by Rev. Garry Walsh
The Second Book of Samuel deals with the establishment and rule of David as the king of Israel. The first part of the book (Chapters 1-5) provides an account of David’s progression toward consolidating power after the death of king Saul and his son Jonathan, who was also David’s closest friend. Having established his throne, in chapters 6-9, we see a king in the fullness of his powers and the glory of his kingdom. As a king over Israel or God’s people David fulfills a representative role in which he depicts the Lord as the King of Heaven. This is not to say that David personally was without faults or human weaknesses. The function of kingship in the Bible always transcends the person who is proclaimed king. This means that a person can possess questionable qualities so far as their character is concerned and even engage in actions that are anything but holy and still represent the Lord as to their function.
David is a case in point as we can see in Chapters 10-20 where we find David’s personal weaknesses coming very much to the fore impacting on those around him as well as on the Kingdom of Israel as a whole. Beginning with his adulterous behaviour with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of her husband to cover his sin Second Samuel takes a tragic and sombre turn. Nathan the prophet calls David out and his sin is revealed before all, and while he repents he cannot escape the consequences of his transgression. The child born to Bathsheba dies. David’s life descends into sorrow as he fails to reign in the wickedness of his sons. The nation is plunged into civil war through David’s son Absalom’s rebellion and David has to flee from Jerusalem. Absalom dies in the field fleeing, much to David’s sorrow. The book closes (Chapters 22-23) with David’s own song of praise to the Lord who has delivered him from all his enemies before, once again David sins against the Lord by numbering Israel (Chapter 24) and again he repents so that the plague that resulted from his sin might be removed from Israel.
The deeper, spiritual meaning of the events that take place in the Second Book of Samuel deals with how the acknowledgement of the authority of Divine Truth in our life brings all things that stand opposed to the Lord in our lives under its rule so that a heavenly kingdom is established. It also shows how evils and falsities that we are not willing to deal with in our life can wreck havoc and destroy the Lord’s peace for us.
Of David we find this teaching in the work the Apocalypse Explained 205…
“David,” as being the Lord in respect to Divine truth. By “David” in the Word the Lord is meant, because by “kings” in the Word the Lord in respect to Divine truth is represented, and by “priests” there the Lord in respect to Divine good. The Lord is represented especially by king David, because David had much care of the matters of the church, and also wrote the Psalms. (That “kings” in the Word signify Divine truth, and “priests” Divine good, see above, n. 31; moreover, that all names of persons and places in the Word signify spiritual things, which are the things pertaining to the church and to heaven, see above, n. 19, 50, 102.)