2 Samuel 8: Firstfruit of Victory

After the important prophecy about the Messiah in chapter 7, what follows after is understandably prophetic in its own sense as well.  The Israelites reading 2 Samuel after their expulsion to Assyria and Babylon will undoubtedly refer to the promises made to David concerning the everlasting kingdom of his offspring, and with bittersweet flavour will they turn to chapter 8, seeing the victories achieved by King David as firstfruit of what their Messiah Son of God would do on Israel’s behalf.  What judge, and what man has single-handedly, under his headship, led the defeat of several of the enemies of God’s people within one chapter besides a taster by Abraham (Genesis 14)?  The systematic dispatching of the Philistines (v.1) from whom David received Metheg-ammah, a ‘bit of the metropolis’, a bit of the city dedicated to new creation; the Moabites (v.2) by whom he follows the tradition of the measuring line, this line being a type of Christ deciding who is to dwell in the city of Jerusalem and who is beyond the “one full line” (v.2) and put to death (c.f. 2 Kings 21:10-15; Jeremiah 31:38-40; Lamentations 2:8; Ezekiel 47:1-6; Amos 7:17; Zechariah 1-2) with the remaining Moabites being received into the nation Israel; the defeat of the Hadad-worshipper Hadadezer (c.f. Genesis 36:35) so that David may prevent his restoration at the river Euphrates so commonly associated to destruction, this river of Babylon (by its other name, Perat in Genesis 2:14; c.f. 2 Kings 23:29; Jeremiah 2:18, 51:63; Revelations 9:14, 16:12) being the associated source of evil as opposed to the rivers of life; and with what great judgment David enacted (v.4) that even the supporting pagan nations are similarly destroyed – the people and its resources (v.5-6).

And so this is the effect of the new king, that he shall inherit the gold, silver and bronze (taken even from the secure hands of Betah and the mighty ‘god’ Hadad in the cities of Hadadezer v.8) on our behalf from surrounding nations (Matthew 5:5) – the amazing defeat of Edom (Genesis 36), Moab (Genesis 19:37), Ammonites (Genesis 19:38), Philistines (Genesis 10:14), Amalek (Genesis 36:12-16), Hadadezer – all symbolic enemies of God throughout the previous books of the Old Testament, all from the root of the sinful line of Adam, either removed from power or restored under the headship of the Israelite King (c.f. Moab and Edom restored as servants of Israel v.2 and v.14) not because of David’s innate strength, but because of what the LORD had promised to effect through David (v.14) as a foreshadow of his Offspring.  The witnessing of this priesthood of all nations (Exodus 19:6) is not merely in the form of war, but also in the form of diplomacy, that Toi king of Hamath shall acknowledge his subservience to King David (v.10-11) by paying tribute indirectly provided to the LORD.  It is in Toi that we see ourselves typified: in the wandering Toi once king of our own fortresses (Hamath) we have been attacked by the pagan nation of Hadadezer and true victory is achieved on our behalf through King David, our tribute, sacrificial response and offering provided through David (v.11) by the hands of Joram (“Jehovah is exalted“), so that the household of Toi and his aptly named son would both be grateful worshippers of Yahweh through David their mediator.

As the Israelites read this, their anticipation should be ever more expectant of an even greater king who will not only provide gold, silver and bronze before the LORD and subdue surrounding nations under the one true God – the king on the throne of the everlasting kingdom is to do even greater things than what is listed out in this chapter!

Yet, the key thing about David’s victories is not the gold, silver or bronze; it is not even about the mere subduing of nations, taking away of their idols, or making them Israel’s servants.  It is primarily about worship; about purifying the land; about new creation in replacement of old creation – new wine and new wineskin (Matthew 9:17).  What better way than to begin with the list of David’s list of officials, all men whose honour comes from the Lord God?  Joab (Jehovah is father); Jehoshaphat (Jehovah judged); Zadok (righteous); Ahimelech (brother of the king); Seraiah (Jehovah is ruler); Benaiah (Jehovah has built); and finally David’s sons, the centre of all attention in lieu of chapter 7, were priests, a foreshadowing of the kingly-priest Messiah.

2 Samuel 8: Firstfruit of Victory

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