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thee; thy throne shall be established forever.' David answers in prayerful thanksgiving, recognizing Jehovah's choice of Israel for his people and his choice of David's house to earthly kingship over them forever;' and in the great psalm which is most surely his, David sings at the close:
Therefore will I give thanks to thee, O Jehovah, among the nations,
And to thy name will I sing praises,
Who giveth great victory to his king,
And showeth loving-kindness to his anointed,
Conceptions of the fortunes and character of the ideal king are set forth in a number of psalms, referred by many to the time of David. The king is a righteous ruler; Jehovah bids him sit on his right hand till he make his enemies his footstool; the king shall be forever "priest after the order of Melchizedek," and shall judge among the nations. The seventy-second psalm, ascribed to Solomon, tells the ideal of kingly function and its beneficent effect:
O God, give thy judgments unto the king,
May he decide the cause of thy people with righteousness,
May the mountains bring forth peace unto the people,
May he judge the afflicted of the people,
Save the sons of the poor,
And crush the oppressor!
(So that) they fear thee as long as the sun (endureth). Let him be as rain coming down upon the mown grass, As showers that water the earth.
1 2 Sam., vii, 11-17.
• Ib., 18-29.
3 Ps. xviii, 49, 50.
4 See 2 Sam. xxiii, 1-7.
Let the righteous flourish in his days,
And abundance of peace till there be no more moon,
And from the river to the ends of the earth.
Before him let the inhabitants of the wilderness bow,
Let the kings of Tarshish and the isles render gifts,
Evidently the line of David, the kingly Messianic line, in its rule should reflect the righteousness of Jehovah, who had established it; and the closeness of the ideal king to Jehovah is shown by the declaration of Jehovah's fathership and the king's sonship, expressed in the covenant with David, and with more distinct Messianic forecasting in the second psalm:
Jehovah said unto me, Thou art my son,
This day have I begotten thee.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations thine inheritance,
David while he lived was in all respects a sufficient king to Israel, having kingly righteousness and all kingly faculty. The covenant with him was for an establishment of his seed forever, with tacit assumption that his descendants would continue righteous kings; or if they erred, would be brought back to righteousness by Jehovah's chastisement. But even Solomon in all his glory was not the darling king of Israel as David had been, and after Solomon the kingdom fell in twain. Judah, where David's line continued, was cut off from the greater part of her strength by the establishment of the ten tribes as the Northern Kingdom, and even the reign of an energetic monarch like Uzziah failed to bring back more than a short semblance of David's power. With difficulty the 1 Ps. lxxii, I-II, Perowne's translation.
two small unfriendly monarchies maintained themselves against the hostile neighbors who beset them; and when Assyria began to interfere and conquer, their chances seemed to hang on threads of devious policy and entangling alliance. Neither in character nor in power was the line which held the divine promise worthy of it. But the hope of Israel clung to Jehovah's word, and as these monarchs declined from their great pattern, Israel's inspired hope, dashed in its attachment to David's line, gathered itself around an expected scion. The fortunes of both kingdoms were falling; but Jehovah's word was Therefore it must be that a great prince of David's house should arise, and restore the ancient splendor; yes, and more; for, as the visions expanded with the horizons of a later age, this great prince of Israel was conceived as a universal monarch. In the passages from psalms already cited, the thought of ideal kingship has begun to transfer itself from a line to an individual. The prophets, writing in vicious times, saw the kingly Messiah as a restorer, then as a deliverer of Israel not only from her enemies, but from her sins; and finally, not as a conqueror, but as a prince of peace. But never is the Messiah-King surrounded by earthly pomp. He is a righteous king, who draws his breath in the fear of Jehovah. His personality carries suggestion of one not altogether of the earth.
First Amos prophesies that Jehovah will sift his people till the sinners of them die by the sword; then will he restore the fallen house of David and bring again his people from the captivity which Amos King in the saw drawing nigh the Northern Kingdom.' Prophets. Hosea follows with many prophecies of Jehovah's loving restoration of Israel. These prophets do not refer to the activity of any human king; but in a following generation is described a victorious prince of peace :
1 Amos ix.
Exult greatly, O daughter of Zion,
Righteous and victorious is he,
Even upon a colt, the foal of an ass.
And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim,
And the battle-bow will be cut off,
And he will speak peace to the nations,
And from the river unto the ends of the earth.'
All prophetic passages referring to the restoring or redeeming agency and wide rule of the Messianic king set his power in Jehovah's omnipotence. The Messiah's righteousness is the reflection of Jehovah's, his might is Jehovah's arm; his entire activity and function is but the visible bringing down to earth of Jehovah's rule; or Jehovah himself is thought as coming to earth, or at least as exerting directly the beneficent activities of a king. "And it shall come to pass in the after days that the mountain of Jehovah's house shall become fixed at the head of the mountains, and be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall stream unto it. And many peoples shall set forth and say, 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob, and let him teach us out of his ways, and we will walk in his paths. For from Zion shall go forth the instruction, and the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem. And he shall judge between the nations and arbitrate for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into coulters, and their spears into pruning-knives; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.'
1 Zech. ix, 9–10. cf. Micah v, 1−4.
Zechariah is doubtful.
Translation from Briggs' Messianic Prophecy, p. 184; The post- or pre-exilic date of the last six chapters of See Driver, Introduction to the Old Testament. Is. ii, 2-4, Cheyne. Substantially the same as Micah iv, 1-5. Either both Isaiah and Micah quote from an older prophet, or one quotes from the other, probably Isaiah from Micah.
Such a passage shows the righteousness of Jehovah exerting itself in a mode almost identical with the beneficent activity of his son and vicar, the Messianic king. It also suggests the wide purpose of Jehovah's restoration of his people, a purpose which partly unfolds itself in passages of Isaiah descriptive of the personality of the Messiah. Ahaz, threatened by the kings of Israel and Syria, will not ask of Isaiah a sign of Jehovah's salvation. Nevertheless, a sign shall there be, Jehovah will give it. A young woman is with child, and shall bring forth a son, and before he knows to reject the evil and choose the good, the land whose kings now terrify Ahaz shall be forsaken, and the young woman-she, and no father of the child mentioned-shall call his name Immanuel.' A simple prophecy this before the infancy ends of a child already in the womb, the lands of Syria and northern Israel shall be laid waste by the King of Assyriaʼ—a simple prophecy, except for the child's name, God-with-us. The prophet has in mind that being who shall bring Jehovah's reign down to earth, shall bring to pass his own name, God-with-us.
Soon the prophet descries the character and effect of the Messiah. He beholds coming to meet the exigencies of his own times a kingly personality divinely efficient to redeem all time. Those whom Jehovah has seen fit to afflict, their gloom shall be broken; "the people that walk in darkness see a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, light shineth upon them. Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased joy; they rejoice before thee as with the joy in the harvest, as men exult when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden and the staff of his back, the rod of his task-master, thou hast broken as in the day of Midian. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the rule rests upon his shoulder, and they
1 Is. vii, 13-16.
And devastation shall come on Judah too.-Ib., 17, etc.