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At first glance, reading 2 Samuel 5:4 can be contextually interpreted to mean that David became king of Israel at 30 years old because he was anointed king of Israel in the previous verse.

However, the next verse states that he “reigned” over Judah seven years and six months before becoming king over all Israel and Judah. So does this mean that he became king of Judah at 30 and then became king of both Israel and Judah at 37, contradicting David’s Wikipedia page stating “…a 30-year old David is anointed king over all Israel…”?

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2 Sam 5:4, 5 says this:

David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah.

There is a big difference between being anointed for a job and actually doing the job as these verse make clear.

It is true that David was anointed king over all Israel at the age of 30. BUT he did not reign over all Israel until the the king of non-Judah, Ish-bosheth, had been removed. The sequence of events was as follows:

  • Saul died (1 sam 31)
  • Ish-bosheth was anointed king over "all Israel", 2 Sam 2:9
  • Almost simultaneously, David is anointed king over Israel, 2 Sam 2, 4, 5:4, 5, but in reality, David only reigned over Judah
  • A civil war ensured, 2 Sam 2:12 - 2 Sam 4:12
  • Finally, Is-bosheth was murdered, 2 Sam 4:1-8
  • This left David free to begin his reign over all Israel, 7½ years later at the age of 37, 2 Sam 5:4, 5.
  • David moves his capitol from Hebron to Jerusalem after conquering Jerusalem, 2 Sam 5:6-11

In fact, the (arguablly) premature anointing of David as king over "all Israel" was merely a repetition and recognition of David's earlier anointing as the heir apparent by the prophet Samuel under God's direction as recorded in 1 Sam 16:1-13, and God's rejection of the king Saul and his subsequent dynasty in 1 Sam 15.

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  • To clarify, I thought 2 Samuel 5:4 refers to 2 Samuel 2:4, where David, supposedly being 30 years old, first started as king and reigned. But contextually this seems to refer to his anointing, so I appreciate you clearing up this.
    – penguin108
    Aug 6, 2021 at 2:27
  • @penguin108 - the anointing occurs in 2 Sam 5:3.
    – Dottard
    Aug 6, 2021 at 2:32
  • I know, but it only says in 2 Sam 5:4 that David "became king" instead of just being anointed. So when taking this verse alone, it could connect to 2 Sam 2:4
    – penguin108
    Aug 6, 2021 at 2:37
  • @penguin108 - that is true - David became king over Judah but over all Israel only in anticipation just as the anointing by Samuel was as well.
    – Dottard
    Aug 6, 2021 at 2:39
  • Sorry for my confusion, but according to Bible Tales Website, it states that David was 30 years old when he became King of Judah, confirming my interpretation that the words of "becoming king" in 2 Samuel 5:4 connects to David’s anointing and the start of reign of only Judah from 2 Samuel 2:4.
    – penguin108
    Aug 6, 2021 at 13:10

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