2 Samuel: The Davidic Covenant

The Davidic covenant was the centerpiece of the narrator’s agenda. Everything in the narrative up to this point had been moving in this direction.  David, who proved himself to be a great leader among the Israelites, was legitimately appointed to the throne by the Lord. This is exemplified by the establishment of the Davidic covenant.

2 sam 2The major theological highpoint of the work is found in 2 Samuel 7. This section outlines the covenant between Yahweh and David. This narrative is divided into two parts: Nathan’s deliverance of the prophecy and David’s prayerful response. Verses 8-17 says in part, “I will make your name great…and I will provide a place for my people Israel….Wicked people will not oppress them anymore…I will give you rest from your enemies… The Lord will establish a house for you… I will raise up your offspring to succeed you.” Many of these promises are reminiscent of those given to Abraham in Genesis 17. David humbly proclaimed in verse 18, “Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family that you have brought me this far?” This covenant between Yahweh and David highlights what has been promised and what is yet to come.

Israel had grown accustom to insecurity, apostasy, syncretism, and war. However, the Davidic Covenant signified peace and security due to a king who exhibited justice and adhered to the standards set forth by the Lord. The Lord promised in 2 Samuel 7:14-15 that though he may discipline the family line of David, he would never forsake them. In the Davidic Covenant, there are no conditions. The promises made immediately to David were unconditional. David was promised unconditionally that his son would succeed him and serve a full term, but the terms beyond that were conditional on the conduct of his son. The thought that one would later come to fulfill the conditions of the Davidic Covenant is the foundation for Messianic Theology. Jesus is the one who brings forth the renewal of the Davidic Covenant, clearing the way for an eternal kingdom.

2 sam 3Ultimately, David was destined to control the throne, but he did not usurp Saul’s authority. David maintained a stance of nonaggression towards the house of Saul, even when his life was threatened. Though, some argue that the text could be propaganda to legitimize David’s right to rule, the text does not treat David well overall. Thus, one can conclude that there is no reason to suspect that the narrator construed the text to favor David.

The narrative of David’s sin in chapters 11-19 cause the reader to wonder where the wholehearted character of David went. The prophet Nathan rebuked David in chapter 12, detailing the story of two men, one rich and one poor. The poor man had nothing except one ewe lamb, whom he treated like a daughter. When a traveler came, the rich man took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it. David exclaimed that the rich man be put to death. Nathan, however, explained that David is the rich man. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord by striking down Uriah and taking his wife, Bathsheba. Ultimately, David’s sin brought calamity upon his family and posterity. David’s poor judgment documented how human sin and bad judgment jeopardized the Davidic covenant as far back as David himself..

2 samuelA modern reader of 2 Samuel should realize that sin has consequences. Everyone has sinned and must live with the effects of that sin. David’s sin caused calamity upon his family, likewise, a person’s sin increases futility in their life. Though the consequences may not be easily visible, all sin removes humanity for the blessings of covenant relationship with the Lord. Everyone leaves a legacy depending on how they live, ultimately deciding whether or not their posterity will follow God. David is called, “a man after God’s own heart”. God knows every person’s heart, as well as their shortcomings. By pursuing the Lord, one can experience the life that comes for maintaining a personal relationship with God. The modern reader should also take seriously their role in leadership. David’s sin brought a plague upon the Israelites. Leaders are held accountable for how they conduct themselves, whether by faith or unbelief. If one pursues the Lord, they should remain cognizant that other’s view that relationship. One should strive to eradicate sin from their lives, and lead a life that edifies and inspires other believers.

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