David is anointed king when he is 30 years old in Hebron and reigns for 40 years with all the elders of Israel. He will reign over a united Israel, and in a time considered the golden age of Israel. He remained popular throughout his reign. He was made king through a covenant with the elders and anointed with oil.
He was the king by the united voice of all the tribes. He was an Israelite, the leader of the army and the Lord spoke to Him.
He makes Jerusalem the stronghold of Zion, the capital of Israel, which was on the border of northern Israel and Judah but belonged to neither one. This belonged to the Jebusites, a Canaanite people. Because Jerusalem was surrounded by valleys and up on a mount, the Jebusites believed that David could not come there.
David and his warriors came in through the water system—which is a tunnel or shaft. (Describe own experience). Shaft of this time period discovered by Sir Charles Warren in 1867. It ascends from a channel fed by the spring Gihon to carry water inside the walls of the fortress. The Jebusites had been so confident of their hilltop fortress that they had boasted even the “lame and blind” could withstand invaders.
This is the first mention of Zion in scripture. It is a fortress on the lower part of the hill south of Mt. Moriah.
Jerusalem was small, about 12 acres and maybe two or three thousand inhabitants.
2 Samuel 5
10 And David went on, and grew great, and the Lord God of hosts was with him.
11 ¶ And aHiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons: and they built David an house.
(The Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon had a beneficial trading relationship with Israel, rare in this time period.)
12 And David perceived that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel’s sake.
David took wives and concubines. In Section 132, the Lord said, in this he was justified and did no wrong. Among his sons are listed Nathan and Solomon. Luke 3:31 traces Jesus’ genealogy through Nathan (not the prophet Nathan) and Matthew traces Jesus’s lineage through Solomon, a line of royal succession.
The Philistines had long tried to wedge a division and rivalry between the northern and southern kingdoms and had tried to use the rivalry between Saul and David for their political advantage. The instability of the separate states was clear. However, when all was united under David, the Philistines organized to stop him.
David countered them and controlled them much more than Saul had ever been able to do.
2 Samuel 6
The Ark of the Covenant was extraordinarily sacred to the Israelites. It was a wooden chest with a pure gold covering and contained the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, approximately 4 x 2-1/2 x 2-1/2.
“Also made of gold and completing the ark was a lid or covering (called the ‘mercy seat’) with two cherubs positioned upon it facing each other. (Ex. 25:10–22.) Within the ark were placed the second tables of stone, which included thereon the Ten Commandments. (Ex. 25:16; JST, Deut. 10:1–5.) Other sacred memorials were also stored there from time to time. (Heb. 9:4–5; 1 Kgs. 8:19.)
“The ark was placed in the most sacred compartment in the tabernacle—the Holy of Holies. It stood as a continual reminder of the atonement to be carried out by Jesus Christ. The highest ordinances of ancient Israel under the Mosaic law required the high priest of the Levites to annually enter the most holy place and symbolically effect the atonement in behalf of the priesthood, who in turn represented the people. The mercy seat as a covering for the chest symbolized the atonement itself, which is a covering of the sins of the repentant. In addition the lid was the place where God would come to direct and be with Israel. From above the mercy seat within the sacred chamber he would appear or speak to his representatives. (Ex. 25:22; Lev. 16:2; Num. 7:89) As the presence of God is veiled from mortal man, so the ark, the symbol of God’s presence was veiled when outside the tabernacle. As an emblem of God’s direction of Israel, the ark was carried at the head of the people whether in travel or war. For ancient Israel, the ark of the covenant was a significant emblem that represented the power, goodness, mercy, and direction of God unto his chosen people.” (Edward J. Brandt, “What was the ark of the covenant, and does it exist in any form today? https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/new-era/1973/05/q-and-a-questions-and-answers/what-was-the-ark-of-the-covenant-and-does-it-exist-in-any-form-today?lang=eng0
In their wilderness journey, it was kept in the portable tabernacle and served as their guide through the wilderness because it was a symbol of God’s presence among them. When they set to conquer Canaan under the leadership of Joshua, they carried the Ark with them. When the carried the Ark into the River Jordan, it split before them, with the water in a heap on either side of them while they crossed on dry ground. When the Israelites conquered Jericho, they carried the Ark and marched around the city for seven days.
After the conquest, the ark was first in Bethel and then in Shiloh during the time of Eli and it remained there until the time of Eli when the Philistines defeated Israel and took the Ark, hoping this meant that with the power of the Ark with them, they would win the next battles.
What a misjudgment this was. The Philistines took the Ark to their capital city Ashdod, and placed it in the temple of their idol god Dagon. The next day, however, the statue of Dagon had fallen to the ground. It happened again the second day. Soon after a plague of disease fell upon the Philistines that included boils and hemorrhoids, a disease that sounded in part like the plague that would be rampant in Europe many centuries later. It was enough. They moved the Ark to Gath and to Ekron, but the plague remained unabated.
In Shiloh, the High Priest, Eli died upon hearing that the Ark was gone.
After keeping the Ark for seven months, the Philistines returned the Ark to the Israelites. This sacred Ark and symbol of the Lord’s power stayed in Beit Shemesh and Kiryat Yearim for 20 years, ignored by King Saul.
David thought it was time to bring the Ark home, and so he gathered 30,000 chosen men of Israel, and they set the Ark of God on a new cart.
5 And David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on aharps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals.
This is a celebration. The once lost has been found. (Perhaps compare to the way we felt when the Nauvoo temple was rebuilt.)
Now there is a famous moment.
6 ¶ And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the aark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it.
This term of steadying the ark has come down to us to this day and is used in the Doctrine and Covenants, which reads:
“While that man, who was called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning.” (D&C 85:8.)
“The Lord had specified that the ark was always to be carried by the poles and only by duly authorized persons. The chosen representatives of all Israel were assembled as an escort, and Uzzah and his brother were given the responsibility for the cart. En route to the city, one of the oxen pulling the cart stumbled, shaking the ark. Uzzah put forth his hand to “steady the ark” and was smitten by the Lord. The ark represented God’s direction of Israel and his presence among them, which they had chosen to ignore. The disregard for the Lord’s established order brought judgment upon Israel and Uzzah.” (Brandt, ibid.)
This sounds like a large punishment, but this is what David O. McKay said of this..
What does it mean to steady the ark?
“Let us look around us and see how quickly men who attempt unauthoritatively to steady the ark die spiritually.
“Their souls become embittered, their minds distorted, their judgments faulty, and their spirits depressed. Such is the pitiable condition of men who, neglecting their own responsibilities, spend their time in finding fault with others.” https://www.thechurchnews.com/archives/1993-06-12/warning-against-steadying-ark-142325
There are always people who suppose they have better ideas for the Lord and his prophet. They may merely criticize and resist counsel or they may take it all the way to publicly question and harangue the prophets. They say, “Aren’t they just bunch of old men who are out of touch with our times? I won’t believe or trust the prophet or the Lord until all is changed to fit my own agenda.“ I can’t trust them if they don’t meet my political or social views. That is steadying the ark. It is hoping the Lord will take your advice on His children, His commandments or His universe.
Really, it Is absurd to think in any way that we are somehow called to steady the ark or correct the Lord or His prophets.
Duane Boyce and Kimberly White wrote in their soon-to-be published book The Last Safe Place:
“The Lord has been very clear that the spiritual path of safety and progress is marked by the words of his chosen leaders. He has said that “whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38), that ‘surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets’ (Amos 3:7), and that we should receive the Lord’s words to his prophets ‘as if from mine own mouth’ (D&C 21:5).
“The issue is this: How do I feel about the Lord’s prophets? Do I, or do I not, take the prophets as seriously as the Lord himself takes them?
“This is a key question because it is perfectly possible to approach Church membership in a way that doesn’t take prophets very seriously. We might be grateful for the Restoration, for what we know about eternal families, and so forth, and yet feel that the presiding Brethren don’t really receive revelation very often and wish that they had made some important decisions very differently. We might see prophets as figureheads or as political office-holders. In that case, it wouldn’t seem important to take them particularly seriously, especially when they say or do things that don’t match our view of the gospel.
“This is no time to take the issue lightly, however. Our view of prophets matters. We live in a day when, perhaps more than any other time in this dispensation, ‘gross darkness’ covers the minds of the people (D&C 112:23), the devil ‘rages’ in the hearts of men (2 Nephi 28:20), and the ‘very elect’ are in danger of being deceived (JS—Matthew 1:22). We are living in times so confusing and tumultuous that they have been foretold for millennia; our danger is real.
“In times of such confusion and difficulty, we really cannot afford to take prophets less seriously than the Lord takes them. Facing this fork in the road, we must not choose incorrectly. The Lord warned us about taking lightly the direction he provides through his servants who hold ‘the keys of the kingdom.’ Of the divine direction that comes from these servants, he said: ‘And all they who receive the oracles of God, let them beware how they hold them lest they are accounted as a light thing.’ He said that those who do this with prophetic direction will ‘stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house’ (D&C 90:2–5). “
After the incident with Uzziah, David was “afraid of the Lord that day, and said, “How shall the ark of the Lord come to me?” The Ark was taken to the house of Obed-edom for three months and David was told “The Lord hath blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God” (v. 12), so David finally brought the ark into a tabernacle that David had pitched for, the with great gladness.
David was so joyful to have the Ark again that he danced before the Lord, and his wife Michal, Saul’s daughter saw his leaping and somehow found something displeasing or inappropriate. In fact, she despised him for it, and he too, was unkind. The breach in their marriage was complete, and “Michal, the daughter of Saul, had no child until the day of her death” (v. 23).
How can it happen that we could forget the importance and meaning of sacred things?
What happened to the ark?
The ark was finally placed in Solomon’s temple, but the last mention of it is in the days of King Josiah. Then the scripture is silent. Josephus tells us that the temple that Herod built, where Jesus visited in his lifetime no longer had the ark of the covenant.
National Geographic calls the Ark of the Covenant one of history’s enduring mysteries.
“But in 597 and 586 B.C., the Babylonian Empire conquered the Israelites, and the Ark, at the time supposedly stored in the Temple in Jerusalem, vanished from history. Whether it was destroyed, captured, or hidden–nobody knows.
“One of the most famous claims about the Ark’s whereabouts is that before the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem, it had found its way to Ethiopia, where it still resides in the town of Aksum, in the St. Mary of Zion cathedral. Church authorities, however, say only one man, the guardian of the Ark, is allowed to see it, and they have never permitted it to be studied for authenticity.
“Another claim is that the Ark was hidden in a warren of passages beneath the First Temple in Jerusalem before the Babylonians destroyed it in 586 B.C. But that theory can’t be tested either, because the site is home to the Dome of the Rock shrine, sacred in Islam. Digging beneath it simply isn’t an option.” (See https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/ark-covenant#:~:text=Whether%20it%20was%20destroyed%2C%20captured,Mary%20of%20Zion%20cathedral.)
2 Samuel 7
David sat in his house and wondered: See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within acurtains.
3 And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine aheart; for the Lord is with thee.”
The Lord instructs Nathan differently. The Lord has always been with David, but he will not be allowed to build the temple.
8 I took thee from the asheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel:
9 And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth.
10 Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more;
All this is true, but the Lord will not allow David to build his temple. We learn in 1 Chronicles 28:3, “But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood.”
David acknowledges: “22 Wherefore thou art great, O Lord God: for there is none alike thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.”
Now, what happens next, breaks our hearts.
2 Samuel 11
It was at a time of year “when kings go forth to battle” that David tarried at Jerusalem.
As he is walking on the roof of his house, “he saw a woman washing herself, a woman very beautiful to look upon.”
You want to shout through the centuries to David. Don’t do it, David. Turn your head and leave this scene. You have no idea how it will undo you. In fact, why are you here tarrying in Jerusalem anyway, when you should be out in battle with everyone else? Do you think a special set of rules apply only to you? Do you believe you are invulnerable, special? How are you rationalizing this moment?
“3 And David sent and inquired after the woman.”
She is Bathsheba, wife of Uriah.
But David sent messengers and took her, and she conceived. It is hard to tell here if Bathsheba was even a willing party.
She became pregnant and now David does worse. He sets to cover the consequences of his sin. He brings Uriah back from the war under a pretense and invited him to go to his own house. Uriah, being a loyal soldier on duty would not indulge himself to go to his own house, but slept at the door of the king. In literature, we call a character who acts very differently than the main character a foil. And here Uriah is a foil for David, who is not doing his duty and is not loyal in any way.
In fact when David asked Uriah why he did not go to his own house, he answered in verse 11 of 2 Samuel 11:
“The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in atents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.”
Oh, why couldn’t David have been as true as this?
When Uriah returns to the field David writes this note of betrayal in verse 15:
“Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be asmitten, and die.”
26 ¶ And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.
2 Samuel 12
The prophet Nathan makes it clear to David what he has done by telling him a story.
“There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.
“2 The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:
“3 But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.
“4 And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.
“5 And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:
“6 And he shall restore the lamb afourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.
“7 ¶ And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man.”
The Lord sent Nathan to David as a day of reckoning. These words “Thou art the man” must have seared David’s conscience.
How could David have come to this point?
David O McKay said that “no one can transgress the laws of chastity and find peace.”
Consider our world and the sexual license.
Andrew C. Skinner and D. Kelly Ogden note: “
“It is one of the shocking and serious warnings of the Old Testament that a man may be ever so good and great and still have weaknesses that can lead to deeds that entirely overshadow and defeat his better nature and reduce his eternal potential.” Greatest tests may come at times of greatest successes.
“One can hardly imagine a more sobering, arresting condemnation than the one proclaimed by the Lord through Nathan. He reminded David of all the things the Lord had done for him, including the giving of many wives, and then declared, as though he were himself the Lord, ‘And if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight?’ (vv. 8–9). Where much is given, much is required. David was not some immature teenager lacking judgment in the heat of the moment. He was the Lord’s prophet-king! He was guilty of premeditated adultery and murder. The Lord pronounced an immediate grave consequence: he would raise up evil against the king out of his own family. In verse 12 the Lord also taught a profound lesson about David’s attempt at keeping his wickedness a secret. His private immorality would have public consequences, which is an important principle to keep in mind in our day.
“David’s sins would be responsible for ongoing hostility among his posterity; terrible family and national problems were promised by the prophet. Notice the Hebrew and Joseph Smith Translation notes on 13b.
“His repentant feelings were no doubt sincere, but he could not repent enough to restore the life of Uriah nor the virtue of Uriah’s wife. Though he later hoped and prayed that his soul would not be left forever in hell (the spirit prison), the eternal destiny of doers of such sins does not look good
“The tragedy and severity of the eternal consequences of David’s sins are magnified by statements from the Prophet Joseph Smith. On one occasion he quoted Acts 3:19–20 and commented:
“The time of redemption here had reference to the time when Christ should come [a second time]; then, and not till then, would their sins be blotted out. Why? Because they were murderers, and no murderer hath eternal life. Even David must wait for those times of refreshing, before he can come forth and his sins be blotted out. For Peter, speaking of him says, ‘David hath not yet ascended into heaven, for his sepulchre is with us to this day.’ His remains were then in the tomb. Now, we read that many bodiesof the Saints arose at Christ’s resurrection, probably all the Saints, but it seems that David did not. Why? Because he had been a murderer” (History of the Church, 4:359).
“On another occasion the Prophet stated: “A murderer, for instance, one that sheds innocent blood, cannot have forgiveness [immediately]. David sought repentance at the hand of God carefully with tears, for the murder of Uriah; but he could only get it through hell: he got a promise that his soul should not be left in hell.
“Although David was a king, he never did obtain the spirit and power of Elijah and the fullness of the Priesthood; and the Priesthood that he received, and the throne and kingdom of David is to be taken from him and given to another” (History of the Church, 6:253).
“The matter seems clear. David’s soul would not be left in hell. But, by his act of sending Uriah to his death in order to cover up his own adultery, David, a great prophet and king, forfeited the opportunity for exaltation, which is to receive the fulness of the priesthood. His eternal kingdom will be given to another. How utterly tragic.”
Verse by Verse, The Old Testament Vol. 1 & 2 by Andrew C. Skinner, D. Kelly Ogden
David has a son, who becomes sick and dies, though David implores the Lord for his life.
16 David therefore besought God for the child; and David afasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.
Later Bathsheba bears Solomon.
1 Kings 3
We have the story of another king
Solomon went to Gibeon to sacrifice there.
Solomon loved the Lord and “the Lord appeared to him in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee” (1 Kings 3:5).
7 And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a alittle child: I know not how to go out or come in.
The Lord says because Solomon did not ask for long life, or riches, or the life of his enemies, the Lord gave him discernment and wisdom.
A very familiar story.
Two harlots come before Solomon. They lived in the same house. One woman delivered a child, and on the third day, the second woman delivered a child. Only the two of them were in the house.
The second woman’s child died in the night, and she exchanged the dead child for the first woman’s living child.
Each claimed that the living child was her son.
Solomon asked for a sword and asked for the living child to be divided in half and give half to each of them. The true mother of the child, whose “bowels yearned upon her son” (1 Kings 3:26) said to give the other the living child. The second who was not the mother, said divide it.
In this way the true mother received her child back and all of Israel could see that the wisdom of God was upon Solomon.
1 Kings 8
A stunning moment as the ark is placed in the holy of holies in the temple that Solomon built. The holy things are returned to the temple, including the priests bringing up the ark on its staves, which still has the stone tablets that Moses placed in it. This symbolizes their covenant with Him.
All the congregation of Israel is assembled there, and they are sacrificing sheep and oxen.
10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord,
11 So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord.
12 ¶ Then spake Solomon, The Lord said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.
13 I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever.
22 ¶ And Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven:
23 And he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:
29 That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place.
We get a sense of the power of the temple and covenants in Solomon’s prayer. Hear this people if they sin against thee, and then turn again to thee.
If their enemies smite them..
When the heaven is shut up and there is no rain.
If the land be in famine, if there is pestilence, blasting mildew, locus or caterpillar.
39 Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)
Hear the stranger who comes, that “all the earth may know thy name” (1 Kings 8:43).
If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, and pray toward the house that I have built for thy name,
39 Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)
Hear their prayer and supplication if they return unto thee with all their heart and maintain their cause.
56 Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.
59 And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the Lord, be nigh unto the Lord our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require:
60 That all the people of the earth may knowthat the Lord is God, and that there is none else.
1 Kings 11
After all of this knowledge and supplication, Solomon also forgets. He takes wives among “strange women” who turned his heart away after other gods, and his heart was not perfect with the Lord.
He built a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, and in the hill before Jerusalem a place for Molech.
Because of this the kingdom is rent away from him. (10th century before Christ).
Jeroboam lifted up his hand against the king. He became ruler of the ten tribes and the northern part of Israel was broken off.
Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, is given one tribe in and around Jerusalem.