6.5 A Study Of The Character Of David
David is one of the major OT types of the Lord Jesus. The words
of David in Ps. 16 are quoted in Acts 2:25,29 concerning Jesus:
“I have set the Lord always before me...he is at my right hand...thou
wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine holy
one to see corruption”. These are words describing David’s feelings
about his own death and resurrection; and yet so identified was
he with the Messiah, that they are quoted as being directly true
of Jesus. But Acts 2:29 also quotes these words with a slightly
different spin- in that David saw the Lord Jesus always
before him, and it was this sense that stabilized him. This could
only have been true in that David understood all his feelings and
present and future experiences [e.g. resurrection, not being suffered
to corrupt eternally] as being typical of the Lord Jesus. He so
understood himself as a type of the One to come that he saw this
person as ever with him. This is the extent of the typology. 1 Chron.
17:17 in Young’s Literal has David saying: “Thou hast seen me as
a type of the man on high” [i.e. Messiah]. David describes himself
at ease with clearly Messianic titles such as ‘the Christ’, ‘the
man raised on high’, and then goes on to speak of the Messiah who
is to come on the “morning without clouds”, admitting that
“verily my house is not so with God” (2 Sam. 23:1-5). This
is only really understandable if we accept that David consciously
saw himself as a type of the future Messiah.
The feelings and pulse of David are expressed at more length than
those of any other Bible character; and therefore in these we are
to see something of the Lord we follow. It is significant that David
is seen as the representative of Israel, just as was and is the
Lord- hence, e.g., the confusion between “the city of Judah” and
“the city of David” (2 Kings 14:20 cp. 2 Chron. 25:28 AVmg.). Or
consider how David parallels his own afflictions and need for forgiveness
with Israel’s need for redemption (Ps. 25:18,22); or how the saving
strength of Yahweh’s anointed (i.e. David) was to be Israel’s saving
strength likewise (Ps. 28:8,9). The evidently Messianic words of
Ps. 8:4,5 “What is man...thou hast made him a little lower than
the angels” are prefaced by the context of David thanking God for
how he has been given victory over Goliath: “Out of the mouth of
babes and sucklings [an intensive plural, referring to David himself?]
hast thou ordained strength...that thou mighest still the enemy”
[Goliath]. In this particularly we see David as a type of Jesus,
not least in the way that he himself felt that he was manifesting
God as He would be manifest through “the son of man” to come. The
point is, David consciously felt he was typifiying the Lord.
God encourages David to see himself as representative of Israel
by saying that “I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and
have cut off all thine enemies…and have made thee a great name”
(2 Sam. 7:9), words replete with reference to Israel in the wilderness
and their establishment in the land. As David so loved his people
and was their representative, for all they did to him, so with the
Lord Jesus and His people. When God asked David “choose thee one
of” three possible judgments, each of them involved the whole nation-
e.g. “Shall seven years of famine come unto thee” (singular).
David was their representative even in their time of failure.
The Character Of David: The Broken Relationships Of David
I'm glad the word 'ineffable' is in the English language. Without
it I don't know how we could express the ineffable, ineffable
sadness of the relationships of David. He loved Jonathan with a
love passing that of women, those two men came so close together
in the bond of the Spirit; only for Jonathan to be slain in his
prime by the uncircumcised. David loved Jonathan's sister Michal,
and she loved him; only for her to come to despise David's spirituality,
and to be unfaithful to him (2 Sam.21:8 implies she had even more
relationships than just with Paltiel). And Saul's sons, David's
brothers-in-law, the brothers of his deep deep best friend, joined
their father in persecuting him in the wilderness years (Ps.119:161).
David so loved his son Absalom, his very soul was
consumed for that strapping young man (2 Sam.13:39
AVmg.); but that son bitterly hated David, and coolly plotted to
destroy him and his reputation. David loved Abigail and Ahinoam,
but those fairy tale romances took a bitter blow when David fell
for Bathsheba. David loved his parents, especially caring for their
safe keeping in his wilderness years; only to be forsaken by them
(the Hebrew means just that), and to be rejected by his brothers
and sisters (Ps.27:10; 38:11; 69:8; 88:18). David loved Solomon
and gave very special attention to teach him the real spirit of
the Truth, taking time out from a hectic public life to do so; only
for that beloved son to turn away in later life, to fast women,
alcohol, materialism, and the perversions of idolatry.
But perhaps above all is the ineffable sadness of the relationship
between David and Saul. Saul loved David. David loved Saul, his
daughters and his son Jonathan; and later David was to marry Saul's
wives. There can be few men who do not have at least some attraction
to the father and family of their wife. Saul was not a totally unspiritual
man; there are many hints that he had a spiritual side. It's rare
indeed that a totally unspiritual person can love a highly spiritual
person like David. And yet this fine relationship ended in an intense
love-hate affair. So many of the Psalms contain references to Saul's
smear campaign against David (Ps.27:12; 31:13; 109:23 cp. 1 Sam.26:19).
This in itself indicates the weight with which this tragedy rested
upon David's mind.
The Character Of David: Broken Man
Despite his undoubted physique stamina, all these things contributed
to David being a broken man, even quite early in his life, prone
to fits of introspection; dramatic mood-swings (cp. 1 Sam.24:14
with 25:6,22,34;), sometimes appearing a real 'softie' but hard
as nails at others (consider Ps.75:10 and the whole of Ps.101);
easily getting carried away: be it with excessive emotional enthusiasm
for bringing the ark back, in his harsh response to Hanun humbling
his servants, his over-hasty and emotional decision to let Amnon
go to Absalom's feast when it was obvious what might well transpire,
his anger " flaring up" because of incompetency (2 Sam.11:20
NIV), or in his ridiculous softness for Absalom. He had a
heart cruelly torn so many ways. All these traits are amply reflected
in the Psalms: Ps.6:7; 31:10; 42:3,6; 38:8; 55:4; 56:8; 69:3,29;
88:3,9; 94:19 (what introspection!); 102:4; 116:3; 143:4. An uninterrupted
read through the Psalms makes this obvious. Please, try to read
through the Psalms in one go some time, try to make the time in
this crazy life to do it at least once. Let's be aware, as aware
as we can, that this broken down mind of David was the prefigurement
of our Lord's broken life. The brokenness of his heart is what we
show when we break bread.
David: Broken Man
Ps.6:7; 31:10; 42:3,6; 38:8; 55:4; 56:8; 69:3,29;
88:3,9; 94:19 (what introspection!); 102:4; 116:3; 143:4
" Mine eye is consumed because of grief" (6:7)
" My life is spent with grief, and my years
with sighing (not just the depression of a moment)...my strength
faileth, my bones are consumed" (31:10)
" I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of
the disquietness of my heart...my heart panteth...the light of
mine eyes is gone from me" (38:8-10)
" My tears have been my meat day and night...my soul is
cast down within me" (42:3,6)
" I mourn in my complaint...my heart is sore pained within
" Put thou my tears into thy bottle" (56:8)
" I am weary of my crying...mine eyes fail...I am poor and
" My soul is full of troubles...mine eye mourneth"
" In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts
delight my soul" (94:19)
" My heart is smitten and withered like grass; so that I
forget to eat my bread" (102:4)
" I found trouble and sorrow" (116:3)
" My spirit is overwhelmed within me; my heart within me
is desolate" (143:4)
The Character Of David: Depression
There are a number of links between the Psalms and Job's speeches
(run your eye down the marginal references). Depressed Job must
have been very much at the back of David's mind. Like Job, David
knew and respected God's promises, but at times such as that when
he wrote Ps.89, it all seemed rather abstract, and in his depression
he bitterly questioned God. In Ps.89, David repeats the promises
made to him, but compares them with his present difficult situation:
" Thou saidst...my covenant will I not break...but thou hast
made void the covenant of thy servant" (Ps.89:19,34,39). He
reflected how God had promised that " The enemy shall not exact
upon him" , but now his enemies clearly had the upper hand
(Ps.89:22 cp. " Thou hast made all his enemies to rejoice"
, v.42,50,51). Likewise " His throne (shall endure) as the
sun" , but " thou hast profaned his crown (i.e. his throne)
by casting it to the ground" (Ps.89:36,39). It is in the context
of God promising David eternity that he questions: " Shall
he (God) deliver his soul from the grave? What man is
he that liveth and shall not see death?" (Ps.89:48). He goes
so far as to feel that God's " former lovingkindnesses (a word
often re. the promises), which thou swarest unto David in thy truth"
had been at best suspended (Ps.89:49). Surely David is close to
the edge here; there almost seems to be a sense of mocking in his
comments on the promise that his throne would endure for ever as
the sun: " His throne (shall endure) as the sun...but...Thou
hast cast his throne down to the ground" , rather than it being
like the sun (Ps.89:36,44). Yet truly in the spirit of Job, he was
able to praise God in this very same context: " Blessed be
the Lord for evermore. Amen, and amen" (Ps.89:52). Presumably
this Psalm was written (or thought out) whilst fleeing from Absalom,
or possibly during one of the later rebellions, when it seemed that
all hope of holding on to the throne was lost. Here is David in
depression, making hasty comments about the faithfulness of God,
reacting to the position of the moment. This is surely an indication
of his mental make up. One cannot be persuaded that the Lord Jesus
did not experience the temptations which go along with this kind
of personality. " My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
(Mt.27:46) and the following thoughts in Ps.22 seem to be Christ's
equivalent of David's crisis in Ps.89.
The Character Of David: Humility
Further indication of David's low self-esteem (or humility), related
as it was to his depressive tendencies, can be found throughout
the Psalms. These must all point forward in some way to the make
up of the man Christ Jesus. Consider David's graphic descriptions
of himself, rooted in his fine appreciation of the natural creation,
especially of bird life, which he seems to have carefully observed.
In these allusions we see a true humility rather than a playing
with words. This was how he really felt (see table). It was because
David was truly humble that he could immediately respond in genuine
humility to God's promises to him; whereas Solomon became proud
because of them (1 Chron.17:16: " David the king
came and sat before the Lord, and said, Who am I...?"
). Despite the openness with God which we see in the Psalms, despite
being able to break explicit commandments because he so finely appreciated
the spirit behind them, despite being a man after God's own heart,
even in his true spiritual maturity towards the end of his life,
David " could not go before (the altar) to enquire of God;
for he was afraid because of the sword of the angel of the Lord"
(1 Chron.21:30). Now this seems an eloquent essay in the true spiritual
humility of that man David (1).
David: How he saw himself
A dead dog (1 Sam.24:14 cp. 2 Sam.9:8; 16:9)
A dead man, a corpse (Ps.31:12)
A deaf and dumb man (Ps.38:13)
A poor beggar man (Ps.40:17 and often)
A young orphan (said as an older man; Ps.27:10)
A locust (Ps.109:23)
A flea (1 Sam.24:14; 26:20)
A moth (Ps.39:11)
A partridge of the mountains (1 Sam.24:14)
A lonely sparrow (Ps.84:3; 102:7)
A turtledove, the poor man's offering (Ps.74:19)
A pelican and desert owl (Ps.102:6)
A snared bird (Ps.124:7)
Often David likens his enemies' plans to catch him as snares, gins,
pits etc. (eg Ps.140:5)- all the language of hunting animals and
Compare this with the parables of the Lord Jesus. There too one
sees the words of a man whose mind was actively observing the natural
creation, exhorting himself every hour from what he saw there. The
broken state of David's mind looked ahead to the broken mind of
our Lord. We can perhaps more easily appreciate how and why David's
mind was broken. But with the Lord Jesus, it is more difficult to
enter into how and why his soul was so broken. His soul was broken
so that we might be saved; David's soul was broken
as a result of his own mistakes and his general experience of life.
David's depression resulted in him manifesting all the classic characteristics
of the highly strung person. His great sensitivity and almost telepathic
ability to enter into other's problems was legendary throughout
Israel, and this was one of the things which endeared him to his
people (1 Sam.22:22; 2 Sam.14:17,20; 18:13)- and there is a powerful,
powerful similarity here with our relationship with Christ.
The Character Of David: Suicidal?
David may even have extended to suicidal tendencies. His servants,
who knew him well, feared he would take his own life if Bathsheba's
baby died: " How will he then do hurt to himself...?"
(2 Sam.12:18; the same word is used in Num.20:15 concerning Egypt's
'hurting' of Israel). One gets a sense that David had another such
fit of self-hate in his reaction to the news that many in Israel
would have to die because of his numbering of the people (even though
their punishment was just, seeing they had refused to pay the census
money required by the Law). It is quite possible that Christ knew
these tendencies well; was he not tempted to throw himself off the
pinnacle of the temple, to take the Kingdom immediately, in other
words to short cut through this life? Indeed, any man driven to
the mental lengths of David and Jesus has known these feelings.
The Lord Jesus broke his soul in striving against sin; this is what
brought about in him that similar mental state to David.
Christ so struggled against sin, he so groaned beneath the mental
weight of our sins, that it was as if he had been
through everything David went through emotionally and spiritually.
The main reason why there is so much deep personal detail about
David is because we are intended to come to know him as a person,
to enter into his mind- so that we can have a clearer picture of
the mind and personality of the Lord Jesus. This is why the thoughts
of David, eg in Ps.16:8-11, are quoted as being the very thoughts
of Christ (Acts 2:27). So Christ-centred was David's mind that he
" foresaw (not " saw" - disproof of the pre-existence)
the Lord (Jesus) always before my face, for he is on my right hand,
that I should not be moved" (Acts 2:25). David was obsessed,
mentally dominated, by his imagination of Christ, so much so that
his imagination of his future descendant gave him practical strength
in the trials of daily life. Small wonder we are bidden know and
enter into David's mind. Likewise the book of Genesis covers about
2000 years of history, but almost a quarter of the narrative concerns
Joseph; surely because we are intended to enter into Joseph, and
thereby into the mind of Christ.
The Character Of David: Loneliness Of Roads Less Travelled
As we go through the life of David, it is evident he went along
roads few others have travelled. For example, who else would offer
his sacrifice upon the altar and then start strumming his harp in
praise as he watched the animal burn (Ps.43:4 Heb.)? This was a
new paradigm in Israelite worship. Like Job, David had no precedents
in past spiritual history from which he could take comfort (Job
5:1). David knew God well enough to act like the High Priest even
when he was not a Levite (2 Sam.6:13-20; and 2 Sam.19:21 = Ex.22:28),
he came to understand that God did not require sacrifices, he came
to see that the Law was only a means to an end. David’s sons, although
not Levites, were “priests” (2 Sam. 8:18 RV). He could say that
the Lord was his inheritance [a reference to how he as the youngest
son had lost his?], and how he refuses to offer the sacrifices of
wicked men for them (Ps. 16:4,5; 119:57)- speaking as if he was
a Levite, a priest, when he was not. He knew that the ideal standard
for married life was one man: one woman, and yet he was somehow
able to flout this and still be a man after God's own heart. He
broke explicit Mosaic commandment by marrying Saul's wives and also
his daughter, he airily waived the Mosaic law concerning bloodguiltiness
(consider the implications of 2 Sam.14:4-11), and the need to stone
rapists (2 Sam.13:21). When others tried to do these kind of things,
they were severely punished by a God who insisted upon serious obedience
to His Law. Consider how Saul was condemned for offering sacrifice
instead of a priest (1 Sam.13:10-13); and Uzziah likewise (2 Chron.26:16-19).
When the woman of Tekoah basically suggested that the Mosaic laws
about the rights of the revenger of blood be repealed, David seems
to have agreed. When Amnon seeks to rape his sister Tamar, she suggests
that he ask David to allow them to marry- and surely, she says,
he will agree. Yet this too would have been counter to the spirit
of the Law about marriages to close relatives. Yet David went beyond
the Law so often; and it is this which perhaps led him to commit
the sin of presumption in his behaviour with Bathsheba. Right afterwards
he comments about the man who stole his neighbour’s sheep, that
it must be restored fourfold; whereas the Law only stipulated double,
David felt he so knew the spirit of the Law that he could break
the letter of it- in any context. And this was his [temporary] downfall.
David: Spiritual Loneliness
(Ps.12:1; 14:1; 88:18; 102:7)
" The godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among
the children of men" (12:1)
" There is none that doeth good" (14:1)
" Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance
into darkness" (88:18)
" I am as a sparrow alone upon the house top" (102:7)
For this reason, the Psalms often speak of David's spiritual loneliness
(Ps.12:1; 14:1; 88:18; 102:7). The Lord Jesus likewise must have
had this sense, he clung on to those twelve men whom God gave him
as companions, knowing that they appreciated so little, taking comfort
from them as a single mother does from a conversation with her four
year old son. This sense of spiritual loneliness will afflict every
true servant of Yahweh. Elijah, Moses, Adam, Hezekiah, Job, Jeremiah
and all the prophets, Paul... each of them felt so alone. We too
surely feel that we are walking along a virgin path, pioneering
a new road, but one that will only be travelled by us. All the talk
about fellowship and support from our families, our community, can
only go so far. And in our hearts, we know this. It's at times like
this, as we come to know the mind of David, that we have both temptation
and fantastic opportunity: temptation to feel that even the Father
and Son cannot enter into our experience; and yet also the marvellous
opportunity to touch the mind of the Lord Jesus Christ, the
Son of God , on a personal level; to know
him, and the fellowship of his sufferings, and thereby to have the
certainty of sharing his resurrection.
The Character Of David: Self knowledge
Reading through the book of Psalms in one or two sittings reveals
another characteristic of David: frequent and intense self-examination,
especially while on the run from Saul (Ps. 4:4; 7:3; 17:3; 18:20-24;
19:12; 26:1; 39:1; 59:3; 66:18; 77:6; 86:2; 101:2; 109:3; 139:23,24).
David: self-examination and self-knowledge
" The answer of a good conscience"
(Ps. 4:4; 7:3; 17:3; 18:20-24; 19:12; 26:1; 39:1;
59:3; 66:18; 77:6; 86:2; 101:2; 109:3; 139:23,24).
" Commune with your own heart upon your bed" (4:4)
" If I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands;
if I have rewarded evil...let the enemy persecute my soul"
" Thou hast visited me in the night: thou hast tried me,
and shalt find nothing" (17:3)
" I have kept the ways of the Lord...for
all his judgments were before me...I was also upright before him,
and I kept myself from mine iniquity" (18:21-24; after Bathsheba)
" Who can understand his own errors? cleanse thou me from
secret faults" (19:12)
" Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity"
" I said, I will take heed to my ways" (39:1)
" They lie in wait for my soul...not for my transgression"
" If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear
" In the night I commune with mine own heart" (77:6)
" Preserve my soul: for I am holy" (86:2)
" I will walk within my house with a perfect heart"
" They fought against me without a cause" (109:3)
" O God...know my heart: try me...and see if there be any
wicked way in me" (139:23,24)
David's characteristic of self-examination cannot be unrelated
to the fact that while on the run from Saul, he keenly meditated
on the word of God (largely in the Law); Ps.119 has many connections
between his love of the word and the outlaw experiences. Perhaps
David thought so much of the Law that he came close to Moses in
spirit; " those that seek after my soul...shall go into the
lower parts of the earth" (Ps.63:9) is clearly alluding to
the fate of Moses' enemies, Korah et al . Amid daily
pursuit from his enemies, David reflected that " In God will
I praise his word" (Ps.56:10 and context). In the same period,
David eagerly looks forward to the judgment seat (Ps.62:9 RV, 12)
as a source of comfort in his present distress . Real self-examination,
real love of the word, will have the same effect.
The Character Of David: Awareness Of Sin
Yet another theme is the frequent allusion David makes to the promises,
both to Abraham and himself; often he speaks of those promises as
" mercy" and / or " truth" . He saw the promises
as fundamentally concerning forgiveness of sin (" Mercy"
), which is how Peter interprets them in Acts 3:25,26; it is fundamentally
through this that we can receive the eternal inheritance. David
describes the promises as " blessing" (2 Sam.7:28,29),
a word normally used in the context of forgiveness. So David was
aware of the grossness of sin, of the need for self-examination,
to ensure that his technical breaches of the Law of Moses were truly
a reflection of his friendship with God rather than an indication
of spiritual weakness.
And now consider the Son of God, Christ our Lord, tempted in every
point like as we are. He knew his sinlessness, indeed he must have
been constantly aware of it. Just one sin would have marred that
fine, heavenly relationship with the Father which he so rejoiced
in. How he would have examined himself! How he would have searched
his motives, perhaps even examining the tone of his voice, his body
language, his way of using Scripture, his use of humour (for he
did use it).... The high level of self-knowledge which David achieved
must have been reflected in his Lord. Christ's sense of purpose
must have exuded from his very being. He knew where he was from
and where he was going to, there was a precision and certainty behind
all his words: " I am the bread...I am
the true vine....the good shepherd..." . And
yet all this was thought, believed and said by a man whose very
soul was broken, whose whole life was a carrying of a cross, and
who (therefore, from that analogy) found it so desperately
hard to carry on.
The Character Of David: Desire To Praise And Preach
David knew his sinfulness, he knew his reliance upon the grace
of God, more and more as he got older. One would have thought that
after the Bathsheba incident, David would have kept his mouth shut
so far as telling other people how to live was concerned. But instead,
we find an increasing emphasis in the Psalms (chronologically) upon
David's desire to teach others of God's ways- particularly the surrounding
Gentile peoples, before whom David had been disgraced over Bathsheba,
not to mention from his two faced allegiance to Achish (1 Sam.27:8-12).
There is real stress upon this evangelistic fervour of David (Ps.4:3;
18:49; 22:25,31; 35:18; 40:9,10; 57:9; 62:8; 66:5,16; 95:1,8; 96:5-8,10;
100:1-4; 105:1,2; 119:27; 145:5,6,12). Indeed, Ps.71:18 records
the " old and greyheaded" David pleading with God not
to die until he had taught " thy strength unto this generation"
. As with Paul years later, the only reason he wanted to stay alive
was in order to witness the Gospel of grace to others. David
therefore coped with his deep inner traumas by looking out of himself
to those around him, eagerly desiring to share with them the pureness
of God's grace. He didn't do this as some kind of self-help psychiatry;
it came naturally from a realization of his own sinfulness and God's
mercy, and the wonderful willingness of God to extend
this to men.
David: Zeal to preach to the world
(Ps.4:3; 18:49; 22:25,31; 35:18; 40:9,10; 57:9; 62:8;
66:5,16; 71:18; 95:1,8; 96:5-8,10; 100:1-4; 105:1,2; 119:27; 145:5,6,12)
" I will give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen"
" My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation...they
shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born,
that he hath done this" (22:25,31)
" I will praise thee among much people" (35:18)
" I have preached...in the great congregation...I have not
hid thy righteousness within my heart: I Have declared thy faithfulness"
" I will sing unto thee among the nations" (57:9)
" Trust in him...ye people" (62:8)
" Come and see the works of God...I will declare what he
hath done for my soul" (66:5,16)
" When I am old...forsake me not, until I have shewed thy
strength unto this generation" (71:18)
" Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, glory...come
into his courts...say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth"
" Make a joyful noise...all ye lands...come before his presence...know
ye that Yahweh is God" (100:1-4)
" Make known his deeds among the people...talk ye of all
his works" (105:1,2)
" Make me to understand thy precepts: so shall
I talk of thy wondrous works" (119:27)
" I will speak of thy majesty...I will declare thy greatness...to
make known to the sons of men...the glorious majesty of his Kingdom"
The Son of God understood " what was in man" even more
finely than David. The Lord Jesus likewise looked out of himself,
out of the warfare that plagued his inner mind, to the need of preaching
the Gospel to the brokenhearted. If we had been in the shoes of
the Lord Jesus, we would doubtless have stayed tucked away in anonymous
Nazareth, keeping away from temptation, struggling to hold on to
our perfection of character, and avoiding the sort of spiritual
stress created by days of active preaching, constantly being pestered
by irritating, self-centred questioners. But not so the Lord Jesus.
In a sense he exposed himself to this type of temptation through
his devotion to preaching the Gospel, he looked out of himself to
others, his deep knowledge of the love of God, his fine appreciation
of the Father's character, simply impelled him to
share it. Yet because of this appreciation, the Lord Jesus was forthright
in his condemnation of those who did not believe or want to understand
the truth of the Father. This was prefigured by the way in which
David had a marked hatred of sin, and often stated his desire to
purge Israel of sinners, and his refusal to fellowship with evil
(Ps. 94:20; 97:10; 101:3-8; 119:63,78,79; 139:19). So often David
makes reference to his enemies within Israel, and the judgments
to come upon the wicked (Ps.1:1; 4:3; 5;5; 15:4; 26:4,5; 35:3-8;
45:7; 52:6; 58:6; 104:35; 109:5-20; 137:8,9; 139:21). Again, this
is quite some emphasis.
David: reference to judgment for sin
(Ps.1:1; 4:3; 5;5; 15:4; 26:4,5; 35:3-8; 45:7; 52:6;
58:6; 104:35; 109:5-20; 137:8,9; 139:21).
" The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest
all workers of iniquity" (5:5)
" Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after
my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion...let
them be as chaff...let the Angel of the Lord persecute them...let
the net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction
let him fall" (35:4-8)
" God shall destroy thee for ever...The righteous also shall
laugh at him" (52:5,6)
" Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth" (58:6)
" Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth" (104:35)
" Let Satan stand at his right hand...when he shall be judged,
let him be condemned...let his children be fatherless...continually
vagabonds, and beg" (109:4-20)
" Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little
ones against the stones" (137:9)
" I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee...I hate them with
perfect hatred" (139:21,22)
David's refusal to fellowship with evil
(Ps. 94:20; 97:10; 101:3-8; 119:63,78,79; 139:19).
" Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of
the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in
the seat of the scornful" (1:1)
" Who shall abide in thy tabernacle? He...in whose eyes
a vile person is contemned" (15:1,4)
" I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in
with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evildoers,
and will not sit with the wicked" (26:4,5)
" Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with Thee?"
" Ye that love the Lord, hate evil" (97:10)
" I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the
works of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave unto me. A
froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.
Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off...him
will I not suffer. Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the
land, that they may dwell with me...he that worketh deceit shall
not dwell within my house...I will early destroy all the wicked
of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city
of the Lord" (101:3-8)
" I am a companion of all them that fear thee...let those
that fear thee turn unto me" (119:63,79)
" Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me
therefore, ye bloody men" (139:19)
The Character Of David: " Full of grace and truth"
Yet think of the attitude of mind with which David write and prayed
those words; scarcely with any hard self-righteousness after Bathsheba,
and we have seen that David suffered acutely from depression and
lack of self-esteem. He surely would have said and thought all those
words from a motive of truly loving God's righteousness, and wishing
to vindicate Yahweh's perfect character. His awareness of his own
weakness is summarized in Ps.139:21-23: " I hate them,
O Lord, that hate thee...I hate them with perfect hatred...search
me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts"
. We lack the zeal to stand up for God's truth, both in the world
and in the ecclesia, because we sense that we are such desperate
sinners. David had that strength even more so, and yet it was his
true appreciation of God's grace which led him to so eagerly resist
anything which was against this or in any way compromised it. Indeed,
the seriousness of sin and the need to separate from it was one
of David's favourite preaching topics.
There can be no misunderstanding of David as some softie who let
anything go. Of course he was a sensitive man, with a soft heart.
The way others’ words so hurt him is evidence enough of this (Ps.
57:4). Yet this was marvellously blended with his clear recognition
of evil and firmly expressed desire not to mix with it. Much self-examination
and realization of his own failures didn't make David turn a blind
eye. Many of David's references to his enemies and the wicked whom
he hated are in fact to Saul and Absalom. And yet we know that he
deeply loved both these men. The Lord Jesus had this same wondrous
mixture of " grace and truth" which has so eluded Christianity.
His hating sin more than any other man was one reason for the height
of his exaltation above all others by the Father (Ps.45:7).
The Character Of David: Love For Israel
Another way in which Christ looked out of himself was by recognizing
that he was representative of so many others, that he was so connected
with us. This was seen in David's experience too, and again the
Psalms explain just how: Many times David reveals that he saw his
sufferings as being bound up with those of Israel; those who hated
him hated Zion, those who blessed him blessed Zion, and God's salvation
of Israel was being expressed through God's deliverance of him in
the daily vicissitudes of life; as God had chosen Zion, so He had
David His servant; David's joy was Zion's joy, and her exaltation
would be David's (Ps. 51:18; 69:35; 87:2; 106:5; 121:3,4;
125:1; 128:5; 146:10; 149:2). David's awareness of this must have
led to a very special relationship between him and Israel. He was
" the light of Israel" even after his disgrace with Bathsheba,
the light which his people would fain see quenched (1 Chron.11:1).
He treated all Israel as his brothers, as Christ treats his Kingdom
(1Chron.28:2). The fact that he was living out the collective experiences
of God's people must have been a strength to David, a real encouragement
to endure. And in the case of the Lord Jesus, it is possible to
speculate that if he were only concerned with achieving
his personal salvation, he may not have had the motivation to hang
on which he had. How true are the words of Bro. Roberts, that
Christ did it all for himself, " that it might be for us"
. And for many a latter day saint, the extra motivation for hanging
on, for struggling to do those readings, to say those prayers from
a true heart, has often come from realizing one's connection with
the rest of the body, realizing the need to spiritually help a partner,
children, ones' converts of earlier days, ones' long loved ecclesia...
There's nothing wrong in our sense of spiritual responsibility to
others giving that vital fillip to our spiritual enthusiasm. The
effect of our weakness upon the Lord Jesus, like the clinging need
of a weak minded husband or child, was the same!
David's joy was Zion's joy
(Ps. 51:18; 69:35; 87:2; 106:5; 121:3,4; 125:1;
128:5; 146:10; 149:2).
" Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the
walls of Jerusalem" (Ps.51:8)- in the context of Bathsheba
" I am poor and sorrowful...the Lord heareth the poor...praise
Him...for God will save Zion, and will build the (poor) cities
of Judah" (Ps.69:29-35)
" Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God"
" Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest
unto thy people...that I may see the good of thy chosen, that
I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory
with thine inheritance" (Ps.106:4,5)
" He that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade"
as He was to Israel in the wilderness (Ps.121:3-5 cp.105:39)
" That thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord.
The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the
good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life" (Ps.128:4,5)
" Sing unto the Lord...let the children of Zion be joyful
in their king" (Ps.149:2)
And so as we take the emblems, we express again our willingness
to at least make the effort to shoulder the cross, to go on. But
as we said, the man carrying his cross is the picture of a man who
finds it hard to go on. Many men, like the Lord Jesus, just couldn't
make it to the place of crucifixion. The man carrying the cross
was the picture of a man who finds it hard to go on. We stress it
because if we are truly carrying the cross, and thereby have hope
of sharing his resurrection, then we will be finding it hard to
go on. As that perfect day draws near, the day of the Lord Jesus,
of our meeting with him, it will be harder and harder to go on.
Life seems to get spiritually harder as the years go by. But yet
we never will be tried beyond what we can take. I find those words
just so encouraging. There will be a way of
escape, that we may be able to bear it. So yes, we will find it
hard to go on, we will know that spiritual loneliness of David /
Jesus. Yet we will also know the love of Christ,
love which passes our human knowledge, we will know
him, know his sufferings, know his mind, the mind of the Son
of God . And then, surely, we will be united with him
in his glory. Now we symbolize our connection with him, and yet
also with each other. As David felt part of Israel as he suffered,
and as the Lord felt so close to us in his agonies, so we are bound
together too as the body of Christ, pushing separate paths up different
sides of the mountain, perhaps, but somehow, in an inexplicable
way, bound together in the unity of the Spirit.
David's Final Maturity
2 Sam. 23:1-5
gives quite some insight into the nature of David’s spiritual
maturity at the end. He comes over as:
Sure of his salvation
Aware of his own
failures and frailty, acknowledging that his family ‘was not so with God’
Deeply aware of God’s
Having a clear vision
of Jesus the future Messiah, even foreseeing how He would be pierced with a
weapon and slain by wicked men- in order to attain our salvation
Aware that his own
rulership was pathetically inferior to that of the Lord Jesus
Appreciative that all
these wonderful things are rooted in the covenant made to himself, which was
all his salvation and desire.
very same themes we find recurring in the lives of many other servants
David And The Value Of Human Life
Many have struggled to reconcile the
statement that David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14)
with the fact that his life contains many examples not only of failure,
but of anger and a devaluing of human life. He was barred from building
the temple because of the amount of blood he had shed (1 Chron.
22:8). The figure of ‘shedding blood’ takes us back to the incident
with Nabal, where David three times is mentioned as intending to
“shed blood” (1 Sam. 25:26-33), only to be turned away from his
sinful course by the wisdom, spirituality and charm of Abigail.
David started out as the spiritually minded, humble shepherd, full
of faith and zeal for his God. Hence Jehoshaphat is commended for
walking “in the first ways of his father David” (2 Chron.
17:3). It seems to me that the comment that David was “a man after
God’s own heart” refers to how he initially was, at the time God
chose him and rejected Saul. But the trauma of his life, the betrayals,
jealousies and hatred of others, led him to the kind of bitterness
which so often surfaces in the Psalms and is reflected in several
historical incidents where he lacks the value of others’ lives which
we would otherwise expect from a man who walked so close with his
God. Consider some of those incidents:
When told to slay 100 Philistines, he slays 200 for good
measure (1 Sam. 18:25,27)
His wife Michal had a pagan image at home (1 Sam. 19:13)-
rather odd for a man who appears so committed to Yahweh
When David demands to eat the shewbread (1 Sam. 21:6) we
sense a rather different David from the one who extolled the scrupulous
keeping of the letter of God’s law in Ps. 119, a Psalm apparently
written in his early days whilst at the court of Saul
David’s eager taking of the sword of Goliath (1 Sam. 21:9-
“There is none like that; give it me”) contrasts sadly with his
earlier rejection of such weapons in order to slay Goliath. And
David later reflects how he knew that his faithless taking of that
sword and the shewbread would lead to the death of Abiathar’s family
((1 Sam. 22:22). But still he did it.
Going down South to Achish of Gath and playing the mad man
(1 Sam. 21:13,15) has further sad connections with the patriarchs
going down to Egypt in times of weak faith
His anger with Nabal and desire to slay all “that piss against
the wall” who lived with “this fellow” ((1 Sam. 25:21,22) is expressed
in crude terms; and he later thanks Abigail for persuading him not
to “shed blood” and “avenging myself with mine own hand” ((1 Sam.
25:33)- the very things he elsewhere condemns in his Psalms (e.g.
Ps. 44:3). Time and again in the Psalms, David uses that Hebrew
word translated “avenging myself” about how God and not man will
revenge / save him against his enemies, for God saves / avenges
the humble in spirit not by their strength and troops but by His.
But in the anger of hot blood, David let go of all those fine ideas.
He had some sort of an anger problem.
David says that the servants of Saul are “worthy to die”
because they fell asleep as a result of “a deep sleep from the Lord”
which fell on them, and therefore didn’t protect Saul (1 Sam. 26:12,16).
Were they really that guilty of death for this? There doesn’t
appear to be any Biblical command David was quoting.
“I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul” is surely
a collapse of faith (1 Sam. 27:1). And it led to the way in which
David deceived Achish by pretending he was attacking Jewish towns,
when in fact he was going out and attacking the Amalekite settlements,
killing all men, women and children in them so that nobody was left
alive to tell that it was David who had attacked them (1 Sam. 27:8-10).
Innocent people were slain by David’s sword for the ‘political’
reason that he had to keep Achish ‘in the dark’ about what he was
really up to. And so in case a 5 year old say something incriminating
later, David simply killed the little boy. Indeed, when Achish later
says that David would be best not to go with him to fight Saul,
David hypocritically says: “But what have I done? And what have
you found in your servant so long as I have been with you unto this
day, that I may not go fight against the enemies [i.e. Saul] of
my lord the king?” (1 Sam. 29:8). This was hardly an example of
the “integrity” and “uprightness” which David glorifies in his Psalms,
and which he insisted he was full of (Ps. 25:21). Indeed he claims
that his integrity is the basis of his acceptance by God (Ps. 26:1).
It’s recorded that in this ethnic cleansing which David performed,
he took the spoil of those settlements for himself (1 Sam. 27:9).
Indeed when he destroyed Ziklag, he took away their herds “and said,
This is David’s spoil” (1 Sam. 30:20).
When Saul is killed, a young Amalekite hopeful comes to David
with the story that he had killed Saul, trying to curry favour with
David and secure his own release as a prisoner of war. David executed
him (2 Sam. 1:15). It seems to me that this was an over the top
reaction, and yet again betrays a lack of value and meaning attached
to the human person. There was no attempt to convert the frightened
young man to grace, to the God of Israel. The summary slaying of
Rechab and Baanah has some similarities (2 Sam. 4:12).
Once King, David decides to get back his ex-wife Michal,
who was by now married to Phaltiel, who evidently loved her. Yet
David takes her from Phaltiel, and we have the tragic image of the
loving husband walking behind her weeping as she is led away from
him (2 Sam. 3:15,16). This was not only a breach of Mosaic law,
but displayed a sad elevation of politics above others’ relationships
and marriages. It may be significant that her renewed marriage with
David wasn’t blessed with any children (2 Sam. 6:23).
The incident with Uzzah touching the ark led to David being
“displeased” with God because He had slain a man who was trying
to assist David’s project of bringing the ark to Zion (2 Sam. 6:8,9).
Do we not again see the anger and irrational emotion of David flaring
I’ve commented elsewhere about God’s response to David’s
desire to build God a house. God said ‘No’- because He chose to
live in the hearts of men rather than physical buildings. But still
David obsessively pushed ahead with his dream. Likewise his whole
attitude to Solomon appears to have been obsessive and involved
a ‘reading out’ of the conditional nature of God’s promises regarding
When David defeated Moab, he made the captives lay down in
three lines. He arbitrarily chose one line to keep alive, and killed
the other two lines (2 Sam. 8:2). This can’t be justified as some
careful obedience to some Mosaic law. It reads like something out
of the Holocaust, an arbitrary slaying of some in order to exercise
the whim of one’s own power. No wonder David was barred from building
the temple because of his attitude to bloodshed. Likewise when Rabbah
is captured, David proudly puts the crown of the king on his head,
grabs their spoil for himself, “and he brought forth the people
that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of
iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brick
kiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon”
(2 Sam. 12:31). Now all that is torture. It’s one thing to obey
Divine commands about slaying enemies; it’s another to wilfully
torture them, Auschwitz-style. These incidents reveal David at his
worst. And again- did he really have to ensure that every male in
Edom was murdered (1 Kings 11:15,16)- was that really necessary?
What about the mums, wives, sisters left weeping, and the fatherless
daughters, left to grow up in the dysfunction of a leaderless Middle
Eastern home? Those men were all somebody’s sons, brothers, fathers,
grandfathers. Was David really obeying some Divine command here,
or was this the dictate of his own anger and dysfunctional bloodlust?
David’s murder of Uriah and his sin with Bathsheba again
reflects this same lack of value of the human person, even of his
When David is asked to give seven men of the family of Saul
as a blood sacrifice to appease the rain god who was not sending
rain, David agrees. He doesn’t make the Biblical argument that rain
being withheld indicates the need for repentance before Yahweh,
and that sacrificing humans is wrong and won’t change anything in
this context. He gives in to the false understanding of the Gibeonites,
breaking his undertakings to Saul and Jonathan by doing so, and
selects seven men to be slain and hung up. We read of the mother
of two of them, Rizpah, lovingly watching over the bodies of her
sons day and night, with all the distraction of true love (2 Sam.
21:10). David didn’t have to do this. But he did. He doesn’t seem
to have cared for the mother’s feelings, nor for the lives of her
sons. And note that David makes up the total of seven men by having
the five foster sons of his own estranged wife Michal slain. Was
this not David somehow hitting back at Michal, who had mocked him
for his style of worship in 2 Sam. 6? And how did Adriel, the father
of those five sons, feel? He wasn’t of the house of Saul, but because
of David’s desire to placate someone else, he lost all his sons,
just because his wife had died and Saul’s daughter had raised them.
And yet this same David is recorded as saying soon afterwards: “I
have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from
my God. For all his ordinances were before me; And as for his statutes,
I did not depart from them. I was also perfect toward him; And I
kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore hath the Lord recompensed
me according to my righteousness, According to my cleanness in his
eyesight” (2 Sam. 22:22-25).
David seems to glory in how he destroyed his enemies- “I
might destroy them that hate me… then did I beat them as small as
the dust of the earth, I did stamp them as the more of the street,
and did spread them [i.e. their body parts] abroad” (2 Sam. 22:41-43).
Can this really be justified as obedience to Divine commands? Is
this not the expression of blood lust and anger? And isn’t it therefore
self-righteous to style himself “the anointed of the God of Jacob,
the sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Sam. 23:1)? Was he really “sweet”?
The numbering of Israel was another weak moment for David
(note 2 Sam. 24:3,4,10), leading to suffering for others. Yet this
same David had written that “there is no king saved by the multitude
of an host” (Ps. 33:16).
When David became old and impotent (AV “gat no heat”, 1 Kings
1:1), it was still felt important for him to be producing children,
and so the sex goddess Abishag was found for him. Where exactly
is the morality in that…?
David earlier forgave Shimei for cursing him. But he tells
Solomon to bring down that old man’s white hairs to the grave with
blood on them- again, a crude image for the murder of an old man.
And he uses the same awful turn of phrase to ask Solomon to do this
also to his lifelong friend Joab (1 Kings 2:6,9). Surely grace would’ve
found another way?
The Weakness Of David In The Psalms
In addition to all this, we find the
Psalms so often expressing David’s intense anger- even to the extent
of contradicting his other more gracious statements about people,
and also being at variance with his own beggings for mercy and grace
at the time of his sin with Bathsheba. Consider “Hold them guilty,
O God; Let them fall by their own counsels; Thrust them out in the
multitude of their transgressions; For they have rebelled against
thee” (Ps. 5:10). Yet David has to use these very words about himself
in Ps. 51:1 when he pleads with God to be merciful to him.
David’s ‘imprecatory Psalms’, in which he asks for bloodcurdling
judgments upon his enemies, are hard to justify in the light of
Christ’s teachings. They appear to be a continuation of the moments
of bitterness, anger and brutality which we saw in the above mentioned
historical examples (1).
Psalms in Ps. 1-72, he repeatedly asks for torture upon the sinners
and blessing upon himself as the righteous. He speaks of how sinners
should be “contemned” in the eyes of the righteous (Ps. 15:4), the
gatherings of sinners should be “hated” and sinners should not be
fellowshipped (Ps. 26:4-6; Ps. 31:6) and how God’s uprightness is
shown to the upright and His judgment to the judgmental (Ps. 18:25,26;
Ps. 33:22). He invites God’s judgment upon himself and others according
to their and his works (Ps. 28:4). Frequently he alludes to Saul
as “the violent man”- even though David committed his share of violence-
and asks judgment upon him (Ps. 18:48). Only those with clean hands
and pure heart like himself could have fellowship with God (Ps.
24:3,4). Psalm 37 doesn’t indicate any desire to convert the sinners
but rather an expectation of their judgment and destruction. God
and David laugh at the wicked because their day is coming (Ps. 37:13).
There’s no spirit of grace here at all- perhaps that’s why Zech.
12:10 specifically says that the spirit of grace will have to be
poured out upon the house of David in the last days.
It would be true
to say that the Bathsheba experience changed David’s attitude. His
mouth had been full of reproofs of the wicked, but through his desperation
then he became a man “in whose mouth are [now] no reproofs” (Ps.
38:14). But I think it’s too simplistic to suggest that David simply
changed post the sin with Bathsheba. For the list of anger incidents
etc. given above include many from after that time. My suggestion
is that David was in essence the man of love, grace and forgiveness
which we see so often- his grace to Saul and the house of Saul,
his love for his children, his marvel at the natural creation, his
humility, his praise of God, his walking with God, his constant
contact with the Father, his Psalms of love and spiritual insight,
to the point that he beheld the future Messiah “always before my
face” (Acts 2:25). And there’s that wonderful account of “the last
words of David”, where he recognizes that he had failed, that his
house was “not so with God”, and yet through the future Messiah,
“the light of the morning”, who would be pierced by a spear, the
promises to him regarding his eternal future would indeed be fulfilled
(2 Sam. 23:4,5,7). This ‘other side’ of David we’ve not touched
upon in this present study, but any Bible student knows it so well.
But- and it’s a big ‘but’- this loving, wonderful person had an
anger problem, a temper that could lead to murder of innocent people
(e.g. the Nabal incident), a bitterness with his enemies whom in
his better moments he loved and prayed over with a grace rarely
reached amongst men. In short, he displayed the spiritual schizophrenia
which plagues us all, and even on his deathbed it didn’t leave him
[witness his vicious commands for the death of Shimei and Joab].
And yet in the final analysis, God loved David, setting him up as
the spiritual benchmark for the judgment of Israel’s future kings.
The Bigger Picture
How does this affect
us? It’s all surely encouragement for those who despair of their
weaker side, who feel this may lead to their condemnation, who despair
at how one moment they can be loving, gracious and spiritual, and
the next- caught up in the unspirituality which warrants condemnation.
God sees to the end of a man’s history, to the end of human history,
He weighs men, and weighs them up in grace. Further, we all likely
struggle with the unspirituality of others against us. We ponder
how brother X or sister Y can really be a Christian, can have any
real relationship with God, because of how we see them act. This
struggle over these kinds of issues is, in my experience, the number
one reason why people leave Christian communities. The raw anger,
hatred and viciousness they see in others disillusions them, and
they walk. The pull of materialism, of false doctrine etc, are actually
not significant reasons in the majority of cases I know of where
a believer has quit the community of believers. It’s nearly always
personal disillusion with the evil side of their brethren. All I
can say is, Consider David’s poorer side. Think of men like Adriel
and Phaltiel, women like Rizpah, the mothers of Moab and Edom, who
all likely considered David a sadistic maniac- given their experience
of him. And, of course, Uriah, who surely knew all along what was
going on. They saw the weaker side of David. Thanks to the extent
of Biblical revelation about David, we see a wider picture. And
even if that wider picture remains invisible to us concerning brother
A and sister B, try to imagine that they have a prayer life, read
Scripture, are loved by God, and probably in some ways and to some
extent do respond to that love… and leave the final analysis of
human character to the God who judges, weighs and knows far deeper,
more graciously, more hopefully, than we ever can in this life.
God accepted David
and thought so positively of him by grace. And our own covenant
relationship with God is a result of receiving the “sure mercies”
[Heb. hesed, covenant grace] given to David (Is. 55:3). As
God perceived David so positively, by grace, so He will us; and
we likewise must extend that same perspective to our brethren who
are in that same covenant of grace.
(1) There are other explanations for
these imprecatory Psalms. One that appeals to me is that throughout
them, David is alluding to the Abrahamic covenant that God will
curse those who curse His people and bless those who bless them.
Another window of understanding is provided by analyzing them from
a psychological viewpoint. Dorothee Soelle speaks of how “the movement
from helplessness to power is through public expressions of lament,
complaint and protest” (Suffering (Philadelphia: Fortress,
1975) p. 73). By expressing our hurt and feelings in words, even
if they come out terribly, we are (psychologically at least) on
the way to some kind of healing or liberation. This is demonstrated
at length throughout Arthur Janos, The Primal Scream (New
York: Putnam, 1970)
(1) Or is this an indication that
in later life, David's spirituality declined? We have shown in Solomon
and the temple that David became totally carried
away with the idea of Solomon being the Messiah, even though
this was not what God had promise. Jehoshaphat is commended for
walking " in the first ways of his father David"
(2 Chron.17:3, although see AVmg. and other versions). When
David became king, he forgave his enemies, whereas he advises Solomon
to murder his enemies when he becomes king. Does this indicate
that he didn’t sustain the spirit of grace to the end?