Appreciating Jesus—The Greater David and the Greater Solomon
“Look! something more than Solomon is here.”—MATT. 12:42.
1, 2. From a human point of view, why was it surprising that Samuel was instructed to anoint David as king?
HE DID not look like a king. Rather, to the prophet Samuel, he appeared to be nothing more than a young shepherd boy. Moreover, his hometown, Bethlehem, was not of great prominence. It was described as “too little to get to be among the thousands of Judah.” (Mic. 5:2) Nevertheless, this apparently insignificant young man from a small town was about to be anointed by the prophet Samuel as the future king of Israel.
2 Young David was not the first son that his father, Jesse, presented to Samuel to be anointed; neither was he the second or third. David, the last of eight boys born to Jesse, was not even present when Samuel came to Jesse’s household to anoint one of that faithful man’s sons as the next king of the land. But David was Jehovah’s choice, and that was what counted.—1 Sam. 16:1-10.
3. (a) What does Jehovah view as most important when he examines an individual? (b) At the time of David’s anointing, what became operative upon him?
3 Jehovah saw what Samuel could not see. God could discern David’s heart condition, and it was pleasing to him. With God, it is not the mere outward appearance that matters; it is what a person really is on the inside. (Read 1 Samuel 16:7.) So when Samuel learned that Jehovah had not chosen any of the seven older sons of Jesse, he asked that the youngest be brought in from the pastures. The account says: “Accordingly [Jesse] sent and had [David] come. Now he was ruddy, a young man with beautiful eyes and handsome in appearance. Then Jehovah said: ‘Get up, anoint him, for this is he!’ Accordingly Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the spirit of Jehovah began to be operative upon David from that day forward.”—1 Sam. 16:12, 13.
David Prefigured Christ
4, 5. (a) Describe some parallels between David and Jesus. (b) Why can Jesus be called the Greater David?
4 Jesus, like David, was born in Bethlehem, some 1,100 years after David’s time. In the eyes of many, Jesus too did not look like a king. That is, he was not the kind of king that many in Israel hoped for. Yet, like David, he was Jehovah’s choice. He, like David, was beloved by Jehovah.a (Luke 3:22) In Jesus’ case too, ‘the spirit of Jehovah became operative upon him.’
5 The parallels between the two continue. For instance, David was betrayed by his counselor Ahithophel, and Jesus was betrayed by his apostle Judas Iscariot. (Ps. 41:9; John 13:18) Both David and Jesus had a consuming zeal for Jehovah’s place of worship. (Ps. 27:4; 69:9; John 2:17) Jesus was also David’s heir. Before Jesus’ birth, an angel told his mother: “Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father.” (Luke 1:32; Matt. 1:1) However, because all Messianic promises are to be fulfilled in Jesus, he is far more than David. He is the Greater David, the long-hoped-for Messianic King.—John 7:42.
Follow the Shepherd-King
6. In what ways was David a good shepherd?
6 Jesus is also a shepherd. What are the characteristics of a good shepherd? He is someone who faithfully and courageously tends, feeds, and guards his flock. (Ps. 23:2-4) As a youth, David was a shepherd, and he took very good care of his father’s sheep. He was courageous when the flock was threatened and risked his life to protect the sheep from a lion and a bear.—1 Sam. 17:34, 35.
7. (a) What prepared David for his duties as king? (b) How did Jesus prove to be the Fine Shepherd?
7 The years David spent in fields and on hills tending sheep prepared him for the demanding duties and responsibilities of shepherding the nation of Israel.b (Ps. 78:70, 71) Jesus too has proved to be a model shepherd. He derives strength and guidance from Jehovah as he shepherds his “little flock” and the “other sheep.” (Luke 12:32; John 10:16) Thus Jesus proves to be the Fine Shepherd. He knows his flock so well that he calls each sheep by name. He loves his sheep so much that while on earth he willingly gave of himself for their well-being. (John 10:3, 11, 14, 15) As the Fine Shepherd, Jesus accomplishes something that David could never do. His ransom sacrifice opened the way for mankind to be rescued from death. Nothing will stop him from shepherding his “little flock” to immortal life in heaven and leading his “other sheep” to everlasting life in a righteous new world free from wolflike predators.—Read John 10:27-29.
Follow the Conquering King
8. How did David prove to be a conquering king?
8 As king, David was a resolute warrior who protected the land of God’s people, and “Jehovah kept saving David wherever he went.” Under David’s leadership, the nation’s boundaries were extended from the river of Egypt to the river Euphrates. (2 Sam. 8:1-14) In Jehovah’s strength, he became a most powerful ruler. The Bible states: “David’s fame began to go out into all the lands, and Jehovah himself put the dread of him upon all the nations.”—1 Chron. 14:17.
9. Explain how Jesus as King-Designate was a conqueror.
9 Like King David, the man Jesus was fearless. As King-Designate, he showed his authority over the demons, rescuing victims from their clutches. (Mark 5:2, 6-13; Luke 4:36) Even the archenemy, Satan the Devil, has no hold on him. With Jehovah’s support, Jesus conquered the world, which lies in Satan’s power.—John 14:30; 16:33; 1 John 5:19.
10, 11. What is Jesus’ role as Warrior-King in the heavens?
10 Some 60 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection to heaven, the apostle John received a prophetic vision of Jesus in His role as Warrior-King in the heavens. John writes: “Look! a white horse; and the one seated upon it had a bow; and a crown was given him, and he went forth conquering and to complete his conquest.” (Rev. 6:2) The rider on the white horse is Jesus. “A crown was given him” in 1914 when he was enthroned as King in the heavenly Kingdom. After that, “he went forth conquering.” Yes, like David, Jesus is a conquering king. Shortly after he was installed as King of God’s Kingdom, he conquered Satan in battle and hurled him and his demons down to the earth. (Rev. 12:7-9) His victorious ride will continue until he will “complete his conquest,” completely destroying Satan’s wicked system.—Read Revelation 19:11, 19-21.
11 Like David, though, Jesus is a compassionate king, and he will protect the “great crowd” through Armageddon. (Rev. 7:9, 14) Furthermore, under the rule of Jesus and his joint heirs, the resurrected 144,000, there will be “a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 24:15) Those who are resurrected on earth will have the prospect of living forever. What a wonderful future awaits them! May we all be determined to continue to “do what is good,” so that we will be alive when the earth is filled with righteous, happy subjects of the Greater David.—Ps. 37:27-29.
Solomon’s Prayer for Wisdom Is Answered
12. For what did Solomon pray?
12 David’s son Solomon also prefigured Jesus.c When Solomon became king, Jehovah appeared to him in a dream and said that He would give him anything he asked for. Solomon could have asked for more wealth, power, or a longer life. Instead, he unselfishly asked Jehovah: “Give me now wisdom and knowledge that I may go out before this people and that I may come in, for who could judge this great people of yours?” (2 Chron. 1:7-10) Jehovah answered Solomon’s prayer.—Read 2 Chronicles 1:11, 12.
13. How was Solomon’s wisdom unmatched, and what was its Source?
13 As long as Solomon was faithful to Jehovah, his words of wisdom were unmatched among his contemporaries. Solomon spoke “three thousand proverbs.” (1 Ki. 4:30, 32, 34) Many of these were written down and are still treasured by those who seek wisdom. The queen of Sheba traveled some 1,500 miles [2,400 km] to test Solomon’s wisdom with “perplexing questions.” She was impressed by what Solomon said and by the prosperity of his kingdom. (1 Ki. 10:1-9) The Bible identifies the Source of Solomon’s wisdom by stating: “All the people of the earth were seeking the face of Solomon to hear his wisdom that God had put in his heart.”—1 Ki. 10:24.
Follow the Wise King
14. In what ways was Jesus “something more than Solomon”?
14 Only one human clearly surpassed Solomon in wisdom. That was Jesus Christ, who described himself as “something more than Solomon.” (Matt. 12:42) Jesus spoke “sayings of everlasting life.” (John 6:68) For example, the Sermon on the Mount expands on the principles of some of Solomon’s proverbs. Solomon described a number of things that bring happiness to a worshipper of Jehovah. (Prov. 3:13; 8:32, 33; 14:21; 16:20) Jesus emphasized that true happiness stems from things that are related to the worship of Jehovah and the fulfillment of God’s promises. He said: “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them.” (Matt. 5:3) Those who apply the principles found in Jesus’ teachings are drawn closer to Jehovah, “the source of life.” (Ps. 36:9; Prov. 22:11; Matt. 5:8) Christ embodies “the wisdom of God.” (1 Cor. 1:24, 30) As the Messianic King, Jesus Christ has “the spirit of wisdom.”—Isa. 11:2.
15. How can we benefit from godly wisdom?
15 How can we, as followers of the Greater Solomon, benefit from godly wisdom? Since Jehovah’s wisdom is revealed in his Word, we must put forth the effort to find it by carefully studying the Bible, particularly the recorded words of Jesus, and by meditating on what we read. (Prov. 2:1-5) Further, we need to persevere in asking God for wisdom. God’s Word assures us that our sincere prayers for help will be answered. (Jas. 1:5) With the help of the holy spirit, we will find gems of wisdom in God’s Word that can help us to deal with challenges and make wise decisions. (Luke 11:13) Solomon was also called “the congregator” who “taught the people knowledge continually.” (Eccl. 12:9, 10) Jesus, as Head of the Christian congregation, is also a congregator of his people. (John 10:16; Col. 1:18) Therefore, we do well to attend congregation meetings, where we are ‘taught continually.’
16. What similarity is there between Solomon and Jesus?
16 Solomon was a very active king. He organized a nationwide construction program, overseeing the building of palaces, roads, waterworks, storage cities, chariot cities, and cities for the horsemen. (1 Ki. 9:17-19) The entire kingdom benefited from his building works. Jesus too is a builder. He built his congregation on the “rock-mass.” (Matt. 16:18) He will also oversee the building work to be carried out in the new world.—Isa. 65:21, 22.
Follow the King of Peace
17. (a) What was an outstanding characteristic of Solomon’s rule? (b) What could Solomon not accomplish?
17 The name Solomon comes from a root meaning “peace.” King Solomon ruled from Jerusalem, the name of which means “Possession of Twofold Peace.” His 40-year reign was marked by unprecedented peace in the nation of Israel. The Bible states concerning those years: “Judah and Israel continued to dwell in security, everyone under his own vine and under his own fig tree, from Dan to Beer-sheba, all the days of Solomon.” (1 Ki. 4:25) Still, Solomon, in all his wisdom, could not free his subjects from the shackles of sickness, sin, and death. The Greater Solomon, though, will free his subjects from all of that.—Read Romans 8:19-21.
18. In the Christian congregation, what conditions do we enjoy?
18 Even now in the Christian congregation, we have peaceful conditions. Indeed, we are enjoying a true spiritual paradise. We have peace with God and with our fellow man. Note what Isaiah prophesied about the conditions that we are experiencing today: “They will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore.” (Isa. 2:3, 4) By acting in harmony with God’s spirit, we contribute to the beauty of the spiritual paradise.
19, 20. What reasons do we have to rejoice?
19 However, the future will be even better. As obedient humans enjoy peace to an unprecedented degree under Jesus’ rule, they will gradually be “set free from enslavement to corruption” until they reach human perfection. (Rom. 8:21) After they pass the final test at the end of the Thousand Year Reign, “the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” (Ps. 37:11; Rev. 20:7-10) Truly, Christ Jesus’ rule will surpass Solomon’s in ways we cannot yet imagine!
20 As Israel rejoiced under the oversight of Moses, David, and Solomon, we will rejoice even more under Christ’s rulership. (1 Ki. 8:66) All thanks to Jehovah for providing us with his only-begotten Son—the Greater Moses, David, and Solomon!
a The name David probably means “Beloved.” At the time of Jesus’ baptism and again at his transfiguration, Jehovah spoke from heaven calling him “my Son, the beloved.”—Matt. 3:17; 17:5.
b At the same time, David became like a trusting lamb. He looked to the Great Shepherd, Jehovah, for protection and guidance. “Jehovah is my Shepherd,” he said with complete confidence. “I shall lack nothing.” (Ps. 23:1) John the Baptizer identified Jesus as “the Lamb of God.”—John 1:29.
c Interestingly, a second name for Solomon was Jedidiah, which means “Beloved of Jah.”—2 Sam. 12:24, 25.
Can You Explain?
• How is Jesus the Greater David?
• How is Jesus the Greater Solomon?
• What do you appreciate about the Greater David, who is also the Greater Solomon?
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Solomon’s God-given wisdom foreshadowed the wisdom of the Greater Solomon
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Jesus’ rule will surpass Solomon’s and David’s rule in ways we cannot yet imagine!