Now these are the last words of David.
Thus says David the son of Jesse; thus says the man raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel: “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue. And God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spoke to me: ‘He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, like the tender grass springing out of the earth, by clear shining after rain.’
“Although my house is not so with God, yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure. For this is all my salvation and all my desire; will He not make it increase? But the sons of rebellion shall all be as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands. But the man who touches them must be armed with iron and the shaft of a spear, and they shall be utterly burned with fire in their place.” 2 Samuel 23:1-7 NKJV
These are the last words of David as literature, not the last words he spoke. As we read this psalm, it shows what David’s mind was clearly focused on at the close of his glorious but troubled life, Yet he is enthusiastic about what God has done for him in providing salvation to him and securing His everlasting covenant with him.
He recounts the justice of his reign as king, his writings of the Psalms, his devotion to God and God’s word and God’s covenant with him that promised an everlasting dynasty – an eternal kingdom – through Jesus.
In verses 2-4, David is reflecting on the revelation of the Lord to him of the essential character and glorious benefit of the ideal theocratic king. This was not David’s reflection of himself – he realized his weaknesses. He was looking forward to Christ, the greater Son of David, who would fully display such qualities of character and the benefit of the eternal kingdom would be fully realized. Nathan, the prophet, returned to David and told him that he was not to build an earthly temple for God, but that God was going to establish His kingdom through David (2 Samuel 7:4-17).
David refers to God as The Rock of Israel, a figure particularly appropriate to David’s life experiences. David was used by God to bring peace to Israel yet he suffered much when hiding in the wilderness among the rocks, cliffs and caves to avoid King Saul who pursued him. He had often taken refuge among the rocks of the desert (1 Samuel 23:25; 24:2) but he realized that true security was found only in the Lord.
“He who rules” that begin the record of direct speech from God, clarify an ideal king must exercise His authority with justice, in complete submission to divine sovereignty. A king whom heart is after God and rules in justice is like the helpful rays of the sun at dawn – beautiful to behold and enjoy and the life-giving showers which nourish and refresh the earth – all pointing to the coming Messiah (Isaiah 9:6-7).
David understood righteous rule and leadership is only possible for one who lives in a right relationship with God. David understood what it meant to “fear” God as opposed to King Saul (1 Samuel 12:14).
David wrote concerning the morning light as the sun shining forth. The benefits to a nation under righteous rule are enlightenment in the commandments of God, fruitfulness under the hand of God and refreshment in the peace of God. Read Psalm 72.
In verses 5-7, David’s confidence rests not in his own righteousness or ability to maintain his kingdom but in the everlasting covenant made with him by a gracious God (2 Samuel 7:11-16; 2 Chronicles. 13:5; 21:7).
David realized man’s house is not always right with God but he expressly recalls God’s promise and covenant with him and his dynasty was everlasting and a faithful God would make it secure.
Additionally, we see the highlights of King David’s reign, first over the tribe of Judah, and finally made king over the entire nation of Israel. It shares the glory of his rule, the grim reality of his sins of adultery and murder, and the lingering consequences of those sins upon his family and nation long after his death.
2 Samuel paints a portrait of a man who deeply loved God, a leader chosen by God who became Israel’s greatest earthly king and is honored today as its national hero, a warrior who fought many battles for God and his people. David truly is a hero of faith yet he was far from perfect. We have the detailed account of David’s fall into sin, his repentance and his restoration. We are painted a clear picture that anyone, including David, the warrior king, can be drawn aside by fleshly passions, but must repent.
Still, in spite of all his shortcomings, David never wavered in his love for God. David sought and grew close to the Lord because of his heart’s desire to know and please God. He became mighty in spirit because he was never indecisive about God’s oversight of his life. This is where spiritual greatness is birthed – only in the presence of God.