Messiah in the Old Testament – Prophecies that Anticipated King David
Two prophecies anticipate the rise of the chosen king, David: Hannah’s song (1 Samuel 2:1-10) and Nathan’s word (from God) to David, “your house and your kingdom shall ever be before me.” Nathan is prophesying in 2 Samuel 7. He gives King David this promise: “Your throne shall be established forever” (7:16).
Hannah had been barren, but then is promised a son. That son, Samuel, is dedicated to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:27-28). Upon praising God for Samuel, Hannah sings the psalm found in 2 Samuel 2:1-10. In verse 10 she says, “The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king, and exalt the power of his anointed.” The Messiah is the Lord’s anointed one. Kaiser writes, “it seems fair to propose that those texts (Psalms 2 and 110) possibly used Hannah’s prayer as an informing theology for their own thoughts on the Messiah” (p.69).
Those two Psalms are repeatedly referenced by New Testament authors to situate Jesus as the fulfillment of Israel’s Messianic hopes. And Mary’s prayer upon learning she will be the mother of Jesus, found in Luke 1:46-55, is modeled upon Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2.
In his comments on the Messianic thread within the time of the monarchy, Kaiser points to Psalm 132:18, which says of the “horn to sprout up for David;” “His enemies I will clothe with disgrace, but on him, his crown will gleam.” The resplendent crown signals that this horn sprung from David will be both high priest and king. Kaiser writes, “With such high accolades, there can be little doubt that the anointed is … God’s heavenly anointed one, Jesus Christ” (p.90).
Thus we see a Messianic thread woven intricately throughout the narrative running from the end of the age of the judges into the age of King David. This thread is in 1st and 2nd Samuel and in David’s words in the Psalms. Kaiser observes almost no connection between the words in the wisdom literature (Ecclesiastes, Proverbs) and the Messiah.
In my next post reviewing Walter Kaiser’s The Messiah in the Old Testament, I’ll look at his chapters on the Psalms (mostly writing attributed to King David).