C.H. Spurgeons's The Treasury of David
Verse 17. There will I make the horn of David to bud. In Zion David's dynasty shall develop power and glory. In our notes from other authors we have included a description of the growth of the horns of stags, which is the natural fact from which we conceive the expression in the text to be borrowed. As the stag is made noble and strong by the development of his horns, so the house of David shall advance from strength to strength. This was to be by the work of the Lord -- "there will I make", and therefore it would be sure and solid growth. When God makes us to bud none can cause us to fade. When David's descendants left the Lord and the worship of his house, they declined in all respects, for it was only through the Lord, and in connection will his worship that their horn would bud.
I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed. David's name was to be illustrious, and brilliant as a lamp; it was to continue shining like a lamp in the sanctuary; it was thus to be a comfort to the people, and an enlightenment to the nations. God would not suffer the light of David to go out by the extinction of his race: his holy ordinances had decreed that the house of his servant should remain in the midst of Israel. What a lamp is our Lord Jesus! A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel. As the anointed -- the true Christ, he shall be the light of heaven itself. Oh for grace to receive our illumination and our consolation from Jesus Christ alone.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 17. There will I make the horn of David to bud, etc. A metaphor taken from those goodly creatures, as stags, and such like; whose chiefest beauty and strength consisteth in their horns, especially when they bud and branch abroad. --Thomas Playfere.
Verse 17. The horn of David. This image of a horn is frequent in the Old Testament ... The explanation must be found neither in the horns of the altar on which criminals sought to lay hold, nor in the horns with which they ornamented their helmets; the figure is taken from the horns of the bull, in which the power of this animal resides. It is a natural image among an agricultural people ... Just as the strength of the animal is concentrated in its horn, so all the delivering power granted to the family of David for the advantage of the people will be concentrated in the Messiah. --F. Godet, in "A Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke." 1875.
Verse 17. Make the horn to bud. In the beginning of the month of March the common stag, or red deer, is lurking in the sequestered spots of his forest home, harmless as his mate, and as timorous. Soon a pair of prominences make their appearance on his forehead, covered with a velvety skin. In a few days these little prominences have attained some length, and give the first indication of their true form. Grasp one of these in the hand and it will be found burning hot to the touch, for the blood runs fiercely through the velvety skin, depositing at every touch a minute portion of bony matter. More and more rapidly grow the horns, the carotid arteries enlarging in order to supply a sufficiency of nourishment, and in the short period of ten weeks the enormous mass of bony matter has been completed. Such a process is almost, if not entirely, without parallel in the history of the animal kingdom. --J. G. Wood, in "The Illustrated Natural History," 1861.
Verse 17. The horn. My friend, Mr. Graham, of Damascus, says, concerning the horns worn by eastern women, "This head dress is of dough, tin, silver, or gold, according to the wealth of the different classes. The rank is also indicated by the length of it. The nobler the lady, the longer the horn. Some of them are more than an English yard." I procured at Damascus an ancient gem, representing a man wearing the horn. In the present day, its use is confined to the women. --John Wilson, in "The Lands of the Bible," 1847.
Verse 17. I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed. This clause contains an allusion to the law, which cannot be preserved in any version. The word translated "lamp" is used to designate the several burners of the golden candlestick (Exodus 25:37 35:14 37:23 39:87), and the verb here joined with it is the one applied to the ordering or tending of the sacred lights by the priests (Exodus 27:21 Leviticus 27:3). The meaning of the whole verse is, that the promise of old made to David and to Zion should be yet fulfilled, however dark and inauspicious present appearances. --Joseph Addison Alexander.
Verse 17. I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed. We remark,
- The designation given unto Christ by God his Father; he is "mine anointed." Though he be despised and rejected of men; though an unbelieving world see no form or comeliness in him, why he should be desired, yet I own him, and challenge him as mine Anointed, the Prophet, Priest, and King of my church. "I have found David my servant: with my holy oil have I anointed him: with whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him": Ps 89:20-21.
- The great means of God's appointment for manifesting the glory of Christ to a lost world; he has provided "a lamp" for his Anointed. The use of a lamp is to give light to people in the darkness of the night; so the word of God, particularly the gospel, is a light shining in a dark place, until the day of glory dawn, when the Lord God and the Lamb will be the light of the ransomed for endless evermore.
- The authority by which this lamp is lighted and carried through this dark world; it is "ordained" of God; and by his commandment it is that we preach and spread the light of the gospel (Mark 16:15,20). --Ebenezer Erskine, 1680--.
Verse 17. I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed. That is, I have ordained prosperity and blessings for him; blessings upon his person, and especially the blessing of posterity. Children are as a lamp or candle in their father's house, making the name of their ancestors conspicuous; hence in Scripture a Child given to succeed his father is called a lamp. When God by Ahijah the prophet told Jeroboam that God would take the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon's son, and give it unto him, even ten tribes; he yet adds (1 Kings 11:86), "And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light (lamp or candle) alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there." And again (1 Kings 15:4), when Abijam the son of Rehoboam proved wicked, the text saith, "Nevertheless for David's sake did the Lord his God give him a lamp (or candle) in Jerusalem, to set up his son after him." -- Joseph Caryl.
Verse 17-18. God having chosen David's family, he here promises to bless that also with suitable blessings.
- Growing power: "There (in Zion) will I make the horn of David to bud." The royal dignity should increase more and more, and constant additions be made to the lustre of it. Christ is the "horn of salvation", noting a plentiful and powerful salvation, which God hath raised up and made to bud "in the house of his servant David." David had promised to use his power for God's glory, to cut off the horns of the wicked, and to exalt the horns of the righteous (Psalms 75:10); and in recompense for it, God here promises to make his horn to bud; for to them that have power and use it well, more shall be given.
- Lasting honour: "I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed." Thou wilt "light my candle" (Psalms 18:28): that lamp is likely to burn brightly which God ordains. A lamp is a successor; for when a lamp is almost out, another may be lighted by it: it is a succession; for by this means David shall not want a man to stand before God. Christ is the lamp and the light of the world.
- Complete victory. "His enemies", that have formed designs against him, "will I clothe with shame", when they shall see their designs baffled. Let the enemies of all good governors expect to be clothed with shame, and especially the enemies of the Lord Jesus and his government, who shall rise in the last great day "to everlasting shame and contempt."
- Universal prosperity: "Upon himself shall his crown flourish", i.e., his government shall be more and more his honour. This was to have its full accomplishment in Christ Jesus, whose crown of honour and power shall never fade, nor the flowers of it wither. The crowns of earthly princes "endure not to all generations" (Proverbs 27:24); but Christ's crown shall endure to all eternity, and the crowns reserved for his faithful subjects are such as "fade not away." --Matthew Henry.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 17. A Lamp ordained for God's Anointed. Being the Substance of Two Sermons, by Ebenezer Erskine. Works, Vol. 3, pp. 3-41.
- The budding horn of growing power.
- The perpetual lamp of constant brightness.
- The sordid array of defeated foes.
- The unfading wreath of glorious sovereignty.