How Jesus Fulfills the Davidic Promises

John Kubasak

How Jesus Fulfills the Davidic Promises

When the prophet Samuel showed up at Jesse’s house, little did Jesse know that the day carried eternal implications (1 Samuel 16:1-13).  The youngest son of Jesse was destined to rule the twelve tribes of Israel as king—and to be the first in an eternal line of kings. Examining David’s character and two other key moments in his life give us a rich background to consider the promise of the Messiah.  



The first impression of David recorded in 1 Samuel was on his looks: “he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome” (16:12).  After being anointed by Samuel, “the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward” (16:13). Thanks to his skill as a musician, David was asked to join the service of King Saul. He had the heart of a poet, and thanks be to God, many of the Psalms came from that very heart.  

After joining Saul’s army, leading his own, and becoming king, we have a picture of David’s character. He was a man of action, ready for a fight, willing to take risks, loyal to Saul even though the king tried to kill him time after time, passionate (in good and self-destructive ways), and devoted to God for nearly his whole life. 

Samuel said to Saul upon telling the king that he’d lost the promise of God: “the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). 


David Fights the Strong Man

David split his time between serving the king and shepherding his father’s sheep. His life changed the day he heard Goliath the Philistine taunting the Israelite army, asking for a worthy opponent. The fighter in David clapped right back. “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (17:26) That particular uncircumcised Philistine was a giant and likely weighed two or three times as much as David. On top of standing up for the Lord, whoever defeated Goliath was promised freedom for his household, riches, and the hand of the king’s daughter in marriage. David’s retort only provoked irritation among the terrified army. David persisted on Saul, however, and convinced the king to fight Goliath.

Goliath jeered at the Israelites upon seeing David; the giant was so confident of victory that he didn’t even unsheathe his sword (17:51). David fired right back, not only promising to cut off his head, but that the dead bodies of the Philistine army would be eaten by the birds and beasts. I’d bet the cowering Israelite army were shaking their heads, muttering that David was really going to get it.  

The story did not end that way, though. David was likely the only person on that battlefield who thought he could win.  In this famous episode we see a key aspect of David’s character: his zeal for God that drew upon his boldness and courage.  


“I will be his father, and he shall be my son.”(2 Samuel 7:14)

Once King David took possession of Jerusalem, he lamented that the Ark of the Covenant had a tent for a dwelling. He resolved to build a temple to the Lord. The prophet Nathan originally encouraged David, until the Lord reversed course. God did not just say to refrain from building a temple; He responded with a covenantal promise. The elements of the promise were: 

  • “I will make for you a great name” (2 Samuel 7:9)
  • Peace for the nation
  • “the Lord will make you a house” (v. 11)
  • David’s son will build a house for the Lord
  • The throne, kingdom, and house of David will be established forever

If it were me, my first thought would have been, ‘wow, what a way to say no!’ David’s first thought was far better—he erupted in a hymn of praise to God. Psalm 89 recounts this hymn and praises the steadfast love of God. 

God intended to bless David and his household, but also looked ahead to blessing the whole of humanity.  The new covenant established by Jesus Christ perfectly fulfilled all of the promises to David. 


Jesus Fights the Strong Man 

One of the many run-ins that Jesus had with the Pharisees began with a miraculous healing. Jesus cast a demon out of one blind and mute; the Pharisees angrily claimed that Jesus was using the very power of Satan. Our Lord pointed out their absurdity, and then gave us an inside look at his plan against the evil one. “How can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property, without first tying up the strong man? Then indeed the house can be plundered” (Matthew 12:29). That is, Jesus was going to fight the strong man—Satan, the lord of the world—tie him up, and plunder his house.  

Although some of the details differ, Jesus fought Satan and death.  Like Goliath against David, Jesus did not come with sword or shield.  The powers of evil jeered at Jesus as Goliath mocked David. Satan unleashed the forces of death and hell on Jesus during the Passion. Throughout it all, Jesus was “like a lamb that is lead to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7). Little did the evil one know: Jesus’ sacrificial offering of Himself unlocked heaven to the human race.  The cross restored and fulfilled all of the prior covenants, binding the strong man.  

St. Peter tells us that after Calvary, Jesus traveled to the abode of the dead to bring out the righteous souls (1 Peter 3:19). They were the treasure of the evil one! So are we today.


“I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” (John 15:20) 

Jesus is the eternal Son of the Father and he was also the Son of David. The promises of the Davidic covenant received a superabundant fulfillment in Jesus. Let’s take the same list as above.

God promised David a great name, the fulfillment of which began in his lifetime. The name of Jesus carried fame—crowds flocked to Him. Even the rich and powerful wanted to meet Jesus, as Herod did during Our Lord’s Passion. But that renown is as chaff in the wind compared to the power contained in Jesus’ name. The apostles healed in the name of Jesus. Demons obeyed commands made in Jesus’ holy name. Sins are forgiven in His name!  St. Paul told the Philippians: 

“God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” –2:9-11

Bringing peace upon Israel meant a secure border and military might. In the new Christian realm, bringing peace starts with the interior life. It was the first thing that the resurrected Jesus gave to the apostles. And then Jesus bestowed upon them the ability to forgive sins. The world would have so much peace if all its inhabitants took God up on this offer!

The fulfillment of the house from 7 Samuel 7 is the Mystical Body of Christ and the Church. Solomon built a temple made of stone and gold, but Jesus established the Catholic Church. It has stood throughout the centuries despite all the humans that comprise it. The Mystical Body is also the Kingdom of God. Because Jesus is God, His throne will last forever.  

All of the things promised to David have been fulfilled in Christ.  


Jesus is our long-awaited Messiah; He is the King of everything.  He revealed the Father’s plan for salvation for the whole human race. Praise God for His goodness to us, His wayward children! This is not the only kingdom Our Lord seeks, however. He comes to each one of us, seeking to reign in our hearts.  

Come, Lord Jesus!