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David becomes king, defeats the Philistines twice, takes Jerusalem, and tries to bring the Ark to Jerusalem: 2 Samuel 5–6; 1 Chronicles 11–14 (with passages sorted into chronological order – see Note)

Jerusalem must have been the impenetrable fortress of its day: perhaps in the same way Jericho or even Troy had been regarded. The Jebusites certainly believed they were safe, taunting David’s forces with:

2 Samuel 5:6 You’ll never get in here! Even the blind and lame could keep you out!

David’ response is fantastic in its sarcasm:

2 Samuel 5:8 On the day of the attack, David said to his troops, ‘I hate those ‘lame’ and ‘blind’ Jebusites. Whoever attacks them should strike by going into the city through the water tunnel.’

It’s an ancient kind of bravado. The people of Jericho did it, modern leaders do it, sports teams do it (think of the Australian cricket team, famous for its sledging), drunks in the pub do it. You even see it in the school playground. “I could beat you with one hand tied behind my back … ”

A parallel record of the incident is in 1 Chronicles 11:4-9.

Some sources say the translation of ‘through the water tunnel’ could also be set as ‘with daggers in their hands’  (or both, as experienced warriors would have been well armed when they went in through a water water tunnel). Either way, David’s forces broke through and took Jerusalem.

There is also a suggestion in the Rabbinical literature that the ‘blind’ and ‘lame’ referred to two Jebusite idols, which gives the passage a different meaning, but there’s not a lot to go on the the biblical text itself for that interpretation (the Jewish Encyclopedia: the Jebusites goes into more detail).


Here’s the scriptures covered in this section, broken up and recast into chronological order:

2 Samuel 5:1–3; 1 Chronicles 11:1–3; 1 Chronicles 12:23–40; 2 Samuel 5:17–25; 1 Chronicles 14:8–17; 2 Samuel 5:6–10; 1 Chronicles 11:4–9; 1 Chronicles 3:4; 2 Samuel 5:13; 2 Samuel 5:4–5; 2 Samuel 5:11–12; 1 Chronicles 14:1–2; 1 Chronicles 13:1–5; 2 Samuel 6:1–11; 1 Chronicles 13:6–14