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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 23

Sermon Bible CommentarySermon Bible Commentary

Verse 1

2 Samuel 23:1

In David we have: (1) an example and (2) a warning.

I. The characteristic of David was loyalty to the Lord his God, loyalty to the King of kings. Loyalty is love evinced towards a superior, love which induces us to do all that in us lies, as circumstances from time to time admit, in small things or in great, to promote the glory of Him whose servants and subjects we are, and to advance the interests of His kingdom. We are to show our loyalty: (1) by from time to time renewing our vow as subjects and soldiers of the great Captain of our salvation; (2) by seeking to enkindle in our souls, through prayer for the renovating influences of the Holy Ghost, love towards Him who first loved us; (3) by looking out for opportunities of service.

II. The history of David is also a warning. However excitable the devotional feelings may be, that man is not in a state of grace whose conduct is not conformable to the moral requirements of the Gospel. David fell; and if David had not repented, he would have perished everlastingly. Those whose hearts are fervent in adoration have need to take warning from David and watch as well as pray.

F. W. Hook, Parish Sermons, p. 90.

References: 2 Samuel 23:1 . Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 233; W. M. Taylor, David King of Israel, p. 312. 2 Samuel 23:1-5 . D. J. Vaughan, The Days of the Son of Man, p. 388; J. R. Macduff, Sunsets on the Hebrew Mountains, p. 114.

Verses 1-7

2 Samuel 23:1-7

If Jacob when he died foresaw the fate of a family, and Joseph the fate of a nation, David saw, and rejoiced to see, the destiny of mankind. His dying eyes were fixed on that great advent which changed the old world into the new world in which we live, on the dawn of that new Christian day which has come to the earth like the clear shining of the sun after rain and clothed it in fresh, tender green.

Whether it was so designed or not we cannot tell, but in the sacred record the last words of David fall brokenly from his lips, as though uttered with difficulty and pain. They sound like the murmurs of a dying man struggling for breath, who nevertheless has somewhat of the utmost moment to say, and nerves himself to gasp out the more weighty words and phrases, leaving his hearers to piece them together and spell out their meaning. For convenience' sake we may divide them into a prelude and a revelation.

I. The prelude. The opening words point back to an antique prophecy, the prophecy of Balaam on the fate and glory of Israel (Numbers 24:3-4 ). His oracle corresponds with Balaam's, but it also contrasts with it. David's vision is no cloudy and imperfect glimpse of a star and sceptre; he sees the King, the true King of men, and the new day which the King will make for men.

II. He sees in the future the ideal Ruler, the true Divine King who was to arise on the earth. In sweet, pure figures the kingdom of Christ passed before the mind of David. When the true King came, the darkness in which men sat would be over and gone; the rain of tears, falling because of the tyranny of man to man, would cease. His hope was based on the "everlasting covenant" which God had made with him. On His word, His promise, His covenant, the dying king bases his hope for his house and for the world.

Congregationalist, vol. i., p. 88.

References: 2 Samuel 23:1-7 . S. Cox, An Expositor's Notebook, p. 115; J. G. Murphy, The Book of Daniel, p. 33. 2 Samuel 23:4 . J. Van Oosterzee, Year of Salvation, vol. i., p. 13.

Verse 5

2 Samuel 23:5

Thus the thought of the shortcomings of family religion entered into the last words of David, the son of Jesse, and laid a shadow upon his dying peace. Of all the images under which another world has been revealed to us, the best and the happiest is by far "My Father's house." But in proportion as the anticipation of that Father's house is clear, and beautiful, and distinct, will the contrast of the earthly home grow every day more intolerable.

I. It is a very rare thing to find much freedom of intercourse on spiritual subjects among the members of the same family, so that many give the confidences of their souls to comparative strangers, who seldom, if ever, speak on deep matters of personal religion to their parents or brothers or sisters. The reason of this is threefold: (1) the general law which rules most minds that they honour more what is at a distance than what is near; (2) the consciousness that we all have that our near relations are acquainted with our infirmities and inconsis-tencies a consciousness which ties the tongue; (3) the want of effort, that effort without which no conversation is ever profitable, and without which no real benefit is ever given or received in any matter.

II. If the frequency of the custom had not almost accustomed our minds to it, we should all mark and be offended with the way in which many Christian fathers and mothers discharge their parental duties. The grace of reverence has fallen away from almost all our home duties. The man who is unreverential towards his parents can never have true reverence for God.

III. The chief reason of family evils is that there is so little prayer in our homes. We want the ark in the house, the Shechinah, to fill the rooms and make them all little sanctuaries.

J. Vaughan, Sermons, 9th series, p. 134 (see also Fifty Sermons, 1874, p. 320).

References: 2 Samuel 23:5 . Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 356; J. M. Neale, Sermons in Sackville College, vol. i., p. 37; J. Irons, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. v., p. 409; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. i., No. 19. 2 Samuel 23:11 , 2 Samuel 23:12 . S. Baring-Gould, Village Preaching for a Year, vol. ii., p. 204. 2 Samuel 23:13-17 . Sermons for Boys and Girls, p. 403. 2 Samuel 23:15 . M. Nicholson, Redeeming the Time, p. 180.

Verses 15-17

2 Samuel 23:15-17

We see in this instance how hard work, the sweat of toilsome labour, risk of life, weariness, wounds, and heroic endurance may all be accepted of God, may be poured out unto the Lord, though in the first instance shown to man. Every work done for others costing self-denial, weariness, and anxiety is like the water brought from the well of Bethlehem by the three valiant men of David. It does not rest with the immediate object; it is poured out in sacrifice to the Lord.

Unselfishness confers on him who is adorned with it a sort of priesthood. He is ever offering up sacrifices of his time, his comforts, his conveniences, to others, and though these be offered to others, they are in reality libations to God. There is special merit in such acts if they be done with a right intent, and in such a way that Christ may be seen in all we do for others.

S. Baring-Gould, Village Preaching for a Year, p. 194.

References: 2 Samuel 23:15-17 . J. Baines, Sermons, p. 126. 2 Samuel 23:20 . S. Baring-Gould, One Hundred Sermon Sketches, p. 91. 2 Samuel 24:0 W. M. Taylor, David King of Israel, p. 269.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 23". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/sbc/2-samuel-23.html.
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