A Tale of Two Kings and Two Betrayals
There once was a King who loved God with all his heart. Yet he was far, very far, from being a perfect King. In his anger he shed the blood of many men. In his lust he defiled himself with women. In his shame he hid his sin in deceitfulness and treachery. God loved this King very much, but being just, He would not spare him from the consequence of his choices. A conspiracy was laid against the King. His friend and most trusted advisor provided the counsel that helped lead to his defeat. The King was deposed from his throne by his own son, humiliated before all of his subjects and fled the capital city in disgrace.
But the King still loved God, and it was he, and not his son, who had been chosen to rule. In his pain the King cried out, Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” And being a clever man, the King prayed to the Lord to turn his trusted advisor’s counsel into foolishness. Then the King secretly sent a second advisor back to the city to defeat the counsel of the most trusted advisor who was betraying him.
This most trusted advisor had such great ability that people considered his advice to be “like the voice of God.” He counseled the King’s son to shame his father in every way possible and to pursue his father immediately after, so that he might capture and kill the King while he was vulnerable. But the second advisor who had been sent secretly from the King recommended waiting to attack until later. To the surprise of many, the King’s son accepted the advice of the second counselor rather than the one most trusted. Thus the King was able to escape unharmed. So distraught was the King’s former friend and advisor that the son had rejected his counsel that he left the city, went home and hanged himself.
There once was a King who loved God with all his heart.
He was a perfect King in every way. He cared deeply for all of His subjects, especially the poor and the downtrodden. He fed the multitudes and healed the sick. He did not look to be served but to serve, and to give his life for many. God loved this King very much, but being merciful He would not spare the King from the consequences of the sin of those he intended to save. A conspiracy was laid against the King. The King’s friend and official treasurer provided the information that led to his arrest, trial and eventual execution.
But the King was a wise and courageous man. Even though he knew that his treasurer planned to betray him, the King entrusted himself to God and continued to keep his treasurer close, in his inner circle. He knew that the coming betrayal had been predicted and was the will of God. The King invited his treasurer along with his other close friends to a final meal together. During the meal the King informed everyone that there was a traitor in their midst. Then the King said that the prophecy must be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me.’ And he handed his treasurer a piece of bread.
When the treasurer received that piece of bread, the evil plan he had in his heart took hold of him completely. He left the circle of friends and found those who were conspiring against the King. For a small sum of money he agreed to lead them to the spot where the King and his friends were heading. In that secluded spot, where the King was most vulnerable, the treasurer betrayed him with a kiss. The conspirators captured the King and led him away but his treasurer soon grew remorseful for his treachery. In despair he went and flung the blood money at the feet of the King’s conspirators. Then he left the city and hanged himself.
By now you probably realize that both these acts tell of true tales based on the Scriptures. The kings are David and Yeshua; the betrayers are Ahithophel and Judas Iscariot (2 Samuel 15:1-37, 17:1-29; Psalm 41:7-9; John 13:1-38, 18:1-11). The parallels between these two stories were divinely orchestrated as Messianic prophecy and fulfillment so that we might understand God and His purposes more clearly.
Many other parallels between King David and King Jesus appear in the Psalms. Sometimes these prophetic passages function like a telescope, whereby events in the life of David are amplified, going far beyond his own circumstances to fit and foretell the life of Jesus. Looking at these events, like seeing through a telescope, magnifies certain things that David experienced to encompass the far larger plan of God for the future coming of Christ.
At other times the Psalms function like a microscope; we are allowed to peer more closely at an aspect of David’s life that reflects a very specific event or interaction that will also take place in the future life of Messiah. Such is the case in this tale. The Messianic prophecy of Psalm 41:9 is a very focused reflection of the parallels between the betrayals of David and Jesus. They have similarities as well as differences. As we compare and contrast these events, they teach us not only about the lives of the two kings, but about our lives as well.
In Psalm 41:4 David prays, “LORD, be merciful to me; heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.” Whereas David was aware of his failings and sins, the Messiah Jesus is perfect in every way. In fact, it was because our perfect Savior was betrayed and crucified that we can find healing for our souls and forgiveness for sins.
In Psalm 41:10 David reacts to his betrayers by asking God, “raise me up, that I may repay them.” But when Jesus hung on the cross He cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Perhaps you have faced seasons and situations where you experienced deep betrayal or abandonment by someone you once trusted. If so, you are not alone. Many people experience similar pain at some point in life. When faced with such situations, we can identify with the pain that both kings endured. More important, we need God’s grace to respond as did King Yeshua. His confidence in God’s plan and God’s Word was so certain that He was able to hand the bread of betrayal to Judas so that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
Likewise, even in the darkest of circumstances we can trust in the promises of God’s Word so that we can confidently declare with both kings: “As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, and set me before Your face forever. Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen” (Psalm 41:12-13).
Executive Director, Missionary
David Brickner is executive director of Jews for Jesus. David oversees the world-wide ministry from its headquarters in San Francisco. David received his Master’s degree in Missiology with a concentration in Jewish Evangelism and Judaic Studies from the Fuller School of World Mission. He has authored several books, and has been interviewed on national television shows such as Larry King Live. David’s daughter, Ilana is a recent graduate of Biola. His son, Isaac is on the missionary staff of Jews for Jesus. Isaac and his wife, Shaina, have one daughter, Nora, which makes David part of the grandparent club, a membership he is very proud of. See more here.