The Lord had anointed David as the next king of Israel, but how this would play out still remained a mystery. David knew the destination, but he did not know the course. But, along with that, David did know the procedure to follow and the methods to implement to patiently discover the course that God would revealed it to him.
David called for Abiathar, the sole survivor of Saul’s slaughter of the priests at Nob, to bring the Ephod that held the Urim and Thummim. Together David, the man anointed to be king, and Abiathar, the priest, enquired of the Lord for direction towards the destination the Lord had set for them.
It should be noted that Saul had also been given a destination, but his refusal to honor the Word of the Lord had caused him to follow his own directions which ultimately led him away from the Lord’s destination. David does not want to make this same mistake.
The first step toward the kingship was to simply return to Judah, and the Lord added, “To Hebron” in Judah. So David, his family and his men went to Hebron. Hebron was the capital of the land belonging to tribe of Judah, which was David’s family’s tribe.
Once David was there the men of Judah came to anoint David to be king over their tribe. The other eleven tribes were still shaking on politically unstable ground with no military strength available for them to regain their footing. The death of their King Saul, the confusion on who would succeed him and the fact that they had been completely overrun by Philistine forces unraveled any organization the northern tribes had previously established. Many of the people had fled to the east side of the Jordan to escape.
Samuel had privately and secretly anointed David in his youth for God, but now in Hebron at the age of thirty David is publicly recognized and anointed by the men of his tribe. David has stepped into the early phase of the Lord’s plan for David.