was reported to Saul, and he sent different messengers, but they also fell into a prophetic frenzy. So Saul sent a third group of messengers, and they did the very same thing
23-15 While David was at Horesh in the Ziph wilderness he learned that Saul was looking to kill him. 16 Saul’s son Jonathan came to David at Horesh and encouraged him with God. 17 Jonathan said to him, “Don’t be afraid! My father Saul’s hand won’t touch you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be your second in command. Even my father Saul knows this.” 18 Then the two of them made a covenant before the Lord. David stayed at Horesh, but Jonathan went back home.
4 David’s soldiers said to him, “This is the day the Lord spoke of when he promised you, ‘I will hand your enemy over to you, and you can do to him whatever you think best.’” So David snuck up and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. 5 But immediately David felt horrible that he had cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.
6 “The Lord forbid,” he told his men, “that I should do something like that to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lift my hand against him, because he’s the Lord’s anointed!” 7 So David held his soldiers in check by what he said, and he wouldn’t allow them to attack Saul. Saul then left the cave and went on his way.
8 Then David also went out of the cave and yelled after Saul, “My master the king!” Saul looked back, and David bowed low out of respect, nose to the ground.
Saul appears jealous, though David loyally and ably serves Saul. Jonathan and David become close. Yet, as the melancholy afflicts Saul, he actually plots to kill David, but David eluded him. Saul seeks to bring David to death through battle. David marries his daughter and continues to find success. 18.
Jonathan protects David and reconciles them temporarily, only for Saul’s melancholy to come over him and cause him to try to kill him again. After several attempts, with his wife helping him, and his composing Psalm 59, David escapes. He goes to Samuel for support. 19:18.
David plans with Jonathan final test of Saul, suggesting incredible strength of friendship and strategic smarts and skill, especially in garnering intelligence, protecting oneself, and overcoming serious challenges. 20.
The threat is so severe David is forced to flee to Philistia, where he uses the strategy of feigning madness in order to disguise himself from the king and leaders there. 21.
David then goes to hide with supporters in a cave in Adullam, then to Moab, thinking his family roots there might make it safe. Then he goes to Judah.
The story of Doeg. David learns from this. This fellow overheard the transaction between the priest at Nob and David and betrayed the priest to Saul. David’s remorse over the death of this innocent priest and his fellows was a powerful lesson to David about the care that must be shown around a slanderer and the damage such a person can do. 22:20-22.
Having seen the damage to Nob, David feels impelled not to let innocents for which he has responsibility be threatened. So, with God’s support, he saves Ke’ilah, at some risk of being found by Saul. 23.
David continues to hide. We see his faith in pain in psalm 11. R Hirsch says God tests the righteous person’s constancy and joy in doing what’s right, even in pain and even when the good outcome is not quickly forthcoming. Patience, right path, faith. 23:15. Several psalms, including 54 and 57, tell of David’s journey here.
David has a chance
to kill Saul, in an innocent moment. David does not do so, seeing Saul as still
empowered in a way and that killing him would further create a precedent. Short
term gain through methods that are wrong is not favored here. 24: 5-8. Upon
David’s show of forbearance and restraint and allegiance, Saul relents with
remorse, though David fears a relapse and remains in hiding.
After Samuels's Death
Read 1 Samuel 25:4-6, 10-11, 23-31, 32-35.
Here is the beautiful story of Abigail’s powerful advocacy.
25-4 While in the wilderness, David heard that Nabal was shearing his sheep. 5 So David sent ten servants, telling them, “Go up to Carmel. When you get to Nabal, greet him for me. 6 Say this to him: ‘Peace to you,[b] your household, and all that is yours!
24-10 But Nabal answered David’s servants, “Who is David? Who is Jesse’s son? There are all sorts of slaves running away from their masters these days. 11 Why should I take my bread, my water, and the meat I’ve butchered for my shearers and give it to people who came here from who knows where?”
25-23 When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and fell facedown before him, bowing low to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet and said, “Put the blame on me, my master! But please let me, your servant, speak to you directly. Please listen to what your servant has to say. 25 Please, my master, pay no attention to this despicable man Nabal. He’s exactly what his name says he is! His name means fool,[g] and he is foolish![h] But I myself, your servant, didn’t see the young men that you, my master, sent. 26 I pledge, my master, as surely as the Lord lives and as you live, that the Lord has held you back from bloodshed and taking vengeance into your own hands! But now let your enemies and those who seek to harm my master be exactly like Nabal! 27 Here is a gift, which your servant has brought to my master. Please let it be given to the young men who follow you, my master. 28 Please forgive any offense by your servant. The Lord will definitely make an enduring dynasty for my master because my master fights the Lord’s battles, and nothing evil will be found in you throughout your lifetime. 29 If someone chases after you and tries to kill you, my master, then your life will be bound up securely in the bundle of life[i] by the Lord your God, but he will fling away your enemies’ lives as from the pouch of a sling. 30 When the Lord has done for my master all the good things he has promised you, and has installed you as Israel’s leader, 31 don’t let this be a blot or burden on my master’s conscience, that you shed blood needlessly or that my master took vengeance into his own hands. When the Lord has done good things for my master, please remember your servant.”
32 David said to Abigail, “Bless the Lord God of Israel, who sent you to meet me today! 33 And bless you and your good judgment for preventing me from shedding blood and taking vengeance into my own hands today! 34 Otherwise, as surely as the Lord God of Israel lives—the one who kept me from hurting you—if you hadn’t come quickly and met up with me, there wouldn’t be one single one who urinates on a wall left come morning.” 35 Then David accepted everything she had brought for him. “Return home in peace,” he told her. “Be assured that I’ve heard your request and have agreed to it.”
Still in flight, David has the difficult encounter with Nabal, to whom he says, “may you be at peace, and may your household be at peace.” 25:6. Important teaching - one must be at peace in ending inner conflicts between better instincts and evil inclination within oneself in order to bring peace to one’s household and beyond.
Nabal not only showed inhospitality; he also threatened arrogantly and wrongly David’s legitimacy and leadership. David decides to act swiftly to destroy such an existential threat. See psalm 109 to get a sense of David’s views here.
Yet, Abigail, Nabal’s wife, shows her own powerful leadership in providing munificent gifts to David and his men ahead of their arrival to satisfy their request in hospitality. Her appeal to David is classic. 25:23-31. David relents, expressing admiration for Abigail. He listens and changes course upon a convincing case to do so, and is grateful. 32-35. After Nabal dies, David marries Abigail.
Fleeing once again from Saul, David has another chance to kill Saul. He chastises Abner, the head of Saul’s army, for negligence in protecting his master. Duty to master and enterprise is crucial to David. 25.
Saul finally, for the first time, admits he has sinned with regard to David. 26:21. David prays that just as Saul’s life was forever important to him, his life will be important to God and that God save him from misfortune as well.
Yet, David still distrusts Saul and goes to Philistia. 27. He convinces the king that he had (because of Saul) turned against Israel and got a village out of which to operate and actually carried out raids against Israel’s enemies. The king then wants David to help attack Israel, now that Samuel was dead and perhaps the hand of God no longer protected it.
Saul was a broken man, had no avenues of help so sought necromancers, and had no recourse to God. She brings forth the spirit of Samuel who warns that all is lost for him. 28.
The Philistines dismiss David, understanding the risk of his turning back on them.
David returns only to find great destruction, wives abducted, by the Amalekites. He seeks God’s sanction to overtake enemy and rescue. An Egyptian fugitive who had been treated badly by the Amalekites gives him vital intel. (How and from whom to get intelligence is important to leadership.) 30. The chase succeeds. David destroys them, rescues wives and others, and takes booty.
David sets a standard of generosity. Though custom did not require sharing booty with anyone other than his fighting men, David believed God had provided for victory, that those who fought rescued their loved ones and would share in the bounty but that those too weak to fight ought to have some. 30:21-31. Equal division of spoils became the custom thereafter. David shared as well with those who showed him hospitality during his long wanderings. Unselfishness. Gratitude. And good politics (?)
The Report of Saul's Death
Read 2 Samuel 1
1 After Saul’s death, when David had returned from defeating the Amalekites, he stayed in Ziklag two days. 2 On the third day, a man showed up from Saul’s camp with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. When he reached David, he fell to the ground, bowing low out of respect.
3 “Where have you come from?” David asked him.
“I’ve escaped from the Israelite army!” he answered.
4 “What’s the report?” David asked him. “Tell me!”
The man answered, “The troops fled from the battle! Many of the soldiers have fallen and died. What’s more, Saul and his son Jonathan have also died!”
5 “How do you know,” David asked the young man who brought the news, “that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?”
6 The young man who brought the news replied, “I just happened to be on Mount Gilboa and Saul was there, leaning on his spear, with chariots and horsemen closing in on him. 7 He turned around and saw me, then he called to me. ‘Yes, sir,’ I answered. 8 ‘Who are you?’ he asked, and I told him, ‘I’m an Amalekite.’ 9 He said to me, ‘Please come over here and kill me, because convulsions have come over me but I’m still alive.’[a] 10 So I went over to him and killed him, because I knew he couldn’t survive after being wounded like that. I took the crown that was on his head and the bracelet that was on his arm, and I’ve brought them here to you, my master.”
Saul dies, as does
Jonathan, at the battle with the Philistines. 31. He shows bravery in battle,
indeed fighting for Israel to which he was always duty-bound, and despite all
with David, is regarded as a valiant and righteous man. Great demoralization of
the people at the loss to the Philistines.
Read 2 Samuel 1:18-27 . (David's Dirge)
18 David ordered everyone in Judah to learn the Song of the Bow. (In fact, it is written in the scroll from Jashar.)
19 Oh, no, Israel! Your prince lies dead on your heights.
Look how the mighty warriors have fallen!
20 Don’t talk about it in Gath;
don’t bring news of it to Ashkelon’s streets,
or else the Philistines’ daughters will rejoice;
the daughters of the uncircumcised will celebrate.
21 You hills of Gilboa!
Let there be no dew or rain on you,
and no fields yielding grain offerings.
Because it was there that the mighty warrior’s shield was defiled—
the shield of Saul!—never again anointed with oil.
22 Jonathan’s bow never wavered from the blood of the slain,
from the gore of the warriors.
Never did Saul’s sword return empty.
23 Saul and Jonathan! So well loved, so dearly cherished!
In their lives and in their deaths they were never separated.
They were faster than eagles,
stronger than lions!
24 Daughters of Israel, weep over Saul!
He dressed you in crimson with jewels;
he decorated your clothes with gold jewelry.
25 Look how the mighty warriors have fallen in the midst of battle!
Jonathan lies dead on your heights.
26 I grieve for you, my brother Jonathan!
You were so dear to me!
Your love was more amazing to me than the love of women.
27 Look how the mighty warriors have fallen!
Look how the weapons of war have been destroyed!
David could be entitled to both grief and relief at the news, but he mourned greatly over both Jonathan and Saul, as if it were both a national and personal tragedy. This is one reason why David was destined to be a great king.
A. We must teach the song of the’ bow. 1:18. 1) loss of leaders occasions teaching the nation, 2) must learn the craft of war, 3) though mourning, one must look forward with hope and prepare, 4) with God’s designee now dead, we are duty-bound to train ourselves even more in martial readiness, 5) (word may mean hardship), sadness upon death, though Judah had been victimized by Saul, not gloat, but honor his greatness.
B. From the Book of Uprightness - Genesis? Deuteronomy? Torah? Military manual? 18.
C. Recalling the slain “upon your heights,” “O splendor of Israel.” Referring to the land? Saul? The people? 19.
D. Do not mention it in Gath, that the Philistines not gloat. 20.
E. Mountains of Gilboa, no dew or rain, no fields of bounty. A curse on the mountains where this happened, where Saul was unprotected. 21.
F. Saul and Jonathan fought until the end. 22.
G. Tribute to Jonathan and Saul in their life times and duty and strength at the end. 23.
H. Weep over Saul. 24.
I. Tribute to all who fell. 25.
J. Special tribute to Jonathan. 26.
K. Closes with lament
as chorus for poetic song of despair. 27.
The Nation Accepts David
David begins his rule at the age of 30 - 7 years over Judah and 33 more over both Judah and all Israel.
David takes Jerusalem as his capital.
“David kept becoming greater, and God, the God of legions, was with him.” 5:10. This connotes humility, deference to the One and the principles He represents, not David’s own needs and wishes. This commitment makes one greater.
Influence begins to spread. Hiram, king of Tyre, sends delegation and materials and workers to build a palace for David. 11-12.
David expands his family, partly to assure an heir.
With God’s support
and assent and direction, David defeats the Philistines. 17-25. Various rationales for battle strategy. A conventional one:
often better to surprise a stronger army from the rear than directly
Read 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12-15, 17-19.
1 Once again David assembled the select warriors of Israel, thirty thousand strong. 2 David and all the troops who were with him set out for Baalah, which is Kiriath-jearim of Judah, to bring God’s chest up from there—the chest that is called by the name of the Lord of heavenly forces, who sits enthroned on the winged creatures. 3 They loaded God’s chest on a new cart and carried it from Abinadab’s house, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, Abinadab’s sons, were driving the new cart. 4 Uzzah was beside God’s chest while Ahio was walking in front of it. 5 Meanwhile, David and the entire house of Israel celebrated in the Lord’s presence with all their strength, with songs,[d] zithers, harps, tambourines, rattles, and cymbals.
12 King David was told, “The Lord has blessed Obed-edom’s family and everything he has because of God’s chest being there.” So David went and brought God’s chest up from Obed-edom’s house to David’s City with celebration. 13 Whenever those bearing the chest advanced six steps, David sacrificed an ox and a fatling calf. 14 David, dressed in a linen priestly vest, danced with all his strength before the Lord. 15 This is how David and the entire house of Israel brought up the Lord’s chest with shouts and trumpet blasts.
17 The Lord’s chest was brought in and put in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it. Then David offered entirely burned offerings in the Lord’s presence in addition to well-being sacrifices. 18 When David finished offering the entirely burned offerings and the well-being sacrifices, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of heavenly forces. 19 He distributed food among all the people of Israel—to the whole crowd, male and female—each receiving a loaf of bread, a date cake, and a raisin cake. Then all the people went back to their homes.
David and his people seize the ark and bring it back to Jerusalem. This represents the core of the people: the word and direction of God which enables nearness to, and support from, the Divine. It is top priority to get back and make central again to their lives. 6.
David errs in transporting the Ark via wagon. Torah instructs that it be carried always by Levites. The celebration involved more instruments than specified. Some say both explain the death of Uzzah in the process, rather than his inappropriately reaching for the Ark. David accepts responsibility, mourns, and fears God. David had always served God with love and joy. Now, a new dimension - awe, trepidation, caution - causes him to slow the process, keeping the Ark elsewhere for 3 months.
Then, when people are ready in spirit, they bring it with joy, with spiritual, inner joy (as opposed to mere celebration), with offerings, and in the right way. David uses the phrase about God, Master of Legions, not used by Moses and Aaron, BUT was used by Hannah. Is this a culmination of her faith and action (and leadership)? Further, he gives all the people a generous amount of food after the dedication. Spiritual and physical sustenance! 6:17-19.
10. David’s problem
with Michal. She was unhappy with his behavior at and after dedication.
Possible reasons: his joyous dancing in honor of God, his humble dress, his
coming home to be with family rather than soaking up public honors. David is
different than Saul! These are features of his leadership - honoring God,
setting an example for people, joy, being humble. “Before HaShem I shall
rejoice! And I shall behave even more humbly than this, and I shall be more
lowly in my eyes….” 21-22.
David's Prayer 2 Samuel 7:18-29
18 Who am I, Lord God, and of what significance is my family that you have brought me this far? 19 But even this was too small in your eyes, Lord God! Now you have also spoken about your servant’s dynasty in the future and the generation to come, Lord God! 20 What more can David say to you? You know your servant, Lord God. 21 For the sake of your word and according to your own will, you have done this great thing so that your servant would know it. 22 That is why you are so great, Lord God! No one can compare to you, no god except you, just as we have always heard with our own ears. 23 And who can compare to your people Israel? They are the one nation on earth that God redeemed as his own people, establishing his name by doing great and awesome things for them, by driving out nations and their gods before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt. 24 You established your people Israel as your own people forever, and you, Lord, became their God. 25 Now, Lord God, confirm forever the promise you have made about your servant and his dynasty. Do just as you have promised 26 so that your name will be great forever when people say, “The Lord of heavenly forces is Israel’s God!” May your servant David’s household be established before you, 27 because you, Lord of heavenly forces, Israel’s God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a dynasty for him. That is why your servant has found the courage to pray this prayer to you. 28 Lord God, you are truly God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. 29 So now willingly bless your servant’s dynasty so that it might continue forever before you, because you, Lord God, have promised. Let your servant’s dynasty be blessed forever by your blessing.
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