2 Samuel 23:2-7 Spirit Speaks
2 Samuel 23:2-7 NLTse “The Spirit of the LORD speaks through me; his words are upon my tongue. (3) The God of Israel spoke. The Rock of Israel said to me: ‘The one who rules righteously, who rules in the fear of God, (4) is like the light of morning at sunrise, like a morning without clouds, like the gleaming of the sun on new grass after rain.’ (5) “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. (6) But the godless are like thorns to be thrown away, for they tear the hand that touches them. (7) One must use iron tools to chop them down; they will be totally consumed by fire.”
When we look back at the introduction of this chapter, we don’t only find the context, we gather important information by seeing the setting it was written in. 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. (2 Samuel 23:1 NLTse).
David is on his death bed. He’s spent weeks going over his life, reviewing every detail, wondering what he did right and what he did wrong. David spent long hours seeking God’s presence, trying to find the answers to life. In his old age. David once again found God. David developed the personal relationship with God that led him from shepherd boy, to king, to prophet. Remember, David was not given the gift of prophecy like Saul. David had to find the gift. David had to earn the gift. In David’s last words we see the gift of prophecy. So much Is said in so few words.
Did David find God’s gift of prophecy at the right time? At that very moment David’s prophet, Nathan was plotting against him. Another story was unfolding which shows David’s inability to be a father. It also showed David’s failure as priest of his family. About that time David’s son Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, began boasting, “I will make myself king.” So he provided himself with chariots and charioteers and recruited fifty men to run in front of him. Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, “Why are you doing that?” Adonijah had been born next after Absalom, and he was very handsome. Adonijah took Joab son of Zeruiah and Abiathar the priest into his confidence, and they agreed to help him become king. (1 Kings 1:5-7 NLTse). David’s son, his general, and priest were plotting to cease control of the country. To make matters worse, David’s prophet and one of his wives were hatching their own plan. Then Nathan went to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, and asked her, “Haven’t you heard that Haggith’s son, Adonijah, has made himself king, and our lord David doesn’t even know about it? If you want to save your own life and the life of your son Solomon, follow my advice. Go at once to King David and say to him, ‘My lord the king, didn’t you make a vow and say to me, “Your son Solomon will surely be the next king and will sit on my throne”? Why then has Adonijah become king?’ And while you are still talking with him, I will come and confirm everything you have said.” (1 Kings 1:11-14 NLTse).
Both parties thought they could take advantage of David in his old age. I’m sure you’ve seen this in your life. Start turning to God and the whole world thinks it can take advantage of you. In David’s case we see history repeating itself. Once again a woman gets involved to give God’s plan a push. Sarah and Rebekah were aware of God’s plan, but thought God’s plan needed a woman’s touch to get it moving along at a pace they felt comfortable with. We all know how much they were able to help. Its no wonder God didn’t give the same command to anoint Solomon, He gave for Saul and David. What was the result? For one thing, Bathsheba was not shy about her motives. She did it for herself as well as her son. To say the least, Bathsheba’s influence shortened king David’s dynasty and weakened the nation. After only one generation, God split Israel.
When we check the summation of 2 Samuel 23, we find another sobering fact David had to live with and face when he sought God’s presence on his death bed. Uriah the Hittite. There were thirty-seven in all. (2 Samuel 23:39 NLTse). 2 Samuel 23 records thirty-seven of David’s closest and most trusted friends. The last friend mentioned is Uriah the Hittite. David killed one of his best friends because of the lust he had for his wife. It seems strange how God would use such an abnormal affair in the family tree leading to the birth of His Son. Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah). Solomon was the father of Rehoboam. Rehoboam was the father of Abijah. Abijah was the father of Asa. (Matthew 1:6-7 NLTse). We find more turns and twists in Jesus’ genealogy. David was one of the most famous and well known. David is a symbol to point to Jesus as King. But little is said or written about David as a prophet. David’s final prayer contains so many details. Among other things it shows the extent of David’s understanding and relationship with God.
Notice how David repeated certain word sequences. The first is, “speaks, words, spoke, and said.” David used a sequence of four similar words to draw attention to one of the most important and easiest forms of Bible study to learn, key words, which lead us directly to related texts. The other lesson of course is context, which helps ensure the proper parallel texts are used to explain the spiritual meaning of the prophecy. Our first clue is the spiritual word, Rock. Most people know a Rock sometimes represents Christ. We find the texts in 1 Corinthians 10.
1 Corinthians 10:1-4 NLTse (1) I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. (2) In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. (3) All of them ate the same spiritual food, (4) and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ.
Knowing this prayer is connected with Christ, the next step is to look at words David repeated and finding the same repetition in the New Testament. We want to find out how the Spirit spoke through Christ. Using the combination of the first two words in the series will lead right to John chapter 3.
John 3:31-36 NLTse “He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but he has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else. (32) He testifies about what he has seen and heard, but how few believe what he tells them! (33) Anyone who accepts his testimony can affirm that God is true. (34) For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit. (35) The Father loves his Son and has put everything into his hands. (36) And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.”
Is there a better set of verses describing Jesus’ ministry on earth? This covers one of the most important subjects Jesus came to teach. Remember this because it is the beginning of understanding. Jesus came to teach us the difference between earthy things and Heavenly. Another important word is added through repetition. Unless we believe Jesus is speaking through experience and accept His testimony, we don’t stand a chance. We can’t understand what Jesus is talking about, how it applies to our lives, or the history of this world. The lesson is, we have to know Jesus like a friend or brother. His Spirit is still here teaching, but do we know HOW to listen? I have to be honest. I see how many people preach. They take a verse or two and tell you what they think it says. More often than not their comments have nothing to do with the context — their comments have nothing to do with the subject recorded in the chapter they took the verse from. Fact of the matter is, they are of the earth, and they speak of earthly things. Think of it. Did Jesus die for people to take five, maybe ten of His Words and use them to preach their own message? You have no idea how much the world stands in the way of God’s message. For one thing, there is not a publisher in the country that will consider standing behind any of my books. They have a rule….. no more than 5% of the book can be scripture. Although the Bible is the worlds best selling book of all time, no one is interested in reading God’s Word. They want nice, easy stories written to entertain. To get permission to use scripture from a translation other than the King James, the best Bible to use for study, the publisher restricts authors. No more than 20% of the book can be scripture. I can write entire paragraphs with nothing but scripture. I’ve written studies using only scripture. Not sure if anyone could write a book using only scripture, except for God. But I enjoy writing stories and pointing out parallels between scripture and characters in the Bible. The point is, there is a dividing line between learning lessons from earthly examples and those from Heaven. God went to great lengths to work with choices people made and record those examples so we can learn from them. God also uses connecting or parallel stories to emphasize the points He is teaching. I see preachers going way off base and missing so many lessons people suffered to bring us. I see the way some people preach and wonder why.
The next series of similar words we see is, “light – gleaming.” This may be a difficult prophecy to study based on the fact David used similar words instead of repeating the same word. The rule of interpretation is, to look for words that are the SAME, SIMILAR, and RELATED. Having used the related words, light and gleaming, David points us to other scripture about Jesus. There are a number of texts to choose from, but which add to the lesson in 2 Samuel 22? Remember the context. These are David’s last words. There is a movement from one realm to another. Israel is about to change kings. Wouldn’t is make sense — God’s Spirit is leading us to New Testament scripture to show us another change? This will help to narrow down the texts.
Luke 1:74-80 NLTse We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, (75) in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live. (76) “And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. (77) You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins. (78) Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, (79) to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” (80) John grew up and became strong in spirit. And he lived in the wilderness until he began his public ministry to Israel.
A new era is about to dawn on the earth. Zechariah’s prayer is also a prophecy. Zechariah’s eyes are opened as well as his voice returning to him. After months of sitting in silence, Zechariah finally was able to understand his role and his son’s role in God’s plan of salvation. See the similarities between this texts and David’s prayer when we look behind the scenes? David was at a time in his life when he thought about the major details in his life and what he was going to do with his remaining time. David finally took time to forge a relationship with God. God rewarded David by showing him the future. God’s had to take Zechariah’s voice away to get him to slow down and think. Zechariah had to think about the his new role in life. He was finally getting a son. Of course Zechariah had plans. Like all fathers, Zechariah made plans for his son to follow in his footsteps and become a priest. Although that may seem like an honorary role to the world, God had bigger plans. Much bigger plans. It took a lot to get Zechariah to listen. After listening to his wife and Mary talk for weeks, it finally began to register with Zechariah. I’ll bet there are a lot of wives wishing God would take their husband’s voice away so they would listen. Some people have a difficult time reading God’s Word. Some people think Zechariah is referring to his son and the light. John clears up that question in his first chapter.
John 1:8-14 NLTse John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. (9) The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. (10) He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. (11) He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. (12) But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. (13) They are reborn–not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. (14) So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
John was God’s prophet to announce a new era, Jesus’ ministry. We learn a lot by looking at details about John, who he was, how he was brought up, how he announced Jesus; ministry, how he was accepted, and who rejected his message. John was beyond simple. The son of a priest, John did not learn from his earthly father, but was educated by his Heavenly Father far away from any outside influences. John represented God by the clothes he wore, which were as simple as the message God gave him. John didn’t spread the message in Jerusalem, but far away where people with little religious influence would hear and accept it. Of course religious leaders from the temple made the trip to investigate. Under the temple of God’s creation, John’s announcement had little effect on the religious leaders, who rejected not only the message, but the Messiah. David also covered that contingency in his short prophecy.
Thorns is another word written in sequence in David’s prophecy. Looking at New testament texts we find two possible solutions. As we’ve seen with prior key words, some times it requires more than a single text to understand how the prophecy has been fulfilled. This is not unusual, since God used a sequence of texts from different prophets over a period of time to record a prophecy. Why wouldn’t God use the same method to explain its fulfillment?
Matthew 13:22 NLTse The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.
Hebrews 6:3-8 NLTse And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding. (4) For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened–those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, (5) who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come– (6) and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame. (7) When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God’s blessing. (8) But if a field bears thorns and thistles, it is useless. The farmer will soon condemn that field and burn it.
Once again, and I cannot overstress this point. Parallel texts must be within the same context used in the prophecy. In review, the context is preparing for a new beginning. The beginning of this prophecy tells us, “The Spirit of the LORD speaks through me; his words are upon my tongue.” Checking the two texts from the New Testament, we know in Matthew 13:22, Jesus is explaining the spiritual meaning of the parable of the sower, which marks a beginning in Jesus’ ministry. After introducing and explaining the parable of the sower, Jesus begins teaching His disciples how to understand all parables.
Hebrews 6:3-8 explained a choice. We can either move forward to further understanding, or face the fate of a field of thorns. Hebrews 6 marks a new beginning, or a point where a decision must be made. Hebrews 6 shows how people waiver. These two texts show how one will reinforce another by providing additional information. The parable of the sower explains how thorns are a spiritual symbol for worries in this life and the lure of wealth. Hebrews 6 shows how people accept God’s Word, and Jesus’ sacrifice, but have a tendency to later turn away. One explains how worries and riches turn people away, the other explains what they are turning away from. David introduced the prophecy. The combination of Jesus’ parable about the sower and seed and Hebrews 6 explain the fulfillment.
David’s simple prophecy explained a number of details. Of course the prophecy accurately predicted details of Jesus’ ministry. In addition to that, this short prophecy also holds the key to a number of important rules of Bible study. David shows how to identify similar and related words. Once these words are identified, they are used to lead us to texts explaining how this prophecy was fulfilled. I’m sure you’ll agree this is a simple process to follow. God doesn’t use complicated rules, but insists we use the brain and tools He’s given us. It doesn’t take an advanced degree with years of preparation to master these simple techniques. Once you see them exercised, you shouldn’t have much trouble using them to advance your study of God’s Word. One of the most important lessons covered in David’s prophecy is of course learning context. The main context is located in the chapter itself, disclosed in the introduction and summation. Details are also contained within the prophecy itself which must be considered when analyzing parallel texts. Prayer and guidance from God’s Spirit are also important steps which must be followed and respected. Once all the proper steps are followed, the result will reveal a clear, simple, and informative answer supporting and explaining the original prophecy. One of the most important details to remember, God will always explain His Word. He really doesn’t need anyone’s help.