Christ in All the Scriptures
by A.M. Hodgkin
- III. Christ in the Historical Books
6. 2Samuel --
- David was three times anointed: first in his father's house [1Sam 16:1-13], then over Judah, and lastly over all Israel. God has anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the oil of gladness. He is King of kings and Lord of lords, but as David-- though anointed king-- was in exile while Saul reigned over the people, so Christ is rejected by the world, and the ''Prince of this world'' is reigning in the hearts of men.
A day came when the men of Judah gathered to David and anointed him king in Hebron. ''The Spirit clothed Amasai and he said, Thine are we, David, and on thy side'' (2Sam 2:4; 1Chr 12:18). It is a joyful day in the experience of the believer when he yields the full allegience of his heart to the Lord Jesus Christ, and says, ''Thine am I, and on Thy side''; when he can look up into His face and say, ''Thou art my King'' (Psa 44:4).
''Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker'' (2Sam 3:1), until at last Abner said to the elders of Israel: ''Ye sought for David in times past to be king over you. Now then do it: for the Lord hath spoken of David, saying, By the hand of My servant David I will save My people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.'' ''Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh... And they anointed David king over Israel'' (5:1-3). ''One from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother'' (Deu 17:15). ''The king is near of kin to us'' (2Sam 19:42). ''In all things made like unto His brethren'' (Heb 2:17). Here we see all Israel united under their rightful king. A picture of a heart which is wholly true in its allegiance to the King of kings.
God's promise to Israel was that He would save them from all their enemies by the hand of David. And this was literally fulfilled, from the day that he slew Goliath, all through his reign. We never read of his being defeated. So Christ has vanquished our great enemy, Satan. [Christ] has come ''that we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear'' [Luke 1:74]. ''He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet'' [1Cor 15:25]. ''Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end'' (Isa 9:7).
''And David took the stronghold of Zion'' [2Sam 5:7]. This is like the central citadel of our will. When that is surrendered to the Lord, His reign is established. [cp. 2Cor 10:4,5]
In the story of Mephibosheth [2Sam 9], we have a beautiful picture of the grace of our King, in bringing us nigh and making us ''as one of the King's sons,'' ''to eat bread at His table continually.'' He brings us into His bancqueting-house and bids us partake, saying, ''Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved'' [Song 5:1]. He Himself is the heavenly food, for He says, ''The bread that I give is My flesh,'' and ''My flesh is meat indeed'' [John 6:51,55].
- David's Sin.
- But any type of our blessed Saviour falls short somewhere. And David, as a type, is no exception. We come next to the record of David's awful sin [2Sam 11]. How can such a sinner be described as ''a man after God's own heart''? [1Sam 13:13,14]. All through the life of David there is one characteristic which marks him out from other men, and in special contrast to Saul, and that is his continual trust and confidence in God, his acknowledgment of God's rule, his surrender to God's will. The great desire of his heart was to build God's House, yet when God sets him aside because he has been a man of war, he acquiesces with perfect grace to the Divine will [2Sam 7:5-13; 1Chr 28:3-5]. When Nathan brings home to [David's] conscience the great sin of his life-- absolute monarch that he is-- he acknowledges it at once [2Sam 12], and the depth of his penitence is such as only a heart that knows God can feel. For all time, the fifty-first Psalm stands out as the expression of the deepest contrition of a repentant soul. In that Psalm, David speaks of a broken heart as the only sacrifice he has to offer, a sacrifice which God will not despise. And the high and Holy One that inhabiteth eternity goes further in His wondrous condescension and says, by the mouth of Isaiah, ''I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones'' (Isa 57:15).
The Bible does not cloak sin, least of all in God's own children. It does not spare God's saints. There were steps leading up to David's sin-- his multiplying wives, his tarrying still at Jerusalem when he should have been at the war. It is always the case that there is backsliding of heart, before it is seen in outward act. David sinned grievously, but his repentance was immediate, deep, and sincere. God, indeed, blotted out his transgressions, according to the multitude of His tender mercies, but he did not remove the consequences of the sin: He chastened David through sore trials in his own family.
- A Rebel.
- In the flight of Absalom, after the murder of his brother, we have a picture of a rebel soul far off from God. In David, we have a picture of God's sorrow over sinners. ''The King wept very sore... And David mourned for his son every day... And the soul of David longed to go forth unto Absalom'' [2Sam 13]. In the word of the wise woman of Tekoa, ''God deviseth means, that he that is banished be not an outcast from Him'' (2Sam 14:14, R.V.), we have an echo of God's words: ''Deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom,'' or ''atonement'' (Job 33:24, margin).
Even when Absalom was in rebellion, the King commanded, ''Deal gently, for my sake, with the young man, even with Absalom.'' In this, we see the forbearance of God with sinners. And when he heard of his death, he cried: ''O my son Absalom! my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!'' David would fain have died for the rebel, but he could not [2Sam 18]. How this carries our thoughts on to the One who was not only willing, but able to lay down His life, the Just for the unjust, to bring us to God [1Pet 3:18].
- Love's Allegiance.
- In David's exile [2Sam ch. 15-17], we have again a picture of the rejected Saviour. The eastern walls of Jerusalem are bounded by a deep ravine-- the torrent-bed of the Kidron. When the rebellion of Absalom drove David from his own city, we can imagine him coming forth by an eastern gate-- probably what answered to the modern gate of St. Stephen-- and following the winding path down the rocky side of the valley. The King did not go alone. A band of faithful servants went with him; and a little in advance, six hundred Philistines from the city of Gath, under their leader, Ittai, the Gittite. David had probably won the hearts of these men during his [stay] in the Philistine city of Ziklag, some thirty years before, and now they were ready to stand by him in time of trouble. When David came up with this band at the bottom of the ravine, he tried to dissuade Ittai from following him. He besought him as a stranger, and as one who had but recently joined his service, not to attach himself to a doubtful cause, and he bade him return with his blessing. But Ittai was firm, his place, whether in life or in death, was by the master he loved. Touched by such devoted allegiance, David allowed Ittai to pass over the torrent-bed with all his men, and with the little ones that were with him-- no doubt the families of the band. With the voice of weeping, all the exiles passed over, and climbed the grassy slopes of the Mount of Olives on the other side. David set captains of thousands over the people that were with him-- a third part under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. The devotion of his followers comes out at every turn. When they found that their King intended to go forth with them into the battle, they would on no account allow it, but restrained him with the words: ''Thou shalt not go forth; for if the half of us die they will not care for us; but thou art worth ten thousand of us!'' [2Sam 18:3].
A thousand years have passed. Again a rejected King goes forth from the Jerusalem gate, and down the pathway into the dark valley, and up the slopes of Olivet. Instead of the strong band that went with David, there are but eleven men to go with David's Son, and of the chosen three not one remains awake to share His agony [Mat 26:36-46]. ''I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with Me'' [Isa 63:3]. The enthusiasm of David's followers led them to restrain him from going into the battle. But when the soldiers came to take the Lord of Glory, His little body-guard all forsook Him and fled, and He who is the chiefest among ten thousand, and altogether lovely [Song 5:10,16], laid down His life for rebels and deserters.
Nearly two thousand years have passed since then. ''Our Lord is still rejected and by the world disowned.'' There is still the golden opportunity today of making His heart glad by such a devotion as Ittai's. We are His blood-bought possession. It is His purpose that we should share His glory throughout eternity. And He claims our heart's love now.
Hushai the Archite and Zadok and Abiathar were to represent the King at the very center of rebellion-- ''in the world, but not of it''; ambassadors in an enemy's country [cp. 2Cor 5:20]. In Shimei, who cursed David in his rejection, we have a picture of those who reviled Jesus, wagging their heads and mocking Him.
''I will smite the King only,'' was Ahithophel's advice to Absalom, ''and I will bring back all the people unto thee.'' ''Smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered'' [Mat 26:31]. Jesus, our Shepherd, was ''stricken, smitten of God'' for us [Isa 53]. And the King passed over Jordan, that river of death.
- The Return of the King.
- We have a vivid picture of the return of David to the city of Zion [2Sam 19:9-40]. The people clamored for the return of the King. ''Now, therefore, why speak ye not a word of bringing the King back?'' The King heard of this and sent an encouraging message to the elders. ''And the heart of all the men of Judah was bowed to the King, even as the heart of one man; so that they sent this word unto the King, Return thou, and all thy servants.''
''Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus'' [Rev 22:20]. According to Eastern custom, the men of Judah went right over Jordan to meet their King, and bring him back, and the crowd of rejoicing subjects increased as they drew near the city. One day the cry will go forth, ''Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him'' [Mat 25:6]. The ''the dead in Christ shall rise first,'' and the saints that are alive on the earth shall be caught up to meet Him in the air [1The 4:16,17]. Our King has set this certainty of hope before us, and calls us to live in the joyful expectation of it. This should lead to faithfulness in service-- ''Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be'' (Rev 22:12)-- and [according] to holiness of life (Titus 2:11-14).
- A Gospel for the Hopeless.
- The ''Mighty Men'' of David's kingdom [2Sam 23:8-39] were those who came to him in the time of his exile, when he was fleeing from Saul. They were escaped outlaws and criminals, but under David's leadership they became brave, self-controlled, magnanimous men, like their captain. ''Every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there was with him about four hundred men'' (1Sam 22:2). ''This Man receiveth sinners'' [Luke 15:2]. It is a glorious Gospel that is committed to our trust! It is the Gospel for the outcast, for the refuse of society. It is the Gospel of hope for the worst and the lowest. The transforming power of the Cross of Christ is seen in changed lives wherever the Gospel is preached.
Return to the Table of Contents for Christ in All the Scriptures.
For another brief look at this book of the Bible,
see the related chapter in OT Reflections of Christ, by Paul Van Gorder.
Go to The Book opening page.