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The Hebron Years
by Wayne Blank
"seven years reigned he in Hebron"
After years spent on the run from Saul (see David's Haunting), upon Saul's death in battle against the Philistines David asked The Lord if he could become more settled. The Lord answered that he could, and that Hebron was where he was to go. While there, men of Judah came and declared him to be their king. The civil war between Judah and the rest of the tribes of Israel, who made Saul's son Ish-bosheth their king, then began.
"And it came to pass after this, that David inquired of The Lord, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?"
With David's victory came political unification of all of the tribes of Israel. They became one nation under God again, a unity that lasted until the time of David's grandson Rehoboam when they split into two kingdoms, north and south, Israel and Judah, a division that again awaits healing (see the Fact Finder question below).
"Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and The Lord said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel."
David was succeeded by his son Solomon.
"So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David. And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem."
Fact Finder: (a) How did Israel become "Israel" and "Judah" - two independent kingdoms? (b) At what future time will Israel and Judah again be united?