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David the Mashiach

by Paul Sumner


  David ben Jesse of Bethlehem is the central human character in the Hebrew Bible.

While Moses spoke with God "face to face" (Exod 33:11; Deut 5:4), David was God's son (Ps 89:27-28), a relationship never attributed to the great giver of the Torah. Centuries later, when the prophets of Israel gazed into the future, they did not speak of another Moses, but another David.

David was the paradigm of the biblical messiah, the one anointed with the Ruach of God:

Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed [mashach] him in the midst of his brothers; and the Ruach of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. (1 Samuel 16:13)

David the son of Jesse declares:
And the man who was raised on high declares,
The anointed [mashiach] of the God of Jacob,
And the sweet psalmist of Israel,
The Ruach of the LORD spoke by me,
And his word was on my tongue. (2 Samuel 23:1-2)

In the Bible—especially the books of Samuel, Isaiah, and the Psalms—there is a constellation of ideals, principles, and hopes that surrounds King David. After his death, the House of David lasted nearly four more centuries (961-587 BCE). But even long after its collapse, the constellation of David Theology elements continued to provide prophetic guidance and shaped Israel's identity and hopes—well into the First Century, even to this day.

In the texts below, "David" is both the biological son of Jesse, as well as David's many grandsons who ruled in Jerusalem in his stead, in his name. Some passages reflect the idealistic and future-oriented views of later generations.

"David" is also the premiere future Mashiach, "the Son of David" (e.g., Matt 9:27; 15:22; 21:9; Rev 5:5; 22:16).

[See how this theology fits into the The Two Lords concept in the Bible.]

The following 14 elements of David Theology are drawn primarily from:
• John H. Eaton, Kingship and the Psalms (2d ed., Sheffield, UK: JSOT Press, 1986), chap. 4
• P. K. McCarter, II Samuel (Anchor Bible 9; Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1984), 190-231

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The 14 Elements

1) David is God's son
2 Samuel 7:14 — Psalm 2: 7, 12 — Psalm 22:10Đ11 — Psalm 89:27-28 — Psalm 110:3 Septuagint [
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2) David sits at God's right hand, in the shadow of God's wings
Psalm 57:2b — Psalm 80:18 — Psalm 91:1, 4 — 110:1-2 [
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3) David occupies the throne of God's kingdom
1 Chronicles 28:5 — 1 Chronicles 29:23 — Hosea 3:5 [
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4) David is worshiped along with God
1 Chronicles 29:20 [
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5) David is "God" (as his representative ruler on earth)
Psalm 45:7 [
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6) David's regal glory reflects God's glory
Psalm 72:17, 19 — Psalm 89:36-37 [
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7) David is God's mashiach, anointed one, or messiah
1 Samuel 16:13 — 2 Samuel 23:1 — Psalm 89:21-22 [
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8) David is God's servant-shepherd
2 Samuel 5:2 — Psalm 78:70-71 — Psalm 89:21 — Psalm 132:10 [
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9) David is like God's angel (physical presence on earth)
1 Samuel 29:9 — 2 Samuel 14:17, 20 — 2 Samuel 19:28 — Zechariah 12:8 [
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10) David is a priest (not from line of Levi, but the line of Melchizedek)
2 Samuel 6:12, 18 — Genesis 14:17-19 — Psalm 110:4 [
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11) David is a prophet (through whom the Breath of God speaks)
2 Samuel 23:2 — Isaiah 61:1-2 [
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12) David rules the nation by the Torah (God's teaching)
Deuteronomy 17:14, 15, 18-19 — Psalm 18:23 — Psalm 40:9 — Psalm 72:1-2 [
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13) David will rule the entire earth
Psalm 2:8 — Psalm 72:8 — Psalm 89:27 — Isaiah 11:10 — Daniel 7:13-14 [
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14) David's throne (rule) will endure forever
2 Samuel 7:12, 14, 15-16 — Psalm 72:17 — Psalm 89:29-30, 37 — Psalm 132:11-12 [
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Texts

Most quoted texts are from NJV = New Jewish Version (= Tanakh: A New Translation of the Holy Scripturesl Jewish Publication Society, 1985) unless noted. Other translations include: NASB = New American Standard Bible; NRSV = New Revised Standard Version.

At times, more than one translation of a passage is given for comparison. Because the NJV follows the verse numbering of the traditional Masoretic text in the Book of Psalms, some references will be one verse off from Christian versions. (Verse numbering in Bibles began in the 1500s and is not original to the biblical texts.)

1) David is God's son

2 Samuel 7:14
I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me.

Psalm 2: 7, 12
Let me tell of the decree: the LORD said to me, "You are My son, I have fathered you this day." (v. 7 NJV)

I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:
He said to me, "You are my son,
Today I have begotten you." (v. 7 NASB)

Pay homage in good faith...[v. 12, margin: "Meaning of Heb. uncertain." NJV]
(Accept correction: lest at any time the Lord be angry.) (v. 12 Septuagint)

Do homage to the son. (v. 12 NASB)

Psalm 22:10Đ11
You drew me from the womb,
made me secure at my mother's breast.
I became Your charge at birth;
from my mother's womb You have been my God.

Psalm 89:27-28
He shall say to Me,
'You are my father, my God, the rock of my deliverance.'
I will appoint him first-born,
highest of the kings of the earth.

Psalm 110:3 (109:3 Septuagint)
With you is royal authority in the day of your power.
Among the splendors of the holy ones,
From the womb of the dawn,
I have begotten you.

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2) David sits at God's right hand, in the shadow of God's wings
Psalm 57:2b
I seek refuge in the shadow of Your wings.

Psalm 80:18
Grant Your help to the man at Your right hand,
the one You have taken for your own.

Let your hand be upon the man [ish] of your right hand,
Upon the son of man [ben adam] whom you made strong for yourself. (v. 17 NASB)

Psalm 91:1, 4
O you who dwell in the shelter of the Most High
and abide in the protection of Shaddai—...
He will cover you with His pinions;
you will find refuge under His wings.

Psalm 110:1-2
The LORD said to my lord,
"Sit at my right hand
while I make your enemies your footstool."
The LORD will stretch forth from Zion your mighty scepter;
hold sway over your enemies!

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3) David occupies the throne of God's kingdom
1 Chronicles 28:5
...and of all my sons—for many are the sons the LORD gave me—He chose my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel.

1 Chronicles 29:23
Solomon successfully took over the throne of the LORD as king instead of his father David.

Hosea 3:5
Afterward, the Israelites will turn back and will seek the LORD their God and David their king—and they will thrill over the LORD and over His bounty in the days to come.

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4) David is worshiped along with God
1 Chronicles 29:20
David said to all the assemblage, "Now bless the LORD your God." All the assemblage bless the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed their heads low to the LORD and the king.

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5) David is "God" (as his representative ruler on earth)

Psalm 45:7
Your divine throne is everlasting [Margin: "Cf. 1 Chron. 29:23." NJV]
Your throne is God forever and ever. (William Sanford LaSor)
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. (v. 6 Septuagint)
Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. (v. 6 NRSV)

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6) David's regal glory reflects God's glory
Psalm 72:17, 18, 19
May his name endure forever;
May his name increase as long as the sun shines;
And let men bless themselves by him;
Let all nations call him blessed. Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel... And may the whole earth be filled with his glory. (NASB)

Psalm 89:36-37
I have sworn by My holiness, once and for all;
I will not be false to David.
His line shall continue forever,
his throne, as the sun before Me,
as the moon, established forever,
and enduring witness in the sky.

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7) David is God's mashiach, anointed one, or messiah
1 Samuel 16:13
Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the LORD gripped David from that day on.

2 Samuel 23:1 The utterance of David son of Jesse,
The utterance of the man set on high,
The anointed of the God of Jacob,
The favorite of the songs of Israel.

Psalm 89:21-22
I have found David, My servant;
anointed him with My sacred oil.
My hand shall be constantly with him,
and My arm shall strengthen him.

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8) David is God's servant-shepherd
2 Samuel 5:2
You will shepherd my people Israel,
and you will be a ruler over Israel. (NASB)

Psalm 78:70-71
He chose David, His servant,
and took him from the sheepfolds.
...to shepherd Jacob his people and Israel his inheritance. (NASB)

Psalm 89:21
I have found David, My servant.

Psalm 132:10
For the sake of Your servant David
do no reject Your anointed one.

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9) David is like God's angel (physical presence on earth)
1 Samuel 29:9
Achish replied to David, "I know; you are as acceptable to me as an angel of God."

2 Samuel 14:17, 20
Your maidservant thought, 'Let the word of my lord the king provide comfort; for my lord the king is like an angel of God, understanding everything, good and bad.' May the LORD your God be with you."

2 Samuel 19:28b
My lord the king is like an angel of the LORD.

Zechariah 12:8
In that day, the LORD will shield the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and the feeblest of them shall be in that day like David, and the House of David like a divine being—like an angel of the LORD—at their head.

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10) David is a priest (not from the line of Levi, but the line of Melchizedek)
2 Samuel 6:12, 18
David when and brought up the Ark of God from the house of Obededom to the City of David, amid rejoicing.... David whirled with all his might before the LORD; David was girt with a linen ephod.... They brought in the Ark of the LORD and set it up in its place inside the tent which David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and offerings of well-being before the LORD. When David finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and the offerings of well-being, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts.

Genesis 14:17Đ19a
When he [Abram] returned from defeating Chedolaomer and the kings with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh, which is the Valley of the King. And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was a priest of God Most High. He blessed him [Abram]...

Psalm 110:1, 4
The LORD said to my lord,
"Sit at my right hand
while I make your enemies your footstool...."
The LORD has sworn and will not relent,
"You are a priest forever, a rightful king by my decree."
[Margin: Or "after the manner of Melchizedek."]

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11) David is a prophet (through whom the Breath of God speaks)
2 Samuel 23:2
The spirit of the LORD has spoken through me,
His message is on my tongue.

Isaiah 61:1-2
The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
Because the LORD has anointed me;
He has sent me as a herald of joy to the humble,
To bind up the wounded of heart,
To proclaim release to the captives,
Liberation to the imprisoned;
To proclaim a year of the LORD's favor
And a day of vindication by our God;
To comfort all who mourn—

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12) David rules the nation by the Torah (God's teaching)
Deuteronomy 17:14, 15, 18Đ19
...after you have entered the land that the LORD your God has assigned to you...you shall be free to set a king over yourself, one chosen by the LORD your God.... When he is seated on his royal throne, he shall have a copy of this Teaching written for him on a scroll by the levitical priests. Let it remain with him and let him read in it all his life, so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God, to observe faithfully every word of this Teaching as well as these laws.

Psalm 18:23
I am mindful of all His rules;
I have not disregarded His laws.

Psalm 40:9
To do what pleases You, my God, is my desire;
Your Teaching is in my inmost parts.

Psalm 72:1-2
O God, endow the king with Your judgments,
the king's son with Your righteousness;
that he may judge Your people rightly,
Your lowly ones, justly.

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13) David will rule the entire earth
Psalm 2:8
Ask it of Me,
and I will make the nations your domain;
your estate, the limits of the earth.

Psalm 72:8
Let him rule from sea to sea,
from the river to the ends of the earth.

Psalm 89:27
I will appoint him first-born,
highest of the kings of the earth.

Isaiah 11:10
In that day,
The stock of Jesse that has remained standing
Shall become a standard to peoples—
Nations shall seek his counsel
And his abode shall be honored.

Daniel 7:13"2"4
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And he came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before him.
And to him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom,
that all the peoples, nations, and speakers of every language
might serve him. (NASB)

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14) David's throne (rule) will endure forever
2 Samuel 7:12, 14, 15Đ16
I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own issue, and I will establish his kingship.... I will be a father to him.... I will never withdraw My favor from him as I withdrew it from Saul.... Your house and your kingship shall ever be secure before you; your throne shall be established forever.

Psalm 72:17a
May his name be eternal;
while the sun lasts, may his name endure.

Psalm 89:29-30, 37
I will maintain My steadfast love for him always;
My covenant with him shall endure.
I will establish his line forever,
his throne, as long as the heavens last....
His line will continue forever,
his throne, as the sun before me.

Psalm 132:11aĐ12
The LORD has sword to David...
If your sons keep My covenant
and My decrees that I teach them,
then their sons also,
to the end of time,
shall sit upon your throne.

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