The Family of David

Situation comedies from the 1950s and 60s such as Leave It to Beaver and Father Knows Best idealized family life. Today’s shows often depict far-from perfect families.

David’s family was certainly not ideal. Few of his offspring matched his success or equaled his faith. Many of David’s descendants forsook the Lord. In this section the author of Chronicles traces the line of David down to his own day, ending with the children of Zerubbabel and their descendants. The names Zerubbabel gave to some of his children express his faith in God’s goodness. Hananiah meant “God has been gracious.” Hasadiah meant “Jehovah has been kind.” Jushab-Hesed meant “May kindness be returned.” The name Shelomith may mean “at peace” and has been found in Jerusalem on an ancient seal dating back to postexilic times and may refer to Zerubbabel’s daughter.

The fact that the author of Chronicles does not highlight the dysfunction of David’s descendants is not an attempt to hide a tragic family history. Their story would have been familiar to his audience from other biblical histories. In a way, they were living with the consequences of that failure. Instead, the Chronicler’s treatment of history throughout this book reflects a theological purpose. One aim is to draw attention to God’s faithfulness to the promises made to David generations earlier. The capstone of these promises is found in Jesus Christ, who is heir to David’s throne. When the angel Gabriel announced the birth of Christ, he promised: “The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:32–33). In Revelation 3:7 Jesus holds “the key of David,” a symbol of the Messiah’s authority and power.

Apply the Word

We claim the promises made to David when we place our trust in Jesus Christ. We have the confidence that we too can share in the blessing of forgiveness (see Psalm 32). This is the blessing of Christ’s righteousness credited to us by faith (Rom. 4:6–8). You too can claim it by taking God at His word. Trust in Jesus today!

BY John Koessler, Chair and Professor of Pastoral Studies

John Koessler serves as chair and professor in the division of applied theology and church ministry at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He is married to Jane and has two sons, Drew and Jarred. John is the author of The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody) and True Discipleship (Moody). John has written several other books and articles and serves as a contributing editor for Today in the Word.

Browse Devotions by Date