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The City of David’s Strength and King David’s Weakness

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In King David’s day, the city of Jerusalem stood as a renovation and expansion of Jebus, a site the Hebrews never occupied in the territory of Benjamin.

The City of David’s Strength and King David’s Weakness

(Photo: The City of David at right, opposite the modern village of Silwan. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Those who come to Jerusalem today for the first time are often surprised to learn that the original Jerusalem, “The City of David,” sat on a mere ten acres just south of the Temple Mount. Hardly impressive, it looks like some third-world neighborhood.

Steep slopes surround the City of David and gave it in a strategic advantage during any military threat. So much so, the inhabitants of Jebus felt confident “David cannot enter here” (2 Samuel 5:6). But he did, and David made the site his new capital.

The steep slopes became King David’s military strength.

But the slopes also played into his moral weakness. Here’s how.

Steep Slopes in the City of David—A Slippery Slope

At the summit of the City of David, archaeologists have unearthed a massive, Stepped-Stone Structure dating from King David’s day.

City of David and the Stepped Stone Structure

(Photo: City of David and the Stepped Stone Structure. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

  • Archaeologists believe the structure supported a royal building, perhaps even the palace of King David.
  • The modern village of Silwan, just across the Kidron Valley, has its homes built one above the other on its slopes. This illustrates how Jerusalem’s homes also lined its slopes.

The high vantage afforded King David a view unique to him. David could have seen the rooftops of all Jerusalem below him. From this privileged position, he saw a woman bathing on her roof. His lingering lust grew into an adulterous impulse from which neither he—nor his household—would ever recover.

Archaeologists at the Palace of David excavations

(Photo: Volunteer archaeologists at the Palace of David excavations. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

A View from Mount Morality

Many temptations begin with privileges we have that we easily can take advantage of:

  • An generous expense account
  • A private office
  • A business trip taken alone
  • A view into a neighbor’s backyard or home

We all have private opportunities to gratify our selfish nature, taking advantage of our privileges. I have found three questions essential and helpful:

  1. How can I use my position or privileges for God’s glory rather than to gratify the sinful nature?
  2. What will help me guard against using the grace of God as license for immorality (Jude 4)?
  3. Who do I have to keep me accountable and ask me the hard questions?

Like the steep slopes on the City of David, what God gave us for our advantage we must guard against abusing for our harm.

Tell me what you think: What privileges do you have to guard? To leave a comment, just click here.

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