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God’s Covenant with David

17

Now when David settled in his house, David said to the prophet Nathan, “I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under a tent.” 2Nathan said to David, “Do all that you have in mind, for God is with you.”

3 But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying: 4Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: You shall not build me a house to live in. 5For I have not lived in a house since the day I brought out Israel to this very day, but I have lived in a tent and a tabernacle. 6Wherever I have moved about among all Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people, saying, Why have you not built me a house of cedar? 7Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people Israel; 8and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies before you; and I will make for you a name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 9I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall wear them down no more, as they did formerly, 10from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will subdue all your enemies.

Moreover I declare to you that the Lord will build you a house. 11When your days are fulfilled to go to be with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. 12He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. 13I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, 14but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever. 15In accordance with all these words and all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.

David’s Prayer

16 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? 17And even this was a small thing in your sight, O God; you have also spoken of your servant’s house for a great while to come. You regard me as someone of high rank, O Lord God! 18And what more can David say to you for honoring your servant? You know your servant. 19For your servant’s sake, O Lord, and according to your own heart, you have done all these great deeds, making known all these great things. 20There is no one like you, O Lord, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears. 21Who is like your people Israel, one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem to be his people, making for yourself a name for great and terrible things, in driving out nations before your people whom you redeemed from Egypt? 22And you made your people Israel to be your people forever; and you, O Lord, became their God.

23 “And now, O Lord, as for the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, let it be established forever, and do as you have promised. 24Thus your name will be established and magnified forever in the saying, ‘The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, is Israel’s God’; and the house of your servant David will be established in your presence. 25For you, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a house for him; therefore your servant has found it possible to pray before you. 26And now, O Lord, you are God, and you have promised this good thing to your servant; 27therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever before you. For you, O Lord, have blessed and are blessed forever.”


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1Ch 17:1-10. David Forbidden to Build God a House.

1. as David sat in his house—The details of this chapter were given in nearly similar terms (2Sa 7:1-29). The date was towards the latter end of David's reign, for it is expressly said in the former book to have been at the cessation of all his wars. But as to narrate the preparations for the removal of the ark and the erection of the temple was the principal object of the historian, the exact chronology is not followed.

5. I … have gone from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another—The literal rendering is, "I was walking in a tent and in a dwelling." The evident intention (as we may see from 1Ch 17:6) was to lay stress upon the fact that God was a Mithhatlek (a travelling God) and went from one place to another with His tent and His entire dwelling (the dwelling included not merely the tent, but the fore-courts with the altar of burnt offerings, &c.) [Bertheau].

6. spake I a word to any of the judges—In 2Sa 7:7 it is "any of the tribes" of Israel. Both are included. But the judges "who were commanded to feed the people," form the more suitable antithesis to David.

Why have ye not built me an house of cedars?—that is, a solid and magnificent temple.

7. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote—a round tower of rude construction, high walled, but open at the top, in which sheep are often enclosed at night to protect them from wild beasts. The meaning is, I elevated you to the throne from a humble condition solely by an act of divine grace, and not from any antecedent merits of your own (see on 1Sa 16:11), and I enabled you to acquire renown, equal or superior to any other monarch. Your reign will ever be afterwards regarded as the best and brightest era in the history of Israel, for it will secure to the nation a settled inheritance of prosperity and peace, without any of the oppressions or disorders that afflicted them in early times.

9, 10. at the beginning, and since the time that I commanded judges—that is, including the whole period from Joshua to Saul.

I tell thee that the Lord will build thee an house—This was the language of Nathan himself, who was specially directed to assure David, not only of personal blessing and prosperity, but of a continuous line of royal descendants.

11. I will raise up thy seed—(See on 2Sa 7:12).

13. I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee—My procedure in dealing with him will be different from My disposal of Saul. Should his misconduct call for personal chastisement, I shall spare his family. If I see it necessary to withdraw My favor and help for a time, it will be a corrective discipline only to reform and restore, not to destroy. (On this passage some have founded an argument for Solomon's repentance and return to God).

14. I will settle him in my house—over My people Israel.

and in my kingdom for ever—God here asserts His right of supreme sovereignty in Israel. David and Solomon, with their successors, were only the vicegerents whom He nominated, or, in His providence, permitted.

his throne shall be established for evermore—The posterity of David inherited the throne in a long succession—but not always. In such a connection as this, the phrase "for evermore" is employed in a restricted sense (see on La 3:31). We naturally expect the prophet to revert to David before concluding, after having spoken (1Ch 17:12) of the building of Solomon's temple. The promise that his house should be blessed was intended as a compensation for the disappointment of his wish to build the temple, and hence this assurance is appropriately repeated at the conclusion of the prophet's address [Bertheau].

15. According to all … this vision—The revelation of the divine will was made to the prophet in a dream.

16. David the king … sat before the Lord, and said—(See on 2Sa 7:18).




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