King David: Warrior and Poet After God’s Own Heart (33)

daviddeath2David’s Last Words

2 Samuel 23:1-7

These “last words of David” are out of order in the Scriptural text, as he continues to be the subject of verses later in 2 Samuel and then at the beginning of 1 Kings.  However, the lack of chronological coherence need not prevent us from considering this passage from the perspective specified.

These are the last words of David:

“The inspired utterance of David son of Jesse,
    the utterance of the man exalted by the Most High,
the man anointed by the God of Jacob,
    the hero of Israel’s songs:

“The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me;
    his word was on my tongue.

Note that David’s utterance is specifically designated to be inspired by the Most High.  Thus, this is a case in which the general conclusion that Holt Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit … All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV)… is specifically confirmed.

The God of Israel spoke,
    the Rock of Israel said to me:
‘When one rules over people in righteousness,
    when he rules in the fear of God,
he is like the light of morning at sunrise
    on a cloudless morning,
like the brightness after rain
    that brings grass from the earth.’

Here David appears to be speaking about the best case for rulers in this fallen world.  That is, it is a human ruler who should rule in the fear of God.

“If my house were not right with God,
    surely he would not have made with me an everlasting covenant,
    arranged and secured in every part;
surely he would not bring to fruition my salvation
    and grant me my every desire.

David turns from the temporal to the eternal, where God’s mighty and mysterious acts of salvation come into view.  Yes, David’s house is indeed right with God.  We, with the benefit of Christ and the New Testament are now able to more completely understand the nature and implications of this undeserved state of grace (see Romans 3:21-31).  Note that, though David does not have these advantages, he yet places total confidence in both God’s act in this everlasting covenant and His faithfulness in the fruition my salvation.

But evil men are all to be cast aside like thorns,
    which are not gathered with the hand.
Whoever touches thorns
    uses a tool of iron or the shaft of a spear;
    they are burned up where they lie.”

These very last words of David’s Last Words may strike contemporary ears as unworthy.  My first response is that, given the sustained and deep human evil with which David had to contend throughout his entire life, how could he be other than deeply affected, even to the very end?  Secondly, this is appropriate as a final warning to all who are blessed to be reading this passage of Holy Scripture.  That is, evil will not ultimately triumph in God’s eternal economy, and, He will support and uphold those in this temporal world who oppose it.

Finally, these last words confirm the entire theme of this set of posts, that being “King David: Warrior and Poet After God’s Own Heart.”David-W&P

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