After Saul’s failure to serve as king in the way God desired, the scriptures tells us that God sought “a man after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). This was David (Acts 13:22). Now David was far from perfect, he made some very serious mistakes – however, when he saw his sins he always repented and looked to God for forgiveness (Psalms 51). David is characterised by his great zeal for the living Yahweh God. As a result Yahweh made a distinct and separate covenant with David – an unconditional covenant, which we will look at in this study.
Do the scriptures confirm God made a covenant with David?
2 Chronicles 13:5 WEB
Ought you not to know that Yahweh, the God of Israel, gave the kingdom over Israel to David forever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?
2 Chronicles 21:7 WEB
However Yahweh would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and as he promised to give a lamp to him and to his children always.
Notice that like the preserving properties of salt, a covenant of salt was one that would last. God guaranteed that the “house of David”—his descendants—would continue to exist forever.
We see in 2 Samuel chapter 7 (and we encourage our readers to read all of this in their own bibles) David desired greatly to build a house for God and discussed this with Nathan the prophet. What was Yahweh’s response to David through Nathan?
2 Samuel 7:10-17 WEB
I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in their own place, and be moved no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as at the first,
11 and [as] from the day that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel; and I will cause you to rest from all your enemies. Moreover Yahweh tells you that Yahweh will make you a house.
12 When your days are fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who shall proceed out of your bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son: if he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men;
15 but my loving kindness shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before you.
16 Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before you: your throne shall be established forever.
17 According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak to David.
Let us notice some important points in the scripture above:
Firstly, God re-affirms in verse 10 the promise of the land given in the covenants with Abraham and then through Moses, ‘they shall dwell in their own place’ – land.
Next God promises that David’s son (Solomon) would succeed him as king and that it is him that would build the temple for God’s Presence/Name – verses 12 and 13.
We see in verses 13 and 16 that this promise is expanded to include an everlasting kingdom – another son (descendent) of David’s would rule forever and build a lasting temple for God – the coming Messiah Jesus (Matthew 21:9). In this instance ‘your seed’ points to both Solomon building the physical temple (house) and also Messiah who will build a lasting spiritual temple and rule forever.
Notice verses 14 and 15, this covenant does not rely upon David’s descendants keeping God’s commandments – if they ‘commit iniquity’ He will chasten them, but not reject them as He did Saul. We know that Messiah was sinless, but all the others were not.
This relies purely on Yahweh’s faithfulness to His covenant promise.
Psalms 89:3-4 WEB
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David, my servant,
4 ‘I will establish your seed forever, And build up your throne to all generations.'” Selah.
Psalms 89:28-37 WEB
I will keep my loving kindness for him forevermore. My covenant will stand firm with him.
29 I will also make his seed endure forever, And his throne as the days of heaven.
30 If his children forsake my law, And don’t walk in my ordinances;
31 If they break my statutes, And don’t keep my commandments;
32 Then I will punish their sin with the rod, And their iniquity with stripes.
33 But I will not completely take my loving kindness from him, Nor allow my faithfulness to fail.
34 I will not break my covenant, Nor alter what my lips have uttered.
35 Once have I sworn by my holiness, I will not lie to David.
36 His seed will endure forever, His throne like the sun before me.
37 It will be established forever like the moon, The faithful witness in the sky.” Selah.
Do we see various prophecies pointing to Messiah Jesus as the descendent of David who will rule God’s kingdom forever, fulfilling God’s promises given in this covenant?
Isaiah 9:7 WEB
Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even forever. The zeal of Yahweh of Hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 11:1-2 WEB
There shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots shall bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of Yahweh shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Yahweh.
Jeremiah 23:5 WEB
Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will raise to David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
Jeremiah 33:14-21 WEB
Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will perform that good word which I have spoken concerning the house of Israel and concerning the house of Judah.
15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause a Branch of righteousness to grow up to David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; and this is [the name] by which she shall be called: Yahweh our righteousness.
17 For thus says Yahweh: David shall never want a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel;
18 neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to burn meal-offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.
19 The word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah, saying,
20 Thus says Yahweh: If you can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, so that there shall not be day and night in their season;
21 then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.
What was Mary told regarding Jesus before his birth?
Luke 1:31-33 NRSV
And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.
33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Did the people celebrate Jesus as ‘the son of David’ – the promised Messiah?
Matthew 21:6-11 NRSV
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them;
7 they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them.
8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
9 The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”
As we understand from previous studies Jesus first coming was as ‘the suffering servant’ and was rejected by the religious authorities, and it will be at his second coming as ‘ruling king’ he will sit on the throne.
So we have seen in this covenant with David the promise that David’s ‘house’, ‘kingdom’, and ‘throne’ will be established forever and is significant because it shows that the Messiah will come from the lineage of David and that He will establish a kingdom over which He will reign. The covenant is summarized by the words ‘house’, promising a dynasty in the lineage of David; ‘kingdom’, referring to a people who are governed by a king in a certain area; ‘throne’, emphasizing the authority of the king’s rule; and ‘forever’, emphasizing the eternal and unconditional nature of this covenant promise to David.
This study shows that Jesus is destined to sit on the throne of David. Although these events are sure to come to pass, many mistakenly believe it has already been fulfilled ‘in Christ’. However, it will not be fulfilled in full until He returns to earth in power and glory, given him by Yahweh our Father God. See our previous studies on Jesus and the Gospel.