The Exodus Book of Psalms--Part 16
Apr 22, 2010
This psalm speaks of the great controversy over the scepter and the birthright and prays for the resolution to the problem. Many verses here are quoted in the New Testament in regard to Jesus' crucifixion, the usurpation of His throne, and the part that Judas played in helping the usurpers.
David, of course, was reflecting upon the revolt of Absalom, who was assisted by his friend Ahithophel. This was the most important OT type of the conflict in the New Testament. It also relates to Exodus 40 in that the resolution of this conflict coincides with the completion of the Temple, which is the body of Christ.
David starts out by setting forth his complaint. He says he is overwhelmed by circumstances as if being inundated with a flood of water. Verse 4 says, "Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head." This is applied to Jesus in John 15:25, who was hated by the religious leaders of His day. This immediately establishes the flow of prophecy and identifies the main characters who would play their roles in the New Testament.
David then says in the latter part of verse 4, "What I did not steal, I then have to restore." This too prophesies of Jesus Christ, who by His life paid all restitution for sin on the cross, though He was not guilty of any sin.
David was also painfully aware that his supporters were being dishonored because of their loyalty to him. Verses 6-9 say,
(6) . . . May those who seek Thee not be dishonoured through me, O God of Israel. (7) Because for Thy sake I have borne reproach; dishonor has covered my face. (8) I have become estranged from my brothers, and an alien to my mother's sons. (9) For zeal for Thy house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach Thee have fallen on me.
Jesus bore the shame of the cross for the sake of His Father, and those who believed in Him also felt the stigma of the cross when they were persecuted for His sake (John 8:22; 12:42). But Jesus knew He had to go through this, because, as verse 9 says, "zeal for Thy house has consumed me." This verse is quoted in John 2:17 after Jesus cast out the money changers from the temple.
The verse tells us that the chief priests were actually reproaching God, and because of their reproach for God, they also reproached Jesus Himself. One cannot reject the Son without rejecting the Father also (1 John 2:23).
David also tells us in verse 21,
"They also gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink."
This was fulfilled in Matt. 27:34, which says, "They gave Him vinegar to drink mingled with gall." And again in verse 48 they did the same.
David then prophesies the fate of those who had joined Absalom's army, backing the usurper of his throne.
(22) May their table before them become a snare; and when they are in peace, may it become a trap. (23) May their eyes grow dim so that they cannot see, and make their loins to shake continually. (24) Pour out Thine indignation on them, and may Thy burning anger overtake them. (25) May their camp be desolate; may none dwell in their tents. (26) For they have persecuted him whom Thou Thyself hast smitten . . .
Verse 24 is quoted in Acts 1:20 in regard to Judas, along with Psalm 109:8, "his office let another take." This was what the disciples discussed in determining what to do about replacing Judas. Even as Ahithophel had betrayed David and then had hanged himself (2 Sam. 17:23), so also had Judas done the same (Matt. 27:5).
We do not know how long David was in exile while Absalom ruled Israel in Jerusalem. Yet we do know that David returned, Absalom was killed, and David regained the throne that was rightfully his. This prophesies of the second coming of Christ to take His throne from the usurpers. Those usurpers will NOT be "chosen" to rule with Him in the Kingdom of God. Absalom was killed, not placed as a high cabinet member. David prays in verses 27 and 28,
(27) Do Thou add iniquity to their iniquity, and may they not come into Thy righteousness. (28) May they be blotted out of the book of life, and may they not be recorded with the righteous.
The word for "righteousness" at the end of verse 27 is tsedaqah. It carries the idea of vindication and justification.
In this context, David was praying that the usurpers would not be vindicated in the divine court. David prayed that Absalom's case would not be upheld by God, but that God would rule against Absalom and confirm David upon the throne.
Prophetically speaking, of course, it is the same with Jesus Christ, the Son of David. The NT story was a conflict over the throne of David. Who is genuinely called, anointed, and "chosen" to receive the throne? Is it Absalom or David? Is it the Jewish religious leaders or is it Jesus Christ? Are the Jews "chosen" to rule the earth, or will Jesus share the throne with those who follow Him?
Will Judas share the throne, since he was a disciple of Jesus? Will those who support the revolt of Absalom share in the throne of David? Will Christian Zionists rule and reign in the age to come after supporting the usurpers of the throne of Christ? These are all very serious questions. I raise them in order to cause everyone to ponder the story of Absalom and Ahithophel and to see the connection with the NT conflict. This conflict is yet ongoing, and it will not be resolved until "David" returns to claim His throne. What, then, will be the fate of Absalom and his army of supporters?
David resolves this question in the final verses of Psalm 69,
(35) For God will save Zion and build the cities of Judah, that they may dwell there and possess it. (36) And the descendants of His servants will inherit it, and those who love His name will dwell in it.
In other words, the true inheritors of "Judah" are those who follow Jesus Christ, the King of Judah. I covered this in my book, Who is a Jew? As in the days of David and Absalom, there were two factions in the tribe of Judah in Jesus' day. These are represented in Jer. 24 as two baskets of figs, because the fig tree was the national symbol of Judah. The true Judahites (or "Jews") were those who followed the King. The rest were cut off by law on account of their treason for backing "Absalom," unless, of course, they repented.
So that which came to be known as "the church" was actually the tribe of Judah, led by the King. Though He and His followers went into exile (as did David), in no way did this expel them from the true tribe of Judah, nor did it even diminish their tribal position in the eyes of God. These are the "living stones" forming the tabernacle and temple of God that will be glorified as in Exodus 40:34. These are the ones God will vindicate, ending the long controversy.
So David tells us in Psalm 69:36 that the inheritors will be those who love the name of Jesus Christ. This is contrasted with the followers of Absalom, the usurper, which forms the context of this entire question. Once again, it is only when we understand the importance of the story of Absalom and David that we can gain an understanding of the NT conflict, as well as the final outcome in the second coming of Christ, the Son of David.
This is the sixteenth part of a series titled "The Exodus Book of Psalms." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones