Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 5:10

David became greater and greater, for the Lord God of hosts was with him.
New American Standard Version

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Nave's Topical Bible - Blessing;   David;  
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Joab;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Israel;   Jebusites;   Jerusalem;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Psalms, Theology of;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Joab;   Holman Bible Dictionary - City of David;   Jerusalem;   Sabaoth;   Samuel, Books of;   Tribes of Israel, the;   Zion;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Israel;   Jerusalem;   Samuel, Books of;   Solomon;  
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Joab;   Samuel, Books of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Genesis, the Book of;   Samuel, Books of;  

The Biblical Illustrator

2 Samuel 5:10

David went on, and grew great, and the Lord God of Hosts was with him.

Greatness by gentleness

“Thy gentleness bath made me great.” So wrote David when he rehearsed the history that had culminated in his advancement to the throne of all Israel. He admits, therefore, that he was a “made” man, but not a “self-made.” man. Here in the narrative of his prosperity he confesses that it had been the Lord who established him king, who also exalted his kingdom; and then in a Psalm of devotion he ascribes all his glory to Divine grace.

I. We consider the greatness David had just reached. Six successive steps, at the least, had the eternal God taken in his behalf on the way to his advancement.

1. He caused that a full and loyal call should come from the realm over which he was now to rule as the second king (2 Samuel 5:1.)

2. The Lord trained David for the position he was to occupy by a long and intricate process Of providential discipline (2 Samuel 5:2.)

3. Moreover, God had chosen David intelligently, years before, and announced him as the man who should come after Saul (2 Samuel 5:3.)

4. Then, too, God helped on David’s greatness by providing for the stability of his government a capital and a royal abode (2 Samuel 5:7.)

5. God’s gentleness made David great in that a perpetual presence was vouchsafed to him for his entire life (2 Samuel 5:10.)

6. Then, also, God had made this monarch great by opening his intelligence so that he should understand the meaning of Divine Providence, past and future, and admit its special reach (2 Samuel 5:12.)

II. The gentleness in the Divine dealing with him from his first recognition as a shepherd-boy to this final establishment of him in the throne of Israel; is that in particular among the attributes of God which he acknowledges just now. The poet Goethe has left behind him, in his autobiography, this somewhat curious sentence as a revelation of personal fact: “I was especially troubled by a giddiness which came over me every time that I looked down from a height.” Many people, since his day and before it, have had the same characteristic disturbance; but it has more often been a height of ambition than merely a height of tower or precipice. But there is no symptom of giddiness in the quiet ascription of his gratitude: “Thy gentleness has made me great.”

1. God’s gentleness had borne with David’s want of memory.

2. Then, also, there was David’s want of faith, with which the Almighty bore in a like spirit of gentleness.

3. To this we may add that God’s gentleness is disclosed in his patiently bearing with David’s want of courage. (C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

David’s prosperity

I. What David did. “He went on.”

1. He “went on” with his appointed work. David was not alone in this. Every man has a work given him by God. David was, above all things, a servant of God, and every man may be that if he will!

2. He “went on” in the face of opposition. He was opposed by the Jebusites, and later by the Philistines. If we are in the path of duty, let us go forward! ‘Tis patient going on that wins! In school and college, in workshop and office, perseverance triumphs. Even so is it in the godly life. “He that endureth to the end shall be saved.” “To patient faith the prize is sure,” etc.

II. What David became. He “grew great.” David “grew great” in his kingly power, and honours, and victories, great in the eyes of his foes, and great in the estimation of his subjects. The large majority have to be content with mediocrity. Most natures possess a spark of wholesome ambition, but in many cases it has become smothered and buried! Many throw away splendid opportunities of becoming at any rate greater than they are. The idler, the spendthrift, the drunkard, etc. Ambition may be worthy or unworthy. He who aspires to be great in an honourable calling by honourable means, to push his way by dint of hard work to the front, is surely to be commended! Let us grow great without sacrificing our integrity, or not at all! If we may not rise on the wings of righteousness let us be content to keep on the ground! Above all, let it be our aim to grow great morally and spiritually. But moral ennoblement comes from a higher source. Tennyson’s Arthur, speaking of the Knights of the Round Table, says:--

“I made them lay their hands in mine and swear

To reverence the king as if he were

Their conscience, and their conscience as their king,

To break the heathen and uphold the Christ,

To ride abroad redressing human wrongs,

To speak no slander, no, nor listen to it,

To honour his own word as if his God’s,

To live sweet lives in purest chastity.”

Write “Christ” instead of Arthur and you have the patent of a higher nobility than earthly sovereign ever bestowed.

III. The secret of David’s prosperity. “The Lord God of Hosts was with him.” The secret of all real greatness is in having the Lord on our side. How can we secure His presence and help? How did David secure these?

1. He trusted God.

2. He acknowledged and consulted Him.

3. He obeyed God.

The same method of ensuring the Divine help is open to all. If we would go on and grow great, if we would prosper in all right ways we must begin to walk in those ways. Have we made the great commencement? He calls us now! (J. Sellicks.)


I. The tide of prosperity.

1. David as sole ruler over Israel. Every tide has a turning, and at last the ebb-tide of David’s misfortunes began to flow. Judah had for seven and a half years been subject to David’s sway, and now all Israel was anxious to array itself under his banner. The account given in our lesson is very meagre, but a fuller account in (1 Chronicles 12:23-40) will prove that the whole proceeding was full of pomp. Adding up the military escorts there mentioned, we find that they reached the grand total of three hundred and forty thousand eight hundred, For three days there was universal rejoicing and festivity. Thus with ceremonies of appropriate dignity, the former shepherd was at last recognized as sovereign over all God’s chosen people.

2. As military conqueror. Soon after his installation as king over all Israel, David began to cast wistful glances at Jerusalem. It was really the Gibraltar of Canaan. But thus far, by reason of its impregnable situation, it had defied the efforts of the Israelites to capture it, though on one occasion they had been partially successful. David therefore laid plans for its complete subjugation. Thus David gained a kingdom, a capital, and a religious centre from which to rule his people.

3. As king among nations. Prosperity at home was followed by the recognition of the sovereigns of other nations. Among them was Hiram, king of ancient Tyre. Distant rulers sought alliance with the king of Israel, and courted his favour. So he advanced, and became great. The tide of prosperity swept far up on the sands of David’s life, and the promise of happiness and usefulness was golden.

II. The cause of prosperity.

1. David recognized that it was not for his own individual sake that God had thus prospered him, but that it was “for his people Israel’s sake.” If he had stopped to think, he would have recognized that he was no more talented a man than Saul had been. Saul began well, when raised to the throne. In some respects, indeed, Saul had the advantage over David. At this time in his life David probably recognized all this, and ascribed the glory to Him to whom it belonged. Had he only always borne this in mind, he would have made fewer mistakes and committed fewer sins than he did. So long as his thought ran God-ward he was safe; but as soon as his mind began to say, “by mine own might,” he lost power and fell. These first few years of David’s reign were among the happiest of his whole life. His hardships as an exile were at an end. He no longer lay down and rose up in fear of his implacable enemy. He was no longer separated from family and friends, and driven from post to pillar like a wild beast. His heart was not tried by the apparent contradiction between God’s promise and God’s performance. The promise of the kingdom had been made good, and David felt that “all’s well that ends well.” Moreover, the people had not yet become alienated from this ruler. The enthusiasm of a united and prosperous nation, led by a wise and talented military chieftain, still pervaded all classes. The great and overwhelming temptations of royalty had not yet enfeebled the moral character of the king. Enlarged life, filled with unusual opportunities for usefulness, spread out before him, and filled him with the enthusiasm of full manhood. This was David’s “golden age.” He stood at the beginning of a career which might be almost perfect in its achievements. So stands many a young man and woman. Life stretches out before them, and is full of grand possibilities. The restraints incident to childhood and the years of tutelage are over. Powers of body and mind are in full vigour, and hope stands with face erect and confidence on its brow. Friends applaud, and predict great success in future days. Well is it for such persons to remember that God is the source of all their talents and of the conditions of their future success. (A. F. Schauffler.)

The nature of true progress

It is slow. Ewald would translate this phrase, “And David gradually became greater and greater.” It was not a sudden and unexplained outburst of prosperity, but a gradual growth. God’s greatest results are the slowest of accomplishment. Haste is a sign of feebleness, but that which is to abide must be slowly achieved. The lower forms of life quickly reach maturity, and quickly decay. Man alone spends years of helpless childhood. The building up of a kingdom and the formation of character are alike works that cannot be hurried. The setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth is a task more difficult of accomplishment than was the establishment of David’s kingdom. We must not be impatient. God has eternity in which to work. (R. C. Ford, M. A.)

Growing great

There are men who go on and grow great, among or above their fellows, while the Lord is not with them. Such growth and greatness are neither to be desired nor to be admired. Again, there are men with whom the Lord is, who do not go on, as they might go: and there are yet more of them who do not grow great by their doings, or by the Lord’s planning. Having the Lord with us, is the chief thing. Going on is the thing of next importance; that is, going on, while the Lord is with us. Growing great, is of least importance; but if a man is to grow great, let him see to it that he does not grow away from the Lord, and that he has the Lord with him in all his going and in all his growing. (H. Clay Trumbull.)

Improvement a duty

Progress and improvement are every man’s duty. It is not right to remain as we were, or as we are. We ought to be all the time gaining and growing in experience and attainment and grace. It may be to our shame that we are just where God put us, and that we have just what God gave to us. A man whose looks were spoken of contemptuously, said in rejoinder, “You’ve no right to find fault with my looks; I’m just as God made me.” “I know it, and that’s what I’m blaming you for,” said his critic; “you’ve never made any improvement on yourself.” That answer made a fair point. If God puts us at the bottom of a hill, or at the beginning of a road, it may be for us to mount or to proceed, and not to stop where we are. It was the man who retained just what his Lord gave him, and who was ready to give back that at the day of reckoning, who not only lost his possessions, but was cast out into outer darkness as an unprofitable servant. Remaining just as God made us may be the cause of our condemnation. (Great Thoughts.)

The laws of vigorous growth

Dr. Hugh Macmillan tells us that the motto on the crest of John Spreull, of Glasgow, who, for his defence of religious liberty in the times of Claverhouse, was imprisoned on the Bass Rock, in the Firth of Forth, was “Sub pondere cresco”--I grow under a weight. His crest was a palm tree, with two weights hanging on each side of it from the fronds, and yet maintaining, in spite of this heavy down-dragging force, its upright position, carrying its graceful crown of foliage up into the serene air. So the very things that threatened to hinder the growth of the early Church became helps to its progress. “The stumbling-block became the stepping-stone”; the weights became wings.

Going and growing great

David went on growing. His activities were not fruitless. There are some people who do a deal of the going, but all too little of the growing. We want both of these. There must not merely be the signs of activity, but there must really be actual improvement and development. A mill-wheel is always going, but it never gets any further forward; no blame to the mill-wheel, for it is doing its business by simply going round. A door is constantly moving on its hinges, creaking, perhaps, as well, but it makes no progress. Still, there it stands, day after day. This is all right for the door, but all wrong for you. Keep on going, but see to it that the growing is not neglected either. (Thomas Spurgeon.)

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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "2 Samuel 5:10". The Biblical Illustrator. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And David went on, and grew great,.... In honour and wealth, in fame and reputation, in subduing his enemies, obtaining conquests over them, and enlarging his dominions:

and the Lord God of hosts, of armies above and below:

was with him: to whom all his prosperity and success was owing. The Targum is,"the Word of the Lord God of hosts was for his help,'or his helper.

Copyright Statement
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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 5:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 5:10 And David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts [was] with him.

Ver. 10. And David went on, and grew great.] Heb., He went going and growing. How could he do less, who had the Lord God of hosts with him and for him? who may better say than any earthly prince, Cui adhaereo, praeest. He must needs have the better whom I take part with.

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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 5:10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Grew great in reputation and power.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 5:10". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

went on = went on and on.

the LORD God of hosts = Jehovah Elohim zebaioth. App-4. See note on 1 Samuel 1:3.

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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 5:10". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 5:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him.
went on, and grew great
Heb. went going and growing.
3:1; Job 17:9; Proverbs 4:18; Isaiah 9:7; Daniel 2:44,45; Luke 2:52
the Lord
Genesis 21:22; Psalms 46:7,11; Isaiah 8:9,10; Romans 8:31
Reciprocal: Judges 1:19 - the Lord;  2 Samuel 7:9 - And I was;  1 Chronicles 11:9 - waxed greater and greater;  2 Chronicles 17:3 - the Lord;  Haggai 2:4 - for

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 5:10". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

"Handfuls of Purpose"

For All Gleaners

"David went on, and grew great."2 Samuel 5:10.

Greatness that comes by growth is the most permanent.—The proverb says some men have greatness thrust upon them; such greatness often falls off like an incubus, being wholly out of proportion to the man to whom it is momentarily attached.—"Went on,"—step by step, little by little, sometimes patently, sometimes imperceptibly, still to the eye that could see all vital processes the progress was continual and uninterrupted, and in one definite direction.—"Grew,"—did not force himself, acted in co-operation with the laws of nature and the laws of society; grew in knowledge, grew in Wisdom of Solomon, grew in capacity.—The result of such going on and such growing was greatness: not greatness in mere bulk, but greatness in the highest qualities,—greatness in mind, thought, feeling, purpose, beneficence.—When a man grows great physically, socially, and officially, and does not keep up a corresponding growth of intelligence and sympathy, he grows towards tyranny and selfishness; but when the official and the moral keep pace, then all the greatness achieved by the growing man is so much contributed to the welfare of society.—The reason of David"s progress and growth is given, "the Lord God of hosts was with him."—It was, then, a religious greatness, and it was such greatness as God himself created and approved; God set the crown upon the head of this loftiness, and glorious was the man who was to be the king of Israel.—Glory that is not connected with the Lord God of hosts is a feeble flicker; it dies whilst it shines; it is merely superficial; it is not connected with the great fire-system of the universe.—The difference between a lighted candle and the sun at midday, is that the one is a continually decreasing quantity, going out by the very effort of shining, exhausting itself by giving itself away: but the sun in the heavens is as brilliant now as when he first shone upon the system which he rules.—The man who is religiously great has bread to eat which the world knoweth not of: he is not dependent upon circumstances for his progress and growth: he grows from the centre towards the circumference: he grows from the inward to the outward; he grows from lofty and tender spiritual conceptions towards broad and generous charities.—When God has resolved upon a man"s greatness the world cannot hinder that man going straightforward to the throne.—He may be interrupted, he may be criticised, he may be violently opposed, he may be traduced; yea, all the army of darkness may set itself in array against him, but the Lord of hosts being upon his side, his enthronement and coronation are guaranteed.—What is true of all good men is true of all good causes; they have to undergo the whole process of scrutiny, suspicion, criticism; but just in proportion as they are good will they rise above all cloud and storm, and pass through every difficulty, and establish themselves in the confidence and gratitude of society.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliographical Information
Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 5:10". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. 1885-95.