Biblical Last Words: David Exults

Biblical Last Words: David Exults

Biblical Last Words: David Exults.

David’s life has been well-chronicled in Scripture. David the shepherd boy, the giant-killer, the heroic warrior, the anointed king who has to run for his life, the enthroned king who enjoyed the golden years of the nation of Israel, the faithful ruler who relished God’s favor through his forty-year reign despite his frailties. David the poet, the singer, the psalmist, the wildly exuberant worship leader of Yahweh. The famous king of Israel who left everything in trust to his son Solomon, who ended up squandering the favor of the Lord.

There are two Bible passages that could have been David’s final words, 2 Samuel 23:1-5, and 1 Kings 2:1-4. They both add a sense of closure to David’s illustrious life, and both offer insight into what was on David’s mind during his last days.

2 Samuel 23:1-5. “These are the last words of David: ‘David, the son of Jesse, speaks – David, the man who was raised up so high, David, the man anointed by the God of Jacob, David, the sweet psalmist of Israel. The Spirit of Yahweh speaks through me; his words are upon my tongue. The God of Israel spoke. The Rock of Israel said to me: ‘The one who rules righteously, who rules in the fear of God, is like the light of morning at sunrise, like the morning without clouds, like the gleaming of the sun on new grass after rain.’ Is it not my family God has chosen? Yes, he has made an everlasting covenant with me. His agreement is arranged and guaranteed in every detail. He will ensure my safety and success.”  We find David speaking prophetically in this version of his last words. He at first rejoiced in his status before the Lord… He was raised up high by the Lord; he was hand-picked and anointed by the God of Israel; he was enabled by God to become the “sweet psalmist of Israel;” his tongue was filled with the words of the Spirit of Yahweh; he was even on speaking terms with the God of Jacob. David’s whole identity was wrapped up in his Lord. His last words are exultant in what God had done through him and for him.

After rejoicing in the blessings of God, David then spoke with messianic purpose. He highlighted a “righteous ruler” in his family line, which we know would be fulfilled by Jesus Christ much later down the line, when He comes to earth to rule in perfect peace and justice. David poetically describes what the righteous ruler will be like: a morning sunrise, a cloudless sky, the sun’s rays gleaming on new grass after a rain. Beautiful imagery that describes the presence of Jesus in the world. David then prophetically refers to God’s everlasting covenant with his family. Because of this eternal agreement, out of David’s house will come salvation through the Messiah. Out of David’s line will come Jesus, known forever as the Son of David.

1 Kings 2:1-4. “As the time of King David’s death approached, he gave his charge to his son Solomon. ‘I am going where everyone on earth must someday go. Take courage and be a man. Observe the requirements of the Lord your God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go. If you do this, then the Lord will keep the promise he made to me. He told me, ‘If your descendants live as they should and follow me faithfully with all their heart and soul, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel.'”  At the end of his life, David wanted to leave his final instructions to Solomon, a father leaving a final charge to his son. David wanted to inspire Solomon to remain faithful to the God of Israel and to His divine commands. David tells him very clearly, if you follow the teachings of Moses, you will succeed in your personal life and your reign as king. If you clearly observe God’s ways, David is saying, God’s promises will remain true. God will retain the line of David if Solomon remains faithful. But God’s promises remain conditional. If anyone in David’s line does not prove faithful in life or in his kingship, then the house of David will be removed from Israel.

Tragically, the sons of David proved to be unfaithful. Solomon’s kingdom was divided upon his death. The united kingdom of Israel was no more. After extended times of unfaithfulness to Yahweh, the Lord punished Israel and Judah by allowing foreign enemies to conquer the Chosen People of God and carry them into exile. Their Temple was destroyed in Jerusalem, and worship no longer was the center of life. God was true to His promises. Unfaithfulness results in death and defilement. But in His mercy God ultimately kept His promise with David, and according to the eternal covenant with Israel, David’s line resulted in the King of the Universe, the Messiah, to assume the throne forever.