Friday, January 04, 2013

King David's Delayed Inauguration

The prophet Shmuel anointed David to be the next king over Israel. This happened at a convention that hosted all the elders of Beis Lechem, all his brothers, and before his father who was chief of the Sanhedrin.

It also happened after 28 years of being considered a bastard. His righteous father and illustrious brothers, thinking he was fathered by someone other than Yishai, though that was not the case (see here for more on this), wanted to kill him but could not for a technicality - were they to claim the boy was a bastard, then who was to deny any of the other son's illegitimacy? So they gave him the hardest job at the time, to be a shepherd where lions and bears roamed free - and hoped he'd be killed thereby.

Now, having been exalted to the highest rank among Jews by none other than God Almighty, via the greatest prophet of the generation, when he could have felt vindicated from the shame and ostracism he suffered silently for so many years, in front of the most respected people of his nation, how did David feel? He felt like a newborn baby - who has no room yet for feelings of self-worth, vindictiveness, conceit or even excitement. He remained a simple, humble Jew.

Says Maimonides, in his compendium of laws (Kings 1:7), "Once David was anointed, he merited the sovereign crown, and the sovereignty belongs to him and his ancestry eternally!"

So what happened to David after achieving royalty; Was he made king right away? Hardly! King Saul still reigned at the time. How about the elders of Israel who witnessed his anointment; Did they accept his kingship? And what about David's relatives - the Tribe of Yehudah, at least did they? No! Silently they made their way home. Otherwise, had they accepted David, they'd lose favor with or draw the ire of King Saul, who always honored them and had them over when he threw his dinner ceremonies. On account of two drops of oil, would they then lose their status and their jobs?

It took some two and a half years before he got to reign, in Chevron, over his Tribe of Yehudah. And then another 5 years, after quite a bit of fighting, bloodshed and palace intrigue, before he finally ruled in Jerusalem as King of Israel.

It took the work of the charismatic General Avner, with his expert public relations efforts, to finally persuade the elders and the heads of the other tribes for unanimous agreement to prevail. (For example, in verse Shmuel B:3:17-18, we note his verbal power of persuasion, "... In times of past you kept saying...." He also showed them how David's entourage was growing and successful, while that of the House of Binyomin [Ishboshes] was on the wane.)

There can be no king of Israel without his populace. The effort to accept the king must come from the Jewish people themselves. It is they who must accept the king before he can do his job! For example, David was saved by his wife-to-be, Avigayil, from transgression when he wanted to kill Naval who refused to feed his 600 men. Avigayil approached him and warned him he cannot yet take upon himself to punish Naval inasmuch as his kingship had not yet spread among all of Israel. His sovereignty was still encumbered so long as most of the people still haven't yet accepted him - a gesture for which David was thankful.

Similarly - acceptance of King Moshiach involves a process before most of world Jewry finally accept him.


  1. Thanks for the follow up- I appreciate it.

    I believe that you have only partially addressed the question. I understand that it's a process, but we don't have a navi such as Shmuel who informed us that the Rebbe is moshiach. So who's to say that he is? And David was publicly anointed.

    And, shouldn't we be seeing some progress? In 18 years don't you think there'd be at least something suggesting the Rebbe's acceptance?

    I hope you view my questions as they are intended: sincere and with a desire to understand.

  2. The Ba'al Shem Tov, the Magid, and the Rebbeim of Chabad come from the House of David. All of them were also prophets. The Rebbe spoke to this point in Shoftim 1992.

    The Previos Rebbe did speak of the Rebbe as Moshiach.

    The progress you do not see is perhaps because you're not looking for it in the right places. First of all, Chabad is spreading. There is hardly a place on earth today that goes without their presence.

    Who's to say how long this process will take. I am as much befuddled by it as you.

    But I do THINK I see signs. One of those is here:

    I am, after all, a "soldier" of the Rebbe and I do believe that everything he ever said will come forth, only it pains me that it all takes so long to manifest.

    But the last, or one of last, conveyances the Rebbe asked of us was to "Open your eyes!" - whicj of course refers the mind's eye.