2 Samuel 23:4

1. The hope of salvation, and more especially of the establishment of the kingdom of heaven upon earth, was, in some measure, fulfilled in the reign of David, the Lord's messiah. In his character as theocratic ruler he was a type (prefigurement or anticipatory outline) of Christ (1 Samuel 2:10). "The type is prophecy in deed."

2. Under Divine inspiration, he formed an ideal of a theocratic ruler, in connection with his own personality and history. Hence the representations contained in the Messianic psalms (16, 22.), in some things transcend his experience, and in others are mingled with his infirmities.

3. In this oracle or Divine saying (as in Psalm 110., and perhaps others) he looked forward to the realization of his ideal at a future time. "No part whatever of the Old Testament is introduced with a greater majesty of language, or more excites the expectation of some splendid and glorious sense, than the last words of David" (Kennicott). The promise of eternal dominion to his house was joined with an intimation of his death (2 Samuel 7:12); and "these last words show how, in consequence of the consciousness of his own guilt, the image of the Messiah was separated from his subjectivity, and came before him as a majestic form of the future. He, the highly favoured one, who had considered himself immortal (Psalm 16.), must now die! He therefore grasps the pillars of the promise, ceases to connect the Messianic hopes with himself, and as a prophet beholds the future of his seed" (Delitzsch). "These words are not merely a lyric effusion of the promise, but a prophetic declaration concerning the true king of the kingdom of God" (Keil). "They form the keystone of his life; his prophetic legacy; to which the cycle of Psalm 138-145, must be regarded as supplementary" (Hengstenberg). "If there is any part of Scripture which betrays the movements of the human individual soul, it is this precious fragment of David's life. If there be any part which claims for itself, and which gives evidence of the breathings of the Spirit of God, it is this also. Such a rugged two-edged monument is a fitting memorial of the man who was at once the king and the prophet, the penitent and the saint of the ancient Church" (Stanley).

4. The ideal of a theocratic ruler was only partially realized in Solomon and other kings of the house of David (Psalm 45.; 72.; Isaiah 32.).

5. Although the hope of a more adequate realization thereof was again and again disappointed, it was not extinguished, but became more and more spiritual and exalted (Riehm, 'Messianic Prophecy;' C.A. Row, 'The Jesus of the Evangelists;' W.F. Adeney, 'The Hebrew Utopia').

6. At length the hope of Israel was perfectly fulfilled in the Person, work, and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Luke 1:32; Matthew 22:43; Acts 2:36; Ephesians 1:20-22; Revelation 1:18.) "In using the Old Testament now, especially for purposes of edification, we should feel that we fail to do justice to the Old Testament, if, when expounding any truth taught in it, we do not bring into connection with the passage explained the highest form of the truth as revealed in the New Testament" (A.B. Davidson, 'Messianic Prophecy,' Expositor, 8.). What is here said must, on this principle, be referred to Christ; and it may be referred to him, with more or less propriety, in his earthly life, in his heavenly dominion, or at his second appearing. It indicates -

I. HIS EXALTED CHARACTER and principles of government. As if present at the commencement of "the golden age," David beholds

"A ruler over men [literally, 'in man'], just
A ruler fearing God!" Many a ruler, like "the unjust judge," neither fears God nor regards man. He acquires his position by craft and bloodshed, and exercises his power in oppression and ungodliness. Not so the ruler here depicted; who is distinguished by:

1. Rectitude of heart, of speech, and of conduct; in the laws according to which he rules, and his administration of them, rendering to every man according to his deeds; herein resembling, reflecting, and representing the rectitude of God; and protecting and promoting the best interests of men (Psalm 72:4; Isaiah 9:7; Isaiah 11:1-10; Jeremiah 23:5; Jeremiah 30:9; Ezekiel 34:23, 24; Hosea 3:5; Micah 5:l-5; Zechariah 9:9, 10). "The history of the actual David supplies the subject matter for these idealizations. David is the original prototype on which they are formed, and round whose person they cluster. They may be described as David idealized" (C.A. Row).

2. Piety; the fear of offending God, reverence for his Name, delight in his fellowship, obedience to his will, opposition to his adversaries, dependence on his strength, and devotion to his honour and glory. "When he that rules is just, it is as if he did not rule, but the fear of the Lord ruled in the earth" (Barrett, 'A Synopsis of Criticisms').

3. Rectitude united with piety; founded upon it, pervaded by it, and expressive of it; his supreme aim and constant endeavour being the establishment of the kingdom of God. All this is realized, even beyond expectation, in the wonderful Person of Christ, and his just and merciful reign over mankind. "Put together your ideal of true greatness of soul - power combined with gentleness; dignity with no pride; benevolence with no weakness; sympathy and love for humanity as it is, and especially for the poor, the sad, the suffering. Let your ideal be stainless, and even unsuspected of stain; and let him cheerfully and patiently live and die for men who misunderstood and even hated him. This is what you will see in the history of Christ... the Messiah of humanity as well as the Jews" (J.M. Wilson). "The type set up in the Gospels as the Christian type is the essence of man's moral nature clothed with a personality so vivid and intense as to excite through all ages the most intense affection; yet divested of all those peculiar characteristics and accidents of place and time by which human personalities are marked. What other notion than this can philosophy form of Divinity manifest on earth?' (Goldwin Smith, quoted by Liddon, 'Some Elements,' etc., p. 218).

II. HIS BENEFICENT INFLUENCE.

"And {his appearance is) as the light of morning, (at) the rising of the sun,
A morning without clouds; (and the effect thereof as when)
From brightness (and) from lain verdure (springs) from (out of) the earth." As the influence of an unjust and ungodly ruler is powerful for evil, so the influence of the King Messiah is powerful for good, and much more abundantly (Psalm 72:6, 7, 16). It is like that of

"...the great minister
Of nature, that upon the world imprints
The virtue of the heaven, and doles out
Time for us with his beam."


(Dante.) The sun is the source of light, heat, and force; of life, health, fertility, beauty, and gladness. What a change takes place in the whole aspect of nature at the approach of "the powerful king of day"! A similar change takes place in the moral and spiritual world at the rising of the Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2; Isaiah 60:2). In him, who is "the Light of the world," Jehovah himself becomes manifest to men, "visits and redeems his people," and "gives light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death," etc. (Luke 1:68-79). "Even as the light of the morning shall he arise, Jehovah the Sun" (Pye Smith, 'Scripture Testimony to the Messiah'). At his appearance, and under his influence:

1. Darkness is dispersed; the long dreary night of ignorance, error, injustice, impiety, oppression, discord, and misery, "and the veil that is spread over all nations" (Isaiah 25:7).

2. Light is diffused; the light of truth, pure and bright; revelations of heavenly love and mercy; a spirit of gentleness and tenderness, "of wisdom and might;" guiding, quickening, healing, and saving.

3. Life abounds with the peaceful fruits of righteousness; spontaneously, readily, universally; as, when (after a season of drought, or in spring) heavy showers have fallen and bright sunshine breaks forth, the earth clothes itself in fresh and "tender green" (Isaiah 35:1, 2). "The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." The one true King of men has come, his influence is powerfully and widely felt, and it is constantly, increasing; nevertheless we see not yet all things subdued unto him. Like prophets and kings of old, we still wait for his appearing. "For he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet" (1 Corinthians 15:25).

III. HIS ASSURED MANIFESTATION. For (there is sure pound for my expectation, for) is not my house (not myself merely) thus with (related to) God (that out of it such an exalted ruler and his beneficial influence shall proceed)? For (because) he has established to me an everlasting covenant (to this effect), Arranged in all (respects) and kept; For (therefore) all my salvation (involved therein) and all (his) good pleasure (expressed therein) For (therefore, I say) will he not cause (them) to sprout (to be fully accomplished)? The pedge of this just ruler was the eternal covenant which God had concluded with him (Tholuck). The whole oracle is founded upon this covenant (solemn promise, sacred engagement, arrangement, constitution, dispensation), securing eternal dominion to his house and the blessings of salvation to the subjects of his kingdom (2 Samuel 7:13, 10, 24). "The Davidic covenant is the embodiment of the hope of David, and the theme of his last meditations. In this swanlike song David clings to the Messianic promise as his greatest delight" (C.A. Briggs, 'Messianic Prophecy').

1. It cannot fail of fulfilment, in the appearing and reign of the Messiah; because of:

(1) The faithfulness of God, "the Rock of Israel" (ver. 3), its Author;

(2) its having been actually made,

(3) with the express assurance of these things,

(4) "to David, and his seed forever" (2 Samuel 22:51);

(5) carefully arranged, provided with everything adapted to effect the proper end thereof, and to avert failure, even through apostasy (2 Samuel 7:14, 15);

(6) and its being constantly preserved, guarded, watched over, until completely fulfilled.

2. In its fulfilment, the promised salvation of the people of God, and his gracious purposes concerning them, will be accomplished. "All my salvation," etc. "The dying Israelite looked forward to the grand destiny of his people, and lost his personality in the larger life of the nation, and thus triumphed over death through the thought of the immortality and future blessedness of the collective Israel" (W.F. Adeney); or rather he expected to share with them, in some way, their glorious inheritance (Psalm 61:5, 6; Psalm 73:23, 26; Isaiah 54:10-14; Isaiah 55:3, 4; Daniel 12:3, 4, 13).

3. On this the servant of God rests with strong confidence and blessed hope, in life and death (Genesis 49:18). "We are saved by hope." And "when Christ, who is our Life, shall be manifested, then shall ye also with him be manifested in glory" (Colossians 3:4; 1 John 3:2; 2 Peter 3:13).

"My God, the covenant of thy love
Abides forever sure;
And in its matchless grace I feel
My happiness secure."

IV. HIS FINAL JUDGMENT on the wicked.

"And worthlessness [literally, 'Belial, ungodly men']
as thorns thrust away (are) all of them;
For (because) not with the (unarmed) hand are they seized;
And (but) the man who touches them
Is filled (fills his hand, provides himself) with iron,
And shaft of spear
(i.e. a long spear),
And with fire are they utterly burned on the spot." It is the tart of a just and godly ruler to punish evil doers. The undue leniency of David was followed by disastrous consequences (2 Samuel 3:39; 2 Samuel 13:21; 2 Samuel 14:33; 2 Samuel 19:23; 2 Samuel 20:10); and, at the close of his life, he charged his successor to vindicate the Law wherein he had himself failed to do so (1 Kings 2:1-9). The coming King is not only a Saviour, but also a Judge; and to him all judgment is committed (John 5:22, 27). "There rises up before him (David) a field overrun with thorns, which the Divine ministers pluck up with gauntleted hands, and beat down with their burnished spears, and commit to the consuming flames" (S. Cox, 'Expositor's Note-Book'). His judgment is:

1. Just.

2. Certain.

3. Irresistible.

4. Complete.

The day of grace, during which forbearance has been shown in vain, is followed by the day of wrath (Malachi 4:1; Matthew 3:12; Matthew 13:40-43; Hebrews 6:7). - D.







He shall be as the light of the morning when the sun riseth.
It is generally allowed that, the Authorised Version is not very happy here, and that the true idea of the passage is got by reading it as a vision — a bright vision of a glorious Ruler, as it rose before the entranced sight of the psalmist. The form of this Ruler is projected before him; He is one who is "righteous," and who "rules in the fear of God." A Divine radiance goes from Him, diffusing a silvery brightness on every side. "As the light of the morning!" exclaims the psalmist, recalling the welcome sight of the purple dawn after a dark and stormy night. By-and-by "the sun ariseth," rejoicing like a strong man to run a race. It is "a morning without clouds"; there is nothing to obstruct the influence of the orb of day as he scatters his treasures from his golden chariot. See how his beams fall on "the tender grass," making it sparkle with diamonds and pearls! This was King David's last vision — the vision of a ruler appearing on earth, worthy of these glorious emblems. Who can this Ruler be? Not Solomon, not Jehoshaphat, not Hezekiah: for though these and other kings were noble rulers, they did not come up to the high eulogy of David; neither were they "rulers over men" as such, but only over a small section of them — David's own kingdom, if even the whole of that. The Ruler of the vision has a wider dominion, and belongs to a nobler order. There are few things that strike the imagination more, or that dwell more vividly in the memory than a beautiful sunrise in an Alpine country. The Alpine horn wakens you in the early morning, and, flushed with the expectation of a rare enjoyment, you hasten to the spot where the view is to be seen. Your patience is somewhat taxed as the minutes slowly pass, and no sun appears. But as you look, the flush of dawn begins to brighten the sky, and now, just over the dark mountain range in the east, you see a speck of ruby peering, brighter than any gem. Quickly broadens into a slender bow, then to a golden semicircle, and in a few more seconds the round globe itself stands above the horizon. And what a glory it spreads over mountain and valley, over lake and river! What a transformation of the dull dark globe, now bright with a hundred hues and sparkling with a thousand smiles! Not only are your eyes feasted, but your soul is thrilled with a holy emotion; your mind carries you to a brighter transformation, to the thought of the new heaven and the new earth, and of the great Resurrection morn, when they that dwell in dust shall awake and sing, and the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads! In the imagery of the vision our Lord is compared to light; and it is interesting to note the successive touches by which the image grows in brilliancy. First, He is as "the light" — the most cheering and reviving, the most beautiful and beautifying of earthly things. Then He is as the light of "the morning," for morning light is more cheerful and reviving than any other. Then the great fountain of light, the sun, comes into view, suggesting inexhaustible fulness. And lastly, it. is a morning "without clouds," there is nothing to obscure or interrupt the light in its passage to earth; it falls on the face of Nature in an unbroken flood, giving radiance and beauty to every object; and "there is nothing hid from the heat thereof."

1. It is indeed a gloomy experience when one first feels what it is to be a sinner, and first knows oneself to be a sinner — a great sinner — in the Sight of God. What the Holy Spirit brings home to one may not be dark flagrant acts of sin, but the fact of one's rebellious will — one's systematic disregard of the holy will of God. Young Bruce of Kinnaird, three hundred years ago, declared that he would rather wade through a stream of boiling lead half a mile long than endure what befell him one night in the house of Airth, when the Holy Spirit was convincing him of sin. But when one apprehends the true meaning of the Baptist's call — "Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world" — is it not as if one passed into the light of the morning?

2. There is another gloomy experience to which many are subject after they have entered on the Christian life — the sense of indwelling sin, of the perpetual activity of evil desires, giving birth to a sad contrast between their souls and those saintly, angelic, Christ-like, beings whom they have sometimes met with, or about whom they have read. "Oh, wretched men that we are!" they sometimes cry, "who shall deliver us?" St. Paul was far in the depths when he uttered that groan. But hardly was it uttered when the light of the morning burst on him — "I thank God, through Jesus Christ." He saw in Jesus Christ, over and above His atoning merit, a sanctifying grace capable of renewing him wholly, and he thanked God.

3. A third gloomy experience of Christians is that which often arises from the trials and troubles of life. There are St. Sebastians in this world whom God seems to make a target for all His arrows: all His waves and billows seem to pass over them. There is a tradition that once a great painter, seeing a rough block of white marble, said, "I see an angel imprisoned in that stone; but I will set him free." It was his way of saying that out of the rough block he would carve the form of an angel. But what an infinite amount of labour, what innumerable strokes of the hammer and touches of the chisel, were needed to fulfil the task! Certainly the task of turning the human soul into a pure unsullied spirit is not an easier one. We may be helped here by another emblem of the text — "Clear shining after rain." Heavy rain, pelting fiercely during the night, batters the tender grass, seems rude, and reckless, arid destructive; but the morning sun not only makes the grass bright, but helps it to rise and helps it to grow; and in a little while the grass is stronger and richer than ever. I knew an eminent Christian, in a prominent position, who said that on looking back on his life he saw that the times of sorest trial — of trials that seemed as if they would crush him utterly were the very times when he got most spiritual good; it was out of such weakness that he was made strong.

4. We note one other gloomy experience against which Jesus is emphatically as the light of the morning — that which is bred under the shadow of death. This is probably due to that feebler faith in the unseen and eternal, in heaven and hell, in rewards and punishments, which marks the present age. But for oneself, and for all who die in the Lord, how welcome is the vision of Him who is as the light of the morning! Jesus has Himself died. O Light of the morning! how welcome is Thy rising to all who have eyes to see! Arise and shine on all the dark places of the earth. Again and again let these words be verified: "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light!"

(The Quiver.)

This was a prediction of the advent of Christ uttered by David as his last words: not, probably, the last words that he ever spoke, but the last recorded of his public and inspired utterances.

I. HE COMES FROM WITHOUT. The hope of the world, according to the teaching of the Scriptures, is not in itself. Just as this morning the earth's face is beautified not by any brilliancy of its own, but by the light that streams from the open heavens, and is reflected by the grateful earth, so when Christ should come He would come to a dark world m the effulgency of the Father's glory, and the brightness of heaven's own light.

II. Like the morning without, clouds, the revelation which He will give, and the light and joy which He will shed SHALL BE PERFECT. There shall be nothing imperfect in His personality or in His teaching or works. The revelation of God in Jesus Christ shall be as the light of the morning when the sun ariseth, a morning without clouds.

III. Christ's advent would be like the day-dawn because of THE CERTAINTY OF HIS COMING. What, more certain than the morning? You have your dark nights, but then there is the counterbalancing assurance that morning cometh. Yes, the light always succeeds darkness, and day succeeds night. This is the Divine order of things. "God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night, and the evening and the morning were the first day." All God's evenings burst into mornings. God began with darkness and finished with light, that is the idea here. The evening of the world has been dark, tedious, and depressing, but "He shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth."

IV. THE FULNESS OF HIS GLORY AND BLESSING CONNECTED WITH HIS ADVENT. He would come to all men alike.

V. CHRIST WOULD COME WITH THE GENTLENESS OF THE MORNING. Oh, the gentleness with which the light comes to us! Have you thought of it? There is nothing so gentle. You know that the speed at which light travels is twelve millions of miles per minute. An engine that comes at seventy miles an hour comes dashing through everything in its way; but the light that comes at the rate of 200,000 miles per second has not knocked any of us down yet, nay, not even an insect in its feeble flight. It comes direct from the sun, through space, at the rate of 200,000 miles per second, and yet this sensitive eye of ours, which is hurt if you but touch it with even a feather, and is injured even if a breeze comes at the rate of sixty or seventy miles an hour, and still more if water were splashed against it with any force, receives that ray without the consciousness of being touched at all. Anything else but the light, coming at this fearful velocity, would kill us, yet the eye takes in the light and is thankful for it. The most sensitive nerve is only gratified. Christ's advent is compared to this coming of that light. Such is the gentle grace of Christ. He comes to enlighten the world — comes with the great impetus of almighty love that began in eternity — and yet a love that falls as gentle as the day of light upon an infant's eyes.

VI. HIS COMING SHALL BE ALL THE MORE GLORIOUS BECAUSE OF THE DARKNESS AND SORROW WHICH HAVE PRECEDED IT: "When the tender grass springeth out of the earth through clear shining after rain." It would not be so glorious if the darkness had not preceded it, and the rain had not come. If you would see things clearly, go out in the morning. Just when the sun rises, everything appears at its best. During the day you have the moist land sending up heated vapours, and the denser airs mix up with the rarer atmosphere, so that you see nothing clearly. But the morning light is pure and undisturbed, and it is never so pure as when showers of rain have immediately preceded the dawn. Then it seems as if the rain had cleansed the atmosphere. A shower does wonders in purifying air. That is the figure in our text. Just as when a shower has been cleansing the nit of its impurity, and then the pure light of dawn reveals the landscape, there is nothing so glorious in nature; so in thy spiritual realm there is nothing so charming as the revelation of Christ to the heart after its long night of darkness and grief. Oh, if He but dawned upon the darkness of many of you to-day, you would thank God for all the sorrows which have prepared the way for His more clear shining into your heart and life.

(D. Davies.)

These are some of the last` words of David; not the very last which he uttered while on earth, but of those, we may conceive, which he spake when he knew that he was about to close his course below, and which he would leave as his dying testimony to the truth which had been the matter of his faith, and which was still the ground of his hope. These words, as we read them, might be regarded as those which David now recalled as having been spoken to him on his elevation to the throne, conveying a lesson concerning the duties of a sovereign, which he had on the whole endeavoured to fulfil. But a greater than David is here; and the words may be more properly' regarded as a prophecy, announcing the reign of that descendant of David in whom his throne was to be built up for ever. You see, that to what is here said, considered as a prediction of the Messiah and his times, the voices of the other prophets agree. But I would direct your attention to what may be suggested concerning him, and the effects of his mission and work, by the beautiful imagery here employed.

I. HE IS MOST GLORIOUS IN HIMSELF. Light, you will acknowledge, is the most beautiful of all material things: Nature's resplendent robe, without whose vesting radiance all were wrapt in unrelieved gloom. Its name is associated with all that we know of what is fair and pleasant for the eyes to behold. But when we turn from its lesser sources, from the lamps which man kindles, or even from the moon and the stars which shine by night, to the light of the morning, to the sun when he riseth on a morning without clouds, what an object of splendour is before us! But who is He of whom it is said that "He shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth?" He is one of whom this sun is only a faint image. But in the application of the figure which likens the Messiah to the morning sun, we are to notice not merely the superior excellence of the things represented to those by which they are held up to view, but the truth that they are found in him in similar purity and fulness and perfection to that in which their emblems appear in the natural sun. Wisdom, holiness, benignity, equity, and truth and mercy, are not only more excellent in themselves, more worthy to be admired, more suited in their manifestations to awaken a sense of beauty and grandeur in the mind of the beholder than the most brilliant appearances of the light which is taken in by the bodily eye; but as in him, and shown forth by him of whom we speak, they have a plenitude and an exuberance which place him, we may say, infinitely farther above all created excellence than the sun is above the dim lamps that men kindle by night,. He "is the brightness of the Father's glory, the express image of His person." He is the light of the heavenly world. The seraphim that worship there veil their faces with their wings before him. lie is the Sun of spirits, and His beams of all-informing thought irradiate every created intellect. He is "the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." Raise your eyes, O believer, to this Sun of Righteousness. He dwelleth indeed in light to which no man can approach.

II. HE CAME TO SHOW TO A BENIGHTED WORLD THE WAY OF TRUTH AND PEACE. The sun is the great fountain of light to the natural world. His absence makes night. Though there be lesser lights to relieve the darkness, even these derive from him their borrowed lustre. The evening's twilight and the morning's dawn give us his faint diffused beams, and the moon and the planets shine with his reflected glories. But what would our earth be if he was utterly darkened in the heavens? In the coming of the Messiah, in that revelation of truth and mercy, of which He is the giver and great subject,, the dayspring from on high hath visited us. "I am come," said Jesus, "a light unto the world, that whosoever believeth in me should not abide in darkness." How glorious are the discoveries which He makes to mankind, who were sunk under debasing superstition; who, in the depths of their ignorance of the true God, offered the homage due to him to dumb idols, the work of their own hands, nay, to the personified ideas of hate and lust.

III. HE COMES TO PUT FORTH ON A DEPRAVED WORLD A RENOVATING INFLUENCE. The sun in the natural world not only sheds light, "there is nothing hidden from his heat." He warms and by his genial influence renews the face of the earth. We have spoken of Him as revealing the way of truth and peace, this He does not only in His external word; it is He who opens the eyes of the understanding to discern it, and inclines the heart to walk in it; to return to God in the faith of offered mercy, in penitence, grief for past wanderings, and new-born love and devotedness to his service. A willing people come to him in the day of his power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning he has the dew of his youth; under His quickening influence the spiritual life and beauty which sin had blasted revive and flourish. He purges out the gross and debasing elements of corruption, implants and cherishes the principles and affections which adorn and bless the soul, and makes it fair and bright in his own reflected image. Arid it is when he comes in the might of his renewing Spirit that a voice is heard, saying to the souls which He visits, "Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee."

1. We may observe that when he came in the flesh, He appeared in the character and for the ends here assigned. It was to this coming that the Psalmist looked forward when he said, "There shall be a ruler over men," etc. The Saviour promised long was born. He appears by the blood of whose cross peace has been made, and by whom it hath pleased the Father to reconcile all things to himself.

2. We may observe that He comes in tiffs character, and for the ends we have spoken of, in the dispensation of His gospel, and when it is made effectual, to give "light to them that sit, in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide their feet into the way of peace." The invitations of mercy are from him, and tell of him; and when it enters a nation or a city, when it is preached to the poor and the guilty among men, there he is evidently set forth, and the light of His salvation diffused.

3. And the time is approaching when He shall thus come in all the world A great part of it yet lieth in wickedness. Monstrous forms of idolatry prevail in many places of the earth, and in others a false prophet has deceived the nations, or Antichristian superstitions perverted the gospel of Jesus. Even where the light shines most clearly multitudes shut their eyes on it, and show that they love the darkness better than the light. But we have a sure promise that thus it shall not always be. The everlasting gospel shall be preached to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. "The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."

4. He is to come in the end of the world, when He shall be to them that look for Him "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."

(J. Henderson, D. D.)

Eastern despots fleece their subjects to an enormous extent. Even at the present day one would hardly wish to be subjected to the demands of an Oriental government; but in David's time a bad king was a continual pestilence, plague, and famine — a bane to the lives of his subjects, who were under his caprice; and spoliation to their fields, which he perpetually swept, clean to enrich himself with the produce thereof. Hence, a good king was a rara avis in those days, and could never be too highly prized. So soon as he mounted the throne, his subjects began to feel the beneficent influence, of his sway. He was to them "as when the sun riseth." The confusion which had existed under weak governors gave place to settled order, while the rapacity which had continually emptied the coffers of the rich, and filched the earnings of the poor, gave place to a regular system of assessment, and men knew how to go about, their business with some degree of certainty. It was to them "a morning without clouds" Forthwith, trade began to flourish; persons who had emigrated to avoid the exactions of the tyrant came back again; fields which had fallen out of tillage, because they would not pay the farmer to cultivate them, began to be sown; and the new ruler was to the land as "clear shining after rain, which makes the tender grass spring up."

1. David says of Christ, "He shall be as the light of the morning when the sun riseth." This he is as king, already, in His church, and as the rightful monarch in the individual heart of the believer. Wherever Christ comes into a soul, it, is as the light of the morning when the sun riseth. And, how glorious is the; sun when from his pavilion he looks forth at morn! Job describes the sunrise as being the stamping of the earth with a seal; as if, when in darkness, the earth were like a lump of clay that is pervious; then, as it is turned to the light, it beginneth to receive the impress of Divine wisdom; mountain and vale all stream with it, till impressed on its, surface we begin to perceive the glorious works of God. So when Christ riseth upon the heart, what a glorious transformation is wrought! Where there has been no love, no faith, no peace, no joy, none of the blessed fruits of the Spirit, no sooner doth Christ come than we perceive all the graces in blossom; yea, they soon become fragrant and blooming, for we are made complete in Him. The advent of Christ bringeth to the heart celestial beauty; faith in Him decketh us with ornaments and clothes us as with royal apparel. The sunrise, moreover, is very much like the coming of Christ, because of that which it involveth. Those rays of light which first forced the darkness from the sky with golden prophecy of day, tell of flowers that shall open their cups to drink in the sunlight; they tell of streams that shall sparkle as they flow; they tell of the virgins that shall make merry, and the young men that shall rejoice, because the sun shineth on them, and the darkness of night is fled. And so the coming of Christ into the heart is a prophecy of years of sweet enjoyment — a prophecy, of God's goodness and long-suffering, let night reign, elsewhere, as it may — yea, and it is a prophecy of the fulness of the river of God, for ever and ever, before the throne of God in heaven.

2. We must proceed to notice that the psalmist uses another figure: "Even as a morning without clouds." There are no clouds in Christ when He ariseth in a sinner's heart. The clouds that mostly cover our sky come from Sinai, from the law, and from our own legal propensities, for we are always wishing to do something by which we may inherit eternal life; but there are none of these clouds in Christ.(1) There is no cloud in Christ of angry rebuke for the past. When Jesus receiveth the sinner, He chideth not.(2) And, as there is no cloud of anger, so there is no cloud of exacting demand. He doth not ask the sinner to be anything, or do anything. That were a cloud, indeed, if he did. A sinner by nature can do nothing. and can be nothing, except as grace shall make him be and do.(3) And, as he is without cloud of demand, so he is without cloud of falsehood. If thou puttest thy soul into his hand, there is no fear that he shall be false to the sacred charge; he will undertake to be surety for thy soul; he will bring thee to his Father's face without hindrance, when the fulness of time is come.

4. But, now, to the last figure. David says of Christ, the king, that his sway is like "clear shining after rain, whereby the tender grass is made to spring out of the tartly." We have often seen how, after a very heavy shower of rain, and sometimes after a continued rainy season, when the sun shines, there is a delightful clearness and freshness in the air that we seldom perceive at other times. Perhaps, the brightest weather is just when the wind has drifted away the clouds, and the rain has ceased, and the sun peers forth from his chambers to look down upon the glad earth. Welt, now, Christ, is to His people lust like that — exceedingly clear-staining when the rain is over.(1) Sorrow and sadness do not last for ever. After the rain there is to come the clear shining.(2) After times of great trouble, Christ becometh to His people more specially and delightfully sweet than he has ever been before. It is manifest, in conversion. The like is true also, in its measure, after great and heavy affliction. You saw the finger of a loving Lord in all those graving lines of affliction, which the chisel had made upon your brow; you saw the great Refiner sitting at the mouth of the furnace, watching your gold that it might not be destroyed, and rejoicing over your dross, because it melted away in the flame.(3) Why is it that God giveth to His people sweet seasons just after the bitter? One reason is to take the taste of the bitter out of their mouth, Another reason, no doubt, is lest they should be utterly destroyed by the terror of His judgment. "He tempereth the wind to the shorn lamb." Then He doth it as a sweet reward of faith. He seeth thee following Him in the garden, still clinging to Him amidst all the darkness and temptation; and, therefore, He saith: "I will give to that soul such joy, by-and-by, that it shall be well rewarded for its faithfulness to me in the past." Is it not to prepare yell for the future Chat, in looking back, you may say, "The last time I had trouble there was clear shining after the rain, and so I feel it will be next time?"

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Evangelical Preacher.
These words are generally understood to describe duties of civil governments and the happiness of a people righteously ruled. But they have doubtless a further reference even to Christ Himself. They designate His character most appropriately. The energetic manner in which the prophecy is introduced, and the strong profusion which the dying king makes of his immediate inspiration, leave no doubt that something more is conveyed than a mere direction to magistrates.

I. THE NATURE OF THE SAVIOUR'S GOVERNMENT. In the sacred writings peculiar stress is laid on the equity of that dominion which the Saviour exercises over His people (Isaiah 9:7). And who that has submitted to His government will not confirm the truth?

1. Behold His laws. Is there one which does not kind to the happiness of His subjects? They are all comprehended in one — love to God and man. And can anything be conceived more excellent in itself and more beneficial to man? Well does the apostle say of it that it is holy, just, and good.

2. Behold His administration. Is there any one point in which a righteous governor can excel, that is not found in its most perfect measure in Him? He relieves the needy, succours the weak, protects the oppressed, and executes judgment without respect of persons.

II. THE BENEFITS IT CONFERS.

1. Illumination and joy. The sun rising on the unclouded hemisphere cheers and gladdens all who behold it. And when it shines on the earth that has been refreshed, with gentle showers it causes the grass to grow almost visibly. And is it not thus with all who submit to Christ?

2. Abundant fruitfulness. What an astonishing effect, too, does the light of his countenance produce in respect to fruitfulness in good works. Let the soul watered with tears of penitence, or softened by contrition, once feel the influence of His genial rays, and there is a change in the whole deportment.Inferences:

1. How earnestly should we desire the universal establishment of Christ's kingdom. Little do men consider the import of the petition, "Thy kingdom come." In uttering it we desire that our whole souls, and the souls of all mankind, may be subjected to Christ.

2. What madness is it to continue in rebellion to Christ. It is not at our option whether Christ be our ruler or not. For God has set Him king on the holy hill of Zion. In due season He will "put all His enemies under His feet."

(Evangelical Preacher.)

This psalm describes the empire of the King of kings, and our text exhibits the gracious and genial character of His dominion. Some men say that Christianity is not genial, that the Christian scheme exhibits God in a most unlovely aspect, that the doctrines of Christ are dark with awful mysteries, that the promises of the Christian dispensation offer but little of present benefit, and therefore of certain and tangible advantage, that its precepts demand conduct which is too high and self-sacrificing, that its ordinances are depressing rather than elevating, and that, as a whole, Christianity promotes a narrow mind and a feeble judgment, morbid and morose feelings, an enslaved will, a too sensitive conscience, an unmanly bearing, and a character which is intellectually low, and unsocial, and melancholy. Is this charge against the religion of Jesus Christ just, and can it be substantiated? We assert that it is most unjust, and cannot be maintained.

(Samuel Martin.)

A morning without clouds.
David is at the head of this chapter a representation of all the people of God; he is raised up on high; do every one who is born of the Spirit is raised up by the atonement and righteousness of Christ Jesus; even as the poor out of the dust, and made to inherit that life, and light, and glory, which can be only by faith in Him in whom they are complete and accepted. David was the anointed of the God of Jacob: so are all who have the spirit of Christ. This anointing means consecration to God; and in, and by which, anointing, they know all things essential to salvation. Also David is called "the sweet Psalmist of Israel." He was indeed the poet of the Hebrew nation. But all the people of God shall be sweet singers of Israel: God and salvation their theme; truly with them the bitterness of death is past, and they are passed from death unto life — a life of eternal delight. "The Rock of Israel spake to me, and showed me the way to prosper; he that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God." And unto none do these words apply as unto the Son of God: He was that Just One that died for the unjust, that He might bring us to God; He feared God in perfection, and did always those things that pleased Him. Can we say this of ourselves? We cannot, for there is not a just man upon the earth that doeth good and sinneth not: but He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth; He is, therefore, as the light of the morning when the sun riseth, and as fresh as new grass springing out of the earth; by clear shining after rain, He is "a morning without clouds;" and is thus a pattern of what all the mystic morning stars shall be.

I. It was when Adam fell. A MORNING WITHOUT CLOUDS.

1. Sin came in as a cloud, a thick cloud, a tempestuous cloud, a gloomy cloud. And this cloud of darkness is universal — all are involved therein, all are encompassed thereby; no light from any quarter, but darkness every way. And we, by nature, love this darkness, and hereby prove ourselves to be under condemnation. We cannot endure the true light! But if God, who "commanded the light to shine out of darkness," shine into our hearts, then we see and feel the desperate wickedness of our hearts, and become a terror to ourselves, and begin to be drawn by and to love the light of the bright and morning Star.

2. But not only is there the cloud of sin, but also the cloud of Sinai, where God is inaccessible. Here "clouds and tempests are round about him!"

3. But there is the cloud not only of sin, and of Sinai, but also of tribulation. The clouds of tribulation will more or less darken the path of every one whose face is truly set Zionward: "Many are the afflictions of the righteous."

4. But there is also the cloud of death. It casts its shadow over everything; and this King of Terrors is, indeed, often a terror of kings. But to those who love the Gospel light, unto such the cloud of death will be but a passing shadow.

II. WHAT THE MORNING IS WITHOUT CLOUDS. The morning without clouds is the morning of Christ's resurrection. He dieth no more. "Death hath no more dominion over him." And now let us carefully trace out how the Lord was unto David a morning without clouds. It was by a covenant. "He hath made with me a covenant." This means a testamentary will.

1. But this covenant is an everlasting covenant. This made David say, "The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting."

2. But this covenant is ordered in all things and sure; there is nothing vague — nothing at random; as the ark, the tabernacle, and temple, were not made at random, so this covenant in all its arrangements, is such as shall meet, and establish, and make good all its provisions and designs. Jesus Christ is the executor of this will, "And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hands."

3. And this covenant is all our salvation; it is included in this covenant; here none are reckoned otherwise than sons, saints, and kings, and priests to God.

4. But not only is this covenant all salvation, but it answers all desires. No Christian desires anything more, yet nothing less can save, supply, and satisfy; while neither faith, nor hope, nor love, nor prayer, nor godly fear, nor good works are the rule of measurement here as to what our real standing in the covenant is, these graces of the Spirit distinguish the real Christian from others.

(J. Wells.)

Ruskin reminds us that we habitually think of the rain-cloud only as dark and grey, yet we owe to it, some of the fairest hues of heaven. "Often in our English mornings," says he, "the rain-clouds in the dawn form soft level fields, which melt imperceptibly into the blue." He describes them, too, as gathering into apparent bars that cross the sheets of broader clouds, all bathed in soft, unspeakable light, the barred masses, composed of tresses of cloud, "looking as if each knot were a little swathe or sheaf of lighted rain."

As the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.
The beautiful picture that David draws is produced by a combination, first, rain, and then, clear shining after rain; and the most flourishing condition of spirituality is produced by the same two causes; it comes as the result of a combination of rain and sunshine.

I. How the "clear shining after rain" is manifested IN THE HEART OF THE CONVERT.

1. The work of grace begins in the heart with a time of gloom. Clouds gather; there is a general dampness round about; the soul seems saturated with doubt, fear, dread. There is something coming, but the soul knows not what; it feels that it is very sinful, and deserves whatever punishment God may send.

2. After the clouds, in the next place, the rain falls. The real work of the. Spirit of God often follows upon an inward depression of spirit. An Irish friend of mine once said, that he had carefully noticed that it did not rain when the sun was shining; but that, whenever it rained, there were always some clouds to keep the sunshine off. There is a great truth in what my friend said. Rain becomes doubly precious to the earth when all the surroundings are suitable for its reception. All the atmosphere becomes damp; whereas, if rain could fall when all is dry and warm, mischief might come of it. Well, now, God's Holy Spirit loves to come and work ill man a congenial atmosphere, a holy tenderness, a devout heartbreaking; then with the clouds He brings a heavenly rain.

3. Then the sun shines: "Clear shining after rain." The man perceives that he is a sinner, but that Christ has come to save him. He sees his own blackness; but he believes that Christ can make him whiter than the snow.

4. Then everything grows. The grass is sure to grow when we have mist and heat together; and When a soul, having felt its need of Christ, at last beholds the light of His countenance, then it begins to grow.

II. THIS "CLEAR STONING AFTER RAIN" OFTEN PRODUCES THE VERY BEST CONDITION OF THINGS IN THE SOUL OF THE BELIEVER.

1. Trial followed by deliverance.

2. This experience is realised in humiliation of self followed by joy in the Lord. It is a very healthy thing for a man to be made to know himself; and if he is made to know himself, he will have no cause for boasting.

3. Tenderness mixed with assurance. I like to meet with that man, whom Mr. Bunyan speaks of in his "Pilgrim's Progress," who was, above many, tender of sin. He was not afraid of lions; but he was dreadfully .afraid of sins. Mr. Fearing is very tender of sin.

4. The blending of experience and knowledge.

III. OUR TEXT MAKES A VERY HAPPY COMBINATION IN THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD.

1. He who would have a fruitful ministry must have clear shining after the rain, by which I mean, first, law,, and then, Gospel.

2. First, repentance, and then zeal: rain, and then clear shining.

3. If your service is to be successful, bringing glory to God, there must be in it, first, prayer, and then blessing.

4. My text also means grace softening, and then shining.

IV. THE CLEAR SHINING AFTER RAIN IN THE AGES TO COME.

1. And, first, times of gloom are to be expected.

2. Although times of gloom are to be expected, an age of light will follow. There will come a day when Christ shall reign amongst His ancients gloriously; when the ungodly shall hide themselves in obscure places, and the meek shall have .dominion in the earth, and the sons of God in that morning shall be owned as the noblest of men. There is to come yet "a thousand years" (whatever that period may mean) of a reign of righteousness, wherein the whole of the earth shall be filled with the glory of God, and become the vestibule of heaven. Have comfort about that glorious truth.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

The grass springs up; the bud opens; the leaf expands; the flowers breathe forth their fragrance as if they were under the most careful cultivation. All this must be the work of God, since it cannot even be pretended that man is there to produce these effects. Perhaps one would be more deeply impressed with a sense of the presence of God in the pathless desert, or on the boundless prairie, where no man is, than in the most splendid park, or the most tastefully cultivated garden which man could make. In the one case, the hand of God alone is seen; in the other, we are constantly admiring the skill of man.

(A. Barnes.)

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