ZADOK THE PRIEST AND NATHAN THE PROPHET
First Kings 1:34, 38-40
Brothers and Sisters,
The famous hymn written by George Frideric Handel is based on a text from the First Book of Kings. Here is the relevant text from the hymn:
Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet
anointed Solomon King,
and all the people rejoiced and said:
God save the king!
Long live the king!
May the king live forever.
This is a very exciting scene in Sacred Scripture and the song by Handel aptly communicates the thrill in the air during that moment in history. This is a huge event in salvation history – the passing on of the throne of David the Great King to his son Solomon. Remember that when Samuel anointed David as king, the prophecy became that his kingdom and throne would never end.
The ascension of Solomon to be king of Israel following the death of David the Great King was the first test to see if the prophecy was to be proven true. The unity of Israel as a nation under one king was intended to mirror their relationship to God. Themselves being God’s chosen ones, they recognized God as their great king and deferred to His Will for their lives. The king of Israel whether it was David or Solomon was intended to reflect the role of God in the lives of the people. For example, David and Solomon had not only the kingly duties of governing the country but they also took upon themselves religious or priestly duties that had been reserved for the Levites who dealt with the sacrifices and prayers of the Temple in Jerusalem. The role of the king was not just to govern (like building roads and other public works) but also to bring the people closer to God as well.
The Church has always seen in the Old Testament the foreshadowing of Christ; for even He said “I have come not to abolish but to fulfil” (Matthew 5:17). The idea of an everlasting kingdom where the leader is to bring us into Heaven was in this shadowy form in the Book of Kings in the Old Testament, but sounds exactly what Christ fulfilled. The coming of Christ was to bring us to Heaven and close to God the Father; Christ is seated at the right hand of God the Father in His Kingdom which will have no end. These concrete, real events of the Old Testament happened providentially; in God’s careful watching over human history, He willed that these real historical events should foreshadow the actual events that Christ accomplished and, further, the reality of the life of Heaven: a King, Whose reign shall never end, that brings us closer to God the Father. David and Solomon did that in a small way; Christ fulfilled the full prophecy that began with their kingships.
God be near,