TREAT others ‘JUSTLY’ in GODLY FEAR: Now these are the last words of David. Thus says David the son of Jesse; thus says the man raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet Psalmist of Israel: "The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me: 'He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God'". (2 Sam. 23:1-3)
The opening lines of this chapter reveals that this is King David’s valedictory address to his people as he imitates the great patriarchs like Jacob (Gen. 49:1–27) and Moses (Deut. 33:1–29) before him. These may be the last literary or poetic words of David, but the exact significance of his last words is yet to be understood properly. In his final address, David recognized his own role as the anointed king (v. 1), one to and through whom God had communicated revelation (vv. 2–3) to the people of Israel.
We may recall that earlier in his reign, King David had written a long psalm about the victories that God had granted to him throughout his eventful life (example, 2 Samuel 22). Now, when he comes to the end of his life, David writes a beautiful short poem about people in leadership and authority like kings. One of the first requirements is that leaders must be called of God and empowered by Him to discharge their functions honorably (v. 1). They must be taught the Word of God by the Spirit of God (v. 2). They must be people of character who fear God as they are ruling on behalf of God (vv. 3–4).
During his final burst of poetic exuberance, David recalls his humble origins as a son of Jesse, whom God had graciously and sovereignly exalted to the throne of Israel as the second king. David also addresses himself as the sweet psalmist of Israel. This is no exaggeration as 73 out of the total 150 psalms are attributed to David by their title text. These poetic words also testify to the truth that the Spirit of the Lord spoke through David and enabled him to pen these beautiful songs. There is no other person in the Scriptures, who is more closely associated with the worship of the Lord than King David, and his words were inspired poetry by God as described here: "For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether" (Psalms 139:4).
In his final poetic expression, David voices God’s expectations for rulers and people in authority. The function of the king was to ennoble the people as he presented to them the refreshing will of God. David takes the voice of a prophet, presenting a King who rules in justice, in the fear of God, and like the light of the morning. As a forerunner to this just Messiah, David must be just, ruling in the fear of God as God’s representative king (vs. 3).
Let us realize today that our Lord Jesus Christ has "loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father" (Rev. 1:5-6). We are part of "a royal priesthood" (1 Pet. 2:9) who are called to proclaim the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. Just like David declared, we too must treat others justly as we walk daily in godly fear and humbly before God!