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2 Samuel 23:1-7 – David’s last song

Updated: Feb 5, 2021

These are the last words of David:

The oracle of David, son of Jesse, the oracle of the man whom God exalted,

the anointed of the God of Jacob, the favorite of the Strong One of Israel:

The spirit of the Lord speaks through me, his word is upon my tongue.

The God of Israel has spoken, the Rock of Israel has said to me:

One who rules over people justly, ruling in the fear of God,

is like the light of morning, like the sun rising on a cloudless morning, gleaming from the rain on the grassy land.

Is not my house like this with God? For he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure.

Will he not cause to prosper all my help and my desire?

But the godless are all like thorns that are thrown away; for they cannot be picked up with the hand;

to touch them one uses an iron bar or the shaft of a spear. And they are entirely consumed in fire on the spot.


This is an optional Old Testament selection from the Episcopal Lectionary for the Twenty-seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year B 2018, which is the Last Sunday after Pentecost. In the numbering system that lists each Sunday in an ordinal fashion, this Sunday would be referred to as Proper 29, but it is called “Christ the King Sunday.” If chosen, it will next be read aloud in an Episcopal church by a reader on Sunday November 25, 2018. It is important because it is reminiscent of what a true anointed king’s traits are.

The Hebrew word translated as “oracle,” as a repeated word in verse one, is “nə·’um,” meaning “utterance,” or “declaration.” The word “oracle” is understood to mean: “A person considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic opinions; an authoritative or wise statement or prediction; and/or, a command or revelation from God.” [American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition]

The oracle at Delphi.

This makes these last words of David be prophetic, more than a synopsis of David’s life. The repetition of this word is then important to all readers as a statement of a talent of the Holy Spirit.

When we read that David was “anointed of the God of Jacob,” this aspect of anointment has to be seen as a statement of the Messiah, such that the Hebrew word “mashiach” means both “anointed” and “Messiah,” as the “Anointed One.” To read “of the God of Israel,” one has to see “’ĕ·lō·hê” as stating “the god,” implying “God.” As “the god of Israel,” which is only YHWH elohim [the LORD of all gods], the Lord is who anoints the Messiah.

David was anointed by Samuel, at the command of YHWH, which is not quite the same as being the Messiah. David was “the man whom God exalted,” or “the man raised up on high.” This means his physical anointment was as the King of Israel. He was “raised up” to lead a nation of people.” The people were the children of Jacob [Israel].

Interestingly, this translation of verse one does not include the last segment of words, which says that David was “raised up on high  ,  the anointed of the god of Israel  ¸ the delightful psalmist of Israel .” The translation read aloud has the last segment saying, “the favorite of the Strong One of Israel.”

The Bible Hub Interlinear does not show any translation substitution of “psalmist” with anything that could be translated as “strong one,” unless one saw writing songs as David’s strength. It clearly shows “zə·mi·rō·wṯ” written, which translates as “psalmist (1), psalms (1), song (1), songs (1), songs (2).” [NAS Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible with Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries]

David the psalmist

This says that David’s greatest connection to the Israelites was through his songs. David was like a popular singer-songwriter today, whose lyrics are learned verbatim by his or her fans. David was anointed to sing to the hearts of Israel [which is not the way David’s psalms are seen today]. To assume that strength through music [as David not only sang lyrics, he also played the harp in accompaniment] this makes more sense when verse two begins by saying, “The spirit of the Lord speaks through me, his word is upon my tongue.” That says the Holy Spirit touched the Israelites through the songs of David. It was through David’s psalms that he heard the LORD speak through him. YHWH was his musical inspiration.

When verse three says, “The God of Israel has spoken, the Rock of Israel has said to me,” this misses the first word, which stands alone as an important one-word statement of transition from the lyrics that came to David via the Holy Spirit [“ruah”]. That word is “’ā·mar,” which means, “said,” but often translates as “answered” or “answers.” While the second segment states “spoken,” which can make “said” seem redundant, when understood as “answered,” then “’ā·mar” means the words of the Lord on David’s tongue made the Psalms the answers sent by God, to soothe all the worries and praises the faithful would encounter as His priests.

This means the Psalms are how “the god of Israel has spoken.” It is then the Psalms that are both the “rock” of high praises and the “cliff” of trials and tribulations when the people fail the Lord (both translations from “tsur “). Rather than David making decrees for everyone to follow [a mundane kingly duty], God led the people through David’s songs of praise and lament. The Psalms were how God “ruled over men justly.” The people rule themselves by feeling God’s presence in the lyrics, knowing that God knows their deepest emotions. The people then fear God by seeing, hearing, and feeling the truth of David’s song lyrics.

To read “is like the light of morning,” means the “dawning” or “first light” of insight that comes to the people, through God’s Word. Like the sun “rises,” so too does the faith of the Israelites as more light of truth is shone. All of the “clouds” of nebulosity are gone, so the meaning of the words is vividly clear. The water of emotion forms like dew on the grass after a rain, when the rainbow is seen in the sky. David’s psalms brought forth sweet emotions to the Israelites.

Rather than asking a question, this psalm sang out that the house of David was not claiming divinity or ownership in the songs. The psalms were inspirations freely given by God and lovingly received by David, for the purpose of sharing God’s insight with all God’s people. That statement of separation was then followed by the reminder that all Israelites have a covenant with God – an unbreakable agreement that shall be everlasting. The Psalms are thus ordered by God for David to pass them along, which he willingly did. They were sent, written, and received by the Israelites to ensure the covenant would not be broken.

David’s own salvation was based on his servitude to the Lord, as he was anointed by God, not to be a King of Israel, but to be a prophet through song. David desired to please the Lord completely and lead all of Israel to have the same desire. The psalms were not adding to the covenant [“he will not make increased” demands], as they were simply speaking how God was still with them, as their King, even though David held the title of king.

All reigns are fleeting.

When we read, “The godless are all like thorns that are thrown away,” this is how all other human beings do not have a contract with YHWH. They have “worthlessness” (from “ū·ḇə·lî·ya·‘al”), as “wicked” peoples with the promise of “destruction” in their futures [born as mortals to die]. This comparison is then the future all Israelites will find, should they not maintain the covenant.

When God then said, “they cannot be picked up with the hand,” this is the physical limitations that keep them from being “raised up.” Gentiles could not feel the emotional power of YHWH in David’s psalms because the deep meaning could not be picked up by simply reading Hebrew words, without a Spiritual contract with the One God of Israel.  David did not write songs of praise and lament because his hand felt the pulse of the people.  He composed when the Holy Spirit would enter him … like an oracle.

As that was written to the Israelites to help them keep from choosing a state of worthlessness over righteousness, that righteousness was the power and strength of Israel, the nation of people, because maintenance of the covenant ensured the Ark of the Covenant would defeat all who threatened Israel with the weapons of war. Should anyone “use an iron bar or the shaft of a spear” against God’s priests, then they would find themselves “entirely consumed in fire on the spot.” That was what David represented to the children of Israel. Therefore, with his death always a certainty, as a mortal, the last words of David should not cause the Israelites to fear their enemies, because YHWH was with them eternally … as long as the covenant was maintained.

As an optional Old Testament reading for the last Sunday of Pentecost, also known as Christ the King Sunday, when one’s own personal ministry for the LORD should already be underway – one should be singing songs of faith, based on the words sent by God to share with others – the message here is to see how these are the last words of Israel’s greatest king. Only God can be an eternal King for His people to follow.

It is important to see that “Christ the King” is God. Jesus of Nazareth was a human, just as was David. Both loved God with all their hearts, minds, and souls. God loved both in return. God anointed David with the talent of prophecy, which he did through song. God anointed Jesus as a greater earthly man than David, because David was the epitome of “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)

“I wear this crown of thorns Upon my liars chair Full of broken thoughts I cannot repair.” NIN

David would fail God because he exalted himself above the covenant, because he wore a crown on his head. Jesus wore the crown of God on his head, as the Christ Mind, but was exalted by the Father because he died a humble man, so his soul could be released and be placed on the heads of countless men and women – Christians.

This last song of David is then expressing the talent of the Holy Spirit that comes from prophecy. One understands that which is prophesied prior and one speaks prophecy as commanded by God, so others will benefit. For the Israelites to understand the prophecy of the Psalms, God had to be with them. They were then connected to God through the Word that came through David. They then taught the meaning to their children, through the love of those songs. This is the talent of all the writers of the Holy Bible, whether it is songs, stories, history, or prophecy. The words of true prophecy speak for an eternity, because they come from God.

Within the last twenty-five years, there was cable TV talk of a Bible Code [or Torah Code]. A system of letters pulled at expected intervals produce prophetic words, where many known historic events were said to have been prophesied in the Holy Bible [just not realized before those events occurred]. On a cable TV show that addressed that code, it was found present in the words of Herman Melville’s novel, Moby Dick. No one would expect that book to be seen as overtly religious.  Believers in the Bible Code said that was marvelous. Skeptics said it was happenchance. I believe God speaks through all of us when we write seriously, such that all writings that impact many have holy intent the writers did not realize was there.

Many popular songwriter-musicians today write lyrics that I doubt they intended a religious message to come forth. When one is ‘in tune’ with the Holy Spirit, then that meaning can be a way for God to communicate to individuals in a deeply spiritual manner, which the moneymakers in the music business reap the benefits of, while having no idea what deeper message is conveyed … they do not care. Still, God speaks to His people through poetry and song, through novels and news articles.

The later history of David, as King of Israel, was he failed God terribly. His failures brought down [they began the collapse of] the nation of Israel. The idea of kings to be like other nations was a failure with Saul, but showed promise with David. David was not seeking to be a king, but when he reached a point in his life when he no longer found pleasure in the fights of the spring – the zest from living for Yahweh – he began believing he was important enough to sin and there was no one who could punish him.  He began to worship his self-ego.

The value of this reading is seeing how God is always watching each and every devotee – each and every wife of His – to give them everything they need to remain faithful, while reminding them of all hell breaking loose upon their souls, should they cheat on God. The worthless souls can do as they wish, pleasing self for material gains. They are not married to YHWH.

This means the lesson of Christ the King Sunday is to be like Jesus of Nazareth and humble oneself to God’s Will. Letting God wear the noble robes and golden crown means His humble servants will be promised everlasting life, knowing this momentary physical impediment we find ourselves in [life on earth] will pass … as long as our eyes do not wander and we do not make idols of lesser gods.

We must each become a kingdom for the Lord of all the gods.

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