Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 2:4

Then the men of Judah came and there anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, "It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Anointing;   David;   Hebron;   Israel;   Jabesh-Gilead;   Judah;   Scofield Reference Index - Kingdom;   Thompson Chain Reference - Jabesh-Gilead;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Judah, the Tribe of;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - David;   Ephraim;   Judah, tribe and kingdom;   Philistia, philistines;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Jesus Christ, Name and Titles of;   Jews, Judaism;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Anoint;   David;   Hebron;   Jabesh-Gilead;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Jeroboam;   Judah;   Sheba (1);   Holman Bible Dictionary - Absalom;   Ahinoam;   Jabesh-Gilead;   Messiah;   Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Abner;   Anointing, Anointed;   David;   Jabesh, Jabesh-Gilead;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Jabesh, Jabeshgilead ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Joab;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - David;   Hebron;   Jabesh;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Da'vid;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Anoint;   Government of the Hebrews;   Hebron;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Corpse;   Jabesh-Gilead;   King;   Samuel, Books of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Jabesh;   King;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Anointed David king - He was anointed before by Samuel, by which he acquired jus ad regnum, a right To the kingdom; by the present anointing he had jus in regno, authority Over the kingdom. The other parts of the kingdom were, as yet, attached to the family of Saul.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-2.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

David had already been anointed by Samuel 1 Samuel 16:13. His first anointing indicated God‘s secret purpose, his second the accomplishment of that purpose. (Compare the case of Saul, 1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Samuel 11:14.) David was anointed again king over Israel 2 Samuel 5:3. The interval between the anointing of the Lord Jesus as the Christ of God, and His taking to Himself His kingdom and glory, seems to be thus typified.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-samuel-2.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the men of Judah came,.... The inhabitants of the tribe of Judah came from the several parts of it to Hebron, that is, the principal of them, the elders of each city:

and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah; they did not take upon them to make him king over all Israel, but left the rest of the tribes to act for themselves; and no doubt in this they had the mind of David, who was not willing to force himself upon the people at once, but by degrees get the whole government into his hands, as Providence should make his way; these men knew the kingdom was promised to their tribe, from Genesis 49:10; and were quite clear in what they did, and, without question, knew that David had been anointed by Samuel: but as that anointing was only a declaration of the Lord's choice of him, and of his will that he should be king after Saul's death, he is again anointed by the people, as an inauguration into his office:

and they told David, saying, that the men of Jabeshgilead were they that buried Saul. It is highly probable, that as soon as David was anointed king, the first thing he thought of was to inquire after the body of the late king, and give it an honourable interment, and upon inquiry was told that the men of Jabeshgilead had buried him already. See 1 Samuel 31:11.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-2.html. 1999.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

(4) And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, That the men of Jabeshgilead were they that buried Saul.

Our Lord sprang out of Judah. Is it not worthy remark, that this should be the first of all the tribes to acknowledge David as their king? Hebron was appointed by the Lord for David's court: perhaps it might be more considerable than any other in point of bulk, as a province at that time; for it should seem that it had many cities for David's household to dwell in.

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Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/2-samuel-2.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, That the men of Jabeshgilead were they that buried Saul.

Anointed — This they did upon just grounds, because not only the kingdom was promised to that tribe, but David was designed and anointed by God, whose will both they and all Israel were obliged to obey. And they resolved not to neglect their duty, though they saw the other tribes would. Yet their modesty is observable, they make him king of Judah only, and not of all Israel. And therefore there was need of a third anointing to the kingdom over all Israel, which he had chap5:3, that first anointing; 1 Samuel 16:13, was only a designation of the person who should be king, but not an actual inauguration of him to the kingdom.

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Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-samuel-2.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 2:4 And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, [That] the men of Jabeshgilead [were they] that buried Saul.

Ver. 4. And the men of Judah came.] Together with those others that had resorted to him to Ziklag from the other tribes, who were not a few. [1 Chronicles 12:1-22] Even some of Soal’s brethren of Benjamin: besides the Cherethites and the Pelethites, his bodyguard; ever very firm, and therefore dear to him, though Philistines by nation.

And there they anointed David king.] This is now the second time that he is anointed, for his further confirmation, whereof the best have need enough. It is said of our Queen Elizabeth, that as she swam to the crown through a sea of sorrows, so she brought the ship of England from a tempestuous and troublous sea to a safe and quiet harbour. The more happy was her government, because it ensued upon the stormy times of Queen Mary; she came as a fresh spring after a sharp winter; so did David to his contribules the men of Judah, who therefore gladly received him, and crowned him, after seven years’ persecution and banishment. Sic petitur caelum. Neither yet could he get the whole kingdom, till seven years after. Our Henry IV was crowned the very same day that, the year before, he had been banished the realm. Not so David. He "waited patiently for the Lord," [Psalms 40:1] and had not the kingdom till his "soul was even as a weaned child." [Psalms 131:2]

And they told David, saying, That the men of Jabeshgilead, &c.] For ill-will haply some told him so; to exasperate David against them, as favourers of his greatest enemy: but he sent them no small thanks for so doing; yea, he sendeth a kind message to the men of Jabeshgilead, and giveth them great thank for their kindness to Saul; so far was he from proscribing them, or seeking revenge upon them, as did Sulla, Marius, Anthony, Octavius, all such as had any way favoured their enemies.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-2.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Samuel 2:4. And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king David had no other title to the succession than the appointment of God by Samuel; and this claim, on which he founded his pretensions, was universally known to the people of Israel, and the avowed reason why they advanced him to the throne. It was known to Jonathan his friend; Saul himself was no stranger to it; Abigail confesses this appointment of God; Abner was not ignorant of it, as appears by his words to Ish-bosheth; and his message to the elders of Israel, who also acknowledged it: so that David's appointment to be king by the God of Israel, who anointed him by Samuel, was the foundation of his claim, and the reason why all at last centered in him; and which justified his pretensions to, and contest for the crown, after the death of Saul: and it was a better claim than what Ish-bosheth had, who, in reality, had none at all, as the crown was never made hereditary in Saul's family, and was entirely at God's disposal, who was the supreme King and Governor of Israel. Besides, it was natural for the men of Judah to prefer one of their own family. Jacob had long since predicted the establishment of the sovereignty in the tribe of Judah. David was of that tribe, beyond all dispute elected and appointed to succeed Saul; and what had the men of Judah to do, but to concur with the predeterminations of Providence in his favour? Accordingly, they anointed him king. But whether they did this with more dispatch to influence the determination of the other tribes in his favour, or whether it was delayed until their dispositions were founded upon the point, is nowhere said. This is certain, that one tribe's acting separate and independent of the rest, might be in a general point of view of dangerous example; nor could any thing but the divine authority justify it. Houbigant, however, is of opinion, and he combats Calmet on this head, that, as the tribe of Judah well knew the designation of David to the throne, they ought not to have waited till the other tribes were assembled that they might all unanimously acknowledge David king, unless they meant to thwart what God had done; or unless David was not king, though immediately appointed by God, if all the tribes did not give their assent to the divine appointment.

REFLECTIONS.—David's army had been much reinforced, as appears 1 Chronicles 12., yet he does not immediately seize the throne, or march to compel allegiance to himself, though Israel's anointed sovereign; but,

1. Inquires of God whether it be his will that he should go up into Judah, where, as being his own tribe, he hoped to be most readily received? Note; They who wait upon God for direction, will be led in the right way to the kingdom.

2. David immediately obeys the divine direction, and takes his wives along with him, and his men of war and their households; they had been his companions in tribulation, it is but right and honourable to take them to share in his advancement. Note; They who follow Christ under the cross, shall reign with him in the day of his appearing and glory.

3. He meets with a very welcome reception. The men of Judah recognised the divine designation, and anointed him their king. Note; They who would have Christ to reign over them, must choose him for their king.

4. On inquiry, probably, after Saul's corpse and Jonathan's, for which he purposed an honourable interment, he is informed of the generous behaviour of the men of Jabesh-gilead. As a token how kindly he took this noble action of theirs, he sends them a hearty commendation, prays the Lord to bless them for their kindness, and declares that he will take occasion to requite them. Though Saul is dead, who defended them, David, who is anointed in his stead, will be their friend; therefore they need not fear any thing from the Philistines, who might resent their deed: he bids them be strong and valiant; and, as he hoped they would receive him as their king, they might depend upon his protection. Note; (1.) A kindness shewn to our friends is an obligation conferred on ourselves. (2.) It is not enough to bestow our good wishes, but we must recompense in such manner as we are able, those who have well deserved. (3.) To have those for our friends, whose fidelity to others has been tried, is a valuable acquisition.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-samuel-2.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

They anointed David king over the house of Judah: this they did upon just grounds, because not only the kingdom was promised to that tribe, Genesis 49:10, but David was designed and anointed by God, whose will both they and all Israel were obliged to observe and obey. And they piously resolved not to neglect their duty, though they saw the other tribes would. Yet their prudent caution and modesty is observable, that they make him king of Judah only, and not of all Israel. And therefore there was need of a third anointing to the kingdom over all Israel, which he had 2 Samuel 5:3. But as for that first anointing, 1 Samuel 16:13, it was only a designation of the person who should be king, but not an actual inauguration of him to the kingdom.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-2.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

4.The men of Judah came — The elders of Judah, the official representatives of that tribe.

And there they anointed David king over the house of Judah — By what particular ceremony and by whom the anointing was done we are not told. He had already been anointed by Samuel, (1 Samuel 16:13,) but that was done privately in his father’s house. We shall see in the sequel that when he became king of all Israel he was again anointed. 2 Samuel 5:3. It was an ill-advised course and a dangerous policy for David to accept the kingdom of a single tribe. It was a sanction to a usurpation of power which no single tribe had a right to exercise, and it intensified that rivalry and hostility between Judah and the other tribes which at the death of Solomon resulted in the division of the kingdom. Had it not been that David had so strong a hold upon the nation’s heart, the rupture between the tribes might have occurred long before it did.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-2.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Samuel 2:4. The men of Judah came and anointed David king — This they did on just grounds, because not only the sovereignty had been promised to that tribe, but David was designed and had been appointed by God, and at his express command anointed by Samuel to the regal office. This had long ceased to be a secret. Jonathan had known it perfectly. Saul himself had been no stranger to it; and Abner, the general of his army, was not ignorant of it, as appears by his words to Ish-bosheth, (2 Samuel 3:8-9,) and his message to the elders of Israel; and it was now universally known, at least to the men of Judah, and was the avowed reason why they advanced David to the throne. And it was reason sufficient, God’s will being obligatory upon all, and all being indispensably bound to obey it. This had been the sole foundation of Saul’s title to the kingdom, and on this ground only the Israelites had accepted him for their king. But this ground of claim Ish- bosheth, Saul’s son, had not, for he had not been appointed by God nor anointed by Samuel, or any other prophet. Indeed, properly speaking, he had no ground of claim at all, as the crown was never made hereditary in Saul’s family, but remained entirely at God’s disposal, who was the supreme king and governor of Israel, The men of Judah therefore were resolved to comply with the will and appointment of God, and not to neglect their duty, although they saw that the other tribes would neglect theirs. Yet they act with modesty; they make him king of Judah only, and not of all Israel. “Whether they did this with more despatch,” says Delaney, “to influence the determinations of the other tribes in his favour; or, whether it was delayed until their dispositions were sounded upon the point, is nowhere said. This, however, is certain, that one tribe’s acting separate and independent of the rest, was of dangerous example; nor could any thing but the divine authority justify it; and therefore it is not probable that this step was taken until all other expedients for a unanimous election had failed. And here he began the division of the kingdom, so lately predicted by Samuel;” as also, in part, the accomplishment of the prophecy delivered by Jacob, (Genesis 49:10,) that the sceptre should be settled in Judah.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-samuel-2.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Juda, without the concurrence of the other tribes, (Calmet) which would be an evil precedent in a commonwealth, unless God had authorized them by the declaration of his will. (Grotius) --- Samuel had before anointed David, and given him a right to the crown, (Worthington) jus ad regnum. But this anointing gives him a right to govern, jus in regno; (Calmet) or rather it proves, that the tribe submitted voluntarily to his dominion, which he had already (Haydock) lawfully begun to exercise, when he put the Amalecite to death. (Abulensis) (Tirinus) --- Told, perhaps by some ill-designing men, who wished to irritate David against those who had shewn an attachment to Saul, unless the king had made enquiry, thinking it his duty to bury the deceased. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-2.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

anointed David. Aged thirty years. See note on 1 Samuel 16:13.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-samuel-2.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) They anointed David.—The first private anointing of David (1 Samuel 16) had been in token of his Divine commission; this was a sign of his recognition as king by the tribe of Judah; and there was still a third subsequent anointing (2 Samuel 5:4), when he was accepted by all Israel. Comp. Saul’s anointing by Samuel privately (1 Samuel 10:1), and his subsequent double recognition as king by the people (1 Samuel 10:24; 1 Samuel 11:15). The “men of Judah” were not only of David’s tribe, but were doubtless aware of his having been divinely selected for their future king, and, for the most part, had been on friendly terms with him during his long outlawry; they had also lately received presents from him in recognition of their kindness (1 Samuel 30:26-31).

The men of Jabesh-gilead.—This town had been destroyed in the civil war against the tribe of Benjamin (Judges 21:9-12), and its 400 virgins given in marriage to the surviving Benjamites. There was therefore a special connection between Saul, who was of the tribe of Benjamin, and this city. It is altogether probable also that the remnants of Saul’s defeated army had sought refuge in Gilead.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-2.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, That the men of Jabeshgilead were they that buried Saul.
the men of Judah
11; 19:11,42; Genesis 49:8-10
anointed
7; 5:3,5,17; 1 Samuel 16:13; 1 Chronicles 11:3
the men of Jabesh-gilead
1 Samuel 31:11-13
Reciprocal: 1 Samuel 31:13 - their bones;  2 Samuel 12:8 - gave thee;  2 Samuel 21:11 - told David;  1 Kings 1:34 - Zadok;  2 Kings 11:12 - anointed him;  1 Chronicles 10:11 - when;  1 Chronicles 12:23 - the numbers;  Psalm 21:3 - preventest;  Psalm 55:20 - broken;  Psalm 75:2 - When;  Psalm 141:6 - they shall hear;  Acts 13:22 - he raised

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 2:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-2.html.