Davidic Covenant

I. Location in Scripture

A. Descriptions of Davidic Covenant (DC)

1. II Samuel 7

2. I Chronicles 17

B. Use of ברית.

1. Absent in II Samuel 7 and I Chronicles 17

2. Used to describe the relationship between God and David described in II Samuel 7 and I Chronicles 17

a. II Samuel 23.5

b. Psalm 89.3

c. Psalm 132.11-12

II. Significance of the DC

A. In the DC, God channels His covenantal purposes through David and his descendants, revealing both the obedience that He requires and the mercy that He maintains.

III. In the DC, God channels all of His previous covenantal work and purposes through one man.

A. God’s covenantal purposes flow seamlessly from Moses to David.

1. Deuteronomy 17.14-20. Moses speaks of governing principles for the king of Israel. The Mosaic covenant had built into it a place for a king.

2. I Kings 2.1-4. David identifies the prosperity of the DC with obedience to the Law of Moses.

3. The coming of the DC marks a point of progressive accomplishment.

a. II Samuel 7.1. The LORD gives David ‘rest’ from all of his enemies.

b. Deuteronomy 12.10-11. God promised Israel that there would come a day when He would give them ‘rest’ from their struggles and that in that day, He would establish a place for His Name to abide forever.

c. II Samuel serves as a benchmark in God’s covenantal work among His people.

B. God channels all of His covenantal purposes through David; II Samuel 7.4-16

1. 2Sam. 7:9-11. God has been with David and through his kingly rule, He will continue to bring the blessings of His covenant to Israel.

2. This is the message that David takes from God’s interaction with him; II Samuel 7.24-27. God’s purpose in and with Israel is being consolidated in and through David and his descendants.

C. David and his house are being established as mediators of the covenant.

1. The king is being established as the permanent covenant mediator; the ‘office’ of covenant mediator comes into view.

2. Strongly emphasized in the Psalter; e.g. Psalm 89, 132; also Psalm 2.

3. The ‘covenantal status’ of the people was bound up with the king.


IV. The Balanced Emphasis Upon Both the Obedience that God Requires and the Mercy that He Maintains in the Covenant of Grace (COG); II Samuel 7.12-16.

A. A promised mercy
1. God promises to establish and maintain the Davidic dynasty.
2. Verse 14. The very closest of relationships between God and the Davidic king.
B. A required obedience
1. Verse 14. Disobedience to the Mosaic Law will bring chastisement to the Davidic king.
2. Verses 15-16. Even in the midst of judgment, God would maintain mercy.
C. In this balance, the king remains the conduit for God’s covenantal purposes with His people.
1. The relative righteousness of the king has profound implications for all of God’s people.
2. When the king knows blessing, the people know blessing; I & II Kings.
3. When the king knows chastening, the people know chastening.
D. The obedience of the Davidic king is both necessary and important; and God’s mercy shall not be affected by the relative obedience or disobedience of that mediator.
1. Scriptures record Davidic kings in constant need of; and receipt of; chastening. That chastening occurs in accordance with ‘the word of the LORD’.
2. Through all those chastisements, God maintains His mercy; He does not remove the line of David from the throne.
V. The Exile
A. The seriousness of the Exile for the DC and the COG
B. Earthly/heavenly aspects of God’s covenant promises
1. God’s covenantal purpose tied to the heavenly reality, not the earthly type.
2. The giving of an earthly Davidic king was a glimpse into God’s overarching, eternal covenantal purpose.
C. The core of the DC is not a political monarch. Rather, it is the disclosure of a mediator and the promise that mercy will be maintained in the midst of chastisement; II Kings 25.27-30.
1. Evil-Merodach, the Babylonian king, had favor and mercy on Jehoiachin.
2. Jehoiachin, as the mediatorial representative of God’s people, is being shown tangible mercy in the midst of chastisement.
D. The Exile is not the abnegation of the DC; it is the tangible outworking of II Samuel 7.14-15.
1. The DC is being played out in and through the Exile.
2. The DC comes to its full flowering in Christ; Matthew 1.1.
a. The DC, still binding, although in obscurity; is now coming to fulfilment and moving on to its next stage of revelation.
b. Christ is the fulfilment of the promises of the DC; they were not voided by the Exile.
VI. Observations on the Importance of the DC and Its Contribution to an Understanding of the COG
A. In the DC, God is setting before His people the mediatorial office through which Jesus Christ must, most fundamentally, be understood.
B. The obedience of the covenant mediator to the Mosaic Law matters.
1. The legal obedience of the mediator is crucially important.
2. See this importance in the Psalms. See Dr. Belcher, ‘The King, the Law, and Righteousness in the Psalms’ in The Law is Not of Faith.
3. Prepares us to understand Christ’s active obedience and the imputation of His righteousness to His people.
C. The sovereignty of God’s mercy does not negate the importance of His people’s obedience.
D. David, who serves to prepare us for Jesus, was a king.
VII. Resources
A. Dr. Belcher’s essay
B. Paul Williamson. Sealed with an Oath: Covenant in God’s Unfolding Purpose. New Studies in Biblical Theology. Nottingham: Apollos, 2007. (Williamson has some objectionable views in several areas. Among other things, he rejects the overarching COG. However, his material on the DC is quite good.)