David Becomes King
After the death of Saul and Jonathan, David asked the Lord: "Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?" The Lord answered him: "You shall go up." David then said: "Where shall I go?" And the Lord told him to go up to Hebron. So David took his household and all his followers and went to live in the cities of Hebron. While he was there, the men of Judah came and anointed him king over the tribe of Judah.
Now Saul had a son, whose name was Ishbosheth. Many of the tribes of Israel chose him to be king over them so that for a time the people of Israel had two kings. There was now a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. It so happened, however, that after some years two captains of the hosts of Ishbosheth went to his house in the heat of the day and found him lying in bed. They went through the house as though they were bringing wheat to him, but when they reached him they slew him in his bed. Then they cut off his head and fled with it.
They brought the head of Ishbosheth to David at Hebron and there they said to the king: "Here is the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, who is your enemy and who sought your life. The Lord has avenged you this day upon the house of Saul."
But David was not pleased with this action of the captains and said to them in an angry voice: "You are wicked men who have slain a man in his own house and upon his own bed. I shall require his blood at your hands and shall have you taken away from the earth." So David made his soldiers slay the murderers and cut off their hands and their feet and hang their bodies over a pool in Hebron. Then they took the head of Ishbosheth and buried it in a sepulchre.
All the elders of Israel now came to David at Hebron and anointed him king over all Israel. He was thirty yeas old and was king for forty years. As soon as he was anointed king he went to Jerusalem and took possession of the strong fort which was called Zion and which, ever afterwards, was called the City of David. His friend Hiram, king of Tyre, sent cedar trees and carpenters and masons and built David a beautiful house for his palace. Thus, David established himself king over Israel.
All this time the ark of God was in the house of Abinidab that was in Gibeah. The time had come for the ark to be brought to Jerusalem. David gathered all the chosen men of Israel, as many as thirty thousand, and went after the ark to bring it to his city. They put it upon a new cart and the two sons of Abinidab drew the cart.
As they brought the ark through the country, David and the people who were with him, played upon harps and trumpets and cornets and made music before the Lord. When they came to a place known as Nachon's threshing floor, one of the sons of Abimelech, named Uzzah, put out his hand to steady the ark and took hold of it, for the oxen shook it and Uzzah was afraid it would fall.
The anger of the Lord arose against Uzzah and He smote him dead by the side of the ark. When David saw what had happened he was afraid and carried the ark aside into the house of Obededom. The ark stayed in the house of Obededom for three months. While it was there the Lord blessed him and all his household. After that, David went and brought the ark into Jerusalem, and all the people of Israel shouted and played trumpets as the cart that drew the ark moved into Jerusalem.
One day as the king sat in his house, the beautiful house which Hiram, king of Tyre had built for him, and the Lord had given him victory over all his enemies, he said to Nathan the prophet: "See, now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God has no temple nor any good house wherein it shall dwell."
It was in the heart of David to build a beautiful temple that should hold the ark. Nathan told him that the Lord was with him and he would let him know what the Lord said. That very night the word of the Lord came to Nathan in a dream, and this is what the Lord told Nathan to say to David:
"Tell him that I and the ark are one and that it stands for my presence with the people of Israel and where it is, there I am. Tell him that I have not dwelt in any house since I brought the children of Israel out of Egypt but have been in a tent and a tabernacle. Tell David I took him from following sheep and made him ruler over my people and that I was with him wherever he went and gave him victory \over his enemies and made him a great name."
The Lord told Nathan also to say to David that He would appoint a place for the people of Israel to live in and would plant them there, and that they should move no more and that their enemies should afflict them no more; that David himself should not build the temple to the Lord, but that after he was dead and buried with his fathers that one who came after him would build a great temple for the Lord and establish his kingdom forever.
Nathan told all this vision to David. And King David went into his room and gave thanksgiving to the Lord, saying: "Let Thy name be magnified forever. The Lord God of Hosts is King over Israel and let the house of Thy servant David be established before Thee."
After this, David smote the Philistines and subdued them everywhere, and God gave him victory and dominion over all the land. When his enemies were subdued his heart turned to his friend, Jonathan, who had been slain in battle at the time his father was slain. One day David said: "Is there any living of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?"
There was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba. They called him to David and the king said to him: "Is thy name Ziba?" and he answered: "My lord, that is my name."
"Is there any living of the house of Saul that I may show kindness unto him?" asked David of the servant. Ziba told him that Jonathan had a son who was lame on his feet.
The son's name was Mephibosheth. When he was five years old his nurse had taken him in her arms and was fleeing from the enemies of Saul, his father. As she was fleeing the boy fell from her arms and became lame ever afterwards. This was he, of whom Ziba spoke to David.
David commanded Ziba to bring Mephibosheth to him. When he was come, he bowed his face to the ground and did reverence to the king.
"Fear not, for I will show you kindness for Jonathan, your father's sake, and will restore you the land of your father, and you shall eat at my table," said David, in great kindness to the son of Jonathan. Mephibosheth bowed very low to the king and replied: "What is your servant that you should look upon him with such kindness and treat him in this way?" But David told him how he loved his father and now he wanted to do something for Jonathan's son.
So Mephibosheth came to live in the house of David aid ate every day at his table and had servants to wait upon him and lands were restored unto him, but all his life he went lame on both his feet.