Davidís desire was to establish a right and good government in Israel. However, even before he began to rule, the greedy attitudes of some of his men could have prevented it. The author of 1 Samuel does not hesitate to accuse those men. He calls them evil men who only wanted to cause trouble.
These men were among the 600 men who had remained loyal to David through all his troubles. They had fought bravely with him and for him. They should have been heroes, not men who caused trouble for David.
Something had happened that changed their relationship with David. Until now, all Davidís men had been poor. They joined David because they had debts or other troubles (22:2). They gained some possessions during their time in Philistia (27:9), but they were still not wealthy. Then the battle against the robbers from Amalek changed their situation. They could all see that they had taken a vast amount of wealth.
So Davidís men began to argue about who deserved that wealth. 200 of his men had been too tired to fight in that battle. Some of the other men argued that those 200 men deserved nothing. They would be even richer if those 200 men remained poor. They offered them nothing except the return of their own wives and children. They had suddenly become so greedy that even that arrangement probably seemed generous to them.
If those men had achieved their desire, it would have ruined Davidís hopes of a good government in Israel. They were trying to establish a situation where a few rich and greedy people had all the power. There are many countries like that, and under Saulís rule, Israel was like that too. However, David had other plans for Israel. He wanted to establish Israel as the country that God ruled. So he would not allow the people to deal with each other in a cruel and greedy manner.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.