From 2 Samuel 4:1-3, 5-12; 2 Samuel 5:1-5;1 Chronicles 11:1-3; 12:23-40
“When King Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, learned that Abner had been murdered at Hebron, he was terrified. His people in Israel also were greatly confused. Two brothers, Baanah and Rechab, took over the army. They were the sons of Rimmon of Beeroth, of the tribe of Benjamin. The people of Beeroth were still counted as Benjamites at that time, even though they had run away to Gittaim to live. One day these brothers went to the palace while King Ish-bosheth was taking a nap. They pretended that they were going in for some wheat, but instead they went into the place where the king was sleeping and stabbed him. Then they cut off his head and took it with them. They travelled by night through the Jordan valley to Hebron. ‘We have brought you the head of Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son,’ they told David. ‘Saul tried to take away your life, but the Lord has given you our king, the vengeance you sought on him and his family.’ David’s answer really surprised Rechab and Baanah. ‘As surely as the Lord is alive, Who has saved me from many things, I will demand your lives for this wicked deed,’ he said.

‘Don’t you know what happened to the man who told me that Saul was dead, thinking I would reward him for saying he killed him? Don’t you realize that I will take your lives also for killing Saul’s son while he was lying on a couch in his own home?’ David commanded his young men to execute Rechab and Baanah. When they did, they cut off their hands and feet and hanged them by the pool in Hebron. Then they buried the head of Ish-bosheth in Abner’s tomb at Hebron. After all this was ended, the leaders of all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron. ‘We are your own flesh and blood,’ they said. ‘Even when Saul was king, you were the real leader of Israel, leading our armies safely to battle and home again. Didn’t the Lord say that you are the shepherd of His people, the sovereign king over Israel?’ So David made a covenant with them at Hebron and in the presence of the Lord they anointed him king over the whole nation, as Samuel had said they would. At this time David had ruled over Judah for seven years, since he was thirty years old. From that time on, he ruled another thirty-three years over all Israel in Jerusalem. He reigned a total of forty years. While all this was going on, more and more of Israel’s troops came to Hebron to pledge their allegiance to David. Here is a list of those who joined David, according to their tribes:

• Judah: 6,800 warriors, with shields and spears;
• Simeon: 7,100 powerful and courageous soldiers;
• Levites: 4,600 men;
• Priests: 3,700 of Aaron’s descendants, under the command of Zadok, a courageous young man and Jehoiada. Also with them were 22 officers from Zadok’s family;
• Benjamin (Saul’s tribe): 3,000. Most others had kept their loyalties to Saul until the end;
• Ephraim: 20,800 brave heroes, each a leader in his clan;
• Manasseh: 18,000 who had come specifically to make David king;
• Issachar: 200 leaders who understood what was going on and what Israel should do, leaders over fellow members of their tribe;
• Zebulun: 50,000 warriors, trained, armed, and united behind David with great skill in using their weapons;
• Naphtali: 1,000 leaders with 37,000 trained men with shields and spears;
• Dan: 28,600 men prepared for battle;
• Asher: 40,000 men trained for battle;
• Reuben, Gad, and the people of Manasseh across the Jordan River: 120,000 men equipped with various weapons of war.

These men had all come to Hebron especially to recognize David as their king. By this time the entire land had shifted its loyalty to David. When David was finally anointed king, there was a great feast for three days. Food had been brought by donkeys, camels, mules and oxen from as far away as Issachar, Zebulun and Naphtali. There was food in abundance, including flour, fig cakes and clusters of raisins, wine, oil, herds and flocks of sheep. It was a time of celebration and gladness throughout the land.”


When Abner joined David and was later killed, the supporters of Saul’s son Ish-bosheth became alarmed. David was becoming too strong! So two men of Israel murdered Ish-bosheth, hoping David would reward them. How wrong they were! How David responded to this wicked act helps us see why God chose David to lead His people. For seven years David ruled over Judah from his royal capital in Hebron. These early years were an important period of growth for the new king. Support for his rule grew as Ish-bosheth’s power declined in the north. David selected Hebron as the administrative centre of his new kingdom for several reasons. Its central location made the city a more logical place for David’s throne than Bethlehem, his hometown, or Beersheba. The first lay too far north and the second were isolated in the south. At the turn of the tenth century B.C. Hebron was also the largest city in Judah and the most easily defended against attack. It lay in a valley protected on two sides by mountain ranges and enjoyed a plentiful supply of water. Hebron’s position at the centre of a network of trade routes was another important reason for David’s choice.

To the east the city was connected with En-gedi and to the south with Arad. A third road ran southwest to Beersheba, while a fourth ran north to Bethlehem. Active trade on these routes helped fill the royal treasury with taxes levied on imported goods. David’s capital city also enjoyed the advantages of rich soil and a sunny climate. Grapes and grain thrived in the fields and flocks of sheep and goats grazed on its pastures. In addition to these military and economic reasons, David was attracted to Hebron by its association with his ancestor Abraham. The patriarch and his wife were buried in the Cave of Machpelah, outside the city limits. Abraham’s resting place seemed a fitting place for the new king to establish his throne. David’s kingdom was the fulfilment of God’s promise to give the land of Canaan to Abraham’s descendants. Even after David moved his capital to Jerusalem, Hebron kept much of its honour as the original royal city. In later years David’s relationship with Hebron was damaged by its role in Absalom’s rebellion; it supported the young prince’s attempt to overthrow his father’s throne. But in spite of this, Hebron always remained a special city in David’s kingdom.


1.) What was Baanah’s and Rechab’s relationship to each other?
            A) They were cousins
            B) They were strangers
            C) They were brothers
            D) They were brothers-in-law

2.) What was brought to David as a proof as Ish-bosheth’s death?
            A) Ish-bosheth’s sword
            B) Ish-bosheth’s crown and bracelet
            C) Ish-bosheth’s head
            D) Nothing

3.) How did David reward Baanah and Rechab?
            A) He gave them each a hundred shekels of silver
            B) He gave them each a wife
            C) He gave them land in Philistia
            D) He killed them

4.) How long did David rule over Judah before being declared king over the rest of Israel?
            A) Ten years
            B) Thirty years
            C) Seven years
            D) Forty years

5.) How long was David’s total reign?
            A) Seven years
            B) Ten years
            C) Forty years
            D) Thirty years

6.) How long did David’s coronation feast last?
            A) One week
            B) Three days
            C) One month
            D) One day

7.) Which patriarchal landmark stands near Hebron?
            A) The stairway to heaven
            B) The cave of Machpelah
            C) The rock of Jacob
            D) The well of Abraham
            E) All of these are correct

8.) What happened to damage Hebron’s relationship with David?
            A) They stopped paying their taxes
            B) They kicked David out after seven years
            C) They supported Absalom’s rebellion
            D) David burned the city to the ground