I thought I would start with a side note that this is a passage that has been widely used to promote Jewish Zionism, and for a number of reasons: This is the first occurrence of the term "Zion" in the Bible, and so some have used it for that reason. Second, it addresses the need for strong military defense of Israel against Philistine attack. And you can see how they would find that relevant. Third Jerusalem was a strategic site for Israel's survival, and survival has been uppermost in the Jewish mind for two millennia. Fourth, this passage begins the focus upon Jerusalem as a sacred city and as the center of the world (or as the Hebrew text in Ezekiel words it - the navel or belly button of the world). And it has always had central significance for Jews for the last 2000 years. Fifth, this passage speaks to the importance of having a place that could unify a fragmented Israel. David's first action to unify Israel was to move his Capitol north to Jerusalem. And modern Zionists have felt that Jerusalem could serve that function, and one of their prayers in Europe was, "Next year in Jerusalem." And then last (and this is perhaps the saddest point of all), some Jews have used this to justify their racism when it indicates that Jebusites were not welcome in that holy city. I think it is a misapplication of that point. Jebusites were under a special curse by God that did not apply to non-Canaanites. In fact, God made a court of the Gentiles to prove that point. But in any case, I think you can see how this passage could easily become an important passage for political Zionism.
But while there is a degree of legitimacy to some of their points, the theology that emerges from this Scripture and onwards points to something far, far different than political Zionism. It points to a Second David, the Lord Jesus Christ. And it is sad that these Zionists have totally missed Him. The second David was not interested in His own will being done. He taught us to pray to the Father, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." The Biblical theology of Zion is symbolic and points to the heavenly Zion that we pray would more and more come to earth to transform not just Israel, Egypt, and other Middle eastern countries, but to transfer the entire world. "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." The concept of Zion plays a central role in Biblical theology. And before I read phrase by phrase through the passage, let me draw out some of those Gospel themes.
Toward a theology of Zion
The names of the city
Jebus (1Chron. 11:4-5 with Josh 18:28; 19:10)
And we will look first of all at the names of the city. The parallel passage in 1 Chronicles 11 says, "And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, that is, Jebus, where the Jebusites were, the inhabitants of the land." And it is twice called Jebus in 1 Chronicles 11. Jebus (or the Hebrew is yebus) was the pagan name for Jerusalem. And it highlights the fact that the center of David's kingdom had to be wrested out of Satan's grasp. Indeed, there wasn't anything that David ruled over that wasn't at one time under pagan control.
And to me this speaks so well of redemption flowing out of judgment. Those in the New Jerusalem were all once God's enemies. We were the conquered inhabitants the old Jebus. David stands as a symbol of Jesus who not only destroys all His enemies, but reconciles enemies to Himself. You will see the language of both in the New Testament.
Now, you might think that the symbolism is kind of messed up because the inhabitants of this city were destroyed. But in Biblical symbolism you can't have redemption without judgment. You can't have the healing of the cross without the curse of the cross. You can't have heaven without hell. Those who rejected David were indeed destroyed, but even Canaanites could convert to Israel. Let me give you some examples. The security guards for David – the Cherethites and the Pelethites were former Philistines who were under the ban, and yet they had converted to the true faith. Philistines were under God's judgment, but there were some who believed in Jesus as their subsitute. Jesus bore the curse for them. And when the imprecatory Psalms are sung, there are two ways that those Psalms can be answered: one is by conversion, in which case Christ bears their curse, and the other way is by them being destroyed. But either way, the enemy is destroyed by Jesus.
Let me give you another example. 1 Chronicles 21:15 talks about Ornan the Jebusite. Hmmm. I thought all the Jebusites were destroyed in this battle, but apparently not. Ornan the Jebusite was said to be a man of grace who donated his land to David to turn it into a temple. So the very temple grounds within Jerusalem come from the hand of a believing Jebusite at the instruction of God Himself. I don't think Zionists eould appreciate being reminded of that, but I think it is marvelous symbolism of God's gracious conquest of His people, and through His people, engaging in the work of reconciling the world to Himself.
I just have to read to you once again the marvelous poem written by Charles Spurgeon. It captures this theme of redemptive judgments so well.
Forth to the battle rides our King; He climbs the conquering car;
He fits His arrows to the string, and hurls His bolts afar.
Convictions pierce the stoutest hearts, they smart, they bleed, they die,
Slain by Immanuel's well-aimed darts, in helpless heaps they lie.
Behold, He bares His two-edged sword, and deals almighty blows;
His all-revealing, killing Word 'twixt joints and marrow goes.
Who can resist Him in the fight? He cuts through coats of mail.
Before the terror of His might the hearts of rebels fail.
Anon, arrayed in robes of grace, he rides the trampled plain,
With pity beaming in His face, and mercy in His train.
Mighty to save He now appears, mighty to raise the dead,
Mighty to staunch the bleeding wound, and lift the fallen head.
Victor alike in love and arms, myriads around Him bend;
Each captive owns His matchless charms, each foe becomes His friend.
They crown Him on the battle-field, they press to kiss His feet;
Their hands, their hearts, their all they yield: His conquest is complete.
None love Him more than those He slew; His love their hate has slain;
Henceforth their souls are all on fire to spread His gentle reign.
Words: Charles H. Spurgeon, Music: Henry Cutler, 1872 Public Domain.
We are going to be seeing that even Hiram, king of Tyre, became a believer. From this passage we see the theology of Zion developing from Jebus, to Jerusalem, to later to the heavenly Jerusalem.
And by the way, I think that is why the name Jebus is highlighted in 1 Chronicles and not in this book. Chronicles was written to give comfort to the post-exilic people that what was lost can be restored; what was under judgment can receive God's blessing. What better way to remind them of that than to remind them of the former state of Jerusalem?
And of course, Jerusalem is the next name given. Jerusalem, or Yerushalaim in the Hebrew, means foundation of peace. And this too is an incredibly important name that has Messianic implications. The first reference to this city is in Genesis 14:20, where Melchizedek was the priest/king of Salem, a shortened version of that name. Why is that important? Well, first, Melchizedeck wasn't a Jew, and in the theology of Zion that will be developed in the Old Testament, both Jew and Gentile occupy Zion. And in Genesis 14:20 we have a non-Jew who is the priest/king of that great city. That's incredibly significant. And again, it stands in such contrast to Zionism.
Second, in that passage, both Melchizedek and the city Salem stand as a symbol of the heavenly Christ and the heavenly city. Hebrews makes a huge deal about Salem and Melchizedek.
Third, Scripture gives us a theology of Jerusalem that speaks of God's rule from this city, but alternates back and forth between the heavenly Jerusalem where His heavenly kingdom exists, and the earthly Jerusalem where God's heavenly kingdom was coming and His will was being done on earth as it is heaven. It's a tiny paradigm for the whole Gospel kingdom.
Jeremiah 3:17 says, "Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of Yahweh." The whole city is called God's throne. That's how central Jerusalem was to the kingdom. And this was one of the reasons why the ark of the covenant had to be brought here in the next chapter. The ark of the Covenant was God's Throne, and God's Lordship over all of life would now become identified with Jerusalem. If you keep that in mind when you see references to Jerusalem (and there 767 of them) it will help you to see the significance.
And all of this had been David's plan by divine guidance all along. He did not conquer Jerusalem on a whim. After he killed Goliath in 1 Samuel 17, verse 54 says that he brought the head of Goliath to Jerusalem so that all those Jebusites on the wall could see it. It was a visible act of faith that he was going to eventually take that city too. He put that city on notice that their days were numbered – that the earthly Jerusalem would begin to conformed to the pattern of the heavenly Jerusalem. It would become the foundation of peace.
The next name is Zion. And throughout Scripture the word Zion has reference not just to God's kingdom, but especially to the Messianic kingdom of Jesus Christ. In Psalm 2 the Father says, "I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion." He is referring to Jesus sitting at His right hand until all enemies are subdued beneath His feet. Salvation flows from Zion, and in the New Covenant Zion would bring healing and blessing to all the nations of the world. You cannot read through the Psalms without seeing that Zion is at a minimum a reference to God's kingdom, but many times very specifically to the New Covenant kingdom of Jesus.
So when the author names Jerusalem Zion, he is doing so prophetically. And if you simply read every passage that has the word Zion in it (as I did this past week) it will correct your theology if you hold to two-kingdom theology. It's impossible to hold to that and take seriously every reference to Zion. Just as David's rule in the earthly Zion was in submission to the unified rule of God over all of life, Christ's kingship and authority was not bifurcated either. It's not natural law that sits insides the throne of God (the ark of the covenant); it's the written ten commandments. The Great Commission is given in light of His universal authority in heaven and earth. I love the Psalms of Zion. They will cleanse you of dispensationalism, defeatism, discouragement, and apathy. Those Psalms will give you a burning passion to see all of life in submission to the Second David.
City of David
The fourth name is "the city of David." The Holman Bible commentary, when commenting on the parallel, says,
The verse makes it sound as though the location known as David's city had been there all along, and David merely claimed it for himself, and that is exactly the way the chronicler wanted us to read it. David took possession of what was already his.
He was possessing his possessions. And we too are called by the book of Hebrews to enter into our inheritance. Ephesians calls us to lay hold of the blessings that we have been blessed with in Christ. Revelation 2 promises that if we will be overcomers, we can sit on Christ's throne and be handed his iron rod to smash the nations. In other words, we share in His reign.
The king of the city
We'll have more to say about the city of David later, but let's look next at the king of the city. He wasn't just any king. The Bible mentions David's name almost 1000 times. And if you look in the major and minor prophets, you discover that the David that they are talking about is clearly Jesus. David becomes a type of Jesus.
Your bone and your flesh
Look at verse 1. We saw last week that the people said, "Indeed, we are your bone and your flesh." It's an odd expression, but it points so well to Christ's even greater relationship to us through the incarnation – He became our bone and flesh through the incarnation. So the seeds of the gospel are beginning to pop up through the soil in this passage.
David is called both shepherd and king in verse 2. Let me read you two sample verses that apply this to Jesus:
Ezekiel 34:23 "I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd".
Ezekiel 37:24 "David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them".
The first David has already been dead for a long time, but this is referring to the antitype, Jesus. So Jesus is a shepherd who protects us from the enemy and helps us to live in peace.
But Jesus is also a king who blesses us with His rule of law and by calling us to keep God's law. He's a King.
The names of the former inhabitants
I won't take much time to highlight the names of the former inhabitants. But the name Jebusite comes from the word "to tread down or subjugate." They no doubt used it to describe the fact that they were the conquerors. Dominion is inescapable. It will either be a humanistic dominion such as the Jebusites engaged in or Christ's dominion. But they stand as a symbol of what happens to all those who are in rebellion against God.
Blind and lame
They were so confident that David couldn't conquer their fortified city that they claimed even the blind and lame could defend the city easily against David. From that time on David referred to the Jebusites as the blind and the lame – all Jebusites. And it is a perfect description of the spiritual state of unregenerate man.
The reason for the victory
God was with him
There is one more area that this passage speaks typologically to, and that is the two-fold reason for David's victory. The first reason given in the text is in verse 10 – "the LORD God of hosts was with him." Just as God was with David and with Moses before him, God would be with Jesus. This is a theme that comes up over and over as a reason for Christ's guaranteed victory. For example, Psalm 91:15 promises, "I will be with him." Isaiah 9:7 promises the Second David victory because the zeal of Yahweh of hosts will perform this. It says, "Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." The Second David's victory is because God guarantees to be with Him, and of course, Christ guarantees to be with us even to the end of the age.
For the sake of the people
But though the reason for victory is totally Hod-centered, because of our union with Jesus, it does not exclude us. Verse 12 says,
2Samuel 5:12 "So David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel, and that He had exalted His kingdom for the sake of His people Israel".
And God blesses the victory of Christ's kingdom for the sake of His people whom He has given to Him. OK, I think I have given enough to prove that we are not reading typology back into David. This will be the foundation for some applications we will make in upcoming chapters, including the next one. But I wanted to start with the seeds of the Gospel so that we don't miss it.
But for the remainder of this sermon, let me quickly read each verse and give a few more applications. Verse 6:
2Samuel 5:6 "And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who spoke to David, saying, "You shall not come in here; but the blind and the lame will repel you," thinking, "David cannot come in here."
Two obvious applications are the difference between faith and presumption. David had faith; the Jebusites had presumption. Both had confidence, but one was a confident faith and the other was a confident presumption. Confidence by itself is not faith.
I want you to notice three things about David's faith. First, it was not passive. Like virtually every example of faith in Hebrews 11, David demonstrated his faith by action. Genuine faith always results in obedience. If he had passively waited for God to give him Jerusalem, he likely would not have had it. But based on the Word of a God who cannot lie, David sought to possess his possessions. Faith always produces action, and without the obedience of faith we have a counterfeit faith.
The second thing to notice is that David's faith was founded on the Word of God. God had commanded the conquest of all of Canaan, had made plans for Jerusalem to be the place for His throne, and in other ways had made it clear that Saul was faithless when he refused to engage the Jebusites in battle. Joshua and Judges makes it clear that Jerusalem was still in the hands of the Jebusites through no fault of God. It was because Israel failed to possess their possessions. They were satisfied with something much less, just as Christians today tend to be satisfied with something much less than God's will in America. But faith is not content with anything less than seeing God's Word lived out to its fullest.
And basing our actions and prayers on the Word of God is what it means to pray according to God's will and what Scripture means when it says, "I believe your commandments." When God commanded Israel to cross the Red Sea, God's command was all that was needed for them to be able to cross it in faith. God has not commanded us to cross the Red Sea or to presume to part the waters of the Missouri, and if we tried either passage, we would get wet; that's all. But when God commands us to do anything, we can achieve it if we have faith. If He promises anything, we can achieve it, if we have faith. And your faith will grow if you will fill your prayers with the promises of God, the laws of God, the attributes of God, and the stated desires of God. Anything that is not rooted in these Scriptural commands, promises, desires of God, or character of God is presumption, not faith.
Let me illustrate. When God commanded the Israelites to possess the land of Canaan, Joshua and Caleb had faith and wanted Israel to immediately do so. But the other ten spies said that possessing their possessions was impossible and they convinced Israel not to try. Deuteronomy 9:23 reminded the next generation that that failure to take action was both rebellion and lack of faith. God told them that they would wander in the wilderness for forty years. So what does Israel do? They try to conquer Canaan on their own, and they get whupped. God had warned them that they shouldn't try, but they did so anyway, and lost big time. That was presumption because it was acting contrary to the will of God. Psalm 119:66 says that faith acts by saying, "I believe your commandments." Romans 10:17 says, "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." David conquered Jerusalem because the commandment to conquer it had never been rescinded. He conquered Jerusalem because God had revealed that this was his will all the way back in 1 Samuel. He conquered because God had promised that the Jebusites would not be able to stand before Israel. And unlike the previous king, Saul, David showed his qualifications to be king by being willing to finish the conquest that Saul had refused to do. So that's faith.
Presumption on the other hand has confidence to do things that God has not promised, commanded, desired, or described in the Bible. It doesn't matter how much confidence I have that I can cross the Red Sea like the Israelites did, to try would be presumption because God has not commanded me to do so and my presumption would let me down. The Jebusites had confidence that David could not conquer them because the geography around the city made it almost impossible to conquer. But it was a confidence in creation, not a confidence in God. So if you can keep the word image of verse 6 in your mind, it is a great word picture of the difference between faith and presumption. Verse 7:
2Samuel 5:7 "Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion" (that is, the City of David).
I love that word "Nevertheless." It flies in the face of our fear and frustration at the modern Jebusites. If the church would once again storm the gates of Jebus by faith, this "Nevertheless" would be true of our generation as well. On the other hand, if we pick and choose between God's commands like Saul did, the Jebusites will continue to taunt us. Verse 8:
2Samuel 5:8 "Now David said on that day, "Whoever climbs up by way of the water shaft and defeats the Jebusites (the lame and the blind, who are hated by David's soul), he shall be chief and captain." Therefore they say, "The blind and the lame shall not come into the house."
First of all, David was not prejudiced against people who were literally lame and blind. For example, we will be seeing in an upcoming chapter that David was extremely kind to the lame man, Mephibosheth, feeding him at his own table for the rest of his life. And there are other ways in which David showed compassion upon the disadvantaged. What is going on in this chapter is that the Jebusites had taunted David that even if they were lame and blind they would be able to repel David. David responds by calling all of them lame and blind, and the next phrase makes clear that it was a spiritual phrase because it specifies that it was the kind of lame and blind that were hated by David's soul – in other words, all who were under the Canaanite ban. So when the lame and blind could not come into the house, it was Jebusites that were forbidden from coming. So don't read this as a diatribe against the disadvantaged. David was simply coming into agreement with God's curse upon all Canaanites and specifically upon all Jebusites. And it was a statement of faith that the Canaanites were no match for God's kingom.
But there was something else going on here. As a godly ruler, David had already tried to remove Joab from office because of his murder of Abner. He was unsuccessful. This was another attempt to do so. He was offering the position of Joab to whoever had the guts to swim, crawl, and climb up the water shaft from the spring to the pool inside Jerusalem. It was a claustrophobic, incredibly dangerous feat. He probably didn't think Joab would even try it. But it wouldn't surprise me if Joab threatened anyone else from trying, or in some way made sure that he was the only one to attempt it. And from that point on, David was bound by his word to keep Joab in office, because 1 Chronicles says that Joab was able to do it. I'm sure David was kicking himself that he had made this open-ended promise. Verses 9-10:
2Samuel 5:9 ¶ "Then David dwelt in the stronghold, and called it the City of David. And David built all around from the Millo and inward".
2Samuel 5:10 "So David went on and became great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him".
This city was not ceded by either Judah or any other tribe. It was conquered land, and Robert Gordon points out that it was administered separately from the other tribes, much like Washington, DC was originally the only Federal land, other than a few fortifications. In fact, we have seen on so many levels that the original American system was patterned after the Hebrew Republic. This is just another tiny example.
Now, if you just read this quickly, you might think that this was a power move on David's part – he's claiming a city for himself. Actually, it was the exact opposite of a power move. We are going to be seeing that David hugely reduced the size and scope of government from what it had been under Saul, to what it had originally been under the Judges and under Samuel. David's government was extremely decentralized, with almost no power at the federal level, other than over the army. In contrast, Saul hugely centralized the government, claimed ownership of the tribes, and even redistributed land to his officers. So David is setting up the limited sphere that is under his direct jurisdiction. The fact that there is one city of David implies that the rest did not belong to him. And this is a phrase that will come up 44 more times. So one application is limited federal power. It's only implied here, but we will see it explicitly laid out elsewhere.
The second thing that we see is that David prospered because the LORD of hosts or the LORD of armies was with him. His battles were not merely battles with flesh and blood. There were spiritual armies that were at work at the same time. Millions of angels were standing behind David because the Lord of hosts stood behind David. And the same Lord of hosts who helped David over and over against all odds is the Lord of hosts today. We can go forth in faith because the Lord of hosts is with us. Verses 11-12:
2Samuel 5:11 "Then Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters and masons. And they built David a house".
2Samuel 5:12 "So David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel, and that He had exalted His kingdom for the sake of His people Israel".
The first thing to note is that God approved of this arrangement with Hiram. Some commentators have wrongly jumped to the conclusion that this was in disobedience to God. God's law had said that Israel was not to make any treaties with pagan nations around them. Yet 1 Kings 5:12 says that it was God's wisdom in Solomon to continue the treaty with Hiram, and this passage says that this showed God's hand being with David; it was an evidence that God was establishing his kingdom. How can we reconcile this with God's command to make no covenants with pagan nations?
There is nothing in archeology that helps us, but there are other passages of Scripture that would seem to indicate that Hiram had become a believer. 1 Kings 5:1 says, "for Hiram had always loved David." Contrary to what most commentaries say, Hiram was not doing this for purely self-interested reasons. He loved David and wanted to bless David. There was a friendship between the two of them. We need to ask, "Why was David such a close friend?"
Well, if you read through the dialogue between Solomon and Hiram in 1 Kings 5, it gives every appearance that Hiram knew, loved, and served Yahweh, the God of Israel. And it is my belief that Hiram was indeed a convert. And through the rest of 2 Samuel, you will see this theme beginning to be developed as well – pagans who become God-fearers and/or full-fledged Jews. Now obviously, in verses 17 and following there many Philistines who are destroyed. But there are many pagans who are also redeemed – including Philistines. So there is a theme of redemptive judgment that will be more fully developed in this book.
Of course, redemption and God's favor does not mean that we are sinless, and it does not mean we are totally free of blind spots. So while the seeds of the kingdom of God can be seen in this passage, the seeds of Satan's kingdom were being sown as well. And one of those seeds was polygamy. This was a clear-cut violation of God's command to kings in Deuteronomy 17. They were not to multiply wives for any reason, romantic or political. And it's interesting that verse 13 starts with the romantic side – with the concubines, because that was David's weakness. He did this more than for political reasons. He had an eye for beauty that would get him in trouble.
2Samuel 5:13 "And David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he had come from Hebron. Also more sons and daughters were born to David".
2Samuel 5:14 "Now these are the names of those who were born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon",
2Samuel 5:15 "Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia",
2Samuel 5:16 "Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet".
David's unbiblical romances and political alliances would later get him into deep, deep trouble. There would be jealousy among the wives and ungodly characteristics in the children that would blossom into hatred and even murder. You cannot violate God's law of faithfully remaining a one-woman-man without suffering. And because I dealt with this subject at great length at an earlier passage that listed his wives, I won't do so here, other than to say that thematically the author is portraying the seeds of the kingdom of God and the seeds of the kingdom of Satan so subtly being sown into David's life. Aspects of both kingdoms would blossom later.
And this can happen to any of us. At the very time that we are making huge victories in one area of life, Satan can be causing us to sow seeds of destruction in another area of our lives. And it doesn't have to be sexual. I had a friend in California who was incredibly unbalanced in her desire to influence culture for good. She spent so much time in it that she ignored the needs of her family. Yes, she was successful in opposing abortion, problems in government schools, and getting good candidates elected, but her husband and children felt neglected. Her daughter tried to talk to the mom several times: "Mom, I need to talk to you about something," and the mother kept putting it off till later because of the tyranny of the urgent – "I'm going to be late. I need to run. Can't this wait till later?" Well, later, (and it was much later) her daughter finally tried to find her own solution to a problem that was scaring her to death – she got an abortion.
The seeds that we sow can look so good initially. In David's day, you weren't a respected king if you didn't engage in polygamy. We are horrified with that, but back then they probably didn't think it was any worse than some of the sins that Christians routinely excuse today. It was a sin that was easy to do without feeling too bad. But as we saw before, it sowed the seeds of disaster in his family.
And so in conclusion let me simply say that this is the beginning of the theology of Zion. Zion on earth populates Zion in heaven. Zion is not perfect, but it is redeemed. The story of Zion is the story of the bride of Christ. She was a harlot city, Jebus, deserving of death and destruction, but God saved her, washed her, and by the end of the book of Revelation has made her into a New Jerusalem, clothed in bridal garments. God rules through Zion. But the contrast of harlot Jebus and bridal Jerusalem can be seen all the way through the book of Revelation. And this bride is not only made up of Jews; it is made up of Jews and Gentiles. To change metaphors, Zion is a flock of sheep, shepherded by Jesus, the Second David, a Good Shepherd who is far more consistent and glorious than David. And this Second David has other sheep who must come into His fold – Gentiles like the Cherethites, Pelethites, Gibeonites, Ittai the Gittite, Uriah the Hittite, and others. And for those of you who are in the Zion of God and who are part of the people of God, it is important that you not elevate your Davids above their place. David pointed to Jesus. Even the names of his children pointed to Jesus. As imperfect as he was, he looked to Jesus, the author and the finisher of his faith, just as we must look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Let's pray.