Summary: Second Samuel 23:1-7 teaches us about the coming kingdom.


Chapters 21-24 of Second Samuel form an epilogue to “The Life of David.” There are six sections in these chapters that give us important information about David. The center two sections of these chapters contain two poems, both of which were written by David, and tell us about the hope of David’s kingdom.

The author of Second Samuel tells us that 2 Samuel 23:1-7 are “the last words of David” (23:1). I do not think that these are literally the last words of David. More likely, these words are David’s testimony about the coming kingdom.

Let’s read David’s last words in 2 Samuel 23:1-7:

1 Now these are the last words of David:

The oracle of David, the son of Jesse,

the oracle of the man who was raised on high,

the anointed of the God of Jacob,

the sweet psalmist of Israel:

2 “The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me;

his word is on my tongue.

3 The God of Israel has spoken;

the Rock of Israel has said to me:

When one rules justly over men,

ruling in the fear of God,

4 he dawns on them like the morning light,

like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning,

like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth.

5 “For does not my house stand so with God?

For he has made with me an everlasting covenant,

ordered in all things and secure.

For will he not cause to prosper

all my help and my desire?

6 But worthless men are all like thorns that are thrown away,

for they cannot be taken with the hand;

7 but the man who touches them

arms himself with iron and the shaft of a spear,

and they are utterly consumed with fire.” (2 Samuel 22:1-51)


In his commentary on Second Samuel, commentator Dale Ralph Davis tells the following story:

Before Thomas Hog died in 1692, the Scot charged his congregation at Kiltearn to dig his grave at the threshold of the church building where he might act as a silent sentinel against any unworthy minister coming into the charge. The inscription on Hog’s tombstone read:

This stone shall bear witness

against the parishioners of Kiltearn

if they bring ane [sic] ungodly minister

in here.

We could say that these are the last words of Thomas Hog. His words were meant to be a warning to future generations to remain faithful to the word of God.

King David’s last words bear testimony to future generations as well. With greater nuance and absolute certainty, David’s last words speak to future generations about the coming kingdom.


Second Samuel 23:1-7 teaches us about the coming kingdom.

Let’s use the following outline:

1. The King’s Identity (23:1)

2. The King’s Inspiration (23:2-3b)

3. The King’s Instructions (23:3c-7)

I. The King’s Identity (23:1)

First, let’s look at the king’s identity.

The author of Second Samuel begins with these words, “Now these are the last words of David” (23:1a). As I mentioned, I do not think that these are literally the last words of David. Commentator Gordon Keddie notes that “The record of David’s last days is spread over no fewer than twelve chapters in 2 Samuel (23:24), 1 Kings (1–2) and 1 Chronicles (22–29).” Most commentators suggest that David’s “last words” were spoken in his charge to his son Solomon as he succeeded David to the throne of Israel in 1 Kings 2:1-12. That does not mean that there is a discrepancy in God’s word. I take the words here in 2 Samuel 23:1a to be David’s testimony about the coming kingdom.

David went on to make four statements about his identity in the third person.

First, David said that these words are “the oracle of David, the son of Jesse” (23:1b). The Hebrew word for “oracle” (neum) means “declaration” and it is a statement that is emphatic and explicit. It is used 376 times in the Old Testament, 365 of which refer to a declaration by God himself. David’s point is that his statement is a declaration that comes from God himself.

David identifies himself as “the son of Jesse.” David was identifying his humble origin. David was the youngest of Jesse’s seven sons. He lived in Bethlehem. When he was young, no-one knew of him or his family.

Second, David said that these words are “the oracle of the man who was raised on high” (23:1c). These is a very important statement. David did not say that he achieved the high office of king because of his own ability or personality or skill. No, he said that he “was raised on high.” In other words, something was done to David. The New International Version of the Bible captures the idea of David’s statement well when it states, “the utterance of the man exalted by the Most High.” It was God who raised David on high.

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