2 Samuel 5:10

And David went on, and grew great, and the Lord God of hosts was with him. The growing greatness of David was owing to the presence and favour of God, and was accompanied with them. It was, then -

I. GREATNESS WELL-DERIVED. All greatness is in some sense from God; but all does not spring from his favour. "Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction" (Psalm 73:18). He that becomes "a great man" through unjust violence, the oppression and swallowing up of the weak, low cunning, unscrupulous ambition, insatiable avarice, or an absorbing activity of mind and bevy which excludes God from thought and life, cannot rightly attribute his success to the blessing of God. Such greatness is disastrous, and carries a curse with it. It is reached by serving Satan, and accompanied with slavery to him and participation of his doom. He was not altogether lying when he said (Luke 4:6, 7) that the power and glory of the world were given by him to those who would worship him. The world abounds in instances of greatness so won. But the greatness which is a gift of God's favour is reached by paths of truth and uprightness and piety; by the strenuous employment of all the powers, indeed, but in harmony with the Divine will; not so much, therefore, with the purpose to grow great as to be of service to others. It is rather accepted as a gift of God than sought; and is accepted "with fear and trembling," lest the strong temptations which accompany all worldly greatness should become victorious. Such greatness is accompanied with a good conscience, and may be without serious peril to the soul. It may foster principles of godliness and benevolence. It qualifies for high service of others, and, so employed, enlarges the heart and elevates instead of degrading the character. It thus ministers to the truest greatness - that which is spiritual and eternal.

II. GREATNESS WELL-ACCOMPANIED. Some, the greater they grow the less of God they enjoy; they gradually forsake him, and he at length abandons them. But there are those of whom it may be said, as they grow great in this world, still "the Lord God of hosts is with them."

1. How the great may secure this blessing. By:

(1) Humility (Deuteronomy 8:13, 14; Psalm 138:6; James 4:6).

(2) Devotion of their enlarged powers to the service of God and of man.

(3) Constant prayer. On the other hand, pride, selfishness, and prayerlessness will separate them from God.

2. The benefits they will derive from it.

(1) The highest and purest enjoyment to which worldly honours and resources can minister.

(2) Preservation from the perils of their position.

(3) The power to gain the best kind of good. from it.

(4) And to do the most good by it.

(5) Greatness thus accompanied is likely to be lasting.

Finally, spiritual greatness combines in a pre-eminent degree the two excellences of being God derived and God accompanied. It springs from the favour of God, and secures its constant enjoyment. It consists in abundance of spiritual wisdom, holiness, and love, and consequent power for good; in the honour which these bring from God, and in the confidence, affection, and respect with which they inspire men. It has the advantage of being accessible to all, its conditions being, first, faith in Christ and God; and then the fruits of faith, such as love, humility (Matthew 18:4), obedience to God (Matthew 5:19), self-control (Proverbs 16:32), self-denying service (Matthew 20:20-28). Such greatness is intrinsic and essential. It is best for ourselves and best for others. It is inseparable from the man himself, and, surviving all worldly distinctions, goes with him into eternity, and abides forever (see 1 John 2:17). - G.W.

David went on, and grew great, and the Lord God of Hosts was with him.
"Thy gentleness bath made me great." So wrote David when he rehearsed the history that had culminated in his advancement to the throne of all Israel. He admits, therefore, that he was a "made" man, but not a "self-made." man. Here in the narrative of his prosperity he confesses that it had been the Lord who established him king, who also exalted his kingdom; and then in a Psalm of devotion he ascribes all his glory to Divine grace.

I. WE CONSIDER THE GREATNESS DAVID HAD JUST REACHED. Six successive steps, at the least, had the eternal God taken in his behalf on the way to his advancement.

1. He caused that a full and loyal call should come from the realm over which he was now to rule as the second king (ver. 1.)

2. The Lord trained David for the position he was to occupy by a long and intricate process Of providential discipline (ver. 2.)

3. Moreover, God had chosen David intelligently, years before, and announced him as the man who should come after Saul (ver. 3.)

4. Then, too, God helped on David's greatness by providing for the stability of his government a capital and a royal abode (ver. 7.)

5. God's gentleness made David great in that a perpetual presence was vouchsafed to him for his entire life (ver. 10.)

6. Then, also, God had made this monarch great by opening his intelligence so that he should understand the meaning of Divine Providence, past and future, and admit its special reach (ver. 12.)

II. THE GENTLENESS IN THE DIVINE DEALING WITH HIM from his first recognition as a shepherd-boy to this final establishment of him in the throne of Israel; is that in particular among the attributes of God which he acknowledges just now. The poet Goethe has left behind him, in his autobiography, this somewhat curious sentence as a revelation of personal fact: "I was especially troubled by a giddiness which came over me every time that I looked down from a height." Many people, since his day and before it, have had the same characteristic disturbance; but it has more often been a height of ambition than merely a height of tower or precipice. But there is no symptom of giddiness in the quiet ascription of his gratitude: "Thy gentleness has made me great."

1. God's gentleness had borne with David's want of memory.

2. Then, also, there was David's want of faith, with which the Almighty bore in a like spirit of gentleness.

3. To this we may add that God's gentleness is disclosed in his patiently bearing with David's want of courage.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

I. WHAT DAVID DID. "He went on."

1. He "went on" with his appointed work. David was not alone in this. Every man has a work given him by God. David was, above all things, a servant of God, and every man may be that if he will!

2. He "went on" in the face of opposition. He was opposed by the Jebusites, and later by the Philistines. If we are in the path of duty, let us go forward! 'Tis patient going on that wins! In school and college, in workshop and office, perseverance triumphs. Even so is it in the godly life. "He that endureth to the end shall be saved." "To patient faith the prize is sure," etc.

II. WHAT DAVID BECAME. He "grew great." David "grew great" in his kingly power, and honours, and victories, great in the eyes of his foes, and great in the estimation of his subjects. The large majority have to be content with mediocrity. Most natures possess a spark of wholesome ambition, but in many cases it has become smothered and buried! Many throw away splendid opportunities of becoming at any rate greater than they are. The idler, the spendthrift, the drunkard, etc. Ambition may be worthy or unworthy. He who aspires to be great in an honourable calling by honourable means, to push his way by dint of hard work to the front, is surely to be commended! Let us grow great without sacrificing our integrity, or not at all! If we may not rise on the wings of righteousness let us be content to keep on the ground! Above all, let it be our aim to grow great morally and spiritually. But moral ennoblement comes from a higher source. Tennyson's Arthur, speaking of the Knights of the Round Table, says: —

"I made them lay their hands in mine and swear

To reverence the king as if he were

Their conscience, and their conscience as their king,

To break the heathen and uphold the Christ,

To ride abroad redressing human wrongs,

To speak no slander, no, nor listen to it,

To honour his own word as if his God's,

To live sweet lives in purest chastity."Write "Christ" instead of Arthur and you have the patent of a higher nobility than earthly sovereign ever bestowed.

III. THE SECRET OF DAVID'S PROSPERITY. "The Lord God of Hosts was with him." The secret of all real greatness is in having the Lord on our side. How can we secure His presence and help? How did David secure these?

1. He trusted God.

2. He acknowledged and consulted Him.

3. He obeyed God.The same method of ensuring the Divine help is open to all. If we would go on and grow great, if we would prosper in all right ways we must begin to walk in those ways. Have we made the great commencement? He calls us now!

(J. Sellicks.)


1. David as sole ruler over Israel. Every tide has a turning, and at last the ebb-tide of David's misfortunes began to flow. Judah had for seven and a half years been subject to David's sway, and now all Israel was anxious to array itself under his banner. The account given in our lesson is very meagre, but a fuller account in (1 Chronicles 12:23-40) will prove that the whole proceeding was full of pomp. Adding up the military escorts there mentioned, we find that they reached the grand total of three hundred and forty thousand eight hundred, For three days there was universal rejoicing and festivity. Thus with ceremonies of appropriate dignity, the former shepherd was at last recognized as sovereign over all God's chosen people.

2. As military conqueror. Soon after his installation as king over all Israel, David began to cast wistful glances at Jerusalem. It was really the Gibraltar of Canaan. But thus far, by reason of its impregnable situation, it had defied the efforts of the Israelites to capture it, though on one occasion they had been partially successful. David therefore laid plans for its complete subjugation. Thus David gained a kingdom, a capital, and a religious centre from which to rule his people.

3. As king among nations. Prosperity at home was followed by the recognition of the sovereigns of other nations. Among them was Hiram, king of ancient Tyre. Distant rulers sought alliance with the king of Israel, and courted his favour. So he advanced, and became great. The tide of prosperity swept far up on the sands of David's life, and the promise of happiness and usefulness was golden.


1. David recognized that it was not for his own individual sake that God had thus prospered him, but that it was "for his people Israel's sake." If he had stopped to think, he would have recognized that he was no more talented a man than Saul had been. Saul began well, when raised to the throne. In some respects, indeed, Saul had the advantage over David. At this time in his life David probably recognized all this, and ascribed the glory to Him to whom it belonged. Had he only always borne this in mind, he would have made fewer mistakes and committed fewer sins than he did. So long as his thought ran God-ward he was safe; but as soon as his mind began to say, "by mine own might," he lost power and fell. These first few years of David's reign were among the happiest of his whole life. His hardships as an exile were at an end. He no longer lay down and rose up in fear of his implacable enemy. He was no longer separated from family and friends, and driven from post to pillar like a wild beast. His heart was not tried by the apparent contradiction between God's promise and God's performance. The promise of the kingdom had been made good, and David felt that "all's well that ends well." Moreover, the people had not yet become alienated from this ruler. The enthusiasm of a united and prosperous nation, led by a wise and talented military chieftain, still pervaded all classes. The great and overwhelming temptations of royalty had not yet enfeebled the moral character of the king. Enlarged life, filled with unusual opportunities for usefulness, spread out before him, and filled him with the enthusiasm of full manhood. This was David's "golden age." He stood at the beginning of a career which might be almost perfect in its achievements. So stands many a young man and woman. Life stretches out before them, and is full of grand possibilities. The restraints incident to childhood and the years of tutelage are over. Powers of body and mind are in full vigour, and hope stands with face erect and confidence on its brow. Friends applaud, and predict great success in future days. Well is it for such persons to remember that God is the source of all their talents and of the conditions of their future success.

(A. F. Schauffler.)

It is slow. Ewald would translate this phrase, "And David gradually became greater and greater." It was not a sudden and unexplained outburst of prosperity, but a gradual growth. God's greatest results are the slowest of accomplishment. Haste is a sign of feebleness, but that which is to abide must be slowly achieved. The lower forms of life quickly reach maturity, and quickly decay. Man alone spends years of helpless childhood. The building up of a kingdom and the formation of character are alike works that cannot be hurried. The setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth is a task more difficult of accomplishment than was the establishment of David's kingdom. We must not be impatient. God has eternity in which to work.

(R. C. Ford, M. A.)

There are men who go on and grow great, among or above their fellows, while the Lord is not with them. Such growth and greatness are neither to be desired nor to be admired. Again, there are men with whom the Lord is, who do not go on, as they might go: and there are yet more of them who do not grow great by their doings, or by the Lord's planning. Having the Lord with us, is the chief thing. Going on is the thing of next importance; that is, going on, while the Lord is with us. Growing great, is of least importance; but if a man is to grow great, let him see to it that he does not grow away from the Lord, and that he has the Lord with him in all his going and in all his growing.

(H. Clay Trumbull.)

Great Thoughts.
Progress and improvement are every man's duty. It is not right to remain as we were, or as we are. We ought to be all the time gaining and growing in experience and attainment and grace. It may be to our shame that we are just where God put us, and that we have just what God gave to us. A man whose looks were spoken of contemptuously, said in rejoinder, "You've no right to find fault with my looks; I'm just as God made me." "I know it, and that's what I'm blaming you for," said his critic; "you've never made any improvement on yourself." That answer made a fair point. If God puts us at the bottom of a hill, or at the beginning of a road, it may be for us to mount or to proceed, and not to stop where we are. It. was the man who retained just what his Lord gave him, and who was ready to give back that at the day of reckoning, who not only lost his possessions, but was cast out into outer darkness as an unprofitable servant. Remaining just as God made us may be the cause of our condemnation.

(Great Thoughts.)

Dr. Hugh Macmillan tells us that the motto on the crest of John Spreull, of Glasgow, who, for his defence of religious liberty in the times of Claverhouse, was imprisoned on the Bass Rock, in the Firth of Forth, was "Sub pondere cresco" — I grow under a weight. His crest was a palm tree, with two weights hanging on each side of it from the fronds, and yet maintaining, in spite of this heavy down-dragging force, its upright position, carrying its graceful crown of foliage up into the serene air. So the very things that threatened to hinder the growth of the early Church became helps to its progress. "The stumbling-block became the stepping-stone"; the weights became wings.

David went on growing. His activities were not fruitless. There are some people who do a deal of the going, but all too little of the growing. We want both of these. There must not merely be the signs of activity, but there must really be actual improvement and development. A mill-wheel is always going, but it never gets any further forward; no blame to the mill-wheel, for it is doing its business by simply going round. A door is constantly moving on its hinges, creaking, perhaps, as well, but it makes no progress. Still, there it stands, day after day. This is all right for the door, but all wrong for you. Keep on going, but see to it that the growing is not neglected either.

(Thomas Spurgeon.)

David, Eliada, Eliphalet, Eliphelet, Elishama, Elishua, Gibeon, Hiram, Ibhar, Japhia, Jebusites, Nathan, Nepheg, Saul, Shammua, Shammuah, Shobab, Solomon
Baal-perazim, Geba, Gezer, Hebron, Jerusalem, Millo, Tyre, Valley of Rephaim, Zion
Almighty, Armies, Becoming, Continually, David, Greater, Grew, Hosts, Waxed
1. The tribes come to Hebron and anoint David over Israel,
4. David's age
6. Taking Zion from the Jebusites, he dwells in it
11. Hiram sends to David,
13. Eleven sons are born to him in Jerusalem
17. David, directed by God, smites the Philistines at Baal-perazim
22. And again at the mulberry trees

Dictionary of Bible Themes
2 Samuel 5:10

     5457   power, human

2 Samuel 5:3-10

     5087   David, reign of

2 Samuel 5:4-10

     7240   Jerusalem, history

2 Samuel 5:6-10

     5088   David, character
     7236   Israel, united kingdom

2 Samuel 5:6-11

     5437   palaces

2 Samuel 5:9-12

     5849   exaltation

One Fold and one Shepherd
'Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. 2. 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. 3. 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. 4. David was
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Sound in the Mulberry Trees
My brethren, let us learn from David to take no steps without God. The last time you moved, or went into another business, or changed your situation in life, you asked God's help, and then did it, and you were blessed in the doing of it. You have been up to this time a successful man, you have always sought God, but do not think that the stream of providence necessarily runs in a continuous current; remember, you may to-morrow without seeking God's advice venture upon a step which you will regret
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 3: 1857

Early Days
The life of David is naturally divided into epochs, of which we may avail ourselves for the more ready arrangement of our material. These are--his early years up to his escape from the court of Saul, his exile, the prosperous beginning of his reign, his sin and penitence, his flight before Absalom's rebellion, and the darkened end. We have but faint incidental traces of his life up to his anointing by Samuel, with which the narrative in the historical books opens. But perhaps the fact that the story
Alexander Maclaren—The Life of David

God's Strange Work
'That He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act.'--ISAIAH xxviii. 21. How the great events of one generation fall dead to another! There is something very pathetic in the oblivion that swallows up world- resounding deeds. Here the prophet selects two instances which to him are solemn and singular examples of divine judgment, and we have difficulty in finding out to what he refers. To him they seemed the most luminous illustrations he could find of the principle
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The King.
We have now to turn and see the sudden change of fortune which lifted the exile to a throne. The heavy cloud which had brooded so long over the doomed king broke in lightning crash on the disastrous field of Gilboa. Where is there a sadder and more solemn story of the fate of a soul which makes shipwreck "of faith and of a good conscience," than that awful page which tells how, godless, wretched, mad with despair and measureless pride, he flung himself on his bloody sword, and died a suicide's death,
Alexander Maclaren—The Life of David

The Quotation in Matt. Ii. 6.
Several interpreters, Paulus especially, have asserted that the interpretation of Micah which is here given, was that of the Sanhedrim only, and not of the Evangelist, who merely recorded what happened and was said. But this assertion is at once refuted when we consider the object which Matthew has in view in his entire representation of the early life of Jesus. His object in recording the early life of Jesus is not like that of Luke, viz., to communicate historical information to his readers.
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

A Cloud of Witnesses.
"By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was a-dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when his end was nigh, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.... By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been compassed about for seven days. By faith Rahab the harlot perished not with them that were disobedient,
Thomas Charles Edwards—The Expositor's Bible: The Epistle to the Hebrews

The Blessing of Jacob Upon Judah. (Gen. Xlix. 8-10. )
Ver. 8. "Judah, thou, thy brethren shall praise thee; thy hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies; before thee shall bow down the sons of thy father. Ver. 9. A lion's whelp is Judah; from the prey, my son, thou goest up; he stoopeth down, he coucheth as a lion, and as a full-grown lion, who shall rouse him up? Ver. 10. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come, and unto Him the people shall adhere." Thus does dying Jacob, in announcing
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

Alike from the literary and the historical point of view, the book[1] of Samuel stands midway between the book of Judges and the book of Kings. As we have already seen, the Deuteronomic book of Judges in all probability ran into Samuel and ended in ch. xii.; while the story of David, begun in Samuel, embraces the first two chapters of the first book of Kings. The book of Samuel is not very happily named, as much of it is devoted to Saul and the greater part to David; yet it is not altogether inappropriate,
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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