Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said,3. The Last Words of David and the Record of the Mighty Men
1. His last words (2Samuel 23:1-7)
2. The names and records of David’s mighty men (2Samuel 23:8-39)
In his last words an even greater and clearer vision is given to King David. “If Psalm 18 was a grand Hallelujah, with which David quitted the scene of life, these ‘his last words’ are the divine attestation of all that he had sung and prophesied in the Psalms concerning the spiritual import of the kingdom which he was to found in accordance with the divine message that Nathan had been commissioned to bring to him. Hence these ‘last words’ must be regarded as an inspired prophetic utterance by David, before his death, about the King and kingdom of God in their full and real meaning” (History of Judah and Israel). And this King is Christ and the kingdom that which will be set up with the second coming of Christ. As the translation in the authorized version is weak we give here a corrected translation:
David the son of Jesse saith,
And the man who was raised on high saith,
The anointed of the God of Jacob,
And the sweet Psalmist in Israel:
The Spirit of the Lord spake by me,
And His word was on my tongue.
The God of Israel said,
The Rock of Israel spake to me:
A righteous ruler over men.
A Ruler in the fear of God,
Like the light of the morning when the sun riseth,
A morning without clouds;
When the tender grass cometh forth out of the earth,
Through the clear shining after the rain.
But my house is not so with God.
Yet He has made me an everlasting covenant
Ordered in all and sure;
For this is all my salvation--all my delight,
Although He maketh it not to grow.
But the wicked shall be all of them as thorns thrust away,
For they cannot be taken with the hand;
And the man that toucheth them,
Must have iron and the staff of a spear
And they shall be utterly burned with fire in their dwelling.
Little comment is needed; just a little help to open up the words of the dying King. The righteous ruler over men, a ruler in the fear of God is our Lord. Thus He will yet rule over the earth in righteousness. And when He comes to rule, there cometh the morning without clouds when the earth will be refreshed, through the clear shining, the brightness of His glory, after the rain; after judgment is passed. Then David confesseth that his house is not so with God. His hope, his salvation, all his delight is in the covenant made with him; it centers in the fulfilment of the Davidic covenant. And the wicked will suffer the fire of His wrath.
In blessed keeping with this last great prophetic utterance of the King are the records and the names of the mighty men of David. They were the men who loved David, stood by him, showed their loyalty and devotion to the King. And others are given, of whom we read no definite deeds. The last name is Uriah the Hittite. The spiritual meaning is not hard to find. Before the judgment seat of Christ all will be made manifest. When He comes to be the righteous Ruler, to usher in the morning without clouds, those will be remembered who were loyal and devoted to Him in His rejection. No name and no deed, even the smallest, will then be forgotten. What an incentive this should be, especially in the solemn days in which we live, when we see the day approaching, to serve Him and be as devoted to our absent, but coming Lord, as David’s mighty men were to him. In our annotation on 1 Chronicles where we find these records also we hope to point out some of the details of the deeds of David’s mighty men (1 Chronicles 11).