The People in God’s Plan—Lesson X

King David

DAVID, who at heart was thoroughly devoted to God, was the second king of Israel, Saul being the first. For a period of 450 years prior to the time when Saul became king, the nation was under the jurisdiction of judges whom the Lord raised up from time to time as needed. Samuel was the last of these judges, and he also was a prophet. Toward the close of his judgeship the Israelites clamored for a king to rule over them, so as to be like their neighbor nations. The Lord instructed Samuel to accede to the request of the people.—I Sam. 8:4-7

The Lord indicated by his providences that Saul was to be Israel’s first king, and Samuel anointed him to this position. (I Sam. 10:1) But Saul did not continue to obey the Lord, so he was rejected as king, (I Sam. 15:17-23) and David was anointed to this high position. (I Sam.16:11-13) However, the Lord did not immediately remove Saul from his status as king; and David did not become king until after the death of Saul. Even then, it was some time before David was accepted as king over all Israel.—II Sam. 5:1-3

David had weaknesses of character, but at heart he was thoroughly loyal to the Lord. Indeed, the Lord referred to David as a man after his own heart. (I Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22) In devotion to the Lord, and with a great desire to honor him, David aspired to build a “house,” a temple for him. The Prophet Nathan gave his consent to this undertaking.—II Sam. 7:1-3

But Nathan spoke too hastily in this matter, and without consulting the Lord. That night the Lord spoke to Nathan, instructing him to inform David that he was not to build a temple, although he was permitted to gather much material for it. Instead, Nathan was to inform David that the Lord would establish his family, symbolically called a “house,” forever as the ruling family of Israel. In this prophetic message which Nathan was to deliver reference is made to David’s first successor, his son Solomon, arid the promise made that even though he “commit iniquity,” which he did, the kingdom would not be wrested from him as it had been taken from the family of Saul.—II Sam. 7:4-17

David was greatly moved by the far-reaching promise which the Lord had made to him. He recognized that he was not worthy of so high an honor in the Lord’s arrangement. While he did not understand all the implications of the prophetic promise, he sensed that it had to do with his family and with Israel for “a great while to come.” In recognition of the Lord’s promise, David uttered one of the outstanding prayers recorded in the Old Testament.—II Sam. 7:18-29

David did not understand that this covenant which the Lord had made with him would have its real fulfillment in the coming reign of Israel’s Messiah. (Luke 1:31-33) So far as the immediate and natural house of David was concerned, God did show a great deal of mercy in maintaining the rulership of its successive kings. Solomon, who received the kingdom from his father David, was faithful to the Lord for a while, but in his latter years permitted his idolatrous wives to lead him away from the pure worship of Jehovah. The Lord foretold that he would chasten Solomon for this, but would not take the kingdom from him.—II Sam. 7:13-15

After Solomon’s death the kingdom was divided. Ten of Israel’s tribes revolted against Solomon’s son Rehoboam. The revolt was led by Jeroboam, who during Solomon’s reign had fled to Egypt to escape punishment by the king. Two of the tribes, however, clung to Rehoboam, and the Davidic line of rulers was maintained in this tiny two-tribe kingdom until 606 B.C., when its last king was overthrown by King Nebuchadnezzar, and together with the people, taken captive to Babylon.

Some of these kings did their best to serve the Lord faithfully; others did not. But throughout this long period God continued to show his mercy in maintaining the house of David, as he had promised. But finally a change came—not the destruction of the house of David—but a suspension of its active rulership until the real heir to the Lord’s covenant with David should come. This One is referred to as he “whose right it is.”—Ezek. 21:25-27

In the prophecies of the Bible the fact is recognized that a great change would take place in the “house of David,” or in connection with David’s throne.” In a prophecy of the birth of Jesus, and the purpose of his birth, the declaration is made that this great King would “order” and “establish” David’s throne and kingdom. (Isa.9:6,7) The One who was to do this was, of course, Jesus. (Luke 1:31-33) David’s throne and kingdom needed to be put in order and “established,” for its rulership ceased in 606 B.C. when Zedekiah, its last natural king, was overthrown.

While there is a vast difference between the typical kingdom of David and the antitypical, nevertheless the Scriptures show that Jesus, by birth, was of the family of David. (Matt. 1:1-17) Jesus’ kingdom will, in reality, be the kingdom of the Lord in the earth, and the Scriptures refer to the typical kingdom of David as also “the throne of the Lord.”—I Chron. 29:23

While Jesus was born to be the great King of promise, his actual rulership is not established in the earth until the time of his second presence. (John 18:37) Unlike the typical kings in David’s ruling house, the antitypical David will not reign over dying subjects, for one of the important functions of his kingdom will be to give health and life to the people. In order that this might be possible it was first necessary for this future King to die for his subjects, thus becoming the Redeemer from sin and death. This essential part of the divine plan of salvation was accomplished at Jesus’ first advent.—John 6:51; Matt 20:28; I Tim. 2:6

However, the fact that Jesus died to redeem the world of mankind from death did not interfere with the divine plan for him to be the great antitypical David to reign over the re-ordered kingdom of David, for God raised him from the dead. This is referred to by the Apostle Paul as “glad tidings.”—Acts 13:32-34

King David established his throne in Mount Zion of Jerusalem, so Zion is used in the Bible as a symbol of the antitypical throne, or kingdom of David. In one prophecy Jesus, who first died for the people, is appropriately referred to as a “lamb,” the Lamb that was slain, and is pictured as being on Mount Zion [Greek, mount Sion]. In this prophecy Jesus’ footstep followers are shown to be with him, sharing his rulership in symbolic Mount Zion.—Rev. 14:1-4

David, the typical ruler who sat on the throne of the Lord, was earthly, a natural man; the anti-typical David is spiritual, a glorious divine being. The re-establishment of the house of David in the hands of Jesus does not, therefore, refer to the material status of the past, such as a literal mountain, or a literal palace, but to the rulership itself. It was divine rulership in the case of the typical, and it is divine rulership in the case of the antitypical. Thus it is referred to as a building again of the tabernacle, or house of David.*—Acts 15:15-17; Isa. 16:5; Amos 9:11

* “Thy Kingdom Come,” pages 256, par. 4; 257.

Jesus describes himself as both the “root” and the “offspring” of David. (Rev. 22:16) Jesus was the offspring of David in the sense that his mother was a direct descendent of David. He will be the root of David, in that David will receive life from Christ in the resurrection, and will be one of the princes in all the earth—the earthly ruling phase of the messianic kingdom.—Ps. 45:16


RELATE the circumstances which led up to Israel’s becoming a kingdom.

Who was the first king of Israel, and why was David anointed to take his place? Did David at once become a ruling king?

What great thing did David desire to do for the Lord soon after he became king? Was he permitted to do this?

What covenant did God make with David through the Prophet Nathan, concerning his kingdom?

What was David’s reaction to God’s promise?

Describe briefly God’s attitude toward and dealings with the natural royal house of David. Who was the last of these kings?

Ezekiel’s prophecy (21:25-27) refers to One whose “right it is” to reign. Who is this?

Explain how the angel Gabriel associated Jesus with the throne of David.

Quote Isaiah’s prophecy in which he speaks of Jesus on David’s throne.

What was one of the special characteristics of the typical kingdom on Israel in which David was the first king?

When, in the divine plan, is the actual rulership of Christ set up in the earth? Will he reign over dying subjects? Explain.

Explain how the Apostle Paul related the resurrection of Jesus to the covenant God made with David.

Will the rulership of Christ be established in literal Mount Zion?

Explain other differences between the typical kingdom of David and the antitypical.

In what sense is Jesus both the “root” and the “offspring” of David?


David was the second king of Israel, and God made a promise to him that the kingdom would never be wrested from his descendants. This was a typical kingdom in which the Lord was the real ruler. This typical kingdom ceased in 606 B.C., when Israel’s last king was overthrown by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The antitypical began with Christ who, through his mother, was a descendant of David. The antitypical kingdom of David is established in power and great glory at Christ’s second presence. During his first presence he died as the Redeemer and Savior of the world.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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