the story of the Early Kingdom (ca. 1030 BC)

Found in: 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles and Psalms

The strength of the Philistines made the Israelites implore God for a king of their own. The last judge Samuel became God's prophet, or spokesperson (like Moses had been). As prophet he relayed to the people that God did not approve of the idea of a king since people tended to worship kings as gods. But the people insisted, so God allowed it with the warning that the king would need to listen to the prophets who relayed God’s will.

The first king was Saul. One day Samuel instructed Saul to fully carry out the curse of destruction on the Amalekites, but Saul spared their king and kept some of the loot. Samuel told Saul that because of this he had lost God’s favor and would lose his kingdom. At this news, Saul began losing his mind. To calm his nerves, he called on the young musician David, a shepherd boy who had actually been the one  secretly anointed to be the next king! 

One day the largest Philistine, Goliath, challenged any Israelite to fight him to decide which nation would serve the other. In zeal for God, David took up the challenge and beat Goliath with a rock to the forehead, finishing off the job with Goliath’s own sword. David grew stronger and more popular, turning Saul’s fondness into a mad jealousy. Saul persecuted David and tried to kill him. David fled to the caves, where he composed Psalms conveying his trust in God in these troubled times. He even had a couple of chances to kill Saul, but refused to do so out of respect for him. Then David resorted to taking refuge amongst the Philistines! And without David to lead them, the Israelites were easily defeated. Saul and his sons (including David’s best friend Jonathan) were killed. David mourned them deeply. Many of Saul's followers were moved by this, and all of Israel rallied behind David. He destroyed the Philistines and took Jerusalem (aka Zion) as their capitol, now the city of David. Because of his trust in God, the next prophet, Nathan, relayed that God would rule the people Israel forever in David’s line. 

Then it was time for David’s biggest sin. One day he fell for Bathsheeba, the wife of one of his soldiers Uriah. He selfishly arranged for Uriah to be put on the front lines where he was killed in battle. When Nathan rebuked him for this, instead of trying to justify himself (as Saul did before) he declared Yahweh as his God and simply repented of his sin. Nathan informed David that God forgave him, but the baby they conceived would die as a punishment. 

In the end, David was seen as the greatest king of Israel, combining might, popularity and humility. Every king thereafter would be compared to him. With their land secure, their mighty king on the throne, and a capitol for the ark, it was Israel’s finest hour... for now.



Just as it was God’s prerogative to save humanity through one nation, so it was for his will to be relayed to them  through his prophets.

When David is told that God will henceforth rule his people through him, it is the last in a line of covenants between God and the people before a new and everlasting covenant would be established through Christ. Here is a recap of the old covenants:

- The first is with Noah, a covenant between God and all of creation, after the flood.
- The next is with Abraham, whose family becomes God's chosen people. The people will then be named after one of his descendants, Jacob (Israel).
- The next covenant is with Moses. Israel is formed as a nation through their exodus out of Egypt into their own land of Canaan.
- Finally, secured in the land, God makes his final old covenant through King David, in whose line God will rule his people as a light to other nations.

Review questions:

Why did God tell the people that having a king was not a good idea?

What was the difference between Saul and David's response when rebuked by God's prophet?

With whom was the last covenant in the Old Testament made between God and his people?

The only thing that budges waiting on a judge is 
another piece of land. We need a better plan. 
How about a king? Yeah.
People, if I do, you only give your loyalty to royalty 
that rightfully belongs to me.
Not a good thing! Yeah!

Judge and prophet, Samuel, go tell all of Israel 
I’ll give you what you want, I’ll give you Saul, 
but you’re not out of the woods, yeah.
It started off okay but then his will got in the way
and when I told him wipe away the enemy
he spared the king and his goods, yeah. Yeah. But

There’s a city in Zion 
where the chosen can pray, yeah
And if it’s me you rely on, 
you could have it today, yeah.

I took away the favor that I gave to Saul and later 
told the prophet Nathan find the shepherd boy 
that does the whole harp and dance. Yeah.
David slew Goliath and the king could not deny it,
but he started getting jealous of the boy 
and wouldn’t give him a chance. Yeah.
David loved the king, 
but then the king went after Dave
and so he hid up in a cave, 
and then he wrote some of the psalms that we sing. Yeah.
Saul died in a battle and David got rattled, 
but he got back in the saddle, 
Took Jerusalem, and long live the king, yeah! Yeah!

Now there's a city in Zion 
where the chosen can pray, yeah.
And if it’s me you rely on, 
you could have it today, yeah.

In the city of Zion even Dave lost his way, yeah.
Took the wife of Uriah, and baby he paid, yeah.

But there's a city in Zion 
where the chosen can pray, yeah.
And if it’s me you rely on, 
you could keep it today, yeah.

Yes, there's a city in Zion 
where the chosen can pray, yeah!
And if it’s me you rely on, 
you could keep it today, yeah!
You could keep it today yeah, yeah!
You could keep it today yeah!
And it’s still there today yeah, yeah!
Everything was okay, yeah, 
For a while, anyway!