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The Hebron Years

King David rose to political power in Israel gradually, over a number of years. He was chosen by God to replace King Saul while Saul still reigned (1 Samuel 16:1), but even after Saul died, David reigned only "over the house of Judah" for the next seven years. David's throne during The Civil War years was in Hebron (a civil war in which the South defeated the North).

"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.

Map of Hebron

"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?"

"And The Lord said unto him, Go up."

"And David said, Whither shall I go up?"

"And he said, Unto Hebron."

"So David went up thither, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail Nabal's wife the Carmelite. And his men that were with him did David bring up, every man with his household: and they dwelt in the cities of Hebron. And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah" (2 Samuel 2:1-4 KJV)

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."

"So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before The Lord: and they anointed David king over Israel."

"David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah."

"And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither. Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion [see Who, What or Where Is Zion?]: the same is the City Of David."

"And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, that are hated of David's soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house. So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward" (2 Samuel 5:1-9 KJV)

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."

"Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly [see Solomon's Kingdom]." (1 Kings 2:10-12 KJV)

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?
(a) See When Israel Became "Israel" and "Judah"
(b) See The Gathering of Israel and Judah, also Spiritual and Physical Gatherings

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