2 Samuel 23:2
2 Samuel 23:1-3. - (JERUSALEM.)
[The closing years of David's life (after the insurrection of Sheba was subdued, ch. 20.) were spent in peace. Having secured a site for the altar (2 Samuel 24:25; 1 Chronicles 21:28), he made preparations for the building of the temple (1 Chronicles 22.). At length his strength began to fail; but, when made acquainted with the conspiracy of Adonijah, he displayed something of his former energy in hastening the accession of Solomon (1 Kings 1.). He also "gathered together the princes of Israel," etc. (1 Chronicles 23:1, 2), made numerous arrangements, sacred and civil (1 Chronicles 23:3-32; 1 Chronicles 24-27.), addressed a convocation of princes, gave a charge to his successor, and offered thanksgiving to God (1 Chronicles 28; 1 Chronicles 29:1-25). He subsequently gave further counsel to Solomon (1 Kings 2:1-9). About the same time, probably, he uttered these last prophetic words; and then, at the age of seventy, he "fell on sleep" (1 Kings 2:10; 1 Chronicles 29:26-28). "The omission of David's death in the conclusion of this work is satisfactorily explained from the theocratic character and aim of the composition, since in this conclusion the fulfilment of the theocratic mission of David is completed" (Erdmann).]

"And these are the last words of David:
An oracle of David, son of Jesse,
And an oracle of the hero highly exalted,
Anointed of the God of Jacob,
And pleasant (in) Israel's songs of praise.

The Spirit of Jehovah speaks within me,
And his word is on my tongue;
Says the God of Israel,
To me speaks the Rock of Israel," etc. How varied are the last words of men! How significant of their ruling passion! And how instructive to others (Genesis 48:21, 22; Genesis 49:1; Deuteronomy 33:1; Joshua 23:14; Joshua 24:27; 2 Kings 13:19; Luke 2:29; Acts 7:59; 2 Timothy 4:6-8)! Here is David, "the man of God's own choice," about to go "the way of all the earth" (2 Samuel 7:12; 1 Kings 2:2). Highly exalted as he was, he must die like other men. "We walk different ways in life, but in death we are all united." Ere he departs his spirit kindles with unwonted lustre, as not unfrequently happens in the case of others; he is under the immediate inspiration of God (Numbers 24:3, 4), and sings his last song of praise, sweet as the fabled notes of the dying swan. "No prince, and certainly no one who had not acquired his kingdom by inheritance, could possibly close his life with a more blessed repose in God and a brighter glance of confidence into the future. This is the real stamp of true greatness" (Ewald). "These are the words of the prophecy of David, which he prophesied concerning the end of the age, concerning the days of consolation which are to come" (Targum). They show that he has in death (what it is also the privilege of other servants of God in some measure to possess) -

I. GRATEFUL MEMORIES of the favour of God; which has been manifested:

1. Toward one of lowly origin and condition. "A son of Jesse." "Who am I?" etc. (1 Samuel 18:18). "I am the least in my father's house" (Judges 6:15). He recognizes his natural relationships, recalls his early life, renounces all special claim to Divine favour, and is filled with humility. "What hast thou that thou didst not receive?" (1 Corinthians 4:7).

2. In raising him up to exalted honour. "The man [hero] who was highly exalted." Earthly distinction is the portion of a few, but spiritual distinction is the possession of every good man; he is a partaker of the Divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), raised; up with Christ, and made to sit with him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6), and an heir of all things (1 Corinthians 3:23). "The Christian believes himself to be a king, how mean soever he be, and how great soever he be; yet he thinks himself not too good to be servant to the poorest saint" (Bacon, 'Christian Paradoxes').

3. In appointing him to royal dominion over men. "Anointed," etc. He has "an anointing from the Holy One," and shares in the dominion of Christ. "To him will I give power over the nations," etc. (Revelation 2:26).

4. In conferring upon him excellent endowments, in the exercise of which he quickens the spiritual susceptibilities of men, furnishes them with "acceptable words" in their approach to God, and becomes a helper of their noblest life and joy. Pleasant [lovely] in [by means of] the praise songs of [sung by] Israel." "He was not only the founder of the monarchy, but the founder of the Psalter. He is the first great poet of Israel. Although before his time there had been occasional bursts of Hebrew poetry, David is he who first gave it its fixed place in Israelite worship" (Stanley).

"The harp the monarch minstrel swept,
The king of men, the loved of Heaven,
Which Music hallow'd, while she wept
O'er tones her heart of hearts had given;
Redoubled be her tears, its chords are riven!
It soften'd men of iron mould,

It gave them virtues not their own;
No ear so dull, no soul so cold,
That felt not, fired not to the tone,
Till David's lyre grew mightier than his throne!"


(Byron, 'Hebrew Melodies') Although his greatness was peculiar, yet a measure of true greatness belongs to every one of the "royal priesthood" (1 Peter 2:6, 9; Revelation 1:6) of the spiritual Israel. He has power with God and with men, represents God to men and men to God, employs his power with God on behalf of men, and his power with men on behalf of God; and if, by the culture and use of the gifts bestowed upon him, he has contributed to the highest good of men - this (together with all the Divine benefits he has received) is a matter of grateful remembrance and fervent thanksgiving (Psalm 37:25, 37, 39; Psalm 103.). "It is not what we have done, but what God has done for us and through us, that gives true peace when we come to the end."

II. GRACIOUS COMMUNICATIONS by the Spirit of God; inasmuch as he is:

1. Filled with Divine inspiration. "The Spirit of Jehovah speaks within me." Such inspiration is of various kinds and degrees, and given for different special purposes. "Men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16). But every one who has fellowship with God is inhabited, pervaded, inspired by his Spirit, enlightening, purifying, elevating, gladdening, and strengthening him. Some are "full of the Holy Ghost." In a dying hour, what a marvellous elevation of thought and feeling have they sometimes attained! "Holy men at their death have good inspirations" (see 'Last Words of Remarkable Persons;' ' Life's Last Hours;' Jacox, 'At Nightfall,' etc.; S. Ward, 'The Life of Faith in Death;' J. Hawes, 'Confessions of Dying Men,' etc.).

2. Enabled to utter the Divine Word. "And his Word is on my tongue." Even though there be no new, definite, and infallible revelation of the Word of God, there is often a new indication of its meaning and application, and a fresh, fervid, and forcible expression thereof. "As the Spirit gave them utterance."

3. Made a recipient of Divine promises. "The God of Israel says." He who entered into a covenant relation with Israel, and promised to be their God, gave to David the promise of an everlasting kingdom (2 Samuel 7:12-16), and still gives it, with an inner voice that cannot be mistaken. He also "speaks all the promises," not only in the written Word, but also in the soul of every one to whom that Word comes in "much assurance."

"Oh, might I hear thy heavenly voice
But whisper, 'Thou art mine!'
Those gentle words should raise my song
To notes almost Divine."

4. Constituted a witness of the Divine faithfulness in the fulfilment of the promises. "To me speaks the Rock of Israel" (1 Samuel 2:2; 2 Samuel 22:2, 3, 32, 47). "He is faithful that promised" (Hebrews 10:23). His faithfulness is the foundation of his promises. "And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Jehovah: and thy faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones" (Psalm 89:1, 2, 5, 8, 24, 33). On this the believer rests when all things fail, and of this he testifies in death, committing his soul into the hands of God, as "unto a faithful Creator" (1 Peter 4:19; Psalm 31:5).

III. GLORIOUS ANTICIPATIONS of the kingdom of God; wherein the glory of the present merges into the greater glory of the future, and earth and heaven are one (vers. 3-5; Psalm 85:11). He sees:

1. The majesty of the King of righteousness; like the splendour of the rising sun. His view of the ideal theocratic ruler of the future has its perfect realization in him who is "King of kings, and Lord of lords." The chief object of the Christian's contemplation in death is the glory of Christ. "Herein would I live; herein would I die; herein would I dwell in my thoughts and affections, to the withdrawing and consumption of all the painted beauties of this world, unto the crucifixion of all things here below, until they become unto me a dead and deformed thing, no way meet for affectionate embraces" (Owen).

2. The brightness of a heavenly day; "the drawing near of the kingdom of the heavens," and abounding life and happiness forever (2 Samuel 22:51; ver. 5). "Nevertheless we according to his promise," etc. (2 Peter 3:13).

3. The realization of a blessed hope; the hope of personal salvation (ver. 5), associated with and assured in the immortal life of the King and his people (Psalm 16:9-11; Psalm 17:15; Psalm 49:15; Psalm 73:24; John 14:19).

4. The destruction of all iniquity. (Ver. 6.) The people shall be all righteous. "The dying eyes see on the horizon of the far off future the form of him who is to be a just and perfect Ruler; before the brightness of whose presence, and the refreshing of whose influence, verdure and beauty shall clothe the world. As the shades gather, that radiant glory to come brightens. He departs in peace, having seen the salvation from afar. It was fitting that this fullest of his prophecies should be the last of his strains, as if the rapture which thrilled the trembling strings had snapped them in twain" (Maclaren).

"They who watch by him see not; but he sees -
Sees and exults. Were ever dreams like these?
Those who watch by him hear not; but he hears,
And earth recedes, and heaven itself appears."


(Rogers) His funeral obsequies were celebrated with the greatest pomp ever yet known in Israel, and his arms were preserved as sacred relics in the temple; but the lapse of time only increased the reverence in which his memory was held in the national heart, until it finally culminated in a glowing desire to behold him once again upon the earth, and to see the advent of a second David (Ewald). - D.







The Spirit of the Lord spake by me.
I. THE INSPIRATION OF THE SCRIPTURES. This may be shown by the combined testimony of Moses, the Psalmist, the Prophets of our Lord, and also of the Apostles and Evangelists. Consider:

1. The language of Moses. Now what does Moses say of his own writings? "Thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep His statutes and His commandments, which are written in this book of the law."

2. The language of the Psalmist. David, the sweet Psalmist of Israel, claims inspiration for those psalms which are of his own composition. "The Spirit of the Lord," he says, "spake by me." And what are his other testimonies respecting the word of God at large? Very wonderful, he says, are its properties. It is the grand instrument, he tells us, in the sinner's conversion. "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul."

3. The language of the prophets. What does Jeremiah say concerning his own writings? The Lord commanded Jeremiah to set down in a book certain prophecies. Those prophecies Baruch read in the audience of the king and the princes. And what is said respecting Baruch's reading? "Then read he in the book the words of the Lord in the house of the Lord." He read in the book "the words of the Lord."

4. The language of Christ. He met His adversaries with the Scripture.

5. The language of the Evangelists and Apostles. Our Lord, before His departure, promised to send to His disciples the Holy Ghost. "And when He is come, He will bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have spoken unto you." The Evangelists and Apostles, therefore, wrote under the controlling power of the Holy Ghost. "All Scripture, wrote St. Peter," is given by inspiration of God," or, is "God-breathed." That Scripture Timothy had known from a child; arid that Scripture was able to make Timothy "wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." By that term "Scripture," which was able to make its readers savingly acquainted with Christ, was meant the Old Testament writings. Now, these Old Testament books are directly quoted or alluded to in the New Testament several hundreds of times. There are more than eighty such references in St. Matthew; more than thirty in St. Mark; more than fifty in St. Luke; forty in St. John; more than fifty in the Acts of the Apostles; more than seventy in the Romans.

II. WORDS OF COUNSEL.

1. Beware of the sin of unbelief. God has given us-a revelation. The mighty God, even the Lord, hath spoken. That revelation contains difficulties and mysteries. Our Lord was satisfied with the Old Testament, and we, therefore, should surely be satisfied. But we have, in addition, a most clear commentary on the Old Testament. We have the New Testament.

2. Cultivate a childlike spirit. Our Lord has plainly told us that, except we be converted and become as little children, we shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.

3. Receive all that the Bible reveals. In the Bible, as St Peter tells us, there are many things "hard to be understood." This is no more than we ought to expect, when the infinite God reveals Himself to a finite being like man. Those things, however, which are necessary for our salvation — sin, death, hell, heaven, the general resurrection, the atonement of Christ, the work of the Spirit — are written so plainly "that he may run that reads."

(C. Clayton, M. A.)

Who built St. Paul's Cathedral? So many masons, carpenters, iron-workers, carvers, painters — and then there was Wren. Yes, there was Christopher Wren. He was not a mason, nor a carpenter, nor an ironworker. He never laid a single stone, drove a nail, or forged a railing. What did he do? He did it all. He planned the splendid edifice: inspired with his thought and purpose all their toil, and wrought through every worker. They were his "hands," and people flock to-day in their thousands from all over the world to see Christopher Wren's masterpiece. Who wrote the Bible? Moses, David, Isaiah, John, Paul? Yes. But the Holy Spirit did it all. "Holy men of old spake as they were borne along by the Holy Ghost."

In an interesting little pamphlet, written by the late Dr. A. J. Gordon, and called "Three weeks with Joseph Rabinowitz," there are several striking expressions uttered by the Russian Jew. "What is your view of inspiration?" we asked him, in order to draw him out concerning certain much-mooted questions Of our time. "My view is," he said, holding up his Hebrew Bible, "that this is the Word of God; the Spirit of God dwells in it; when I read it, I know that God is speaking to me; and when I preach it, I say to the people, 'Be silent, and hear what Jehovah will say to you.' As for comparing the inspiration of Scripture with that of Homer or Shakespeare," he continued, "it is not a question of degree, but of kind.. Electricity will pass through an iron bar, but it will not go through a rod of glass, however beautiful and transparent, because it has no affinity for it. So the Spirit of God dwells in the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures, because these are His proper medium, but not in Homer or Shakespeare, because He has no affinity with these writings."

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