Shadows of Christ in 2 Samuel 15

On several occasions,  Jesus made the claim that the entire Old Testament (OT) is about Him (Lk. 24:44-48; Jn. 5:39).  I believe that the Old Testament speaks of Jesus in a number ways, but primarily by direct prophecy, foreshadowing, and typology (i.e. where an event or person represented or reflected something that was to come in the life of Jesus).  With this view of the OT in mind, I came across an interesting episode in the life of David that foreshadows an event in the life of Jesus.

2 Samuel 15-19 contains the narrative of the rebellion against King David by his son Absalom.  In chapter 15, we read about Absalom’s (whose name ironically means “My father’s peace”) conspiracy, his coup, and his march toward Jerusalem, David’s capital city.  The second half of the chapter (vv.13-37) record David’s flight from Jerusalem.  The text notes that during David’s flight he crossed the brook Kidron (15:23) and then went up the Mount of Olives (15:30).  There on the mount, David is met by Hushai, a man the text specifically labels as David’s friend (15:37).  Hushai, in his loyalty to David returns to Jerusalem and plays a vital role in downfall of the rebellion (see 2 Sam. 17).

Interestingly, Jesus, the long expected Son of David (Mt. 1:1; Lk. 1:32-33; Rev. 22:16), experienced an event much like this one from David’s life.  When Jesus came to earth, He was a King (Jn. 18:33-37) who found Himself in the midst of a rebellion.  As David’s son, his own flesh and blood rebelled against him, it was humanity, those whom Jesus created in His own image that were in rebellion against Him (Jn. 1:10-11; Rom. 5:8-10).  Like David, in a desperate time, Jesus and his closest followers left Jerusalem, crossed the Kidron (Jn. 18:1) and  ascended the Mount of Olives (22:39).  While on the mount, Jesus also was met by one he called a friend (Mt. 26:50).  Yet, unlike Hushai, Judas came to betray his master.  While David re-entered Jerusalem as the victor, Jesus re-entered the city in bonds.  While David defeated Absalom’s rebellion with military strength, Jesus defeated the rebellion of sin by dying on a cross and rising again on the third day.

Now, some may argue that Jesus and David traveling the same route, being met by a friend, and the like is not much more than mere historical coincidence.  After all, no one Gospel presents all the details as I have reconstructed them above.  Yet, despite these and other arguments that could be made to the contrary, I contend that no detail in the text of Scripture is coincidental, and that what we have going on in these events in the life of David is an intentional foreshadow to a similar event in the life of Christ.  Perhaps the Gospel writers even  included the details they did to make a subtle connection for their reader’s to this OT account.  The question then remains, so what?

I would say this foreshadowing accomplishes three things.  1) It demonstrates that David’s life, not just his writings and the promises made to him, point to Christ.  Thus we ought to read these accounts with an eye for theology, not just looking for a nice, neat moral interpretation.  2) It demonstrates that all Scripture bears witness to Jesus Christ.  3) It causes us to look for the one Son of David who suffered rebellion, yet defeated it and brings peace in chaos, forgiveness to His enemies, and healing to brokenness.  This we find in Jesus, the One who ties all Scripture together.



Filed under How to Read the Bible, New Testament, Old Testament

2 responses to “Shadows of Christ in 2 Samuel 15

  1. Brian J

    Good thoughts! I’ll have to use it someday and not give you credit like a good baptist preacher.

  2. jeremygwaltney


    Great observations. I never thought about the connections between those incidents in David’s life and those of Christ. Great work.


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