“And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest: and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither. “And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him; for this is he. “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.”-I SAM. xvi. 11-13.
DAVID was undoubtedly Israel’s greatest warrior, greatest king, and greatest poet. His wonderful rise from the condition of a young shepherd, the valiant guard of his father’s sheep, to become the victorious king of the twelve tribes, and the singer of those divine psalms which have, ever since his day, formed the principal vehicle of praises and thanksgivings, not only for Israel but for the multitudes of the Christian Church, will make David’s an ever-interesting career. But that which most endears his history to the Christian is that he is the type of the higher king of the grander Israel, the King of kings, the Lord Jesus Christ. Being the type of the Lord Jesus, he is also the type of every spiritually-minded man; for the Christian is a follower of the Lord Jesus in the work of regeneration. What the Lord did for the great world, the Christian has to do, by the Lord’s help, in the little world of his own mind. David, therefore, represented the Lord; and he represented the Christian. In both these respects his character will afford us lessons of the deepest significance, as we read it in the Word of God, and yield us themes of wise direction and of heavenly comfort, as we consider them in the light of heaven.
We must not, however, confound the character of David as a man, with that of David as a type. David was not a pattern for a Christian, although he was the TYPE of one. The Christian’s only pattern is the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to follow Him, learn of Him derive our life from Him, lean upon Him, He is the Vine, we are the branches; without Him we can do nothing. David was a great Jew, with great qualities, and with great failings. He was great in government, brave, and tender; but his polygamy, his adultery, and the murder of a faithful soldier, by which he sought to cover his crime, his cruelty to his enemies, and the revenge he breathed out in his dying moments, all place him, as a man, far below the Christian standard; and eternal right was right to him, as it is right to all men. As a man, there is much to condemn. It is not in this respect that he was a man after God’s own heart, but as the typical king of a typical nation. He was faithful to that office; he was obedient to all the divine requirements in that respect. His sins even typified the evils of the heart, as they present themselves in the Christian’s soul, in the hour of temptation; and as our Saviour saw them in the nature He assumed. His real character would be explored in the eternal world, and we have nothing in the way of judgment to do, but to leave him to the Judge of all the earth, who ever does r!ght. What we are concerned with is the accurate representation afforded by his circumstances, condition, and history, of the Lord Jesus, and of His spiritual servants.
The fact of David’s father being Jesse, and Jesse meaning the same as Jehovah, “He who is,” or ” He who will be,” is itself a striking circumstance. For David being the type of the Lord Jesus as to Humanity, the father Jesse represents the origin of the Humanity of our Lord to have been, as all the Scriptures declare, the Divine Love, Jehovah, the Father. The Humanity was called the Son of God, because God’s love produced it by means of the Virgin Mary. Thus the angel said, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that Holy One which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God (Luke i. 35). David, with his father Jesse, was in this respect the type of Jesus, the Son of the Divine Love, the Father, within Him. The father of David was called the Bethlehemite (ver. I); and when we remember that the Lord was providentially born in Bethlehem; and that Bethlehem means House of Bread, we shall perceive the type to be strikingly obvious in this respect. In giving the Lord Jesus, the Divine Love was giving to the world Him who is the Bread of Life, and was therefore represented by Jesse the Bethlehemite. The Lord Himself said, “I am the living bread who came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John vi. 51).
But let us regard the other particulars expressed in the text, not omitting that seven sons had been brought before Samuel, and passed on without being chosen, so that David was the eighth; the number eight being indicative of a new principle, or of regeneration, from its being the commencement of a new series. Seven, in Scripture, is used when what is complete is represented, and the word “seven” and the word “perfect” are the same, The seven previous represented the good things of a previous dispensation, a series finished, now no longer operative, no longer influential. They were fair to look upon, but not satisfactory within, David being the eighth and the youngest, represented the new spiritual life introduced by the Lord Jesus to mankind, and which would make old things pass away and all things become new.
It is not without meaning that it is said, “and, behold, he keepeth the sheep;” for it was for the sake of the sheep, and to preserve the sheep, that the Saviour came into the world. Those who are gentle, kind, obedient, and charitable, are called the Lord’s sheep. He is the Good Shepherd. Jehovah, in the Old Testament, is the Divine Shepherd, and He declared He would come to seek and save His sheep. It is written, “For thus saith the Lord God; behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day” (Ezek. xxxiv. 11, 12). In the Gospel, the Lord, who had come into the world to fulfil this prophecy, says, “I am the Good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine, As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John x. 14, 15). Surely, then, we can see the reason why it is said of David, the type, “Behold, he keepeth the sheep.”
Samuel the prophet replied to Jesse, “Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither.” This saying of the prophet implies that, according to the Divine Word, it was imperative that the Divine Humanity should be king. There would be no settled peace for the universe, until God should become our Redeemer. The” Queller of Satan,” the Lord of both worlds, must” on His glorious work now enter and redeem mankind.” “Send and fetch him, for we will not sit down till he come hither.”
When David appeared, the following description of him is given. “He was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to.” David was, no doubt, a beautiful youth; but it is with the diviner beauty of the Redeemer, for the sake of whom his history is given, that we have chiefly to do. The second clause, “withal of a beautiful countenance,” should be rendered, “with beautiful eyes” (in Hebrew, beautiful of eyes). Thus, he was ruddy, with beautiful eyes? and goodly. The ruddiness expresses the love of the Lord in His Humanity. The glow of healthy warmth in youth is the fitting symbol of that divine warmth of love which is the heat of heaven, the heat of the good man’s heart, and the divine fire in the bosom of the Eternal Father from whom all things come, The beauty of the eyes is expressive of the loveliness of the Divine Wisdom; for wisdom is as eyes to Him who sees all things. “His eyes were as a flame of fire,” said John (Rev. i. 14); because the wisdom of the Lord is full of love. The goodliness, which was the third quality mentioned of David, represents, in the Lord Jesus, the union of love and wisdom in his whole life. He was “the chief among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely” (Cant. v. 10, 16). He went about doing good. Grace was on His lips. Mercy beamed from His countenance. Virtue went out in every motion; so that spiritual wisdom was taught, the infirm became healthy, the lame walked, the deaf heard, the dumb spake, the blind received sight, and the hungry were fed. He was altogether goodly.
The text proceeds to say, “The Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.” The anointing was the type of that descent of the Divine Love into the Humanity, which is described in Ps, xlv. 6, 7 : “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.” The Divine Love, like oil soothing and blessing, descended into the Lord’s Humanity, as it became purified and prepared, anointing it with gentleness and joy. As He came out of the waters of Jordan, it is said, “the heavens were opened to Him ” (Matt. iii. 16). He received “the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isa, lxi. 3). The anointing of the priests, kings, and sacred objects in olden times represented the sanctification of the soul which love gives when it enters into any object, principle, or character, and makes it the abode of its own sweet and sacred virtues. David, thus selected and anointed, became therefore the appropriate type of the Lord Jesus, especially as the Redeemer of mankind from hell. He was pre-eminently the Jewish conqueror. He was the type of the Divine Conqueror of the powers of darkness. “The Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.” The name “David,” or ” the beloved one,” forms another feature in the resemblance to Him who is so often called the well-beloved Son, whom all the world should hear (Matt. xvii. 5; Deut. xviii. 15, 18, 19; Acts iii. 22, 23).
Very soon had David to enter upon his warlike career. He is distinguished subsequently as a man of war (I Sam. Xvi. 18; 2 Sam, xvii. 8). He was forbidden to build the Temple, because his reign had been a reign of war (i Chron. xxviii. 3).
Anyone who takes a superficial view of the Lord’s history as it was seen by men in the world only, might be led to suppose that there was but little resemblance between the Jewish warrior and the peaceable Redeemer. Yet in the prophets, the psalms, and the gospels (when closely considered), it will be seen that the Lord Jesus was engaged in awful conflicts with the powers of darkness from time to time, and overthrowing them, By a narrow school of teachers the Lord’s work has been so confined to the cross that this dreadful part of his sacred labours for us has been greatly obscured, and our gratitude has been comparatively dimmed. Yet, from the first prophecy of the coming of a Saviour, we learn that his object was, “to bruise the serpent’s head” (Gen. iii. 15). The head of the serpent of selfishness was that infernal power which is congregated in the inner world, where those terrible masses of the evil exist which we call hell. They were in insurrection when redemption became indispensable. They had long crowded the intermediate world, and gathered in such vast hosts around men’s minds, that human liberty was all but lost. No power could remove them but that of a DIVINE MAN: of man, that He could approach without destroying them; of a Divine Man, that His power might be sufficient to accomplish His wonderful work, The Philistines, the Amalekites, the Moabites, the Ammonites, against whom David fought, and over whom he was victorious, were the symbols of the hosts of hell, and the varied classes of their abominable legions, over whom Jesus, the Divine David, triumphed.
Let us read a few of the descriptions of His redeeming labours as they occur in the prophets and the gospels, remembering that the especial scene of them is the inner world, intermediate between heaven and hell, with which our minds are associated while, as to our bodies, we live in this. “For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isa. ix. 5, 6). That this prophecy related to the redeeming work of our Saviour, is evident from the description of His birth into the world. Nothing, however, like the terrible struggle it describes took place in the outer world of nature; it must, therefore, have been realized in the inner world. “The Mighty God,” too, in the titles of the Redeemer recited, has a peculiar significance, for it might strictly be rendered, “God, the Hero.”
Read Isaiah lix.; and especially ver. 19, 20; “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him: and the Redeemer shall come to Zion.” The representation here is that of the assaults of a raging flood against human nature: and such it was. The infernal power, like a surging sea, beat against conscience and the remains of goodness and health in the soul; and if the Redeemer had not come to aid, all would have been lost, the world itself becoming a second hell. The storm on the Sea of Galilee was a symbol in nature of the same thing. This is strongly expressed in a previous verse: “And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore His arm brought salvation unto Him; and His righteousness, it sustained Him ” (ver. 16). A similar passage exists in the sixty-third chapter; “I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury: and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come” (ver. 3, 4). The intermediate state is denominated the winepress, because there a man’s inner character is separated from its surroundings, as the juice from the husk of the grape. The divine influx of the Saviour God was necessarily felt by the wicked as anger and fury. From the large amount of prophetic testimony, we will notice one other passage, “I will ransom them from the power of hell; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues:” O hell, I will be thy destruction; repentance shall be hid from mine eyes” (Hosea xiii. 14).
In the Gospels the work of the Redeemer in conquering the powers of darkness, and clearing the world of spirits, so that human minds could be free, is set forth with terrible distinctness. ” He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner: but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matt. iii. 11, 12). The intermediate state, the world of judgment, is called the barn-floor, because the wheat is taken there after being cut down in the field, and the husk is removed from the grain, and its real condition made known. The Lord Himself gives a glimpse of His divine labours in this respect on various occasions. Thus, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke x. 18, 19). Again, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out” (John xii. 3.).
In the garden of Gethsemane, and at the Lord’s last suffering, the death of the Cross, it was the presence and assaults of legions of infernals which constituted the chief feature in the mysterious agony of the Redeemer, in the garden, when He was seized, He said, “This is your hour, and the power of darkness” (Luke xxii. 53). And the apostle declared, that “through death He destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil “. (Heb. ii. 14). The awful gathering around Him while on the Cross is described in the twenty-second psalm, which serves the twofold purpose of more fully opening to us some of the scenes only briefly disclosed in the New Testament, and at the same time demonstrating that in the person of David the Lord Jesus was represented. The psalmist speaks as if of himself; but in the gospels we have it distinctly applied to the Lord. See, then, the crucifixion as described in this psalm, which commences with the words used by the Saviour on the Cross: “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” Here the inner horrors of the Lord’s sufferings are unveiled. The multitudes of infernals crowding round, and described by correspondences, as bulls, lions, dogs, swords, threatening the inner life of the Lord’s Humanity, must to His purity, upon which the redemption of mankind then and to all future ages depended, have been unspeakably loathsome and horrible. His victories over them are what the victories of David represented. They were various, as the enemies of David were various. They assailed Him probably in the order in which David was assailed, the Philistines (the bitter maintainers of the sufficiency of a false faith) first.
The throne of David, when established, would represent the Lord’s government in heaven and the church, when every enemy was put down. And thus we shall understand the magnificent language which is employed in connection with the name of David (Luke i. 31-33; Isa. ix. 7; Jere xxiii. 5, 6). When we think of the vast hosts of the blessed which form the multitudes of heaven, which no man can number, who are under the government of the Lord Jesus, the Divine David, at once David’s Son and David’s Lord, how amazingly our ideas expand! The little throne and state of Israel and Judah become to us the symbols of the sway of the Saviour’s love and wisdom, ever increasing and ever to increase, until earth in all her climes with heaven in all its realms shall crown Him Lord of all.
In conclusion, let us once more be reminded that David is also the type of the Christian. He must, like David, be a keeper of sheep. He must watch over the little flock of good affections within him. He has, like David, to be a man of war, The Lord says to him, “I come not to send peace, but a sword” (Matt. X. 34). He must strive against his evils like so many nations of foes. And as he overcomes, the Lord will bless him with the joys of victory and peace. The Christian must be “ruddy” with the love of heaven, “beautiful of eyes,” or full of intelligence and faith, and “goodly” with all the virtues of integrity and benevolence. Samuel, or the Word, will then anoint his head with the holy oil of the divine blessing; and he will be enabled to say, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever” (Ps, xxiii. 6).
Author: Jonathan Bayley— The Divine Wisdom of the Word of God (1892)