It really is amazing if we stop and think about the difficulty that followed King Sual’s being rejected by God. David is anointed by Samuel seemingly shortly after, but years pass before Saul himself is killed in battle. In the years that pass, David becomes closest of friends with Saul’s own son and heir apparent. David is on a flight for his life away from Saul, when Saul and Jonathan lose their lives as a fulfillment of God’s rejecting Saul and his household as king . So much death had to happen in order to fulfill the promise to David!
In fact, even after David is crowned King over Judah at Hebron – years will pass again while David and Ish-bosheth fight with each other. Ish-bosheth is another descendant of Saul who must die for David to have the throne. Abner is Ish-bosheth’s right hand guy, and because of a quarrel over a woman, Abner leaves Ish-bosheth’s service and joins up with David. However, blood shed continues. Joab kills Abner. The depressed Ish-bosheth, who may have contemplated taking his own life after loosing Abner – is murdered by a couple of ruthless brothers. Thinking they will please David and win favor – they bring Ish-bosheth’s head to David. David treats them with the same righteous indignation he showed the Amalakite claiming responsibility for Saul’s death () . More blood shed.
As I reflect on David’s bloody rise to Kingship, I can’t help but think about the way Grace is at work. Through all this killing God is establishing His King in Zion! But David is not the promised King. Not even Solomon – whose life is decidedly less filled with blood shed. No the great King anticipated is the Lord Jesus Christ. But in His case, history and blood shed is reversed! He ascends to the thrown not by the death of the competing evil kings – but through His own death!
Why is that so significant?
Well, because we see that common grace only turns already bad situations around for a generally better use. But ultimately – we need special, divine Grace. Grace that saves us from the sinful world we live in, and from our sinful selves. The cool thing about Christ’s history is that it is a history of redemption through suffering. Christ doesn’t take over by adding suffering to others, but by taking on all others suffering. He is the ultimate king because he makes an end of blood shed – through His shed blood.
16 And Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done to you as he spoke by me, for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. 18 Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day. (ESV)
5 Now the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, set out, and about the heat of the day they came to the house of Ish-bosheth as he was taking his noonday rest. 6 And they came into the midst of the house as if to get wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped. 7 When they came into the house, as he lay on his bed in his bedroom, they struck him and put him to death and beheaded him. They took his head and went by the way of the Arabah all night, 8 and brought the head of Ish-bosheth to David at Hebron. And they said to the king, “Here is the head of Ish-bosheth, the son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life. The Lord has avenged my lord the king this day on Saul and on his offspring.” 9 But David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life out of every adversity, 10 when one told me, ‘Behold, Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and killed him at Ziklag, which was the reward I gave him for his news. 11 How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous man in his own house on his bed, shall I not now require his blood at your hand and destroy you from the earth?” 12 And David commanded his young men, and they killed them and cut off their hands and feet and hanged them beside the pool at Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-bosheth and buried it in the tomb of Abner at Hebron. (ESV)