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Friday, October 17, 2014

Lesson #59 King David

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #59
Break out your maps and histories as we travel again in our time machine to examine history & geography through a Biblical worldview. It’s time for us to walk through the middle days of the Israelite monarchy; David’s reign, which is estimated to have run from 1009 BC to 969 BC.

During that reign, the next king, David’s son Solomon, is born in 994 BC.  At the time, Solomon already had many half brothers and sisters, many of whom were in early adulthood, from his father’s many wives but it is he who would be king. Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, born in 973 BC would follow Solomon as king.

Briefly, some other things going on in the world during the century between 1000-900 BC are: the beginning of the Iron Age in Greece, (there is evidence of) Pinto Indian hut construction in the Sierra Nevada and California regions, the construction of the Temple of Hera (its ruins can be seen today in Olympia Greece), and rationalism of the Chau dynasty gains prevalence over the mysticism of the Shang (Yin) dynasty in China. There are also many literary developments during this century. For example, the introduction of Greek script based on old Semitic-Phoenician characters with the addition of vowels, and the practice of using capitals only in Greek script (which prevails for the next 200 years). China’s script is fully developed by this time, and the Hebrew alphabet is becoming fully developed, growing out of earlier Semitic alphabets. In Babylonia, Urartu is being written in cuneiform. The biblical books of Judges, Ruth, Samuel, and much of Psalms were written during David’s reign, Kings, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs were written during Solomon’s. This means that by Solomon’s death almost half of what we call the Old Testament was written.

David begins his reign in 1009 BC in Hebron. From that point forward, most of Israel quickly acknowledges David as their king. However, in 1005 BC, Abner, seeking to shore up his authority, makes Saul’s son Eshbaal king and until his assassination in early 1002 BC, there is a small area around Jerusalem that acknowledges Eshbaal as king. In mid-1002 BC, David conquers Jerusalem, and while a few others later vie for his throne, for the most part, David is the undisputed king until his death in 969 BC.  David’s 34 years in Jerusalem, however, are quite eventful as recorded in 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles.  

      After David establishes his capitol in Jerusalem and defeats the Philistines, in 998 BC, he goes to war with the Ammonites. This war ends in 997 BC with the conquering of Rabbah, the capitol city of the Ammonites, about 20 miles east of the Jordan River. This was David’s last battle of conquest and expansion, although he spent most of this two year battle in Jerusalem. This is also the battle in which David has his trusted Hittite warrior Uriah murdered after having committed adultery with Uriah’s wife. Although the rest of David’s reign is relatively peaceful within the borders of his country, his personal life is filled with strife and grief until his final days

In 985 BC, David’s son Amnon rapes his half-sister Tamar which leads to Amnon’s murder by Tamar’s brother and David’s oldest son Absalom. This leads to Absalom spending 3 years in exile, and when David lets him return to the city, it is still another 2 years before he again receives him into his home. From 979 to 976 BC, David gives much of his attention to building his palace. After spending over 25 years in Jerusalem, David makes it the holy center of Israel by moving the Ark of the Covenant there in 975 BC.

In 974 BC Absalom rebels and unsuccessfully tries to take the throne and ends up paying for it with his life. David ordered that Absalom be spared if possible and grieved much at the news of the rebel’s death.  Sheba tried the same thing a year later in 973 BC and was equally unsuccessful.

In 972 BC David orders a census taken and it turns out to be one of his last big mistakes. Israel pays dearly for that mistake with a 3 day plague that kills 70,000. Interestingly enough, the nation that entered Israel 430 years earlier, in 1406 BC, is about the same size (less than 10% total population growth in over 400 years). David wanted to build a temple for God but was told by the Lord through Nathan that he could not. His son Solomon would build God’s temple, so starting in 972 BC, David ordered the collection of building materials for that purpose. A year later David made Solomon his coregent, then died two years later in 969 BC. Next month, on to Solomon’s reign.
Till then, blessings,
Pastor Portier