Jerusalem is a unique place. It is not controlled by any one tribe to stop jealousy and hurts, and it’s importance was hidden from the Gentiles, or they would have resisted even worse than they did (like they resist today). David captured Jerusalem, but it was a long fight to obtain it, and we are not talking about the battle for it by David, but all the years leading up to it. What we are going to present is a classic case of “bearing you on eagle’s wings.”
In Isa 58, the subject is Yom Kippur and the coming of the Messiah. In Isa 58.13-14 we learn that if the people honor the Sabbath and delight in the Lord, then he will give them “the heritage of your father Jacob” and this is a term you need to remember. Exo 14 tells about how Israel crossed the Red Sea, after much excitement; Exo 15 we read about the Song of Moses and the bitter waters; in Exo 16 the people murmur and complain, and God sends manna; Exo 17 tells us that the people had no water and the Lord provides it out of a rock from Sinai, and it flowed to them, then they battle the Amalekites; Exo 18 teaches us about Jethro and his advice to Moses, it also is the name for a Torah reading; Exo 19 they arrive at Sinai “on eagles wings” and Rev 12.14 is going to relay the same message of deliverance. This term does not mean “it was an easy time” or “the United States.”
In 1 Sam 18.6-9 King Saul begins to plot against David; in chapter 19 and 20 Jonathan and David make a covenant with each other; in Ch 21 David takes the consecrated bread because he was running from Saul, and fakes insanity to Achish, the Philistine king of Gath; in Ch 22 the priests are slain for helping David at Nob and David gathers his men and are outcasts; in Ch 23 David captures Keilah, Saul pursues him at Horesh and he flees to En-Gedi; in Ch 24 Saul goes into a cave to relieve himself and David is in the cave. He cuts off one of the four “tzitzit” on Saul’s robe, this is what Saul pulled off of Samuels robe.
The “tzitzit” symbolize the “authority” and David did this to illustrate the fact that Saul was having the authority as king taken from him. The tzitzit also symbolize the commandments (Num 15.39) and it means “to appear in visible form” which is an allusion to the Messiah (p 159, The Aryeh Kaplan Anthology II), and Saul is spared; in Ch 25 Samuel dies and we have the story of Nabal and Abigail.
In Ch 26 David spares Saul again; in Ch 27 David flees from the Philistines; in Ch 28 Saul goes to the witch of Endor; in Ch 29 the Philistines mistrust David as they go to war against Saul; in Ch 30 David defeats the Amalekites; in Ch 31 Saul and his sons are killed and in 2 Sam 2 David is anointed as king over Judah in Hebron, which starts a war for seven years with the other tribes.
In 2 Sam 3 Joab murders Abner, David mourns; in 2 Sam 4 Ish-Boshet, the son of Saul, is murdered; in 2 Sam 5 David is king and the Philistines attack; in 2 Sam 6 there is peril when moving the Ark; in 2 Sam 7 David is told he cannot build the Temple; in 2 Sam 8 there are more wars; in 2 Sam 9 David is kind to Jonathans son, remembering his covenant with him; in 2 Sam 10 there are more wars; in 2 Sam 11 David takes Bathsheba; in 2 Sam 12 the prophet Nathan rebukes David for Bathsheba.
In 2 Sam 13 we have the story of Amnon and Tamar. We are going to spend more time looking at this story because it is a picture of the 7000 year plan of God and very eschatological.
Amnon is the first born of David, a picture of Adam. He wants “forbidden fruit” and rapes his sister Tamar, whose name means “palm” which is a tree symbolizing the righteous (Psa 92.12). Jonadab is a friend of Amnon and a “whisperer” and helps him plot the rape. He is a type of Satan. Absalom is Amnon’s brother and his name means “father of peace” but clearly he is not. He is a picture of the false messiah.
This event sets in motion a seven year drama, and Absalom begins to plot against his brother and kills him after waiting two years; Absalom flees and is gone three years. In Ch 14 Absalom is recalled and lives two years in Jerusalem, bringing this to a total of seven years.
In Ch 15, Absalom rebels against David, overthrows the throne by deceit and is lifted up in his “beauty.” Anything that could go wrong for David happened, his own son rapes his daughter and another son kills him. David’s best friend Ahitophel betrays him because he married his granddaughter Bathseba after killing Uriah, and he never forgave David and supported Absalom. Shimei curses David as he leaves Jerusalem. He goes to Mahanaim (meaning “the two camps”) in the valley of Sukkot, the area Jacob went to in Gen 32.2,10.
In Ch 18 Absalom goes to war against David in a battle that was advised by a secret follower of David placed in the counsel of Absalom as a spy, Hushai. Absalom dies when he is caught in his pride (his hair-2 Sam 14.25-26) by Joab. There is a great slaughter of Absalom’s untrained troops against the professionally trained troops of David. David hears of Absalom’s death.
In Ch 19 David is reproved by Joab for lamenting his death. David returns and comforts his people. He then returns to Jerusalem and is restored. All of this happens within seven years, a picture of the 7000 year plan of God. Now, we have said all this to say this. God was bearing David “on eagle’s wings” to himself and he will be faithful to us from the beginning of our lives to the end, just like he did with David. It is one of the greatest lessons in spiritual warfare that we can learn.
Warfare, as we can see in the life of David, can be mean and nasty. It can wear you down to the point you think you have no worth or value, and you can’t go on. But David was used only after he went through these things, because it was after all this that God gave him the plans for the Temple, the nation, the services and the priesthood (1 Chr 28.11-19).
David begins to organize the army and was led by the Lord to do this. He had a personal bodyguard made up of three Philistine groups called the Cherethites, Pelethites and the Gittites from Gaath (2 Sam 8.18). These were professional warriors. Foreigners were used because they would not get entangled in “family squabbles” and were not Israeli if they were needed to protect David and fight. David was surrounded by foreigners who later became Jews.
Ittai the Gittite was a Philistine from Gath who commanded one-third of the army against Absalom (2 Sam 18.2), and we all have heard of Uriah the Hittite. This is a picture of the role of the non-Jews in the Messianic Kingdom. They worked directly under the king. Saul had a bodyguard of about 25, and David had as many as a 1000. It was a custom in a professional army to be rewarded with exemption from taxes.
In 1 Sam 8.14 we see the word “servants” in English, but these were the “avadim” and they were warriors. In 2 Sam 11.9-13 we learn that the mighty men (the Gibborim) stayed around David’s house. This word also means “champions” (2 Sam 23.8). The Avadim (servants) were for the royal bodyguard. Another word used in these verses in Hebrew is “mishma’at” and it means “those who obey the call to war.”
Another term to know is the “Ne’arim” and it is translated as “young men” and these were hand-picked, elite troops. David’s army will be a professional one, headed by the “gibborim” or “mighty men.” They were with David in the wilderness. They were primarily from the tribe of Judah and Benjamin. They knew that David was God’s man and anointed by him. Wherever he went, they went (2 Sam 15.19-21). Once David is established, he creates two kinds of armies. A professional army, commanded by Joab (1 Chr 11.4-7) and conscripts (drafted militia) who are only used in a time of national disaster, also called the reserves. These were commanded by Amasa (2 Sam 20.4). There was a lot of jealousy between these two armies. It leads to Joab assassinating Amasa (2 Sam 20.9-10).
In Part 13, we will pick up here and start discussing a major military headquarters in the north, on the other side of the Jordan to the east called Sukkot. This gave David two major military positions to be a defense, one in the north on the east side of the Jordan (in case of a flood), and the other in the south at Jerusalem. We will discuss the strategic advantages in warfare to having it this way, and it will relate to prophecy in the last days.