This old Hebrew picture is found to be a mosaic made up of bits gathered here and there, scattered throughout the Book. Some of the bits are of very quiet sober colors found in obscure corners. Others are bright. When brought together all blend into one with wondrous, fine beauty. The first bit is of grave hue. It comes at the very beginning. There is to be sharp enmity, then a crisis, resulting in a fatal wound for the head of evil, with scars for the victor.
After this earliest general statement there are three distinct groups or periods of prediction regarding the coming One. During the making of the nation, during its high tide of strength and glory under David and his son, during the time of its going to pieces. As the national glory is departing, the vision takes on its most glorious coloring. The first of these is during the making of the nation. As the man who is to be father of the chosen family is called away from his kinfolk to a preparatory isolation, he is cheered with the promise that his relationship is to be a relationship of leadership and of great blessing to the whole earth. This is repeated to his son and to his grandson, as each in turn becomes head of the family. As his grandson, the father of the twelve men whose names become the tribe names, is passing away he prophetically sees the coming leadership narrowed to Judah, through whom the great Leader is to come.
Later yet, in a story of divination and superstition characteristic of the time, a strange prophet is hired by an enemy to pronounce a curse upon the new nation. This diviner is taken possession of by the Spirit of God, and forced to utter what is clearly against his own mercenary desires. He sees a coming One, in the future, who is to smite Israel's enemies and rule victoriously.
During the last days of Moses that man, great to the whole race, speaks a word that sinks in deep. In his good-bye message he says there is some One coming after him, who will be to them as he had been, one of their own kin, a deliverer, king, lawgiver, a wise, patient, tender judge and teacher. The nation never forgot that word. When John the Baptist came, they asked, |Art thou the prophet?|
The second group of predictions is found during the nation's strength and glory. To David comes the promise that the royal house he has founded is to be forever, in contrast with Saul's, even though his successors may fail to keep faith with God. It is most striking to note how much this meant to David. He accepts it as meaning that the nation's Messiah and the world's King is to be of his own blood. |Thou hast spoken also of thy servant's house for a great while to come.| Then follows this very significant sentence: |And this is (or, must be) the law of the man (or, the Adam).| This promise must refer to the plan of God concerning the woman's seed, the man, the Adam.
At the close, when the tether of life is slipping its hold, this vision of the coming greater Heir promised by God evidently fills his eye. He says:
|There shall lie One that ruleth over men;
A righteous One, that ruleth in the fear of God.
And it shall be then as the light of the morning,
When the sun ariseth,
A morning without clouds,
The tender grass springing out of the earth through clear shining after rain.|
|Verily, my own house has not been so with God;
Yet hath He made with me an everlasting covenant,
Ordered in all things and sure.
For this covenant is now all my comfort and all my desire, Although he has not yet brought it to pass.|
This seems to be the setting of those psalms of his referring to the coming One. It was to be expected that his poetical fire would burn with such a promise and conception. In the Second Psalm he sees this coming Heir enthroned as God's own Son, and reigning supremely over the whole earth despite the united opposition of enemies. In the One Hundred and Tenth Psalm this Heir is sharing rule at God's right hand while waiting the subduing of all enemies. He is to be divine, a king, and more, a priest-king. Surrounded by a nation of volunteers full of youthful vigor He will gain a decisive victory over the head of the allied enemies, and yet be Himself undisturbed in the continual freshness of His vigor. And all this rests upon the unchanging oath of Jehovah.
David's immediate heir found his father's pen, and in the Seventy-second Psalm repeats, with his own variations, his father's vision of the coming greater Heir. While there is repetition of the kingdom being world-wide and unending, with all nations in subjection, the chief emphasis is put upon the blessing to that great majority -- the poor. They are to be freed from all oppression, to have full justice done them, with plenty of food to eat, and increased length of life.
That David's expectation had thoroughly permeated his circle is shown in the joyous Forty-fifth Psalm, written by one of the court musicians. It addresses the coming One as more than human, having great beauty and graciousness, reigning in righteousness, victoriously, with a queen of great beauty, and a princely posterity for unending generations.