Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Religion, Old Testament Studies PhD

First Advisor

Richard M. Davidson

Second Advisor

Jacques B. Doukhan

Third Advisor

Jiri Moskala


The account of David’s reign at Hebron found in 2 Samuel 2:1—5:5 constitutes a somewhat neglected, yet crucial part of the David narrative, chronicling David’s first years as king. This dissertation investigates these chapters by means of a close reading of the Hebrew text in order to gain a better understanding of the nature of David’s kingship as it is presented in this literary unit. The review of scholarly literature on 2 Samuel 2:1—5:5 conducted in Chapter 1 reveals that not much attention has been given to a careful and in-depth exegesis of this literary unit. Instead, most of the examined studies have focused on redactional and/or historical issues in order to demonstrate the pro-davidic ideology of the narrative. Though a few studies have examined 2 Samuel 2:1—5:5 from a literary perspective, none of them have dealt exclusively with this part of the David narrative or with the specific issue of the nature of David’s kingship in this literary unit.

Chapters 2—4 are therefore dedicated to a careful exegetical analysis of each of the six literary units within 2 Samuel 2:1—5:5. Particular attention is given to the literary features of the text such as its structure, keywords and phrases as well as intertextual connections to earlier parts of the David narrative and of the Old Testament in general. For each of the six literary units the implications concerning the nature of David’s kingship that emerge from a close reading of the text are noted.

In Chapter 5 the results of the research are summarized. The exegetical analysis demonstrates that 2 Samuel 2:1—5:5 is a carefully crafted work of art throughout which the kingships of David and Ish-boshet/Abner are compared and contrasted. Based on the close reading of the passage, the following conclusions are drawn concerning the nature of David’s kingship:

1. The legitimacy of David’s kingship is affirmed. He is chosen by YHWH, recognized by Saul and the people, associated with the faithful Saul, qualified by his character, personality and experience as well as by the special title nagid.

2. Foundational elements of David’s kingship include divine guidance, obedience to YHWH’s will and law, justice, unity, freedom of choice, respect and kindness toward others, concern for the people, humility and proper self-assessment, hesed, and repaying good with good, sorrow over evil, peace, strength and continuity.

3. The purpose of David’s kingship seems to be to enable a return to the Edenic model by finishing the conquest, saving Israel from its enemies and caring for YHWH’s people and inheritance.

Subject Area

Bible. Samuel, 1st, 2:1-5:5--Criticism, interpretation, etc; David, King of Israel