Zion’s Once King Prefigures Its Future King

Zion’s Once King Prefigures Its Future King

As we’ve been highlighting portions of the books of 1 and 2 Samuel, last week we saw the close of an important chapter in the life of God’s chosen people as King Saul, Israel’s first king, and his son, Jonathan, were eulogized by Israel’s second and most important king, David. Though after Saul died David first became king only over Judah, the southern part of the kingdom, a task for which he had been anointed by Samuel approximately fifteen years earlier,[1] in our morning’s passage we see that seven and a half years later David, at long last, was able to step into full kingship over both Israel, the northern part of the kingdom, and Judah. And though the time between promise and fulfillment may have been long, in the interim David was uniquely prepared by the LORD to step into his kingly role as he fought battles as one of the commanders of Saul’s army and thereby won the affection of soldiers and the nation of Israel for which he fought alike. And unlike Saul, throughout this period David sought and acted upon God’s guidance.

We see evidence of this in various instances in the life of David. The opening of chapter 2 of 2 Samuel states, “1 In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord. ‘Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?’ he asked. The Lord said, ‘Go up.’ David asked, ‘Where shall I go?’ ‘To Hebron,’ the Lord answered….” This is the account of when David was initially appointed king of Judah. As stated in verse 4 of 2 Samuel, “Then the men of Judah came to Hebron, and there they anointed David king over the tribe of Judah.” Now though this anointing became but another step in his “already-but-not-yet” kingship, David still had to work to earn his kingly privilege for he wasn’t automatically accepted as king by everyone but had foes and challenges to overcome. Even as David was anointed king of Judah trouble was brewing for Abner, the commander of Saul’s army, “had taken Ish-Bosheth son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim. He made him king over Gilead, Ashuri and Jezreel, and also over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel. 10 Ish-Bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The tribe of Judah, however, remained loyal to David.”[2] So at this point the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel were divided between Israel in the north and Judah in the south. And as chapter 3 of 2 Samuel opens, we learn that “The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.” So the demise not only of Saul but also of his descendants continued even after he died.

Now an added wrinkle in all of this is that though Abner had been designated to be commander of Saul’s army, “During the war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner had been strengthening his own position in the house of Saul.”[3] He did so by sleeping with Rizpah, one of his father’s concubines, who would have been viewed as one of Saul’s—and by extension Ish-Bosheth, his son’s, possessions. But when he was confronted by Ish-Bosheth, rather than back down Abner became angry and said, “May God deal with Abner, be it ever so severely, if I do not do for David what the Lord promised him on oath 10 and transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and establish David’s throne over Israel and Judah from Dan to Beersheba…. Then Abner sent messengers on his behalf to say to David, ‘Whose land is it? Make an agreement with me, and I will help you bring all Israel over to you.’”[4] So Abner appears to be someone who sought to do what was politically expedient for him. For his part, David agreed to Abner’s offer with the proviso that his wife Michal, whom Saul had given to another man, be returned to him.[5] Abner then spoke to the elders of Israel and the Benjamites and encouraged them to receive David as king over all of Israel.[6] However even this transition of power ended up becoming muddied when Joab, one of David’s men, chose to kill Abner due to his having earlier killed one of his brothers.[7] Joab did this without David’s knowledge or consent. However when David heard about what he had done, he honored Abner as he had earlier honored Saul and Jonathan by ordering that all the nation mourn for Abner and David wrote a lament for him as well. By acting so wisely and honorably towards Abner, David averted losing the confidence of his subjects despite Joab’s avenging his brother’s death for “All the people took note and were pleased; indeed, everything the king did pleased them.”[8]

And in chapter 4 of 2 Samuel we find yet another episode that could have imperiled David’s position as king for two of his men, Rekab and Baanah, took it upon themselves to kill Ish-Bosheth, the son of Saul whom Abner had made king over Israel and Benjamin. After killing Ish-Bosheth, these men brought his head to David saying, “Here is the head of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, your enemy, who tried to kill you. This day the Lord has avenged my lord the king against Saul and his offspring.”[9] So these men sought to justify their actions by ascribing their actions to God, a temptation we all would be wise to resist. Yet David would have none of it. As he reminded them,

As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble, 10 when someone told me, “Saul is dead,” and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news! 11 How much more—when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed—should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you![10]

In his following through with this, we continue to see how David viewed his life through the eyes of providence. He continued to understand that an opportunity was not an invitation. If Saul’s kingship was to be ripped away from him and handed over to David in fulfillment of the LORD’s prophecy through Samuel, this would have to occur in God’s time and God’s way. And David, for his part, was content to seek God’s guidance and wait upon God’s timing.

Well having averted two potential pitfalls in his journey to becoming king, again, in our passage in chapter 5 this morning we see David finally being made king over the entire nation of Israel. Because of his faithfulness and refusal to claim his kingship prematurely, as this chapter opens we see both the northern kingdom of Israel as well as the southern kingdom of Judah over which he had already been reigning now uniting to own and honor him as king. As stated beginning with verse 1, “1 All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, ‘We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’’”[11] Those fifteen years of waiting upon God’s timing—plus seven plus years of reigning as king in Judah—turned out to be key, didn’t they? For during the time David had served as a commander underneath Saul’s kingship, the people over whom he would one day rule were able to see what an able leader he was for they saw him win battle upon battle against their dreaded Philistine enemies. In these opening verses of chapter 5, this is the second of three reasons the people provide as to why they were now coming to him that he might serve as their king. As stated in verse 2, “while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns.” Starting with his defeat of Goliath when but a youth and increasing from there, David had more than proved his ability to battle and defeat Israel’s foes. He had become their protector and savior. Again, the intervening years between promise of kingship and fulfillment of that kingship had helped mold and shape him into the great—albeit not perfect—king that he was.

But the first reason the people gave for coming to him was, “We are your own flesh and blood” (verse 1). Though there were twelve tribes in Israel, they all had arisen from the same ancestors; they all had the same lineage beginning with Abraham, Isaac, and finally Jacob, later to be called Israel, who was father to them all. Blood is thicker than water, as the saying goes. We care most and best for those who belong to us and David, son of Jesse from the tribe of Judah, was one of them.

The third reason the people gave for coming to David was that God was the one who had appointed him in saying, “You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.” And now was the time of their embracing him as such once and for all. So the twelve tribes of Israel were able to confirm and acknowledge the wisdom in owning this youngest member of Jesse’s family from the tribe of Judah as their shepherd and king. And so we have here a third anointing of David as king over Israel when, as stated in verse 3, “all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord.” David’s first anointing as king had been done by Samuel and had occurred privately in the presence of David’s immediate family at the LORD’s bidding.[12] His second anointing occurred within his own tribe of Judah when they had called him to be king.[13] With each anointing we find an increase in the number of those who witness David’s anointing: from his family, to his tribe, to the entire nation of Israel that was now embracing David as its shepherd-king as promised by the LORD. So David made a covenant with his people in the presence of God, a promise and agreement to faithfully serve them in that capacity.

Verse 4 provides a summary statement of David’s ruling as king. He was thirty years old when he became king and went on to reign for forty years. Verse 5 breaks down that thirty-year reign. He reigned seven years and six months in Hebron, while those from Saul’s household were reigning in Israel in the north, and then he reigned over all of Israel and Judah for thirty-three years once the twelve tribes recorded in our passage owned him as their shepherd and ruler. Again, if David had been a youth of fifteen or so when Samuel initially anointed him as God’s chosen future king, then there were many, many years of waiting and serving between God’s promise and the fulfillment of that promise.

Verses 6–8 tell how it came about that David ended up moving his headquarters from Hebron to Jerusalem and how Jerusalem came to be known as the City of David. The takeover of Jerusalem required that David again use his military skills to establish a new stronghold. At this time the Jebusites were ensconced there but David managed to make short-shrift of them and captured “the fortress of Zion,” Zion being the name of the hill in Jerusalem upon which David built his city. And with this we’re provided with three different ways of referring to the same place: Jerusalem, the City of David, and Zion.[14] Yet the name “Zion” came to be used not only for all Jerusalem[15] but eventually for entire nation of Israel.[16] Zion comes to be known as the place of God’s mighty acts of salvation and judgment.[17] Finally, and perhaps not surprisingly given this development, Zion further came to be known not only as the earthly city it was but as the heavenly city that will one day be the abode of all who know and love God. I’ll have more to say on this shortly.

Returning to our passage, as we read in verse 9, upon conquering the city of Jerusalem “David then took up residence in the fortress and called it the City of David” and he built it up and, verse 10, “he became more and more powerful, because the Lord God Almighty was with him.” As we continue to see with David, there’s a wonderful synergy in his life between his natural abilities and God’s using him to fulfill his purposes. David’s reliance upon God allow the natural and supernatural to together fulfill God’s working in his life. For make no mistake without “the Lord God Almighty” being with David, he would never have succeeded in his early accomplishments of killing lions and bears or taking down Goliath, Israel’s enemy, nor his many later military accomplishments.

Well the inspiration for the unruly title of this morning’s sermon is T.H. White’s Once and Future King about King Arthur who, according to legend, would one day return. But whereas David was indeed the “once” king of Zion, he wouldn’t ever return but pointed instead to Jesus Christ, the future and final and only King not only of the people of Israel but of all people for all ages. In fact many scholars have spoken of David as an Old Testament “type” or representative who foreshadows Jesus Christ. As such there are a number of connections and parallels that can be found between their lives. For one, as we’ve noted before, Jesus is referred to in Scripture as the root of Jesse,[18] who, as we know, was David’s father. This human lineage affirms Jesus’ being fully human. But Jesus himself once provided an extraordinary connection to David indicating that he was not only fully human but also fully God. In interacting with some Pharisees, religious leaders in his day known for their love of challenging and questioning Jesus, Matthew records the following:

41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”

“The son of David,” they replied.

43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,

44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
under your feet.’[19]

45 If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.[20]

In referencing David’s statement from the first verse of Psalm 110, Jesus was making the same point as when on a different occasion he said “Before Abraham was, I am”[21]—namely that he, the Messiah, was also God who pre-existed both David and Abraham.

But in addition to David pointing to Christ by the Spirit of the LORD given him when he was first anointed by Samuel, some of the parallels in the lives of David and Jesus are worth noting:

First, both were born to be King according to God’s prophecy;

Second, despite being sons of prophecy, both were willing to wait on God’s timing, ever submitting to and obeying his will;

Third, as we already noted when David was first called by God, both David and Jesus were shepherds who would do anything to care for their f/Father’s flock;

Fourth, in this capacity as shepherd, both David and Jesus did whatever it took to defeat their foes;

Fifth, both were warriors who, again, took an active role in protecting, saving, and fighting all enemies. We see all of these connected roles exemplified in a passage from John 10 that we noted in our earlier study. As Jesus, our Good Shepherd, tells us, “27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”[22] Jesus Christ, our Shepherd-King conquered every enemy we could imagine that we might remain in our heavenly Father’s care:

he took away our sin nature by taking upon himself our human nature and giving us his holy nature by first dying for us and then sending us his Holy Spirit that by our union with him, his holiness would become ours;

he defeated Satan, that enemy who ever “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”[23] that we might be delivered from his deadly grasp;

and perhaps most important of all, Christ Jesus took upon himself death and destroyed it that we might have his eternal life.

Whereas David ruled over the city of Zion, Jerusalem which came to be known as the city of David, Jesus is ruler of both earthly and heavenly Zion. Recall that when he rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, it was in fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy[24] that said, “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”[25] The author of Hebrews goes on to connect the earthly Zion with the heavenly Zion in stating,

22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.[26]

And John, in his heavenly Revelation saw Christ Jesus, the Shepherd and Lamb, standing before him on Mount Zion.[27]

Dear sisters and brothers, Jesus Christ is our once and future king. But unlike King Arthur who was but a legend, King Jesus actually lived. He who made all the world that exists was born a King on earth that he might live—and suffer—and die for us and in so doing destroy all the evil and suffering and death that afflicts us. He did this not simply by dying for us, in our place, but by rising for us from death which was unable to keep the Lord and Giver of life in its grasp. And Christ Jesus’ rising from death wasn’t the stuff of legend but as we’ve often noted it was borne witness to by hundreds of his followers who didn’t simply seem him from a distance but spoke with him and ate with him and touched him. And unlike Arthur, included among the final words that Jesus left his followers was a promise that he would come again and reassuring them by saying, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”[28]

So let us this morning give thanks to our eternal King Jesus who is victor over death and has given us his life;

Let us praise our everlasting King who will one day wipe every tear from our eyes[29] as he welcomes us to the home he’s prepared for us;

Let us turn to our Savior and Lord in all things, knowing that loves and cares for us[30] and has given us eternal life in himself;[31]

Let us encourage one another by reminding each other of the goodness and greatness and power and strength and wisdom of our loving and gracious Savior and Lord;

And let us share the good news of his coming and love that more might come and dine at the great marriage banquet and feast that Jesus is preparing for us, his church, and his bride.

Let us pray.

[1] This is assuming he was around 15 when Samuel first anointed him (1 Samuel 16:13: So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.). 2 Samuel 5:4–5 state he was 30 when he became king (David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.). As indicated, initially he was king only over Judah (2 Samuel 2:4, 10–11: 4 Then the men of Judah came to Hebron, and there they anointed David king over the tribe of Judah…. 10 Ish-Bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The tribe of Judah, however, remained loyal to David. 11 The length of time David was king in Hebron over Judah was seven years and six months.)

[2] 2 Samuel 2:8–10. Verse 11 states, “The length of time David was king in Hebron over Judah was seven years and six months.”

[3] 2 Samuel 3:6.

[4] 2 Samuel 3:9–10, 12.

[5] Ish-Bosheth complied with this request. 2 Samuel 3:13–15: 13 “Good,” said David. “I will make an agreement with you. But I demand one thing of you: Do not come into my presence unless you bring Michal daughter of Saul when you come to see me.” 14 Then David sent messengers to Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, demanding, “Give me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to myself for the price of a hundred Philistine foreskins.”

15 So Ish-Bosheth gave orders and had her taken away from her husband Paltiel son of Laish.

[6] 2 Samuel 3:17–21: 17 Abner conferred with the elders of Israel and said, “For some time you have wanted to make David your king. 18 Now do it! For the Lord promised David, ‘By my servant David I will rescue my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.’”

19 Abner also spoke to the Benjamites in person. Then he went to Hebron to tell David everything that Israel and the whole tribe of Benjamin wanted to do. 20 When Abner, who had twenty men with him, came to David at Hebron, David prepared a feast for him and his men. 21 Then Abner said to David, “Let me go at once and assemble all Israel for my lord the king, so that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may rule over all that your heart desires.”

[7] 2 Samuel 3:26–27: 26 Joab then left David and sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the cistern at Sirah. But David did not know it. 27 Now when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into an inner chamber, as if to speak with him privately. And there, to avenge the blood of his brother Asahel, Joab stabbed him in the stomach, and he died.

[8] 2 Samuel 3:36.

[9] 2 Samuel 4:8.

[10] 2 Samuel 4:9b–11. David followed through with this as stated in verse 12, “So David gave an order to his men, and they killed them. They cut off their hands and feet and hung the bodies by the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-Bosheth and buried it in Abner’s tomb at Hebron.”

[11] See parallel 1 Chronicles 12:23–40.

[12] 1 Samuel 16:12–13: …Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” 13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David….

[13] 2 Samuel 2:4: Then the men of Judah came to Hebron, and there they anointed David king over the tribe of Judah

[14] Zion is mentioned here for the first time in the Bible and this is the only mention of it in the book Samuel.

[15] 2 Kings 19:21: This is the word that the Lord has spoken against him [Sennacherib, king of Assyria, by Isaiah]: “Virgin Daughter Zion despises you and mocks you. Daughter Jerusalem tosses her head as you flee.; Isaiah 2:3: Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

[16] Isaiah 46:13: I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel.; Psalm 149:2: Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King.

[17] Psalm 14:7: Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!; Lamentations 4:11: The Lord has given full vent to his wrath; he has poured out his fierce anger. He kindled a fire in Zion that consumed her foundations.

[18] Isaiah 11:1, 10: 1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit…. 10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.; Romans 15:7, 10:Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written:…10 Again, it says, “Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.”12 And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.”

[19] NIV translation of Psalm 110:1 is: The Lord says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

[20] Matthew 22:41–46.

[21] John 8:58.

[22] John 10:27–30.

[23] 1 Peter 5:8.

[24] Zechariah 9:9.

[25] Matthew 21:5. See also John 12:15 parallel.

[26] Hebrews 12:22.

[27] Revelation 14:1: Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.

[28] Matthew 28:20b.

[29] Revelations 21:4: ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[Isaiah 25:8] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”; Isaiah 25:8: On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.

[30] 1 Peter 5:7: Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

[31] John 11:25–26: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.

@font-face { font-family: “MS Mincho”; }@font-face { font-family: “Cambria Math”; }@font-face { font-family: Times; }@font-face { font-family: “@MS Mincho”; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 10pt; font-size: 14pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”, serif; }p.MsoFootnoteText, li.MsoFootnoteText, div.MsoFootnoteText { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”, serif; }p.MsoHeader, li.MsoHeader, div.MsoHeader { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 14pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”, serif; }span.MsoFootnoteReference { vertical-align: super; }a:link, span.MsoHyperlink { color: blue; text-decoration: underline; }a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed { color: purple; text-decoration: underline; }p { margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 10pt; font-family: Times; }span.text { }span.small-caps { }span.FootnoteTextChar { }span.HeaderChar { }p.line, li.line, div.line { margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 10pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”, serif; }span.indent-1-breaks { }p.top-05, li.top-05, div.top-05 { margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 10pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”, serif; }span.woj { }.MsoChpDefault { font-size: 14pt; }.MsoPapDefault { margin-bottom: 10pt; }div.WordSection1 { }

Leave a Reply