TYPES OF CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2001 James Melough
Like all else in the OT, the
incident recorded in 1 Sa 24 has a spiritual significance that goes far beyond
its literal statement, for careful reading reveals it to be the vehicle by
which God sets before us another beautiful picture of the Lord Jesus Christ at
In the course of his pursuit
of David in the wilderness of Engedi, Saul went into a cave in the sides of
which David and his men had taken refuge. Saul, unaware of their presence,
had laid aside his robe while he relieved himself, and Davidís men urged him
to kill Saul. David, however, refused, and instead stealthily cut off a piece
of his enemyís robe, after which Saul went on his way, oblivious that but for
the mercy of the man he pursued so relentlessly, he would have been a dead
Shortly afterward David also
left the cave, and holding up the severed piece of robe called after Saul,
ď... see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of
thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil
nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou
huntest my soul to take it,Ē 1 Sa 24:11.
Saul, deeply moved, ďlifted
up his voice and wept,Ē saying, ďThou art more righteous than I: for thou hast
rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil. And thou hast shewed
this day how that thou hast dealt well with me: forasmuch as when the Lord had
delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not.... And now, behold, I know
well that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be
established in thine hand,Ē (vv.16-20).
Few clearer pictures of
Calvary are to be found in the pages of Scripture.
David here is a type of
Christ; and Saul, a type of man in his natural state, his hatred of David
being representative of the natural manís hatred of God.
As always in Scripture, the
cave is a type of the place of death, and in the present instance,
specifically a type of
David was in the cave, not for any fault of his own, but because of Saulís
sinful intent to add to his already long list of sins, the murder of Godís
The type was fulfilled at
Calvary, the place of death, to which Christ, Godís anointed, came, not for
any sin of His Own, but for manís sin against God (sin that was there crowned
by the murder of Godís Son). Like Saul, however, those who consigned Christ
to death (and they are the representatives of all men), were ignorant of the
fact that they were separated from death merely by the breath given them from
the hand of the God they had so long defied, and Whose Son they slew.
Davidís men, urging the
death of Saul, are easily seen to be representative of the law which similarly
urges the death of the transgressor - and all have transgressed.
David risked his life to cut
off that piece of Saulís robe, and prove his love for the man who was his
enemy wrongfully; but at Calvary Christ gave His life to prove His love
for men who were His enemies wrongfully.
Saulís emerging from the
cave speaks of potential resurrection available to men, but
resurrection that becomes actual only for those who trust in Christ as
Davidís leaving the cave is
figurative of the resurrection of Christ; and his displaying the severed piece
of cloth is symbolic of the Lordís supper.
In that piece of robe, Saul
read the measure of Davidís love, and the revelation caused him to weep, while
he confessed his own sinfulness, and acknowledged the worth of David, and
announced the coming reign of the man he had sought to kill.
That type too is fulfilled
on the first day of each week when the risen Lord displays the symbols of his
love: the bread telling of His body given for us; and the wine reminding us
that He shed His blood for the remission of our sins.
Sadly, however, Saulís tears
are seldom duplicated by those to whom the emblems are displayed on the first
day of each week; nor is Saulís ascription of worth to David duplicated in
regard to Christ, by those whose redemption cost Him His life. Saulís tears
and confession rebuke the indifference with which we all too often keep the
feast which has been designed to ďshew the Lordís death till He come,Ē 1 Co
11:26, and remind us of ďthe love of Christ, which passeth knowledge,Ē Eph