Remarkable Parallels - Part 1

by Joseph Hunting

Although 3,000 years have passed since David ruled as God's anointed King over Israel, his emblem, the Star of David, is a constant reminder of Israel's most celebrated monarch, especially as it flutters on the national flag.

David was chosen by God to be Israel's future king while he was but a lad tending his father's flock.

Tremendous contrasts highlight his life. On the one hand he soared to sublime spiritual heights; he was a born natural leader of men; he was gentle and merciful; he was paid the highest tribute given to any human in Scripture; he was said to be a man "after God's own heart".

Yet in spite of these truly blessed attributes he callously plotted the murder of his friend Uriah in order to take his wife. Even so, David's prayer of penitence from a stricken heart found forgiveness in God's sight.

There are several events in the life of King David that have remarkable similarity to that of his descendant, the Messiah.

One of the greatest dramas in the life of King David occurred when Absalom his son plotted to overthrow the kingdom in order to take it for himself. (2nd Samuel chapters 15 to 19).


When Absalom plotted to usurp the throne of David he enlisted the aid of Ahithophel, the king's companion and counsellor. Of Ahithophel David later wrote: "Yes, my own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, has lifted up his heel against me." (Psalm 41:9).

No one can fail to wonder at the audacity and deception employed by Absalom in order to seize the throne of his father. He won over the loyalty of one of David's most intimate friends, Ahithophel. "And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom." (2nd Samuel 15:12).


In order to win the allegiance of the people Absalom deliberately sought favour in the eyes of those who had grievances. When King David realized that the hearts of the people had been swayed by Absalom, he departed from Jerusalem, across the Kidron Valley, weeping as he ascended the Mount of Olives.


It is not without significance that among those who chose to follow the king into exile were a considerable number of Gentiles who swore allegiance to him. "And all his servants passed on beside him, and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men which came after him from Gath, passed on before the king.

"Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, Wherefore do you go also with us? Return to your place, and abide with the king (Absalom); for you are a stranger, and also an exile. Whereas you came but yesterday, should I this day make you go up and down with us, seeing I go where I may? Return, and take back your brethren: mercy and truth be with you.

"And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will your servant be. And David said to Ittai, Go and pass over." (2nd Samuel 15:18-22).


Ahithophel's treachery later laid a snare for his own feet. Just as he had previously won the heart and confidence of David, so he likewise captivated Absalom. "The counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.

"Moreover Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night: and I will come upon him while he is weary and weak handed, and will make him afraid, and all the people that are with him shall flee . . . " (2nd Samuel 16:32; 17:1,2).

It seems incredible that this man who had won the love and confidence of King David could stoop so low. "For it was not an enemy that reproached me," wrote David, "then could I have borne it, neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then would I have hid myself from him: but it was you, a man my equal, my guide, and my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked into the house of God in company." (Psalm 55:12-14)

When Ahithophel realized that all his scheming was to no avail, "he saddled his ass, and arose . . . and hanged himself, and died, and was buried . . . " (2nd Samuel 17:23).


Following the death of Ahithophel Absalom led his army against King David. "So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the wood of Ephraim; where the people of Israel were slain before the servants of David, and there was there a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men." (2nd Samuel 18:6,9,7).

In spite of David's command that no harm was to befall Absalom in battle, that young man was caught by his hair "in the thick boughs of a great oak" and was stabbed to death by Joab, the leader of David's army.

And following the death of Absalom, "all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, The king saved us out of the hand of our enemies, and he delivered us out of the hand of the Philistines, and now he is fled out of the land for Absalom. And Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why speak you not a word of bringing the king back?"


It is strange that the people closest to him failed to acknowledge David as their God-appointed king. "And king David sent to Zadoc and Abiathar the priests, saying, Speak unto the elders of Judah, saying, Why are you the last to bring back the king to his house? . . . You are my brethren, you are my bones and my flesh: wherefore are you the last to bring back the king? . . . And he bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as the heart of one man; so that they sent this word unto the king, Return, you, and all your servants." (2nd Samuel 19:11,12,14).

David returned to Jerusalem amid scenes of tremendous rejoicing. The sin of the people in rejecting him as their God-appointed king was forgiven. Shimei who had bitterly denounced and cursed David as he went into exile also begged his forgiveness, saying, "Your servant does know that I have sinned: therefore behold, I am come the first this day of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king." (2nd Samuel 19:18-20).

Thus was King David restored to his kingdom in power and great glory to be the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel.


During the twenty-four hours that preceded the death of Yeshua fifteen Messianic prophecies were fulfilled. According to the Law of compound probability, the possibility that these prophecies were fulfilled by chance on that day is one in 537,000,000. Several of these promises bear striking resemblance to events recorded in the life of David.


Just as Absalom corrupted the hearts of the people to reject David as their king, so the rulers incited the people to reject Yeshua as the king of Israel. "Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will you that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Yeshua which is called Messiah? For he knew that for envy they had delivered him." (Matthew 27:17,18).


As Absalom enlisted the services of Ahithophel to betray David, so the rulers enlisted Judas Iscariot, the close associate and disciple of Messiah, to betray Him. "Now the feast of unleavened bread drew near, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.

"Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him unto them. And they were glad and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray Him unto them in the absence of the multitude." (Luke 22:1-6).


As Ahithophel plotted to lead a company of soldiers under cover of night to come upon David while he was weary, so Judas led a company of soldiers under cover of darkness to take Yeshua when He "began to be sorrowful and very heavy."


Ahithophel hanged himself following his treacherous plot to capture King David. "And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and got him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died . . . "

Judas, in like manner, hanged himself after he had betrayed Messiah. "Then Judas, which had betrayed Him, when he saw that He was condemned . . . departed and went and hanged himself." (Matthew 27:3,5).


During his period in exile, King David was accompanied by a great company of Gentiles, as well as his own kinsmen, who swore allegiance to the king. In like manner, many Gentiles as well as a nucleus of Jewish believers have sworn allegiance to Messiah during the period of His rejection as Israel's King-Messiah.


Finally, Israel desired the return of King David from exile with the word: "Now therefore, why speak you not a word to bring the king back?" When David learned of the change of attitude toward him he sent a message to the elders of Judah: "Why are you the last to bring the king back to his house? You are my brethren, you are my bones and my flesh, wherefore are you the last to bring the king back?"

Even so, the Messiah will not return to Israel until they acknowledge Him, for He said, "You shall not see Me henceforth till you shall say, Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord." (Matthew 23:39).

Hosea also foretold that Israel will acknowledge their rejection of Him and seek the Lord: "I will go and return to my place, until they acknowledge their offence and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early." (5:15).

Zechariah speaks of Israel's recognition of the One whom the people will mourn for: "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look unto me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." (12:10).


There are some who since the June War have been heard to say that they can hear the footsteps of the Messiah coming. Israel's prophets speak of the coming of this mighty King and Isaiah associates the reign of Messiah with the full regathering of the people of Israel (11:11).

Zechariah foretells that many nations will be gathered against Jerusalem to battle in the end time. "Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle. And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives . . . and the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one LORD, and His name one." (14:3,4,9).