God made many promises to His people as recorded in the Old Testament. One of the more significant promises is the one He made to David. We know this promise as it’s recorded in 2 Samuel 7:11-13, as the Davidic Covenant. It was delivered to David through the prophet Nathan. It was delivered in the midst of a great struggle with many enemies. It was this same prophet that convicted David of his sin with Bathsheba. He tells David that when he dies, God… “will give you rest from all your enemies,” and God “will raise up your offspring after you” (a physical descendant) and “I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”

Zechariah’s song actually references this passage. The Benedictus gets its name from the first words in the Latin text which read “Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel.” It says, “Blessed be the God of Israel.” Verse 68 of Luke Chapter 1 explains the reason for blessing the God Israel, “for He has visited and redeemed His people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.” The realization of that dream was further celebrated hundreds of years before it was realized by the Prophet Isaiah. He writes, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” (Isaiah 9:6, 7)

The idea of a “horn of salvation” is rather foreign to most of us. But it’s a reference in that agricultural community to a bull tossing its horns in a display of power. Hughes observes, “An animal’s horn is its weapon for defense and vengeance, and also its ornament of beauty. The Davidic horn would be ‘raised up’ in a mighty display of power in the birth of Jesus… First, in redemption as he ransoms his people with his own blood. Note that the passion narrative occupies a large section at the end of Luke’s Gospel and that, correspondingly, the ox (a symbol of sacrifice and atonement) has always been the symbol of Luke. Second, the horn would bring deliverance from all earthly enemies in the final return of Christ (Revelation 19:1–16).”