Our reading today begins with God making His covenant with David. This is a continuation of the Abrahamic Covenant, but distinct from the Mosaic Covenant (also a continuation of the Abrahamic Covenant). What we have is a narrowing of the Abrahamic Covenant in that God identifies a specific offspring of David (and of Abraham!) through Whom the nations would be blessed.
Our story begins with David’s desire to build the Temple for the Lord to dwell in (7:1-3). Notice that through David, God gave rest to His people (v. 1 – see Ex 33:14 and Deut 12:10). But rather than David building God a house, God would build David a house (vv. 4-11). Verses 12-16 are the Davidic Covenant. After David dies, one of his offspring will rule (v. 12). This points to both Solomon, and to Christ. Verse 13 is about Christ alone. Both Jesus and Solomon are in view when God says “I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son” (v. 14), though only Solomon is in view in the second half of the verse. Verse 15 applies to both Christ and to Solomon. Verse 16 is about Christ alone. This is ultimately the promise of a King Who would reign FOREVER (v. 13, 16 – see Luke 1:32-33, Acts 2:29-32, Rev 11:15).
David then offers a prayer of thanksgiving unto God. In verse 18, David goes in and sits before the Lord, meaning the Ark. Again, the king is also the High Priest. In verse 19, David says that this kindness God is showing him is “instruction for mankind,” showing that he understands this as a continuation of the Abrahamic Covenant which promises offspring that would bless the whole world (Gen 12:1-3). God has done all of this according to His promise (v. 21). David ends by acknowledging the eternal aspect of the promise (v. 29).
Chapter 8 details the military victories of David. First, David takes part of Gath away from the Philistines (8:1 – see 1 Chr 18:1). Then he wars against Moab, executing two-thirds of its people (v. 2). These are two places that David received help from while on the run from Saul (1 Sam 27:2-3 and 22:3-4). While he was an enemy of Saul, the Philistines and the Moabites were allies (an enemy of my enemy is my friend, and all that); but David’s loyalty is to Israel, and so they have become enemies. In his exploits against Zobah and Syria, we see that David is expanding the territory of Israel to the north (vv. 3-6). In verse 12 we see the territory expand to the south (Edom) and to the east (Moab and Ammon).
In chapter 9, Mephibosheth comes back into the story (see 4:4). David seeks the opportunity to make good on his covenant with Jonathan (9:1 – see 1 Sam 20:14-15). David finds out about Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth, and calls him to to Jerusalem (vv. 3-8). He restores Saul’s land to him (vv. 7-9). He makes him part of the inner court of the king (much like David was with Saul) (v. 11). Like David, Christ provides for the broken because of the covenant He made with our Father.
Psalm 60 is believed to have been written by David after his victory against Edom in the Valley of Salt (2 Sam 8:13-14). If this is so, we see that the outcome described so tersely in the narrative of 2 Samuel was actually the result of an arduous battle. At one point, it looked as if Israel may be defeated (60:1-3). Yet David knows that those who trust in God have a refuge and a Savior (vv. 4-5). God has chosen Israel as His own (vv. 6-7), and the surrounding nations are as nothing to God (v. 8 – notice all of these nations are named in 2 Sam 8). Even in the face of defeat, David prays to God and relies on Him for victory (vv. 9-12). The Psalm ends there, but we know that God answered David’s prayer.