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,
2 Samuel 23:1
In David we have: (1) an example and (2) a warning.
I. The characteristic of David was loyalty to the Lord his God, loyalty to the King of kings. Loyalty is love evinced towards a superior, love which induces us to do all that in us lies, as circumstances from time to time admit, in small things or in great, to promote the glory of Him whose servants and subjects we are, and to advance the interests of His kingdom. We are to show our loyalty: (1) by from time to time renewing our vow as subjects and soldiers of the great Captain of our salvation; (2) by seeking to enkindle in our souls, through prayer for the renovating influences of the Holy Ghost, love towards Him who first loved us; (3) by looking out for opportunities of service.
II. The history of David is also a warning. However excitable the devotional feelings may be, that man is not in a state of grace whose conduct is not conformable to the moral requirements of the Gospel. David fell; and if David had not repented, he would have perished everlastingly. Those whose hearts are fervent in adoration have need to take warning from David and watch as well as pray.
F. W. Hook, Parish Sermons, p. 90.
References: 2 Samuel 23:1.—Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 233; W. M. Taylor, David King of Israel, p. 312. 2 Samuel 23:1-5.—D. J. Vaughan, The Days of the Son of Man, p. 388; J. R. Macduff, Sunsets on the Hebrew Mountains, p. 114.
2 Samuel 23:1-7If Jacob when he died foresaw the fate of a family, and Joseph the fate of a nation, David saw, and rejoiced to see, the destiny of mankind. His dying eyes were fixed on that great advent which changed the old world into the new world in which we live, on the dawn of that new Christian day which has come to the earth like the clear shining of the sun after rain and clothed it in fresh, tender green.
Whether it was so designed or not we cannot tell, but in the sacred record the last words of David fall brokenly from his lips, as though uttered with difficulty and pain. They sound like the murmurs of a dying man struggling for breath, who nevertheless has somewhat of the utmost moment to say, and nerves himself to gasp out the more weighty words and phrases, leaving his hearers to piece them together and spell out their meaning. For convenience' sake we may divide them into a prelude and a revelation.
I. The prelude. The opening words point back to an antique prophecy, the prophecy of Balaam on the fate and glory of Israel (Numbers 24:3-4). His oracle corresponds with Balaam's, but it also contrasts with it. David's vision is no cloudy and imperfect glimpse of a star and sceptre; he sees the King, the true King of men, and the new day which the King will make for men.
II. He sees in the future the ideal Ruler, the true Divine King who was to arise on the earth. In sweet, pure figures the kingdom of Christ passed before the mind of David. When the true King came, the darkness in which men sat would be over and gone; the rain of tears, falling because of the tyranny of man to man, would cease. His hope was based on the "everlasting covenant" which God had made with him. On His word, His promise, His covenant, the dying king bases his hope for his house and for the world.
Congregationalist, vol. i., p. 88.
References: 2 Samuel 23:1-7.—S. Cox, An Expositor's Notebook, p. 115; J. G. Murphy, The Book of Daniel, p. 33. 2 Samuel 23:4.—J. Van Oosterzee, Year of Salvation, vol. i., p. 13.
2 Samuel 23:5Thus the thought of the shortcomings of family religion entered into the last words of David, the son of Jesse, and laid a shadow upon his dying peace. Of all the images under which another world has been revealed to us, the best and the happiest is by far "My Father's house." But in proportion as the anticipation of that Father's house is clear, and beautiful, and distinct, will the contrast of the earthly home grow every day more intolerable.
I. It is a very rare thing to find much freedom of intercourse on spiritual subjects among the members of the same family, so that many give the confidences of their souls to comparative strangers, who seldom, if ever, speak on deep matters of personal religion to their parents or brothers or sisters. The reason of this is threefold: (1) the general law which rules most minds that they honour more what is at a distance than what is near; (2) the consciousness that we all have that our near relations are acquainted with our infirmities and inconsis-tencies—a consciousness which ties the tongue; (3) the want of effort, that effort without which no conversation is ever profitable, and without which no real benefit is ever given or received in any matter.
II. If the frequency of the custom had not almost accustomed our minds to it, we should all mark and be offended with the way in which many Christian fathers and mothers discharge their parental duties. The grace of reverence has fallen away from almost all our home duties. The man who is unreverential towards his parents can never have true reverence for God.
III. The chief reason of family evils is that there is so little prayer in our homes. We want the ark in the house, the Shechinah, to fill the rooms and make them all little sanctuaries.
J. Vaughan, Sermons, 9th series, p. 134 (see also Fifty Sermons, 1874, p. 320).
References: 2 Samuel 23:5.—Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 356; J. M. Neale, Sermons in Sackville College, vol. i., p. 37; J. Irons, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. v., p. 409; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. i., No. 19. 2 Samuel 23:11, 2 Samuel 23:12.—S. Baring-Gould, Village Preaching for a Year, vol. ii., p. 204. 2 Samuel 23:13-17.—Sermons for Boys and Girls, p. 403. 2 Samuel 23:15.—M. Nicholson, Redeeming the Time, p. 180.
2 Samuel 23:15-17We see in this instance how hard work, the sweat of toilsome labour, risk of life, weariness, wounds, and heroic endurance may all be accepted of God, may be poured out unto the Lord, though in the first instance shown to man. Every work done for others costing self-denial, weariness, and anxiety is like the water brought from the well of Bethlehem by the three valiant men of David. It does not rest with the immediate object; it is poured out in sacrifice to the Lord.
Unselfishness confers on him who is adorned with it a sort of priesthood. He is ever offering up sacrifices of his time, his comforts, his conveniences, to others, and though these be offered to others, they are in reality libations to God. There is special merit in such acts if they be done with a right intent, and in such a way that Christ may be seen in all we do for others.
S. Baring-Gould, Village Preaching for a Year, p. 194.
References: 2 Samuel 23:15-17.—J. Baines, Sermons, p. 126. 2 Samuel 23:20.—S. Baring-Gould, One Hundred Sermon Sketches, p. 91. 2Sam 24—W. M. Taylor, David King of Israel, p. 269.
The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.
The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.
And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.
Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.
But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:
But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place.
These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.
And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away:
He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.
And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines.
But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.
And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim.
And David was then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem.
And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!
And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.
And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men.
And Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief among three. And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, and slew them, and had the name among three.
Was he not most honourable of three? therefore he was their captain: howbeit he attained not unto the first three.
And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow:
And he slew an Egyptian, a goodly man: and the Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and slew him with his own spear.
These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men.
He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the first three. And David set him over his guard.
Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,
Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite,
Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite,
Abiezer the Anethothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite,
Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite,
Heleb the son of Baanah, a Netophathite, Ittai the son of Ribai out of Gibeah of the children of Benjamin,
Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash,
Abialbon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite,
Eliahba the Shaalbonite, of the sons of Jashen, Jonathan,
Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite,
Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,
Hezrai the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite,
Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite,
Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Beerothite, armourbearer to Joab the son of Zeruiah,
Ira an Ithrite, Gareb an Ithrite,
Uriah the Hittite: thirty and seven in all.