Here are some of my notes for Sunday, November 9, 2008 based on the Lifeway Explore the Bible curriculum
Reference works cited include:
1)IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament by Walton, Matthews, and Chavalas
2) 1, 2 Samuel New American Commentary by Robert D. Bergen
3)The David Story by Robert Alter
5) Wycliffe Historical Geography of Bible Lands by Howard F. Vos
2 Sam 5:3
elders: Without a king or other prominent leader, tribes would be ruled by an assembly of elders, who would serve as tribal court and act as representatives of the people in important gatherings. David would likely need the elders’ endorsement before he would be accepted by the people. (BBCOT)
If in 2 Sam 5:1 it was the tribes, the common folk, of Israel accepting David as king, here it is the elders specifically who come to “the king”, presumably to make the forthcoming covenant with him for his reign over them. (Alter)
covenant: In a move like that of 2 Sam 2:4’s compact with Judah, here the tribes of Israel formally declare David their king. This likely included a written document like Samuel drew up at Saul’s proclamation as king in 1 Sam 10:25. (BBCOT)
anointing: This makes David’s third anointing, and like the one with Judah’s tribe, this anointing was symbolic of Israel’s acceptance of David as their king. In the ANE anointing was often part of business contracts and symbolized an increase in status(BBCOT)
It is useful to remember that at this point David was the only credible leader left to Israel, as Abner and Ishbosheth
had been killed. David had several things going for him as king:
1. Proven record of military success.
2. Prophecies calling David Israel’s leader.
3. Already king of the Southern part of the country (Judah).
4. His magnanimous treatment of Saul’s heirs. (Bergen)
2 Sam 5:4-5
David reign is generally placed within 1010-970 BC. And while forty seems a traditional Biblical round number, the careful laying out of the reign’s chronology (“seven years and six months”) makes one think it is more a precise figure. (BBCOT, Alter)
2 Sam 5:6
Jerusalem: The city straddles important roads in both directions:
1. East- West road from near Jericho to the coastal highway that leads from Egypt to Babylon.
2. North- South road from near Beersheba in extreme South to Beth Shan in the North, about two thirds of the way from Jerusalem to the Sea of Galilee along the Jordan’s West Bank.
3. Deep valleys on either side of the Jerusalem ridge and the Gihon spring made the location a good defensible military location
There are Egyptian records of the city as far back as the early second millennium BC. By David’s day the city occupied the North South ridge south of the modern city walls, an area four hundred feet wide and fifteen hundred feet long. That allows an estimated population of about a thousand. The city was built on a erected platform supported by terraces. The city was enclosed by a ten foot wall built some eight centuries before David’s day. (BBCOT)
Jebusites: These were probably non-Semitic people who moved into the area and founded “Jerusalem” around the beginning of the early second millennium BC.(BBCOT)
lame and blind: Some have suggested that by putting lame and blind people on the walls, the Jebusites were seeking to work a form of sympathetic magic that would then blind and lame David’s troops. Yigdal Yadin suggested a blind woman and a lame man were placed before the Jebusite troops, who were sworn to do their duty or suffer the same fate as the blind woman and lame man. Most likely is the common suggestion that the phrase is a reference to the city’s impregnability, so strong even blind and lame people could defend it from David’s forces.(BBCOT, Alter)
A practical reason for David to choose Jerusalem as his capital was that it was centrally located on roads leading to all parts of the country, and a well-fortified city. A religious reason would be that the Jebusites were among the Canaanites God had told the Exodus generation to wipe out, which they and their descendants had failed to do. Thus David would be showing his obedience to God while gaining a strategic capital.(Alter)
2 Sam 5:8
water shaft: Since the nineteenth century discovery of Warren’s Shaft, a water tunnel connecting Jerusalem to the Gihon spring, scholars have assumed that shaft is what David refers to here. The most recent archaeological work has suggested the shaft was never a water tunnel and was not connected underground to Jerusalem in David’s time. Thus scholars are once again unsure exactly how Joab secreted his troops into the city, as revealed in 1 Chron 11:6. (BBCOT)
2 Sam 5:9
City of David: This may match an ancient practice in much of the ANE that made the capital city not only the royal residence but the personal estate of the reigning king and his heirs. This frequently gave the royal cities certain privileges, mainly exemption from various forms of taxation and labor and military drafts.(BBCOT)
supporting terraces (millo): Now generally held to a stepped stone of rock and earth that artificially expanded the narrow ridge top out some two thousand square feet.
2 Sam 5:11
Tyre: From ISBE:”Tyre
tīr (צר, cowr. חר, cōr, “rock”’ Τύρος, túros, “Tyrus”; modern Sur):
1. Physical Features:
The most noted of the Phoenician cities situated on the coast, lat. 33ø 17 minutes, about 20 miles South of Sidon and about 35 North of Carmel. The date of its foundation is uncertain, but it was later than that of Sidon. It is mentioned in the travels of the Egyptian Mohar, dating probably from the 14th century BC, and in the Tell el-Amarna Letters of about the same period. Herodotus describes the temple of Hercules at Tyre and says it was built 2,300 years before his time, which would carry back the beginning of the city to more than 2700 BC. It was a double city, one part on an island, a short distance from the shore, and the other on the mainland opposite. The island city had two harbors, connected by a canal, one looking North and the other South. The island was rocky and the city was fortified on the land side by a wall 150 ft. high, the wall being of less elevation on the other sides. It was an exceedingly strong position, and is referred to in the Bible as the “strong” or “fortified” city (Jos_19:29). The space within the walls was crowded with buildings, and is said to have contained 40,000 inhabitants. The town on the mainland was situated in a plain extending from the Ras el-‛Abyaḍ, on the South to Sarepta on the North, a distance of about 20 miles. It was fertile and well watered, the river Leontes (Litany) passing through it to the sea, about 5 miles N. of Tyre, and the copious fountain of Ras el-‛Ain, 3 miles to the South, furnishing an abundant supply both for the city and the gardens.
(1) Tyre was for centuries subordinate to Sidon, but when the Philistines subdued the latter city, probably in the 12th century. (see SIDON), Tyre received an accession of inhabitants from the fugitives which gave it the pre-eminence. From this time dates its great commercial and colonial activity. Its mariners pushed boldly out to the West and founded colonies in Spain and North Africa, some of which, like Gades, Abdera and Carthage, became famous. They extended their commerce more widely than Sidon had ever done and ventured into the Atlantic and reached the coasts of Britain and West Africa. They reached out to the East also, and had their ships in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, and their land routes threaded all Western Asia (see PHOENICIA). Tyre, like all the Phoenician cities, became subject to Egypt under Thothmes III in the first half of the 15th century BC, and remained so for some 300 years, but it enjoyed practical autonomy under native kings, being only subject to tribute and to furnishing contingents of ships when the Egyptian kings made their expeditions to the North. In the Tell el-Amarna Letters, dating from the first half of the 14th century, we find a certain Abi-melek (or Abi-milki) writing from Tyre to the king of Egypt asking for aid against the Amorite leader, Aziru, and the king of Sidon, who had joined the rebels. The name is Phoenician, and we know that it was the policy of the Egyptian kings to leave the native dynasts on the throne.
(2) After the decline of Egypt, Tyre regained her independence and exercised the hegemony over most of the Phoenician towns, at least as far North as Gebal (Byblus), as appears in the control that Hiram had over the Lebanon forests in the time of David and Solomon. Hiram was evidently desirous of an alliance with Israel, since he sent messengers to David and furnished cedar and workmen to build him a house, apparently without solicitation. The friendly connection between the two kingdoms was advantageous to both, since David and Solomon needed the timber and the skilled artisans that Hiram could furnish, and Hiram needed the food products of the land of Israel (1 Ki 5). Tyre was at this time noted for the skill of its artificers, and its manufactured products were famous throughout the world (see PHOENICIA, 4.). The purple dye and works in bronze were especially famous, and Hiram, the Tyrian artisan, was engaged by Solomon to cast the bronzes required for the temple (1Ki_7:13 ff). Hiram, the king, enlarged and beautified his capital. He united the two small islands on which the city was built by filling up the space between, where he made an open square and built a splendid temple to Melkarth and Astarte. He engaged in commercial enterprises with Solomon (1Ki_9:26-28; 1Ki_10:22), both in pursuance of the friendly alliance and also for the advantage of having the use of the port of Ezion-geber on the Red Sea. His brilliant reign lasted 43 years.
(3) The list of kings who succeeded him contains the names of Baal-azar, Abd-ashtoreth, murdered by his brothers, the eldest of whom succeeded him, followed by Astartus and Aserymus murdered by his brother, Pheles, who was overthrown by the high priest Eth-baal, showing how disturbed the period was. Eth-baal, or Ithobal, was the king who made an alliance with Ahab and gave him Jezebel, his daughter, in marriage, which proved most disastrous both to her and the country because of the introduction of the Baal-worship into Israel. Eth-baal was an energetic monarch, and is said to have rounded Botrys (Batrun). He reigned 32 years, and was followed by Badezor and Mattan, who gave his daughter, Elissa (Dido), in marriage to her uncle Sicharbas and transferred the throne to them; but they were set aside by an uprising of the people, and Pygmalion, son of Mattan, was placed on the throne, and Sicharbas put to death. Elissa fled with a party of nobles, by sea, to Africa and founded the city of Carthage. This happened about the middle of the 9th century BC, Josephus putting it at 860 BC.
(4) In the first half of this century Tyre became subject to Assyria, and her hegemony in Phoenicia came to an end, but her prosperity was not seriously checked as we may infer from Isa_23:8, which was written a century or so later. Assyria was satisfied with the payment of tribute until the time of Tiglath-pileser III (745-727), who laid a heavier hand upon her, and this led Elulaeus, king of Tyre, to form a confederacy of the Phoenician cities against Assyria. Shalmaneser IV subdued all except Tyre, which he distressed by cutting off her water-supply. But the people dug wells and obtained enough to subsist upon for five years, when Shalmaneser was killed and Elulaeus recovered control of his territory. He was not molested by Sargon, but Sennacherib advanced against him with 200,000 men, and Elulaeus fled to Cyprus. The citizens made a successful resistance and Sennacherib did not take Tyre, but it submitted to Esar-haddon, and its king, Baal, obtained the special favor of the Assyrian king, who made him ruler of all the coast cities from Dor to Gebal, and the Lebanon was placed under his control (680-673 BC). It is rather surprising that Baal refused to assist him in his attack upon Egypt and that Esar-haddon did not punish him, probably because he was too much occupied with Egypt. Ashur-banipal, however, did compel him to submit and to give him his daughter, and those of his brothers, as secondary wives, but left him as king of Tyre.
(5) On the decline of Assyria, Tyre regained its independence, and its greatness is indicated by the fact that it resisted Nebuchadnezzar 13 years (598-585); it is uncertain whether the island city was taken, but it evidently came to terms with the king of Babylon (compare Eze_27:26; Josephus, Ant., X, xi, 1 and see The Expository Times, 1899, pp. 378, 430, 475, 520). After this siege Sidon took the lead and Tyre was in a disturbed state: the monarchy was overthrown and suffetes, or judges, took its place for six years, when the old order was restored. The decline of Babylon enabled Tyre to regain her independence for a short period until its submission to the Persians about 525 BC, and thenceforth it was a vassal state during the continuance of the Persian empire.
(6) It was by no means hindered in its commercial prosperity, and its great strength is seen in the brave and energetic resistance it made to Alexander the Great. All Phoenicia submitted to him without resistance, and Tyre was willing to admit his suzerainty, but declined to receive him into the city. This so angered Alexander that he at once commenced a siege that proved the most difficult undertaking in all his wars. He had no fleet and was obliged to build a mole (causeway) from the mainland to the island, but before he could finish it the Tyrians destroyed it and beat back their assailants handily. Alexander had to do the work all over again, and since he was convinced that without a fleet he would not be able to take the city, he procured ships from the Phoenician towns that had submitted, and with the aid of these was able to blockade the port and prevent the besieged from issuing forth to destroy the new causeway. This was at length pushed up to the very wall of the city, which was finally breached, and the troops of Alexander forced their way in. But even then the defenders would not yield, and the king himself had to lead the assault upon them with his bodyguard and put them all to the sword. Those who died with arms in their hands were 8,000, and the survivors, women, children and slaves, to the number of 30,000, were sold in the open market. He placed over the ruined city, into which he introduced some colonists, a certain Abd-elonim, and left it after having spent about seven months in subduing it.
(7) After the death of Alexander, Tyre passed into the hands of Ptolemy Lagi, and when Antigonus, in 314 BC, took Phoenicia from him, Tyre resisted, and he had to blockade it 15 months before it would yield, showing how quickly it had recovered from its previous disaster. It became a part of the Seleucid kingdom when Antiochus III drove the Ptolemies from Syria (198 BC), and the Seleucid kings regarded it of importance and gave it the right of asylum, and it was allowed the status of a free city by the Romans, Antony recognizing the magistrates and council of Tyre as allies. When the Parthians attacked and took Syria, in 40 BC, Tyre would not submit and was left untouched, being too strong for them. Augustus deprived it of its freedom, but it was given the status of a “metropolis” by Hadrian, and this title appears on its coins.
(8) Tyre is mentioned in the New Testament several times: Christ visited its territory (Mat_15:21; Mar_7:24), and people from there came to hear Him (Luk_6:17). Herod Agrippa I had trouble with Tyre, and a deputation came to visit him at Caesarea (Act_12:20). Paul visited Tyre on his journey from Asia to Jerusalem (Act_21:6-7).
Christianity was accepted by the people of Tyre, so that the 2nd century AD saw a bishopric established there, and in the 4th a council was held there to consider charges against Athanasius, by the party of Arius; he was condemned, a decision which brought the Tyrian church into disrepute. Tyre was already obnoxious to Christians because the anti-Christian philosopher Porphyry was from there. Tyre continued a commercial center, and Jerome says that it was the noblest and most beautiful of the Phoenician cities and an emporium of commerce for almost the whole world (Commentary on Ezekiel). …”
Hiram I, the Great: This famous king of Tyre is the real founder of the famed city, as it was he who united the island and the mainland and began the building projects that made Tyre the economic power and nigh impregnable fortress it later became. His reigning dates are problematical, perhaps 970-935 BC, perhaps more 978-943 BC. Either way, it doesn’t seem likely that he could have provided David men and materials to build his palace early in David’s reign (1010- 970 BC), as Hiram I was likely only about twenty when he came to the throne. There are two basic solutions to this chronological problem:
1. Assume “Hiram” was a royal title name, and the Hiram who dealt with David was actually Abibaal, Hiram I’s father, while Hiram himself dealt only with Solomon.
2. Assume the account in this part of 2 Samuel is topical, not chronological, and that David built his palace late in his reign, when Hiram I could have aided him.(BBCOT, Vos)
3. Assume the bible is correct, and the chronology of Josephus is wrong. This is not improbable, but it is also entirely possible that when Solomon speaks of “you” helping his father David, he is speaking of the city of Tyre, not that same Hiram himself.
Cedar: These trees grow slow and can live as long as three thousand years, and grow as tall as one hundred twenty feet. The wood is very resistant to fungus, making it a long lasting building material. The trees grew in the forests of Lebanon, which were being harvested as early as the 3000 BCs. By David’s time, the forests were small enough to make the wood very valuable indeed. (BBCOT)
David’s palace: No firm candidate for this palace has been excavated. A Phoenician-style palace found in Megiddo gives an idea what the palace might have been like, being a two story building of stone about seventy feet square, with a guard tower, columned porch, multiple halls, a audience chamber, a interior courtyard, and about a dozen smaller rooms on the first floor for residence or administrative purposes. The cedar would have been employed primarily in the paneling in the palace rooms. (BBCOT, Alter)
2 Sam 7:2
Nathan the prophet: While prophet-judges had led Israel after the Conquest, with the creation of the monarchy in Israel prophets became advisors to the king, who would either accept or reject the prophet’s advice. (BBCOT)
house vs tent: It was common ANE practice for a victorious king to build a temple in gratitude to his patron deity. The temple would serve to bring the protection of the deity to the king and his land.(BBCOT)
2 Sam 7:3-5
Divine approval: While kings commonly built temples to their patron deities in the ANE, getting divine approval for the temple was absolutely necessary, as ancient folklore told stories of collapsing temples and the fall of dynasties as the result of kings building temples without divine permission. (BBCOT)
Nathan’s answer to David is presumably made off the cuff, based on God’s great blessing of success on everything David has done so far. That it is not prophetic is made clear that same night. (Alter)
In 7:4 God calls David “my servant”, a term of obvious approval used before of Abraham(Gen 26:24), Moses(Num 12:7-8), and Caleb (Num 14:24) andlater used of Isaiah (Is 20:3), Job (Job 1:8), and the Messiah (Is 52:13, Zech 3:8)(Bergen)
2 Sam 7:8-9
Divine protection: Again, it is typical in the ANE that a patron deity is credited with the successes of a king and his nation. (BBCOT)
2 Sam 7:10-11
God promises to give Israel a permanent nation here, as well as bringing them peace from their foreign enemies, something that had only been temporary under the judges. (Alter)
“House” has a double meaning here. It refers both to the temple itself, and David’s political dynasty, which effectively begins with Solomon, who also builds the temple. (Alter)
2 Sam 7:14
god/king as father/son: Another common trope in ANE is the notion of the king as son of a god, whether that be Egypt’s pharaoh as son of Ra, the Aramean kings being sons of Hadad, and plenty of Mesopotamian rulers being god’s descendants. (BBCOT)
rod, blows: Here God promises to discipline Israel, but with human sources, not supernatural ones. (Alter)
2 Sam 7:15
faithful love: Numerous ANE cultures show that “lords” positive actions toward vassals are called “love, graciousness, kindness”. Love is how friendly relationships between nations was expressed. What was mostly absent was any notion of love from a vassal to a lord. Instead obedience and loyalty were the primary expectations of a vassal. (BBCOT)
2 Sam 7:12-16
The verses have huge implications for both Jews and Christians. On the Christian side, the NT refers back to these verses repeatedly as foundation for seven NT teachings about Jesus:
1. Son of David (Matt 1:1, Acts 13:22-23; Rom 1:3, 2 Tim 2:8, Rev 22:16)
2. Who rises from the dead (Acts 2:30, 13:23)
3. Builder of the House of God (John 2:19-22, Heb 3:3-4)
4. Possessor of a Throne (Heb 1:8, Rev 3:21)
5.Possesor of an eternal kingdom (1 Cor 15:24-25; Eph 5:5; Heb 1:8; 2 Pet 1:11)
6. Son of God (Mark 1:1, John 20 :31; Acts 9:20; Heb 4:14; Rev 2:18)
7. Immaculately conceived as son of God (Luk 1:32-35) (Bergen)
2 Sam 7:21
Note David does not attribute God’s favor to anything he or Israel has done, but rather God’s own will and in order to show fulfillment of his own words spoken to men.
2 Sam 7:23
David doesn’t entirely understand God’s purposes in doing all these things for David and Israel, and can only deem these future and past actions on Israel’s behalf as “great and awesome action” done by God “to make a name for Himself”. David’s humility is on display here, as it should be in any believer before God.