Today’s reading begins with a retelling of the establishment of the Davidic Covenant (see 2 Samuel 7). Note that here, the Chronicler does not record the second part of 2 Samuel 7:14, which was about Solomon. He wants to show the returning remnant that the whole of this promise is yet to be fulfilled. He is encouraging a Messianic hope among them. David’s prayer in 17:16-27 is slightly abridged from 2 Samuel 7:18-29. It does, however, have one addition. In verse 17, David says, according to the ESV, “you have shown me future generations.” That is a bad translation. This is one of the places that the ESV does a poor job. What it says is literally, “You consider me a man whose turn it is to ascend.” In other words, God has given David the throne and has made this promise because of nothing in David. He humbly recognizes that he is undeserving (see v. 16). David is establishing that God will yet send the true King, and He will do it, not because His people deserve Him, but in spite of the fact that they do not.
Psalm 22 is a Messianic Psalm that recognizes God as the true King of all the Earth, and as man’s only Helper. It begins with the cry of one suffering (22:1). In these times men question God (v. 1), and believe Him to be far away (v. 2). Yet David knows this is not the case. God hears the cries of His people and acts (vv. 3-5). David is considered something less than a man by his adversaries because of his faith in God (vv. 6-8). Yet, God has preserved David thus far, and always has (vv. 9-10), and is the only One Who can (v. 11). David is in anguish through this suffering (vv. 14-15).
Verse 16 says literally in the Hebrew “like lions they are at my hands and feet” (see v. 21). The translation we know so well comes from the Latin Vulgate, which came much later, and the Septuagint, which came earlier. Some (like Calvin) conjecture that the Jews changed the reading in order to remove the description applied to Christ’s crucifixion. In verse 17, the “bones” can also be a word for “strength” which was used to describe allies or friends. David (like Christ) may poetically be saying that his friends are very few, while his enemies are numerous. The dividing of the garments in verse 18 is a metaphor for how his enemies have taken everything from him. Of course, this is all true of Christ, as well.
David then returns to the Lord. He is his only Helper (v. 19) and can rescue David from his enemies (vv. 20-21). So David praises Him, and calls for all of Israel to do the same (vv. 22-23). God has not abandoned them in their suffering (v. 24). So David will praise Him (v. 25), knowing that God will provide all he needs (v. 26). In verse 27, David talks of all the Earth turning to God, using language that hearkens back to God’s promise to Abraham. God is King of not just Israel, but the whole world (v. 28). He provides for all of His people, and all will bow before Him (v. 29) throughout the generations who hear of His righteousness (vv. 30-31).
Psalm 16 is believed by some to have been written by David after God made His covenant with him. We can see here the same humility David shows in his prayer to God in 1 Chronicles 17:16-27. God is his only refuge (16:1). David is nothing without God (v. 2). God delights in those who delight in Him (vv. 3-4), and David delights in God because God has delighted in him (vv. 5-6). David relies on God for instruction (v. 7) which leads to life (v. 11), and does not leave His side (v. 8) where eternal joy is found (v. 11), because David knows that death is not his ultimate end (vv. 9-10 – see Acts 13:35 where it speaks of Christ’s resurrection).
Psalm 118 is believed by some to have been written by David about God’s covenant with him. If God would establish a King forever, it is because His steadfast love (hesed) lasts forever. In this Psalm we see similar themes to both Psalm 22 and Psalm 16. The Psalm starts with a call to give thanks to God (118:1). This call is for all of Israel (v. 2), for the priests of God (v. 3), and then it is expanded for all who fear the Lord (v. 4). David then says that God answered his cry for help in his distress (v. 5 – this answers the prayer of Psalm 22). God is with David and for David, so David has nothing to fear (vv. 6-7 – see Psalm 16:8, 11). David’s only refuge is God (vv. 8-9, see Psalm 16:1).
In verses 10-13, we see the same distress David describes in Psalm 22:12-18, but we see that God answered the prayer of 22:19-21. In verse 14, the Psalmist quotes the Song of Moses (Ex 15:2). The righteous sing such songs (v. 15)! Verses 17-18 declares that death is not the end for God’s people (see Psalm 16:10). Verses 19-21 speaks to that righteousness that comes only from God through Christ, and the resulting salvation.
Verse 22 (sometimes with verse 23) is quoted often in the New Testament, even by Jesus (Matt 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17, Acts 4:11, 1 Peter 2:7). Then we have verse 24, which is often quoted as a standalone encouragement. But if we read these in context, what is the Psalmist saying? He is saying that David was originally rejected by Israel (remember the whole Ish-bosheth thing?), but has become the cornerstone. It is because of him that Israel has prospered. And this is because God has done it. This is what the Lord has done – this is the day He has made – and it is a reason to rejoice. But this ultimately refers to Christ. He Who was rejected, has become the cornerstone. It is upon Him that righteousness and goodness and salvation are built. And this was the doing of God alone. This is what the Lord has done – this is the day He has made – and it is surely our reason to rejoice!
The Psalmist then turns to a prayer for salvation (v. 25). The “give us success” is literally “prosper us.” Verse 26 is also quoted in the New Testament by Christ in His lament over Jerusalem (Matt 23:39, Luke 13:35), and it is what the people shouted during His triumphal entry (Matt 21:9, Mark 11:9, Luke 19:38). When the people did that, they were overtly recognizing Jesus as the Messiah! In verse 27, the light is the truth of God – Christ as the truth. He is the acceptable sacrifice unto God. Praise Him! Give Him thanks! Because His hesed love (His salvation!) endures forever!!