A New and Improved David

(Post by Ben Thocher)

In 2 Samuel 5:6-10 we read of David laying siege to and capturing Jerusalem, the “stronghold of Zion.” This city of David will come to play a crucial role in Israel’s life and theology:

And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, “You will not come in here, but the blind and the lame will ward you off”—thinking, “David cannot come in here.” Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David. And David said on that day, “Whoever would strike the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft to attack ‘the lame and the blind,’ who are hated by David’s soul.” Therefore it is said, “The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.” And David lived in the stronghold and called it the city of David. And David built the city all around from the Millo inward. And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him.

Matthew has made the point time and time again to connect Jesus’ identity to that of David. This is especially true in his account of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem (cf. Matt. 21:1-11). David flees Jerusalem mounted on a donkey. Jesus enters Jerusalem mounted on a donkey. David weeps for his son. Jesus weeps for God’s city. Further, David’s escape from Jersualem anticipates the spirit of the Lord rising from the temple and departing to the east. The presence of God among his people is cut off. In Jesus we see the return of God’s glory to the temple. Jesus enters Jerusalem from the east. Israel’s Davidic king has returned, and the presence of God with him.

And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”

And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,

“‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies
you have prepared praise’?”

And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there.

When David takes Jerusalem, he is mocked. The city is so well fortified that even the “blind and the lame” could defend it against David’s attack. For this reason, David does not allow the blind or the lame to enter the temple. They are hated by David’s soul.

In Jesus we see a king who is like David, but more importantly, a king who is unlike David, a king who will rule with perfect justice and righteousness. Jesus is a better David. Upon clearing out the temple and disrupting its worship, we read that “the blind and the lame came to him in the temple.” The very people that had banned from the temple are now healed there by David’s greater son. While David was filled with contempt, Jesus is filled with compassion. The true Davidic king is restoring all things to himself, setting the world to rights.

This is the only time Jesus heals in Jerusalem, and we dare not miss the profundity of the situation: the lame and blind do not come to the temple to be healed, but to Jesus. Like the wise men before them, they come to a person, not a place.

Jesus has once more revealed himself as the true center of life and worship for his people.

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