Christians know the Messiah by many names, such as Immanuel, Lamb of God, and Prince of Peace. In our Jewish tradition, the Messiah is called by many other vivid and fascinating names.
The book The Concealed Light by Tsvi Sadan is an anthology of the names of Messiah from a variety of Jewish sources. Sadan explains that one of the names of Messiah in Jewish thought is “Morning Without Clouds,” or in Hebrew boker lo avot (בֹּקֶר לֹא עָבֹת), a phrase that comes from 2 Samuel 23:4:
He dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth. (2 Samuel 23:4)
Midrash Shemuel 29:3 teaches, “Morning Without Clouds—this is Messiah.” But why would our rabbis see this as a name of Messiah? Sadan explains:
David’s last words are a short prophecy (2 Samuel 23:3-7) that concerns the fulfillment of the promise given to him through Nathan: “I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Samuel 7:12-13). Given such a context, Malbim, whose interpretation we will follow, naturally sees that this prophecy speaks about Messiah. Beginning with verse 3, the one “who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God,” is Messiah, and, says Malbim, “Messiah will have two qualities: He will rule over all men and all men will listen to him, and he will be a righteous ruler” (Malbim to 2 Samuel 23:3).
The kingdom of such a king is likened in verse 4 to a morning that lights up instantaneously. Unlike the earthly Davidic kingdom which, like normal mornings, only gradually moves from darkness to full daylight, “Not so with the future kingdom; then the sun will rise suddenly and there will be a great light.” Following this, Morning Without Clouds speaks about Messiah who, at the moment of his coming, will rule decisively over the entire world forever. Morning Without Clouds therefore means that, unlike earthly rulers who are like clouds covering the sun and darkening the earth, and whose rule is imperfect and subject to the sinful nature of man, Messiah will have no shadows in the way he governs the world.
More specifically, says Malbim, “His kingdom shall never cease … and as soon as it comes it will be set in all of its strength and glory … Then ‘the LORD shall be King over all the earth’ (Zechariah 14:9), and all salvation and all the purpose of the house of David will be fulfilled” (Malbim to 2 Samuel 23:5). Messiah as Morning Without Clouds thus signifies a king who is decisive yet benevolent and righteous. Morning Without Clouds alludes to a kingdom where “the sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; but the LORD will be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory” (Isaiah 60:19).
May we soon be privileged to see the day when God shines a new light on Zion, when Yeshua our righteous Messiah is seated on the throne of his father David.