At first glance, the covenant relationships Yahweh initiates with King David and with the Israelites at Sinai are largely disparate, with no obvious connective tissue other than the fact that they emanate from the same suzerain deity. Indeed, there is a preponderance of language to suggest a divergence in covenantal modes in which the Godhead operates. There is a sense in which the Sinaitic covenant emerges out of a conditional interest in the people of Israel. This appears to be different than the manner in which God expresses his interest in the Davidic dynasty which is accompanied with the assurance that his “faithful love will never leave him.” (2 Sam 7:15) The unconditionality of God’s covenant with David and his descendants gives the impression that God operates in progressively merciful dispensations. But such a suggestion misses the marvelous mystery of redemption which is everywhere told by God himself throughout Scripture. (Rom 16:25; 1 Cor 2:7; 4:1; Eph 6:19; Col 1:26; 2:2; 1 Tm 3:9)
If one were to pit the Davidic and Sinaitic covenants against one another, one would fail to keep in perspective the redemptive business God has with his creation. The nascent establishment of Israel’s nationhood at Sinai is, without question, evidence of Yahweh’s sovereign kindness. “Israel,” D. I. Block affirms, “is the product of Yahweh’s gracious saving action.”1 God’s gracious enterprise with humanity is demonstrably seen at the base of Sinai, with God reinstituting his covenant interest with Israel in the waking moments of their brazen breach of God’s initial covenantal promise. (Ex 32:1–35; 34:5–10) Despite their shameless dereliction, however, Yahweh is unhindered in his determination to covenantally restore his people and, ultimately, creation itself. Such is what a catholic view of the covenants accomplishes. Block explains further:
It should be recognized that the Davidic covenant does not supersede the covenant that God made with Israel at Sinai. Rather, it complements and builds on it, providing Israel with a divinely appointed ruler who not only embodies the ideals of the national covenant, but also serves as the agent through whom Yahweh’s rule over Israel is established.2
God’s promises David that his kingship would never cease. His would be an everlasting dynasty. (2 Sam 7:8–16; 23:5; cf. 2 Chr 13:5; 21:6–7; 23:3; Ps 89:1–4) This, of course, has significant historical and political implications for Israel as a nation. Not only was this meant to delineate the perpetual prosperity in which David’s offspring would exist, but was also meant to indicate God’s formal “elevation of David as the anointed king of the God of Jacob as an enduring appointment that would be passed on in perpetuity to David’s descendants.”3 The seed which is promised to David in perpetuity (2 Sam 7:12; 1 Chr 17:11) is the same seed which is preserved by Israel through priesthood (Ex 32:12; 33:1) — which is the same Seed which would one day crush the serpent’s head. (Gn 3:15) Therefore, Christ himself is the connective tissue between the Sinaitic and Davidic covenants.
D. I. Block, “God,” Dictionary of the Old Testament: Historical Books, edited by Bill T. Arnold and H. G. M. Williamson (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 350.
J. J. M. Roberts, “Davidic Covenant,” Dictionary of the Old Testament: Historical Books, edited by Bill T. Arnold and H. G. M. Williamson (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 207.