rakovskii (rakovskii) wrote,

III. The Psalms of David

III.(C) David as the Singer of the Psalms 

1 Samuel 16:13(JPT) decribes how "Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And a spirit of the Lord passed over David from that day forth." 2 Samuel 23:1-2 records "these are the last words of David... the man raised on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, And the sweet singer of Israel. 'The spirit of the Lord spoke in me, And His word was upon my tongue.'" Calling David "the sweet singer of Israel" indicates that he sang the Psalms attributed to him. Since David had God's spirit and he spoke God's word like prophets do, the scriptures indicate that his Psalms had a mystical, prophetic quality.

Descriptions of David more clearly refer to the prophesied Messiah when they are inside David’s Psalms, because they are prophetic, visionary passages about himself. That’s because if someone uses a metaphor to describe a person, it more clearly means that things inside the poetry apply to the person. For example, 2 Samuel  22:2 says: “The Lord is my rock and my fortress, and a rescuer to me”. This doesn’t mean God is made of rock crystals, or other things outside the poetry. This means that God is strong and protective like a rock and fortress, because it describe God as a rescuer.

Likewise, David and the Messiah share the attribute of having God’s Spirit, in which David sang the Psalms. (compare Isaiah 11:2 and 1 Samuel 23:1-2). They are also both prophetic figures and kings close to God (Isaiah 11:2; 55:4). So when David describes himself in his prophetic passages as being at God’s right hand (Psalm 16), or as telling Israel’s descendants to follow God, adding that all nations will worship God (Psalm 22), these passages presumably apply to the Messiah as well.

Besides kingship and being close to God, the Psalms emphasize suffering and salvation as other attributes of David. This helps explains how one can "stumble," or "be feeble," and yet still be like King David, when Zechariah 12:8(JPS) says about the Messianic Age: “the feeblest of them shall be in that day like David”. [or "he that stumbleth among them”  -1917 JPS].

The first Psalm "of David" is Psalm 3, which introduces the reocurring theme of David awakening thanks to the Lord, despite persecution. Psalm 3:1-6 (JPT) says: "A song of David, when he fled from Absalom his son. O Lord, how many have my adversaries become! ...Great men rise up against me. Great men say concerning my soul, "He has no salvation in God to eternity." With my voice, I call to the Lord, and He answered me from His holy mount to eternity. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord will support me." Psalm 4:9 (JPT) continues: "In peace together, I would lie down and sleep, for You, O Lord, would make me dwell alone in safety."


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