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Troubles Come to Saul’s Family

Saul’s son Ish Bosheth heard that Abner had died at Hebron. Ish Bosheth and all his people became very afraid. Two men went to see to Saul’s son. These two men were captains in the army. They were Recab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon from Beeroth. (They were Benjamites because the town Beeroth belonged to the tribe of Benjamin. But all the people in Beeroth ran away to Gittaim, and they are still living there today.)

Saul’s son Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth. He was five years old when the news came from Jezreel that Saul and Jonathan had been killed. The woman who cared for Mephibosheth picked him up and ran away. But while running away, she dropped the boy, and he became crippled in both feet.

Recab and Baanah, sons of Rimmon from Beeroth, went to Ish Bosheth’s house at noon. Ish Bosheth was resting because it was hot. 6-7 Recab and Baanah came into the house as if they were going to get some wheat. Ish Bosheth was lying on his bed in his bedroom, and they stabbed and killed him. Then they cut off his head and took it with them. They traveled all night on the road through the Jordan Valley. When they arrived at Hebron, they gave Ish Bosheth’s head to David.

Recab and Baanah said to King David, “Here is the head of your enemy, Ish Bosheth son of Saul. He tried to kill you, but the Lord has punished Saul and his family for you today.”

But David told Recab and his brother Baanah, “As surely as the Lord lives, he is the one who has rescued me from all my troubles! 10 Once before a man thought he would bring me good news. He told me, ‘Look! Saul is dead.’ He thought I would reward him for bringing me the news. But I grabbed this man and killed him at Ziklag. 11 I will kill you too and remove this evil from our land because you evil men killed a good man sleeping on his own bed, in his own house.”

12 So David commanded his young helpers[a] to kill Recab and Baanah. The young men cut off the hands and feet of Recab and Baanah and hanged them by the pool of Hebron. Then they took the head of Ish Bosheth and buried it where Abner was buried at Hebron.

The Israelites Make David King

All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron. They said to David, “Look, we are one family[b]! Even when Saul was our king, you were the one who led us into battle. And you were the one who brought Israel back home from war. The Lord himself said to you, ‘You will be the shepherd of my people, the Israelites. You will be the ruler over Israel.’”

So all the leaders of Israel came to meet with King David at Hebron. He made an agreement with them in Hebron in front of the Lord, and they anointed David to be the king of Israel.

David was 30 years old when he began to rule. He was king for 40 years. In Hebron he ruled over Judah for 7 years and 6 months, and in Jerusalem he ruled over all Israel and Judah for 33 years.

David Captures Jerusalem

The king and his men went to fight against the Jebusites living in Jerusalem. The Jebusites said to David, “You cannot come into our city.[c] Even our blind and crippled people can stop you.” (They said this because they thought that David would not be able to enter into their city. But David did take the fort of Zion. This fort became the City of David.)

That day David said to his men, “Whenever you strike at the Jebusites, aim for the throat and kill them.”[d] David said this because he hates to have people left who are crippled and blind. That is why people now say, “The lame and blind are not allowed in the temple.[e]

David lived in the fort and called it “The City of David.” David built up the city from the Millo[f] inward.[g] 10 He became stronger and stronger because the Lord All-Powerful was with him.

11 King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David. He also sent cedar trees, carpenters, and stonemasons. They built a house for David. 12 Then David knew that the Lord had really made him king of Israel and had made him ruler over his kingdom for the good of his people, Israel.

13 David moved from Hebron to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, he got more slave women and wives. So David had more children who were born in Jerusalem. 14 David’s sons who were born in Jerusalem are Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15 Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16 Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet.

David Fights Against the Philistines

17 When the Philistines heard that the Israelites had anointed David to be the king of Israel, all the Philistines went up to kill him. David heard about this and went down into the fort at Jerusalem. 18 The Philistines came and camped in Rephaim Valley.

19 David asked the Lord, saying, “Should I go up to fight against the Philistines? Will you help me defeat them?”

The Lord answered, “Yes, I certainly will help you defeat the Philistines.”

20 Then David went to Baal Perazim and defeated the Philistines in that place. He said, “The Lord broke through my enemies like water breaking through a dam.” That is why David named that place “Baal Perazim.”[h] 21 The Philistines left the statues of their gods behind at Baal Perazim. David and his men took them away.

22 Again the Philistines came up and camped in Rephaim Valley.

23 David prayed to the Lord again and got this answer: “Don’t go up the valley. Go around them to the other side of their army. Attack them from the other side of the balsam trees. 24 When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, you must act quickly because that is the sign that the Lord has gone out in front of you to defeat the Philistines.[i]

25 David did what the Lord commanded him to do, and he defeated the Philistines. He chased them from Geba to Gezer, killing them all along the way.

God’s Holy Box Is Moved to Jerusalem

David again gathered all the best soldiers in Israel. There were 30,000 men. Then David and all his men went to Baalah in Judah[j] to take God’s Holy Box there. The Holy Box is like God’s throne—people go there to call on the name of the Lord All-Powerful who sits as king above the Cherub angels that are on that Box. David’s men brought the Holy Box out of Abinadab’s house on the hill. Then they put God’s Holy Box on a new wagon. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were driving the new wagon.

So they carried the Holy Box out of Abinadab’s house on the hill. The sons of Abinadab, Uzzah and Ahio, drove the new wagon. Ahio was walking in front of the Holy Box. David and all the Israelites were dancing in front of the Lord and playing all kinds of musical instruments. There were lyres, harps, drums, rattles, instruments made from cypress wood, and cymbals. When David’s men came to the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, and God’s Holy Box began to fall off the wagon. Uzzah caught the Holy Box. But the Lord was angry with Uzzah and killed him for that mistake. Uzzah showed he did not honor God when he touched the Holy Box, so he died there by God’s Holy Box. David was upset because the Lord had killed Uzzah. David called that place “Perez Uzzah.”[k] It is still called Perez Uzzah today.

David became afraid of the Lord that day, and he said, “How can I bring God’s Holy Box here now?” 10 So David would not move the Lord’s Holy Box into the City of David. He put the Holy Box at the house of Obed Edom from Gath.[l] 11 The Lord’s Holy Box stayed in Obed Edom’s house for three months. The Lord blessed Obed Edom and all his family.

12 Later people told David, “The Lord has blessed the family of Obed Edom and everything he owns, because God’s Holy Box is there.” So David went and brought God’s Holy Box from Obed Edom’s house. David was very happy and excited. 13 When the men who carried the Lord’s Holy Box had walked six steps, they stopped and David sacrificed a bull and a fat calf. 14 David was dancing in front of the Lord. He was wearing a linen ephod.

15 David and all the Israelites were excited—they shouted and blew the trumpet as they brought the Lord’s Holy Box into the city. 16 Saul’s daughter Michal was looking out the window. While the Lord’s Holy Box was being carried into the city, David was jumping and dancing before the Lord. Michal saw this, and she was upset at David.

17 David put up a tent for the Holy Box. The Israelites put the Lord’s Holy Box in its place under the tent. Then David offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the Lord.

18 After David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord All-Powerful. 19 He also gave a share of bread, a raisin cake, and some date bread to every man and woman of Israel. Then all the people went home.

Michal Scolds David

20 David went back to bless his house, but Saul’s daughter Michal came out to meet him. She said, “The king of Israel did not honor himself today! You took off your clothes in front of your servants’ girls. You were like a fool who takes off his clothes without shame!”

21 Then David said to Michal, “The Lord chose me, not your father or anyone from his family. The Lord chose me to be leader of his people, the Israelites. So I will continue dancing and celebrating in front of the Lord. 22 I might do things that are even more embarrassing! Maybe you will not respect me, but the girls you are talking about are proud of me!”

23 Saul’s daughter Michal never had a child. She died without having any children.

David Wants to Build a Temple

After King David moved into his new house the Lord gave him some relief from all of his enemies around him. King David said to Nathan the prophet, “Look, I am living in a fancy house made of cedar wood, but God’s Holy Box is still kept in a tent!”

Nathan said to King David, “Do whatever you want to do. The Lord will be with you.”

But that night, the Lord’s word came to Nathan:

“Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: You are not the one to build a house for me to live in. I did not live in a house at the time I took the Israelites out of Egypt. No, I traveled around in a tent. I used the tent for my home. I never told any of the tribes of Israel to build me a fancy house made from cedar wood.’

“You must say this to my servant David: ‘This is what the Lord All-Powerful says: I chose you while you were out in the pasture following the sheep. I took you from that job and made you the leader of my people, the Israelites. I have been with you every place you went. I have defeated your enemies for you. I will make you one of the most famous people on earth. 10-11 And I chose a place for my people, the Israelites. I planted the Israelites. I gave them their own place to live so that they will not have to move from place to place anymore. In the past, I sent judges to lead my people, but evil people gave them many troubles. That will not happen now. I am giving you peace from all of your enemies. I promise that I will make your family a family of kings.[m]

12 “‘When your life is finished, you will die and be buried with your ancestors. But then I will make one of your own children become the king. 13 He will build a house for my name, and I will make his kingdom strong forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son.[n] When he sins, I will use other people to punish him. They will be my whips. 15 But I will never stop loving him. I will continue to be loyal to him. I took away my love and kindness from Saul. I pushed Saul away when I turned to you. 16 Your family of kings will continue—you can depend on that! For you, your kingdom will continue forever! Your throne will stand forever!’”

17 Nathan told David about that vision. He told David everything God had said.

David Prays to God

18 Then King David went in and sat in front of the Lord. David said,

“Lord God, why am I so important to you? Why is my family important? Why have you made me so important? 19 I am nothing but a servant, but Lord God, you have also said these kind things about my future family. Lord God, you don’t always talk like this to people, do you? 20 How can I continue talking to you? Lord God, you know that I am only a servant. 21 You will do all these wonderful things because you said you would do them and because you want to do them. And you decided to let me know about all these things. 22 Lord God, this is why you are so great! There is no one like you. There is no god except you! We know that because of what we ourselves have heard about what you did.

23 “And there is no nation on earth like your people, Israel. They are a special people. They were slaves, but you took them out of Egypt and made them free. You made them your people. You did great and wonderful things for the Israelites and for your land. 24 You made the people of Israel your very own people forever, and Lord, you became their God.

25 “Now, Lord God, you promised to do something for me, your servant, and for my family. Now please do what you promised—make my family a family of kings forever! 26 Then your name will be honored forever. People will say, ‘The Lord God All-Powerful rules Israel! And may the family of your servant David continue to be strong in serving you.’

27 “You, Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, have shown things to me. You said, ‘I will make your family great.’ That is why I, your servant, decided to pray this prayer to you. 28 Lord God, you are God, and I can trust what you say. And you said that these good things would happen to me, your servant. 29 Now, please, bless my family. Let them stand before you and serve you forever. Lord God, you yourself said these things. You yourself blessed my family with a blessing that will continue forever.”


  1. 2 Samuel 4:12 young helpers Young men who carried a soldier’s weapons into battle but were not yet soldiers themselves.
  2. 2 Samuel 5:1 one family Literally, “your flesh and blood.”
  3. 2 Samuel 5:6 You cannot come … city The city of Jerusalem was built on a hill. It had high walls around it, making it hard to capture.
  4. 2 Samuel 5:8 Whenever … kill them Or “Whoever wants to attack the Jebusites must go through the shaft.” This might refer to a tunnel or shaft leading up into the city through Gihon Spring, which was outside the city walls.
  5. 2 Samuel 5:8 temple Or “the king’s palace.”
  6. 2 Samuel 5:9 Millo This is probably the stone foundation walls that were built on the steep slopes on the east side of the City of David.
  7. 2 Samuel 5:9 inward Or “toward the Temple.”
  8. 2 Samuel 5:20 Baal Perazim This name means “the Lord breaks through.”
  9. 2 Samuel 5:24 Or “From the top of the balsam trees you will be able to hear them marching into battle. Then you must act quickly, because at that time the Lord will go ahead of you and defeat the Philistines for you.”
  10. 2 Samuel 6:2 Baalah in Judah Another name for Kiriath Jearim. See 1 Chron. 13:6.
  11. 2 Samuel 6:8 Perez Uzzah This name means “The Punishment of Uzzah.”
  12. 2 Samuel 6:10 Obed Edom from Gath A person from the tribe of Levi who lived near Jerusalem.
  13. 2 Samuel 7:10 make … family of kings Literally, “make a house for you.”
  14. 2 Samuel 7:14 father … son God “adopted” the kings from David’s family, and they became his “sons.” See Ps. 2:7.

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