Although, in the biblical account of the rise of monarchy in Israel, Saul was the first "king", his rule seems to have been mainly as a war leader, perhaps also acting as arbiter like the "judges". David was a highly successful soldier and politician. When Saul was defeated and killed at Mt. Gilboa, David was ready, more or less a trusted Philistine vassal, so he was permitted to take control of the southern tribes.
When he was ready he gained rule over the northern tribes as well, to unite these groups he captured "neutral territory", the independent city of Jerusalem and made it the political and religious center.
David also annexed or made vassals of the neighboring states and peoples: the Syrian states of Damascus, Hamath, and Zobah in the North; the Ammonites, Edom; and Moab in the East. as well as defeating the Philistines and restricting their territorial ambitions. He maintained friendly relations with powerful Tyre.
In doing so he imposed a system of administration and taxation like that of major neighboring states, and perhaps introduced elements of their ideology of kingship.
This brief account is based on information in the Bible, no external sources are available to inform it. (Except insofar as such accounts need to tally with our limited archaeological data from this period.)
This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos,
© Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2005, Tim Bulkeley. All rights reserved.