THE HOUSE OF DAVID
“He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end.”
1. It is wonderful to notice in the prophecies of the Old Testament how, from the time of David onward, they settle down more and more upon the House of David. This at least was to be one sure sign; and so much had it become an essential part of the Messiah, that those who in His lifetime wished to proclaim their acceptance of His miracles and teaching called Him at once the “Son of David.” The Angel alluded to it at the first announcement; Zachary proclaimed it at the Benedictus; “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me,” cried the beggar on the roadside; the enthusiastic crowd on Palm Sunday shouted: “Hosanna to the Son of David”; even Our Lord Himself, when facing His enemies, used this belief of theirs for their confusion.
“And the Pharisees being gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying: ‘What think you of Christ? Whose Son is He? They say to Him: ‘David’s.’ He saith to them: How then doth David in spirit call Him ‘Lord’, saying: ‘The Lord said to My Lord, sit on My right hand, until I make Thy enemies Thy footstool?’ If David then calls Him Lord, how is He his Son? And no man was able to answer Him a word: neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any further questions” (Matthew 22:41-46).
2. The genealogy of Our Lord from David, in that imperfect-perfect manner recognized by the Jews, has been preserved to us. When we look at the line we are struck with many things. David himself was a great saint, but also a great sinner, and Our Lord came from that union which had followed on David’s great sin. Moreover, she that had been the wife of Uriah was not even a Jew. So we can follow down the line of His ancestors and notice that there were others of their kind; that though Our Lord provided for Himself a spotless Mother, He by no means provided spotless forefathers. In this, as in many other ways, “He became like to man”; though in Him sin was not, yet so near did He suffer Himself to be allied to it.
3. Again, though the House of David was not suffered to perish, still it was suffered to be buried for centuries in obscurity; for centuries, too, it was a house divided against itself, and only in its undercurrents did the stream flow on. Kings were born of it, and slew each other, and their families were blotted out; while unknown members carried on the line in hidden places, little suspecting in their obscurity that their lives and the families they reared around them were the most precious, the most significant in all the world. This is to look at life along the plane of God. From the next world how differently will perspectives appear!
“The base things of the world, and the things that are contemptible, hath God chosen, and things that are not, that He may bring to nought things that are : that no flesh should glory in His sight” (1 Corinthians 1:28-29).
Summary Meditation Points:
1. The importance to the Jews of Our Lord’s time of this prophecy concerning the House of David.
2. The nature of this house is striking. Though God watched over it, He permitted it to be marked with many a stain.
3. Though He watched over it, He permitted it to be buried and to be unknown; and this is one of its glories.
Art: King David, Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (il Guercino) c. 1768, uploaded by Wmpearl, PD, Wikimedia Commons. Archbishop Alban Goodier, S.J., www.stmaryscadoganstreet.co.uk, all rights reserved, used with permission.