Sons Were Born to David in Hebron

Second Samuel 3:2-5 and First Chronicles 3:1-4a

David had gone to Hebron with two wives, and while there, he had taken five more (Michal was returned to him at Hebron but she bore him no children), each of the other six, however, bore him one son. These were the sons born to David in Hebron.

1010 BC to 1003 BC

David was on his way to power in the northern kingdom of Isra’el, just as he was in the southern kingdom of Judah. As he came into the Kingdom that had long been promised to him, it is important to understand how it came about. David did not seize the Kingdom; it was a gift from YHVH. When David finally arrived, he was innocent and faultless.

The narrator pauses to provide a reflective comment and to summarize some important information from David’s seven years in Hebron. It is important to understand that David did not immediately or easily succeed Sha’ul. There was a rather long conflict, during which it was not really clear who would win. The open-ended struggle for power, however, did not preclude hints along the way about the outcome. David’s eventual succession to power had already been acknowledged by Y’honatan (1 Samuel 23:27), Sha’ul (1 Samuel 24:20), Abigail (1 Samuel 25:28), and Sha’ul again (1 Samuel 26:25). ADONAI’s desire for David to be king of all Isra’el might be delayed, but could not be defeated. David grew stronger and stronger, while Ish-Bosheth grew weaker and weaker (2 Samuel 3:1).223

Already during David’s reign at Hebron the state archives contained records of those who might qualify as heirs to his throne. His firstborn was Amnon the son of Ahinoam of Jezreel (Second Samuel 3:2; First Chronicles 3:1a); later he would rape his half-sister and be murdered by his half-brother Absalom (see Dj – Absalom Kills Amnon).

His second son was Kileab (Second Samuel 3:3a), who in First Chronicles is called Dani’el (it is commonly accepted that one is the corruption of the other), the son of Abigail the widow of Babal of Carmel (1 Chron 3:1b). Nothing more is said about him, and he disappeared from the scene.

The third was Absalom the son of Maakah daughter of Talmai, the Gentile king of Geshur on the east side of the Sea of Galilee in what today is called the Golan Heights (Second Samuel 3:3b; First Chronicles 3:2a). This marriage with a foreign princess may have been prompted by political motives, perhaps the desire to secure an ally in the neighborhood of Ish-Bosheth’s capital. Absalom would kill his half-brother Amnon, and revolt against his father David (see Do – Absalom’s Conspiracy).

The fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith (First Chronicles 3:2b); he will later try to usurp the throne from Solomon (see Em – Adoniyah Sets Himself Up as King), and will be executed by Solomon (First Kings 2:25).

The fifth Shephatiah the son of Abital (Second Samuel 3:4; First Chronicles 3:3a); nothing more is known about him.

And the sixth, Ithream the son of David’s wife Eglah (First Chronicles 3:3b). Nothing is known of him, but the rabbis teach that Eglah was the same as Michal.

Six sons were born to David in Hebron, where he reigned seven years and six months (2 Sam 3:5; 1 Chronicles 3:4). David was ensuring that, even at this early stage, he would have a son to succeed him as king, and his household of seven wives was a sign of prestige.224

For obvious reasons, Solomon’s name is not present. Solomon is born late, not while David was at Hebron. Solomon was a later player in the struggle for power, but he will be the winner. In the meantime we may only note that David functioned like a powerful chieftain with many wives, a hint of a royal harem (and problems) to come.225 After relocating his capital to Jerusalem, David took even more wives and concubines and had thirteen (yes, I said thirteen) more named sons born to him (see Cp – Children Born to David in Yerushalayim). And you thought Jacob had problems!

It seems David had a lust problem and he was either ignoring or rationalizing God’s Word: The king must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray (Deuteronomy 17:17a). It started in First Samuel 25, where we saw David’s desire to kill a man (Nabal) and later marry his wife (Abigail). Now David was taking more wives. David’s sin with Bathsheba would merely be the climax of something that had gone on in his life for about 30 years. His passionate nature had great potential for both good and evil. These marriages at Hebron were merely a foreshadowing of things to come.


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