2 Samuel 23:4
And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.
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(4) A morning without clouds.—This description of the blessings of the ideally perfect government is closely connected with the Divine promise made through Nathan (2 Samuel 7). David recognises that the ruler of God’s people must be just, and here, as in Psalms 72, the highest blessings are depicted as flowing from such a government. David knew far too much of the evil of his own heart and of the troubles in his household to suppose that his ideal could be perfectly realised in any other of his descendants than in Him who should “crush the serpent’s head “and win the victory over the powers of evil. The sense of the verse will be made clearer by the following translation: “And as the light of the morning when the sun ariseth, a morning without clouds; as by means of sunlight and by means of rain the tender grass grows from the earth:—is not my house so with God?”

2 Samuel 23:4. He shall be as the light of the morning — These words are a further description of the king’s duty, which is not only to rule with justice and piety, but also with sweetness, and gentleness, and condescension to the infirmities of his people; to render his government as acceptable to them as is the sunshine in a clear morning, or the tender grass which springs out of the earth by the warm beams of the sun after the rain.

23:1-7 These words of David are very worthy of regard. Let those who have had long experience of God's goodness, and the pleasantness of heavenly wisdom, when they come to finish their course, bear their testimony to the truth of the promise. David avows his Divine inspiration, that the Spirit of God spake by him. He, and other holy men, spake and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. In many things he had his own neglect and wrong conduct to blame. But David comforted himself that the Lord had made with him an everlasting covenant. By this he principally intended the covenant of mercy and peace, which the Lord made with him as a sinner, who believed in the promised Saviour, who embraced the promised blessing, who yielded up himself to the Lord, to be his redeemed servant. Believers shall for ever enjoy covenant blessings; and God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, shall be for ever glorified in their salvation. Thus pardon, righteousness, grace, and eternal life, are secured as the gift of God through Jesus Christ. There is an infinite fulness of grace and all blessings treasured up in Christ, for those who seek his salvation. This covenant was all David's salvation, he so well knew the holy law of God and the extent of his own sinfulness, that he perceived what was needful for his own case in this salvation. It was therefore all his desire. In comparison, all earthly objects lost their attractions; he was willing to give them up, or to die and leave them, that he might enjoy full happiness, Ps 73:24-28. Still the power of evil, and the weakness of his faith, hope, and love, were his grief and burden. Doubtless he would have allowed that his own slackness and want of care were the cause; but the hope that he should soon be made perfect in glory, encouraged him in his dying moments.Comparisons illustrating the prosperity of the righteous king. 4. as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain—Little patches of grass are seen rapidly springing up in Palestine after rain; and even where the ground has been long parched and bare, within a few days or hours after the enriching showers begin to fall, the face of the earth is so renewed that it is covered over with a pure fresh mantle of green. These words are either,

1. A further description of the king’s duty, which is not only to rule with exact justice and piety, but also with sweetness, and gentleness, and condescension to the infirmities of his people; to render his government as pleasant and acceptable to them as is the sunshine in a clear morning, or the tender grass which springs out of the earth by the warm and refreshing beams of the sun after the rain, which hath a peculiar kind of sweetness and fragrancy in it. Or rather,

2. A prediction or declaration of the sweet and blessed effects of such a government, both to the governor himself; in that peace, and prosperity, and glory, and happiness which it brings to him, and to his people; to whom it is no less grateful, , and comfortable, and beneficial, than those great and public blessings of sunshine and rain, and the fruits which they produce; which is true of every good king or governor, but most eminently of the Messias.

And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds,.... That is, such a ruler that rules in righteousness, and in the fear of God; he is the light and glory of his people, who guides and directs them, makes them cheerful and comfortable; his administrations are pleasant and delightful, and promise a growing and increasing happiness to them, like the morning light and rising sun; and there are no clouds, nor forebodings of dark times, affliction and distress, coming upon them, but all the reverse: and with Christ these metaphors well suit, who is the true light that shines, John 1:9; the morning star, Revelation 22:16; the dayspring from on high, Luke 1:78; the sun of righteousness, Malachi 4:2; and light of the world, John 8:2; his going forth or appearance in human nature, at his incarnation, was as the morning, Hosea 6:3; the first discovery him to Adam, after sin had brought a night of darkness on the world, was as the dawn of the morning; and this light like that of the morning increased, fresh and clearer discoveries of him being made to the patriarchs afterwards; and though as yet the sun was not up, and it was not a morning without clouds, yet the discoveries then made brought joy with them, as to Abraham and others, and were a sure sign of the sun rising. When Christ appeared in the flesh, the sun of righteousness then arose, and scattered the darkness of the night, both in the Jewish and Gentile world; introduced the light of the Gospel to a greater degree than it was under the legal dispensation, and made the Gospel day; which was not only like the morning light, growing and increasing, but was as a morning without clouds, without the darkness of the ceremonial law, the shadows of which now disappeared; and without the storms and tempests of the moral law, its curses being bore and removed by Christ; and without the frowns of divine wrath, reconciliation and satisfaction being made by him: and this is all applicable particularly to the government of Christ, which is delightful and grateful to his people, serviceable and beneficial to them, under which they enjoy great peace and prosperity; and which will more and more increase, and stilt be more glorious and illustrious, see Psalm 72:7. A learned writer (i) has observed, that in an ancient manuscript the word "Jehovah" is inserted and read thus,"and as the light of the morning shall arise Jehovah the sun,''which clearly points to Christ the sun of righteousness; and be it an interpolation, it gives the true sense of the words: a glorious, beautiful, and illustrious person is described in Ovid (k) by the same figure as here:

as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain; which springs up the faster, and is more flourishing after a shower of rain, and when upon that the sun breaks out and shines clearly: or "from clear shining from rain" (l); that is, the springing of the tender grass out of the earth is owing partly to the rain which falls in the night, and partly to the sun rising in the morning, and the clear shine of it: this may denote the fruitful and flourishing estate which a good and righteous ruler over men is the happy instrument of bringing his people into; and may be applied both to the incarnation of Christ, when he grew up as a tender plant, or as the tender grass, mean in his original and descent, weak in himself as man; and yet this fruit of the earth was excellent and comely, beautiful and glorious, and the springing of it owing to the favour and good will of God, and his coming was as the latter and former rain to the earth, Hosea 6:3; and to the government of Christ, and the benefits of it to his church and people; who flourish under it the light of his grace and favour, and through rains of Gospel doctrines they are blessed with: or "than clear shining, than rain"; Christ is more beneficial to his people, who are comparable to grass for their meanness, and weakness, and number, than the sun and rain are to the grass in the field.

(i) Dr. Kennicott's State of the Hebrew Text, Dissert. 1. p. 468. (k) "Talisque apparuitilli", &c. Metamorph. l. 14. Fab. 16. ver. 767. (l) "a splendore, a pluvia germen de terra", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus.

And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender {c} grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.

(c) Which grows quickly, and fades soon.

2 Samuel 23:42 Samuel 23:4 describes the blessing that will proceed from this ruler. The idea that 2 Samuel 23:4 should be connected with 2 Samuel 23:3 so as to form one period, in the sense of "when one rules justly over men (as I do), it is as when a morning becomes clear," must be rejected, for the simple reason that it overlooks Nathan's promise (2 Samuel 7) altogether, and weakens the force of the saying so solemnly introduced as the word of God. The ruler over men whom David sees in spirit, is not any one who rules righteously over men; nor is the seed of David to be regarded as a collective expression indicating a merely ideal personality, but, according to the Chaldee rendering, the Messiah himself, the righteous Shoot whom the Lord would raise up to David (Jeremiah 23:5), and who would execute righteousness and judgment upon earth (Jeremiah 33:15). 2 Samuel 23:4 is to be taken by itself as containing an independent thought, and the connection between it and 2 Samuel 23:3 must be gathered from the words themselves: the appearance (the rise) of this Ruler will be "as light of the morning, when the sun rises." At the same time, the Messiah is not to be regarded as the subject to בּקר אור (the light of the morning), as though the ruler over men were compared with the morning light; but the subject compared to the morning light is intentionally left indefinite, according to the view adopted by Luther in his exposition, "In the time of the Messiah it will be like the light of the morning." We are precluded from regarding the Messiah as the subject, by the fact that the comparison is instituted not with the sun, but with the morning dawn at the rising of the sun, whose vivifying effects upon nature are described in the second clause of the verse. The words שׁמשׁ יזרח are to be taken relatively, as a more distinct definition of the morning light. The clause which follows, "morning without clouds," is parallel to the foregoing, and describes more fully the nature of the morning. The light of the rising sun on a cloudless morning is an image of the coming salvation. The rising sun awakens the germs of life in the bosom of nature, which had been slumbering through the darkness of the night. "The state of things before the coming of the ruler resembles the darkness of the night" (Hengstenberg). The verb is also wanting in the second hemistich. "From the shining from rain (is, comes) fresh green out of the earth." נגהּ signifies the brightness of the rising sun; but, so far as the actual meaning is concerned, it relates to the salvation which attends the coming of the righteous ruler. ממּטר is either subordinate to מנּגהּ, or co-ordinate with it. In the former case, we should have to render the passage, "from the shining of the sun which proceeds out of rain," or "from the shining after rain;" and the allusion would be to a cloudless morning, when the shining of the sun after a night's rain stimulates the growth of the plants. In the latter case, we should have to render it "from the shining (and) from the rain;" and the reference would be to a cloudless morning, on which the vegetation springs up from the ground through sunshine followed by rain. Grammatically considered, the first view (? the second) is the easier of the two; nevertheless we regard the other (? the first) as the only admissible one, inasmuch as rain is not to be expected when the sun has risen with a cloudless sky. The rays of the sun, as it rises after a night of rain, strengthen the fresh green of the plants. The rain is therefore a figurative representation of blessing generally (cf. Isaiah 44:3), and the green grass which springs up from the earth after the rain is an image of the blessings of the Messianic salvation (Isaiah 44:4; Isaiah 45:8).

In Psalm 72:6, Solomon takes these words of David as the basis of his comparison of the effects resulting from the government of the true Prince of peace to the coming down of the rain upon the mown grass.

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