Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 5

Philistia’s army tries to catch David

2 Samuel 5:17

During his long rule, King Saul constantly fought battles against Philistia’s army (1 Samuel 14:52). He won many of those battles, but he was unable to defeat Philistia properly. So, the war continued through his whole life, and he died in a battle against Philistia.

It would be very different for King David. God gave David complete success against all his enemies, including against Philistia (8:1).

David did not start the war against Philistia. Before he became king, he and his men lived peacefully in Philistia (1 Samuel chapter 27). He even offered to fight in Philistia’s army (1 Samuel chapter 29).

So, it was Philistia’s leaders and its army who chose to fight against David. They heard that he had become king over all Israel. They wanted to control Israel for their own benefit, as they had done previously (1 Samuel 13:16-21). They did not want Israel to have a strong king who could defeat them. They were aware of David’s success in war (1 Samuel 29:5); perhaps they, like Abner, knew about the promises that God had made to David (3:18).

So, Philistia’s leaders gathered a great army. Their plan was not to attack Israel on this occasion, but simply to find David. David was the king whom God had chosen to lead Israel. Even Philistia’s army could see that Israel’s success depended upon the safety of David himself.

Next part: How David fought battles (2 Samuel 5:18-19)


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