Two OT books provide parallel accounts of the rule of David, who becomes king on the death of Saul. This is a critical time in the history of Israel and in the unfolding of God’s plan, and so is giving extensive space in the scriptures.
Historical Significance. The years of David complete Israel’s transition from a loose tribal structure, under which God’s people lived in the days of the judges, to a monarchy. A number of important aspects of the transition are accomplished under David’s leadership:
- Transition from government by judges to an established monarchy.
- Transition from a loose confederation of tribes to a united nation.
- Transition from anarchy to a strong central government.
- Transition from bronze age poverty to iron age economy and wealth.
- Transition from a subject people to conquerors. David expanded Israel’s territory some ten times!
- Transition from decentralized worship to centralized worship, with one city as both political and religious capital.
Theological Significance. The era of David is important for adding new revelation concerning God’s plan. David is given a promise that his line will culminate in a person who will rule Israel forever (see Davidic Covenant). This promise is fulfilled in Jesus, who is of David’s family through both Mary and Joseph. It is Jesus who, as King of kings and Lord of lords, will establish God’s rule through the whole earth.
The Psalms. Another heritage from this era is found in the Psalms. While the book was codified at a later date, many of the psalms are from David’s time, and were written by the king himself. As the superscriptions of the Psalms show, most were intended for public worship. This includes some of the most revealing and humbling of those written by David, out of his personal experience (cf. 52, 34). One of David’s great contributions when his rule was established was to organize worship and to train the Israelites in the worship of God. His psalms stand today as a great resource for believers, still showing us how to bring all we are to God in prayer and praise.
History of the transition in overview. While the transitions described above were accomplished during the decades of David’s rule, the process was begun earlier, and encompassed the lives of Samuel and Saul as well as David.
David’s Triumphs as King 2 Sam 1-10 (Rule over Judah 1-4, Rule over United Israel 5-10)
David’s Troubles 2 Sam 11-20 (With Himself 11, 12 With Family 13-18, With His State 19-20)
Appendix: 6 incidents (2 Sam 21-24)