David Thrice Crowned
April 23rd, 1961 @ 7:30 PM
2 Samuel 1-5
Dr. W. A. Criswell
2 Samuel 1-5
4-23-61 7:30 p.m.
We turn in our Bibles to 2 Samuel chapter 1, 2 Samuel chapter 1, verses 17 to the end. Second Samuel chapter 1, beginning at verse 17, we shall read together the most beautiful eulogy, dirge, ode ever written in human literature; the lamentations, the dirge, the eulogy of David over the death of Saul and Jonathan. Second Samuel 1, beginning at verse 17, to the end of the chapter, reading it together. Second Samuel 1:17:
And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son: (Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the Song of the Bow: behold, it is written in the Book of Jasher.)
The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen! Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph. Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil. From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty.
Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights; who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel. How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou was slain in thine high places.
I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!
[2 Samuel 1:17-27]
Our title tonight is David, Thrice Crowned, David Crowned King Over Israel. Now, because the length of the sermon would be beyond what any hour or two could allow, you can follow the message in the Bible, but I will just speak of it. I will not take time to read the long text itself. We shall just follow the story beginning in 2 Samuel, the first chapter and the first verse.
David, at the beginning of 2 Samuel, and by the way, 2 Samuel is just a continuation of the story in I Samuel. There is no break in between. It’s just the same book, just divided for convenience sake. David, in 2 Samuel, as he’s presented here, as the story begins, has returned to the charred and burned and ruined city of Ziklag [2 Samuel 1:1]. That was the city about eighteen miles south of Hebron, down there in the far south country. And it was assigned unto him and to his six hundred men of war and to their wives and families by Achish, the king of Philistia [1 Samuel 27:2-6]. The last time that David was with Achish was to the north country, in Esdraelon, where there was preparation for war between the lords of Philistia and between Saul, the king of Israel [1 Samuel 29:1]. And because David and his men were Hebrew, Achish was forced by his fellow Philistine dukes to send David and his men away [1 Samuel 29:2-11].
And when David and his neophyte army arrived to their homes in Ziklag, the Amalekites had overrun the city, had burned every household down, and had taken everything: their wives, their children, their stock, their cattle, everything they possessed, had taken it away. The Lord blessed David as he overtook the Amalekites and destroyed them. And they got back all of their possessions and all of their families [1 Samuel 30:1-19]. But when they came back to Ziklag, they stood there in the presence of the charred, burned, destroyed, ruined homes of their families. And it seems that David stayed there, waiting upon some sign from God as to what he should do. Should they build again their homes in the city? Or should they go elsewhere, or just what? [2 Samuel 1:1].
At the same time, David wondered in his heart what had happened to his brethren, who were facing the awful day of warfare with the host of Philistia that numbered like the sand of the sea. When David left Saul on Gilboa with Jonathan and the other sons of the king, with the host of Israel was preparing to join the battle with the kings of Philistia and the great hosts down there in the valley of Esdraelon: and how the war came out or had it been fought, David did not know. On the third day after David’s return to Ziklag, there came a man recklessly running into the camp. He had earth on his head, and he did obeisance before David. Made a beeline for the great chieftain, and that obeisance was not only the Oriental custom of salutation and greeting, but it was also a mark of this Amalekite’s recognition that now David would be king over Israel [2 Samuel 1:1-2].
You see, he was smart. He was smart like these men who are smart and get in the penitentiary. Smart like fellows who seek to outwit the government in their business and in their income tax and in violation of the law. Real smart; this Amalekite thought that he would invent him a story that would come before David, and tell that he had destroyed Saul, and ingratiate himself in the favor of David, thinking that David would greatly accept his presence, if he was the one by whom Saul was destroyed and David was anointed king. So this Amalekite comes and he does obeisance and falls on the earth before David. And David says, “Where do you come from?” And he says, “I have come from Mount Gilboa. And while I was there, I chanced upon the king, and he was wounded by the archers and by the Philistines as they overcame the armies of Israel. And Saul said to me, ‘Fall upon me and take my life.’ And I took my sword and I slew him. And behold! Here is his crown and here is the bracelet upon his arm, I have brought them to thee. And now thou are to be king over Israel” [2 Samuel 1:3-10].
Well, that Amalekite sure did misjudge David, for David took hold of his clothes and ripped them, an Oriental way of showing grief and sorrow. And all of the men were with them, and they mourned and fasted until the evening [2 Samuel 1:11-12]. And when the evening came, the great chieftain, David, said, “Bring me that Amalekite.” And the Amalekite stood before David thinking he would get some great reward for having slain Saul. No doubt about the death of Saul, there is the crown he’d worn on his head, and there is the bracelet that he wore on his arm. And David said to the Amalekite, “Didn’t you know that you had slain God’s anointed?” David time and again had refused to touch Saul, he was set apart by the hand and choice and election of God. And David turned toward the first young man who stood by him and said, “Fall upon that Amalekite.” And the young man fell upon him and slew him, and he died [2 Samuel 1:14-15].
And then David lamented this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan. It is divided into two parts. The first part is over Saul and [Jonathan] together [2 Samuel 1:17-24]. The second part is over Jonathan [2 Samuel 1:25-26], and then the last is the concluding lament, eulogy, by which he introduces each part. “How are the mighty fallen! How are the mighty fallen!” And then concluding it, “How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!” [2 Samuel 1:27]. “O Jonathan, I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love unto me was wonderful, passing the love of women. How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!” [2 Samuel 1:26-27].
Now, in your Bible, I want you to look at something. In 2 Samuel 1:18, where this beautiful eulogy is written, it says: And he bade them teach the children of Judah. Now, look in italicized, “the use of” the bow: behold, it is written in the Book of Jasher. The Book of Jasher, or Jasher, as I heard some of you pronounce it, that book was a book, ancient, lost to the world years ago, in which some of the oracles and some of the eulogies and some of the songs of God were written. And this was in that book. Now in italicized use it says, “the use of” [2 Samuel 1:18]. I have no idea why they would do that, “And David bade them teach the children of Judah the bow.” This is called the Song of the Bow. “Behold, it is written in the Book of Jasher” [2 Samuel 1:18]. It’s called the Song of the Bow for two reasons. One, it refers to the bow of Jonathan. And second, the bow was an emblem, a sign of the marshal warfare of that day. So the song that David sings here in lament over the death of Saul and Jonathan is called the Song of the Bow. Anciently, that is what it was referred to.
Now, there is a great oratorio that I have never heard sung, written by Handel, the immortal Handel, who wrote the Messiah. There is a great oratorio called Saul. And in that oratorio, you have it called the Dead March. It’s the “Song of the Bow.” It’s the song of the lament of David over the death of Jonathan. And I thought you might for tonight, listen to that glorious music, this eulogy, this ode, the “Song of the Bow” as Handel wrote the celestial music. And in your clemency, I have asked our organist to play some of that beautiful somber melody that you might be introduced to it. So in your goodness, listen to Mrs. Forester as she plays this famous melody, the march from Saul, which is this lamentation called the “Song of the Bow.” That is great music! And I marvel at America that loves Red Hot Henry Brown instead of that. I can’t believe the songs I listen to over the radio and that I hear on television, rock and roll, the cheapest, filthiest, sorriest, lowest, slummiest stuff that mind could imagine. But America loves it! Well, that’s just a part of it that I just wanted our church at least to say I have heard that beautiful, wonderful, elegaic melody which is a music for this lamentation of David over Jonathan.
Now there is one other thing that David did in memory of Saul. First, he refused to countenance the Amalekite who said that he murdered him. I don’t think that story’s true. I know it isn’t [2 Samuel 1:5-10]. You have the true story of the death of Saul a suicide here in the last chapter of I Samuel [1 Samuel 31:3-5]. But he invented that story in order to ingratiate himself before David. And then the second thing David did in memory of Saul was to write this eulogy that shall live forever [2 Samuel 1:17-24]. Then David did another thing. When the Philistines found the body of Saul, and found the body of [Jonathan], and found the body of Abinadab and found the body of Malchishua, they took those bodies and they cut off their heads. And they did them despite. And after they had mutilated them, they hung them up on the walls of Beth-shan, and took their armor and put it up in the temple of Ashtaroth, their Venus goddess [1 Samuel 31:8-10].
And when the men of Jabesh-gilead heard about it—remember the men of Jabesh-gilead from the [eleventh] chapter of I Samuel, when Nahash the Amorite surrounded the city of Jabesh and said, “All you Israelites come out, and I am going to punch out your right eye that it might be a reproach, an insult on the people of God. Now come out, and if you do not, I will burn down your city with fire” [1 Samuel 11:2]? And the men of Jabesh-gilead said, “Give us seven days to see if aught would come to our help” [1 Samuel 11:3]. And Saul heard about it, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him [1 Samuel 11:6], and he took his oxen and cut them in pieces and sent the pieces throughout Israel and said, “God do so and more so to any Israelite man who does not assemble himself with Saul” [1 Samuel 11:7]. And Saul marched and came to Jabesh and annihilated Nahash and his army and delivered the men of Jabesh-gilead. And they never forgot it.
And in the nighttime, Jabesh organized an expedition, and they crossed the Jordan to Beth-shan and took reverently and tenderly the mutilated bodies of Saul and Jonathan and the other boys, and carefully buried them under a big tree before Jabesh [1 Samuel 31:11-13]. And David sent messengers unto the men of Jabesh-gilead and said, “Blessed be ye of the Lord, that you have shown this kindness unto your lord, even unto Saul, and have buried him. And now the Lord show kindness unto you and requite you this kindness. Therefore let your hands be strengthened, and be valiant: for your master Saul is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me king over them” [2 Samuel 2:5-7].
Did you ever see anybody more gracious and thoughtful than this man David? In every way he’s a soul of generosity. In this beautiful lament “Saul and Jonathan were pleasant and lovely in their lives” [2 Samuel 1:23]. The great-hearted David refused to think of the last years of Saul, when the evil spirit came upon him, and he sought David’s life [1 Samuel 19:9-10]. But he only thought of him and only remembered him in the days of his noble youth, when he was God’s true servant and God’s great champion [1 Samuel 11:1-11]. Isn’t it a wonderful thing to be that way? That’s almost the opposite from what I am. And so many of us, we think of the evil of people, when we ought to think just of the good and let God right the evil in His own way. That’s David.
And it came to pass that David at Ziklag inquired of the Lord, “Lord, what shall I do?” And I’m in the second chapter, “Now, what shall I do?” And the Lord said, “Go up to Hebron” [2 Samuel 2:1-4]. So David goes up to Hebron; apparently goes up just as a private citizen, and his army settles around in the villages of Hebron. And it came to pass that the men of Judah came and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah; just that Southern tribe [2 Samuel 2:2-4]. He was anointed first by Samuel [1 Samuel 16:12-13], then he’s anointed, second, by the house of Judah [2 Samuel 2:4]; and the title of the sermon is Thrice Anointed, so we follow the story.
Now, Abner—this is verse 8 in the second chapter, “Now, Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul’s host, took Ish-bosh-eth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim; and anointed him king of the northern tribe” [2 Samuel 2:8-9]. Who is this man Abner? Abner is the bitterest enemy David ever had, unless it was Cush the Benjamite, whom I spoke of from a psalm several Sundays ago [Psalm 7:1-17]. This man Ner, Abner the son of Ner, Ner and Kish, the father of Saul, were brothers. Ner and Kish were brothers, and Kish’s son is Saul the king. And Ner’s son is Abner. So Saul and Abner are first-blood cousins [1 Samuel 14:51]. And about the first thing Saul did was to make Abner captain of the host of the armies of the Lord [1 Samuel 14:50, 17:55]. And Abner was the bitter enemy of David all the days of David’s life. And Abner the son of Ner set up Ish-bosh-eth to be the king over the Northern tribe, when Judah anointed David to be king over the southern tribe [2 Samuel 2:8-10].
And Joab the son of Zeruiah—now in the rest of the story you will find Joab again and again. Joab was made captain of the host of David because David said, “Any man that can get this fortress Jebus, Jerusalem, and deliver it into my hands for my capital, his reward will be to be captain of the Lord’s army” [1 Chronicles 11:5-6]. And Joab did it. And that’s why time and again; David is helpless before Joab, as you will see in the story tonight. And Joab the son of Zeruiah—now, who is Zeruiah?—Zeruiah is the sister of David, and she had three illustrious sons; Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. They were mighty men of war, all three of then, and especially Joab. Joab fought David’s battles all of the way through.
And Joab the son of Zeruiah, with his men went up to Gibeon—oh, about six, seven, eight miles northwest of Jerusalem—went up to Gibeon and sat on one side of the pool of Gibeon. Abner and his warriors were at Gibeon, and sat on the other side of the pool [2 Samuel 2:13]. And Abner said to Joab, “Let us not fight this thing with the whole army. You choose twelve men from your side, and I will choose twelve men from my side, and we will let these twelve be our champions and let them settle the fight between us” [2 Samuel 2:14].
So by the pool of Gibeon, twelve men from Abner’s army and twelve men from Joab’s army fight to the death. And all twelve of them slay the other twelve; they take their swords, and in an awful bloody gladiatorial combat, the twelve from Abner’s side are slain, and the twelve from Joab’s side are slain, and when that was done, then the whole armies began to fight. It settled nothing, all twenty-four of them were dead [2 Samuel 2:15-16]. And so it came to pass, that Joab and Abishai and Asahel pursued after Abner [2 Samuel 2:18]. They hated Abner beyond anything you could describe. He was the bitter enemy of David all the days of his life, and those three nephews of David hated him to the death. Now, Asahel, the youngest son, was fleet like a deer; and when Joab and Abishai fell behind, Asahel pressed against Abner. Fleeing, Abner’s army was overcome. And Abner turned around and said to Asahel, “You go back. You go back. You go back. I don’t want to hurt you. You go back.” But Asahel said, “Nay,” and pressed against Abner as he pursued him. And Abner took the hinder part of his spear and ran it through Asahel’s body; and he died there in his own blood [2 Samuel 2:19-23]. And when Joab came up to the place and when Abishai, great men of war, came to the place and saw that younger brother dead in his own blood, you wait. They took up the body of Asahel and carried it to Bethlehem in the tomb of his father, the only place where the husband of Zeruiah, David’s sister, is ever named and buried the young man’s body in the tomb of his father in Bethlehem [2 Samuel 2:32].
And Joab and Abishai said, “We wait our day.” And there was war between the Northern Kingdom under Abner, and the Southern Kingdom under Joab [2 Samuel 2:8-30]. And it was Saul that Rizpah—now, I haven’t time. I preached a sermon on Rizpah one time. Do you remember Rizpah, the mother who watched over her boys? [2 Samuel 21:8-10]. I haven’t time to enter into it—well anyway, Ish-bosh-eth, this young son of Saul that Abner had set up on the throne over there on the other side of the Jordan River at Mahanaim, he thought Abner was conspiring to displace him on the throne. And Abner was furious, and he said, “I will take away the kingdom from you, and I will give it to David” [2 Samuel 3:7-10]. So Abner, the captain of the host of Saul’s army and the great military genius of Saul’s life and a mighty chieftain and a mighty warrior who had set up Ish-bosh-eth on the throne, Abner goes down to Hebron with twenty men as testimonials [2 Samuel 3:20].
And David receives them in a sanctified feast. And Abner says, “And I pledge to you, to be king over all Israel, I will deliver the Northern Kingdom into your hand” [2 Samuel 3:21]. And David receives Abner in gladness and in answer to the long-awaited prophecy that he should reign over Israel [2 Samuel 3:6-20]. Then Abner goes away, and Joab returns from a battle, and somebody says to Joab, “Did you know that Abner was here, and the king has sent him away in peace?” [2 Samuel 3:22-23]. And Joab came to David and said, “What hast thou done? This man Abner, your bitter enemy” [2 Samuel 3:24-25]. And Joab sent word after Abner by a messenger and said, “The king would like to see you again.” The king never said any such thing, and Abner, trusting David implicitly, comes back. And at the gate of Hebron, Joab met him, and Joab said, “Abner, may I speak to thee in private?” And they went to the side of the gate; and Joab took his sharp sword and cut him asunder! And Abner the great warrior died in his own blood; you see, for the slaughter of Asahel, the younger boy [2 Samuel 3:26-27], but also, I think, because Joab knew that in Abner he had a great personal rival, for Abner was a great soldier and a mighty warrior.
And when David found out, he lamented and wept and cried and grieved, for all the people were horrified at the murder of this great chieftain, who was the head of the army of Saul [2 Samuel 3:32-35]. And in the lamentation—this is the second one you will find—and in the lamentation, the second you will find from David, is a text that I’ve preached on many times. As the king lamented over Abner, he said, “Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel? And I am this day weak, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah be too hard for me: I cannot do anything with them: the Lord shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness” [2 Samuel 3:38-39].
And all through his entire life, David is helpless before Joab and for other reasons that we will see as time goes on. Joab is the greatest warrior you will find in the Bible and the most merciless and ruthless and cruel.
Well, in the fourth chapter, Ish-bosheth is slain by two of his own men [2 Samuel 4:4-8]. Now, the fifth chapter, there is nobody to dispute the throne of David. All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron, and there, he is anointed for the third time king over Israel. And David was thirty years old when he began to reign; and he reigned forty years; in Hebron, he reigned over Judah seven years and six months [2 Samuel 5:1-5]. And in Jerusalem—and we’ll pick up the story of Jerusalem next time, how it was won and why it was made the capital of the people—and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah [2 Samuel 5:5].
Now, just a little brief summary, for my time is gone. Anointed three times: first, by the Holy Spirit of God as Samuel poured the oil upon his head [1 Samuel 16:12-13], “Thou anointest my head with oil: my cup runneth over” [Psalm 23:5]. Anointed a second time, king over Judah [2 Samuel 2:4]; anointed a third time king over all of the house of God [2 Samuel 5:3], which is a symbol and a harbinger of the three great anointings of our Savior as Lord and King. Anointed the first time, in His baptism, as He came up out of the waters of the Jordan, behold! the heavens were opened, and the Spirit of God descended upon Him in the form of a dove, and the voice from heaven saying, “Lo, lo, this is My Son in whom I am well pleased” [Matthew 3:16-17]. Anointed by the Spirit of God, as the oil was poured over the head of David, anointed by God. His second anointing: when He returned into glory and into heaven, there in triumph, having led captivity captive and giving gifts unto men [Ephesians 4:8], anointed in heaven, the King over the New Jerusalem and the great Captain of the host of the heavenly angelic bands and saints of God, His second acclaim, and the third is yet to come, someday He shall be anointed King over all creation, when the four and twenty elders bow down before Him, the saints of the Old and the saints of the New. And when the four zōa , the living creatures, the cherubim, representing all creation, when they bow down before Him [Revelation 4:8-9]. And when the saints, by the ten thousands and the ten thousands, and the hosts of glory by the unmultiplied myriads sing the song of Moses and the Lamb: “Unto Him who loved us, and washed us, unto Him be glory and dominion, now and forever, world without end. Amen, amen” [Revelation 1:5-6]. The third great final coronation of Jesus, the Son of God, when every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that He is Lord to the glory of God, our Father [Philippians 2:10-11]; surely it is coming. Some glorious and triumphant day, we shall see our Lord crowned the third time, the Lord of all creation, heaven and earth [Revelation 1:5-6], as all Israel came and for the third time anointed David over the people of God [2 Samuel 5:3]. Oh, when that day of triumph and glory comes, shall we share in it?
O Lord, Thy blessed peace; O Lord, Thy glorious triumph; O Jesus, Savior and King, Hosanna in the highest [Matthew 9:10]: blessed is He that cometh [Matthew 21:9]. Blessed is the King of Jerusalem. Blessed is the Son of David [Matthew 21:9]. Hosanna in the highest [Matthew 21:9], the praise, and the glory, and the adoration, and the gratitude, and the thanksgiving of our lives.
Make it now, make it tonight. While we sing this song of appeal, in the balcony, somebody you, on this lower floor, a family you, as the Spirit shall say the word, shall make the appeal, would you choose our Lord your Savior and King tonight? Would you give Him your life in repentance, in faith, and in trust? Or to put your life with us in the fellowship of the church, while we sing this song and while we make this appeal, on the first note of the first stanza, coming down a stairway or into the aisle on this lower floor, make it tonight. While we stand and while we sing.
DAVID, THRICE CROWNED
Dr. W. A. Criswell
2 Samuel 1-5
I. David Anointed king by Samuel
II. David’s return to Ziklag
III. David finds out Saul and Jonathan are killed in battle
IV. David laments over Saul and Jonathan
V. David’s threefold eulogy to Saul
1. Refused the countenance of the Amalekite
2. Song of the Bow
3. Honored the men who retrieved Saul and Jonathan’s bodies and properly buried them
VI. David anointed king at Hebron by men of Judah
VII. David anointed the third time by all the men of Israel
VIII. The Lord anointed
1. By John the Baptist
2. Ascension and session
3. Third future anointing as king over all creation