Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 22

Where did David’s righteousness come from?

2 Samuel 22:21

Righteousness means goodness. In the Bible, there are two kinds of righteousness. There is the perfect goodness that belongs to God alone (Deuteronomy 32:4).

That is the kind of righteousness that God’s future king, called the Messiah or Christ, has (Isaiah 11:1-6). Much of 2 Samuel chapter 22 refers to that king. It describes how (22:5-20) God would rescue him from death and from the grave (Psalm 16:9-10; Acts 2:25-36). It also describes (22:38-42) how God will defeat all his enemies to establish his rule (Psalm 2; Psalm 110). David saw all these things as a prophet, a man who received and declared messages from God (23:1-2).

However, David himself could not claim that kind of righteousness. He was not a perfect man; he knew that he was guilty of wrong and evil acts (Psalm 51). So, instead, he could only obtain the other kind of righteousness. That kind of righteousness is God’s free gift to the person whom he forgives (Romans 4:1-8). In other words, when God forgives a person, he no longer considers that person guilty (Psalm 32:1-2; Psalm 51:7-10). Instead of their guilty state, God places in them his own goodness (Romans 3:21-24; Romans 5:6-18).

David had confessed his evil deeds to God and he had turned from them. So now, he lived in the knowledge that God had forgiven him completely. For him, this could never be a matter of pride or a reason for proud attitudes. Rather, he remained truly grateful to God. David’s power to live in a good and right manner came from God, and not from David himself. When David acted without God, he did wrong and evil things. When he depended on God to guide and to direct his life, David’s right and good acts were pleasing to God.

Next part: What does righteousness mean? (2 Samuel 22:22-25)


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