King David’s Early Years

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One of David’s first acts as king of all Israel was to relocate his capital from Hebron to Jerusalem (2 Sam 5:6–9). This was a wise political move on a number of accounts. David realized that Hebron was too far south geographically and too Judean culturally to give him credibility with the tribes in the north.

David’s Move to Jebu
Image source: © Carta, Jerusalem

Jerusalem (Jebus) had been allotted to the central tribe of Benjamin (Josh 15:8; 18:16, 28), yet remained a Jebusite (Canaanite) enclave deep in the central hill country. Although Saul’s Gibeah lay only five miles north, Israel’s first king was unable to, or uninterested in, bringing Jerusalem into the Benjaminite orbit.

David redeemed the city and its holdings—thereby gaining favor among the people of Benjamin—but rather than turn Jerusalem over to them he maintained the city’s independence, transforming it into a capital for all Israel.

The Jebusite fortress had been called the Stronghold of Zion; with its capture, Zion became the City of David, the royal seat of an Israelite national dynasty. Eventually Jerusalem would become one of the world’s greatest cities, a city of emotion, song, hope and praise, on the strength of its unique tie to God and the dynasty that He chose to represent His Name on earth – e.g., (Psalms 48, 121, 122, 125).