In the last part of our series we looked at the importance of the Seed of David and the Davidic Covenant.
“Therefore, Lord God of Israel, now keep what You promised Your servant David my father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man sit before Me on the throne of Israel, only if your sons take heed to their way, that they walk in My law as you have walked before Me.’ And now, O Lord God of Israel, let Your word come true, which You have spoken to Your servant David.”2 Chronicles 6:16-17
It is also repeated in Psalm 132:11-12 –
“The Lord has sworn in truth to David; He will not turn from it: ‘I will set upon your throne the fruit of your body. If your sons will keep My covenant And My testimony which I shall teach them, Their sons also shall sit upon your throne forevermore.”
This ‘Davidic Covenant’ is the basis for the Messianic hope of Israel. The Savior of Israel would come from the seed of David.
Now we’ll look at the how the ‘Seed’ of David is also the ‘Branch’ of David as our series on The Great Reveal continues.
Branch of David
We learn about the Branch of David from the prophet Jeremiah –
“Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Jeremiah 23:5-6
“Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah: ‘In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David A Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In those days Judah will be saved, And Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Jeremiah 33:14-16
While the words of Jeremiah concerning the Branch of David are similar in the two sections, there are some subtle differences. One of the differences is the context of each section.
Jeremiah 23 follows prophecies against the kings of Judah, while Jeremiah 33 follows God’s promise to bring health and healing to the people of Judah and Israel. He promised to cleanse them from all their iniquity against God and pardon all their iniquities against Him.
“Then it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise, and an honor before all nations of the earth, who shall hear all the good that a I do to them; they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I provide for it.”Jeremiah 33:9
Another small difference in the Branch reference is that “Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely” (Jeremiah 23) and that “Judah will be saved, And Jerusalem will dwell safely” (Jeremiah 33).
Similarities in both references are that –
- God was speaking – “Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord.”
- God would “raise to David a Branch of righteousness” (chapter 23) and God would “grow up to David A Branch of righteousness” (chapter 33)
An interesting similarity/difference concerns who or what is called “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” In Jeremiah 23, God said that “A King shall reign and prosper” and His name “will be THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” In Jeremiah 33, God said “And Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Both the King of Israel (His name) and Jerusalem (the name by which she) will be called THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, which demonstrates how linked the two are in God’s eternal plan.
The Hebrew for ‘Branch’ is צֶ֣מַח (ṣemaḥ) and means “a sprout, growth.” The term “of righteousness” is the Hebrew word צַדִּ֑יק (ṣaddîq) and means “just, righteous.”
Notice in each of Jeremiah’s references that the Branch of righteousness would “raise to David” and “grow up to David.” The word ‘raise’ in Jeremiah 23 is וַהֲקִמֹתִ֥י (wahăqimōṯî) and translates “that I will raise.” The meaning of the word is to cause someone or something to “stand up, rise up, stand.” The term “grow up” in Jeremiah 33 is אַצְמִ֥יחַ (’aṣmîaḥ) and translates “I will cause to grow up.” The meaning of the word is to cause to “sprout, spring up.”
So, in the reference to the King who would reign and prosper (Jeremiah 23) God would cause Him to “stand up, rise up.” In the reference to Jerusalem dwelling safely, God would cause her to “spring up.”
Other Prophets and the Branch
Jeremiah was not the only prophet to use the word ‘Branch’ when describing an important aspect of God’s eternal plan.
In the context of God’s judgment on Judah and Israel that would lead to future glory, Isaiah wrote this –
“In that day the Branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious; And the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing For those of Israel who have escaped. And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem.”Isaiah 4:2-3
The term ‘Branch of the Lord’ is צֶ֣מַח יְהוָ֔ה (ṣemaḥ Yahweh) and means “sprout, growth of Yaweh.” That ‘Branch’ will be beautiful and glorious.
Isaiah spoke about this ‘Branch’ later in his prophecy. Keep in mind as you are reading that Jesse was the father of King David –
“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. His delight is in the fear of the Lord, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, And faithfulness the belt of His waist.”Isaiah 11:1-5
Isaiah wrote these words next. Notice the phrase ‘Root of Jesse” –
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea. ‘And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious.”Isaiah 4:6-10
It’s obvious that Isaiah was referring to a person when he described “a Root of Jesse.” It would seem that the Branch (ṣemaḥ) and the Root (šōreš) might be the same person. In fact, we see that the Rod from the stem of Jesse, the Branch that grows from the roots of Jesse, and the Root of Jesse are the same person.
The prophet Zechariah also referenced a Branch in his prophecy. Let’s get some understanding of this amazing scene first.
Zechariah prophesied in Jerusalem at the end of the 6th century BC when many Jews were still returning from captivity in Babylon to help rebuild the Temple. We know the time of Zechariah’s prophecy because it begins with – “In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet.” (Zechariah 1:1) On the 24th day of the eleventh month in the second year of Darius, Zechariah received a vision prophecy from God. Part of the prophecy concerned the future joy of Israel, along with a vision of the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord with Satan standing nearby to oppose him.
It is in this context that we learn about the coming Branch –
“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. And the Lord said to Satan, The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?’ Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel. Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, ‘Take away the filthy garments from him.’ And to him He said, ‘See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.’ And I said, ‘Let them put a clean turban on his head.’ So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the Lord stood by. Then the Angel of the Lord admonished Joshua, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘If you will walk in My ways, And if you will keep My command, Then you shall also judge My house, And likewise have charge of My courts; I will give you places to walk Among these who stand here. ‘Hear, O Joshua, the high priest, You and your companions who sit before you, For they are a wondrous sign; For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH. For behold, the stone That I have laid before Joshua: Upon the stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave its inscription,’ Says the Lord of hosts, ‘And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. In that day,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘Everyone will invite his neighbor Under his vine and under his fig tree.”Zechariah 3:1-10
Zechariah received a vision of four chariots coming between two bronze mountains. The first chariot had red horses. The second chariot had black horses. The third chariot had white horses. The fourth chariot had dappled horses. Zechariah asked God, “What are these, my Lord?” The angel answered his question –
“And the angel answered and said to me, ‘These are four spirits of heaven, who go out from their station before the Lord of all the earth. The one with the black horses is going to the north country, the white are going after them, and the dappled are going toward the south country.’ Then the strong steeds went out, eager to go, that they might walk to and fro throughout the earth. And He said, ‘Go, walk to and fro throughout the earth.’ So they walked to and fro throughout the earth. And He called to me, and spoke to me, saying, ‘See, those who go toward the north country have given rest to My Spirit in the north country.”Zechariah 6:5-8
In that context we read about again about the promised BRANCH –
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, saying: ‘Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, And He shall build the temple of the Lord; Yes, He shall build the temple of the Lord. He shall bear the glory, And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”Zechariah 6:12-13
We will look at how we can follow the Branch in the Old Testament to Jesus Christ in the New Testament as our series on The Great Reveal continues.
[You can read more about the story of the Branch of David in our book A History of Man’s Quest for Immorality.]
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.