Again, it took the The Message translation to help me understand what these last words by King David were meant to convey. I have them cited as the NRSV but I hope with my explanations you can see and understand the intent. If not, feel free to look up The Message translation for yourself. My passage by passage explanation is just as much for my own benefit and thought process as yours.
“Now these are the last words of David:
The oracle of David, son of Jesse, the oracle of the man whom God exalted, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the favorite of the Strong One of Israel:” (II Samuel 23:1)
You might think, as I first did, that this is King David’s boast about himself; and it is, in a sense. But it is also his rationale for making such a final statement – that he is a man who was called by God and answered that call. Judge him as you may, but in all things he says, he was called and strove to follow God. He builds on this when he says,
“The spirit of the Lord speaks through me, his word is upon my tongue.
The God of Israel has spoken, the Rock of Israel has said to me:
One who rules over people justly, ruling in the fear of God, is like the light of morning, like the sun rising on a cloudless morning, gleaming from the rain on the grassy land.” (Verses 2-4)
Here is where I resist thinking, and reminding the writer of II Samuel, of all the missteps that King David made. But really, when you compare David to modern politicians, he did not do so badly. Or, no worse than other rulers. And under David’s rule, the people always knew that David tried to be true to God’s message and intent. Who of us has not taken missteps with trying to follow God?
“Is not my house like this with God?
For he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure.
Will he not cause to prosper all my help and my desire? (Verse 5)
Okay, so David was the king. And it was good to be the king, receiving and enjoying all the kingly things. God promised that if David would be the type of king that God wanted , David would received all that he desired. So, God keeps the Divine’s promises. We can rest in and be assured of that. The Message adds an additional sense that David also wanted above all things salvation.
Interesting, some translation allow some doubt to creep in that perhaps David’s rule and household were not always the way God wanted them to be. That gives an interesting interpretation to the verses that follow.
“But the godless are all like thorns that are thrown away; for they cannot be picked up with the hand;
to touch them one uses an iron bar or the shaft of a spear. And they are entirely consumed in fire on the spot.” (Verses 6-7)
However one may look upon David’s rule and his household, it is true what David says, that the godless are difficult to be with and handle. And if not literally, will in the fullness of time figuratively by consumed by fire.
The kings and rulers that followed King David were a mixed collection; some took the Godly path that David sought to follow. Others took the worst of David’s examples and built on and embellished that. We make choices every day, beloved reader, of what we will and will not do, whether we will or will not follow God. May our choices bring us ever closer to God. Selah!