HOW WILL GOD “CHASTEN” THE SEED OF DAVID?
by Shawn Brasseaux
Every Bible student should be (is?) familiar with the two great covenants JEHOVAH God made with the nation Israel. The first and foremost agreement is the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12:1-3: “ Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:  And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Israel’s second major covenant is the Davidic Covenant, given to King David roughly 1,000 years later. The Bible says in 2 Samuel chapter 7: “ And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.  I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:  But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.  And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.”
Matthew 1:1 teaches both covenants are fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ: “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” We compare this to Romans 1:3 and Galatians 3:16, which we quote respectively. “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;….” “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” However, there is a puzzling feature of the Davidic Covenant—and perhaps you noticed it back in 2 Samuel. According to verse 14, the God of the Bible promised to “chasten” (punish, discipline) the seed of David because of his (that is, the seed’s) iniquity (wrongdoing, sin). Would that make Jesus Christ a sinner then? What exactly is the “chastening” as touching the Davidic Covenant? In this fascinating study, this is the enigma we aim to unravel.
We turn now to Hebrews chapter 1, where the Scriptures again apply the Davidic Covenant to Jesus Christ: “ God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;  Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.  For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?”
Verse 5 directly quotes 2 Samuel 7:14: “I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men.” It is quite unexpected to see the issue of chastening of Jesus Christ, is it not? What did He do wrong? How would He be guilty of iniquity (wrongdoing)? Yet, here is what we must understand. Types and antitypes do not match 100 percent. Although 2 Samuel chapter 7 surely does eventually look forward to Jesus Christ, just as Hebrews chapter 1 says, we need to view the Davidic Covenant as also describing the condition of his son Solomon’s throne leading up to Christ’s accession. That is, we should think of the Davidic Covenant as having a short-term fulfillment and a long-term fulfillment. After all, there are many such “dual-prophecy” verses in the Bible regarding innumerable other topics—one verse applying to two men separated by millennia, a single verse fulfilled by two events occurring centuries apart, et cetera.
Let us look at David’s seed in the near-term. To say the least, it is a dreadful tale. Solomon was indeed David’s biological son, his God-ordained heir, and the builder of God’s House (namely, the Temple in Jerusalem). You can read about his birth in 2 Samuel 12:24-25. His anointing, reign, and construction projects are found in 1 Kings chapters 1–8. Upon David’s demise, King Solomon governed all 12 tribes of Israel for a total of 40 years (1 Kings 11:42-43). Yet, Solomon was a man like us—a sinner. Toward the latter half of his reign, his 1,000 (!) heathen wives turned his heart from the LORD and he became increasingly entrenched in their pagan idolatry (1 Kings chapter 11). Therefore, the LORD revealed to him how his idolatry would cause Him to initiate the second course of judgment or chastisement. In the Mosaic Law, this curse would be God “break[ing] the pride of [Israel’s] power” (Leviticus 26:19). Israel’s political might or governmental authority would be destabilized.
We read in 1 Kings chapter 11: “ And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph.  And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field:  And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces:  And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee:  (But he shall have one tribe for my servant David’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel: )  Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.
“ Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant’s sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes:  But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.  And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.  And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.  And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.  And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever.”
Once Solomon expires at the close of chapter 11, in chapter 12, his son Rehoboam and his servant Jeroboam divide his kingdom. Rehoboam takes the kingdom of Judah—the two southern tribes, Judah and Benjamin—whereas Jeroboam rules over the kingdom of Israel (the northern 10 tribes). Exactly as God prophesied, Judah is loyal to the Davidic dynasty, the family connected to the Davidic Covenant. However, as the centuries pass, David’s descendants assuming the throne alternate between good and evil. Rehoboam himself is idolatrous (1 Kings chapters 12–14), one of the many kings of Judah who embrace heathen religion. Manasseh is most wicked of all, reigning in Jerusalem for an astonishing, abysmal 55 years (2 Kings chapters 20–21). It is his idolatry that greatly vexes JEHOVAH God, ultimately bringing about the Babylonians destroying Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple (2 Kings 24:1-4)!
Judah’s final king, Zedekiah (David’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandson), is the subject of the following prophecy: “ And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end,  Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high.  I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him” (Ezekiel 21:25-27). David’s throne was lost right here. We see now the apex of David’s seed being chastened. God took the crown from his family and gave that governmental authority to the Gentiles (non-Jews). The Babylonians, the first group, invaded Jerusalem thrice and finally burned it to the ground circa 586 B.C. (2 Kings chapters 24–25; 2 Chronicles chapter 36). Solomon’s Temple was demolished too. Daniel chapter 2, among other passages, foretells the Gentile empires who will rule the world now that Israel has politically fallen. Looking back on history, we can see the Babylonians came, followed by the Medes and Persians, followed by the Greeks and Romans.
It looks terrible at this point, does it not? Yet, the LORD knew all that disaster would come to pass because of sin—and He made a provision for it. Let us now look at David’s seed in the long-term. If you will remember, the Davidic Covenant involved a son of David that would reign “for ever” (2 Samuel 7:13). Obviously, this looks beyond Solomon (whose reign was merely 40 years) or any other “short-term” son of David we just discussed. This eternal Son of David will reclaim the throne once lost. It is none other but the Lord Jesus Christ, whose right that throne is (Ezekiel 21:27). The good news is that, “But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee” (2 Samuel 7:15). While God permanently took the kingdom from David’s predecessor Saul and his seed because of his evils (1 Samuel 13:8-14), the kingdom would never be taken from David’s house forever. The Mosaic Law would be broken, and sin would result in the curse of political ruin, but God in His faithfulness would never utterly destroy David’s seed. “And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever” (1 Kings 11:39).
We go now to Luke 1:31-33: “ And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:  And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” This was the Angel Gabriel speaking to Mary the mother of Jesus. Again, we see the Davidic Covenant fulfilled in the long-term. It has an eternal aspect, looking far, far, far beyond Solomon and all his sinful sons.
David’s seed is perpetuated not through his son Solomon but another son, Nathan. Solomon carries the legal right whereas Nathan carries the blood right. Jeconiah, Solomon’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandson, was so wicked God refused to have any of his sons sit on David’s throne (Jeremiah 22:24-30). This disqualifies Solomon’s bloodline from fulfilling the Davidic Covenant. Nevertheless, the LORD God in His wisdom passes David’s bloodline through another son, Nathan. Whereas Jesus’ stepfather Joseph is David’s descendant through Jeconiah and Solomon (Matthew 1:6,11,16), Jesus’ biological mother Mary is David’s descendant through Nathan (Luke 3:23,31). Through both Joseph (legal) and Mary (biological), Jesus Christ is David’s son.
Let us go back to the Davidic Covenant, which says, “He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever” (2 Samuel 7:13). While this “house” is Solomon’s Temple in the short-term, the long-term view is the house of Israel. Jesus Christ will form a group of people—the “Little Flock” (Luke 12:32), Israel’s believing remnant—who will be living temples of the God of Abraham and His kingdom of priests (1 Peter 2:9-10). Hebrews chapter 3 says to this point: “ For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.  And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;  But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”
The “chastening” of the wicked seed of David as promised in the Davidic Covenant does not refer to Jesus Christ being punished for any wrongdoing (He was sinless, after all!). Rather, it is the chastisement of the sons of David prior to Jesus Christ sitting on that throne. David’s throne was greatly weakened because of the pagan idolatry of his son Solomon. Solomon’s seed was ultimately cut off from the throne because of Jeconiah’s idolatry. David’s throne was finally lost because of Zedekiah’s idolatry. Today, tonight, there is no throne of David in the land of Palestine. It has been over 25 centuries since a son of David has sat on a throne in Jerusalem. Gentiles have been dominating Israel in her land all during this, “the times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24).
Yet, Daniel chapter 2 prophesies: “ And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.  Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” Here is Father God giving the kingdoms of this world over to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Revelation 11:15). Yes, Christ will take up the dominion David once had before Solomon and his sons lost it (cf. Ezekiel 21:25-27). Go back to Hebrews chapter 1, the eternal fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant.
By the way, Solomon’s wise, righteous, and prosperous reign—that is, before he grew apostate—was a glimpse or preview of this other but greater Son of David. Read of Solomon’s amazing, world-renowned kingdom in 1 Kings chapters 3 and 4. Here is a type of Jesus Christ’s reign yet future from us. Christ will repeat Solomon’s righteous works… but on a much grander scale! The worldwide rule of Christ will allow Him to also fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant, blessing all the nations with the light and Word of the one true God!
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» Could you explain, “I will give you the sure mercies of David?”