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For New King James text and comment, click here.
II Samuel 7; I Chronicles 17 Listen
David to God: How 'bout I build you a temple? (II Samuel 7:1-17; I Chronicles 17:1-15)
II Samuel 7
I Chronicles 17
|1 And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies;
2 That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.
3 And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee.
4 And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying,
5 Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?
6 Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle.
7 In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar?
8 Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel:
9 And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth.
10 Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime,
11 And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house.
12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:
15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
17 According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.
|1 Now it came to pass, as David sat in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, Lo, I dwell in an house of cedars, but the ark of the covenant of the LORD remaineth under curtains.
2 Then Nathan said unto David, Do all that IS IN THINE HEART; FOR GOD IS with thee.
3 And it came to pass the same night, that the word of God came to Nathan, saying,
4 Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in:
5 For I have not dwelt in an house since the day that I brought up Israel unto this day; but have gone from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another.
6 Wheresoever I have walked with all Israel, spake I a word to any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people, saying, Why have ye not built me an house of cedars?
7 Now therefore thus shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, even from following the sheep, that thou shouldest be ruler over my people Israel:
8 And I have been with thee whithersoever thou hast walked, and have cut off all thine enemies from before thee, and have made thee a name like the name of the great men that are in the earth.
9 Also I will ordain a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, and they shall dwell in their place, and shall be moved no more; neither shall the children of wickedness waste them any more, as at the beginning,
10 And since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel. Moreover I will subdue all thine enemies. Furthermore I tell thee that the LORD will build thee an house.
11 And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom.
12 He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever.
13 I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee:
14 But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.
15 According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.
With the prophet Nathan as the middleman, God makes some promises to David. Among those, God promises David that his throne will be established forever, unlike his predecessor Saul. Here's where David offers to build a temple for God. While the dialogue is not particularly clear in II Samuel 7, we see clearly that God declines the offer in I Chronicles 17. Specifically, we see in I Chronicles 17:4 that God tells Nathan, "Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in:" We see that David's heir to the throne, Solomon, gets the go ahead on the temple in II Samuel 7:13 and I Chronicles 17:12. So...why was David not permitted by God to build the temple himself?
We must look to some other passages of scripture for additional insight regarding this temple-building project. Here's what Solomon said about the issue to a neighboring king (Hiram, King of Tyre) in I Kings 5:3 (see notes), "Thou knowest how that David my father could not build an house unto the name of the LORD his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until the LORD put them under the soles of his feet." In other words, David was too busy. However, it wasn't just the case of a busy schedule according to David's own words in I Chronicles 22:8 (see notes), "But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight." David had killed too many people. We get further confirmation of this fact in I Chronicles 28:3 (see notes), "But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood." It is interesting that David engaged in war to defeat the enemies of Israel and God just as he was directed to do, but that made it inappropriate in God's eyes for him to be the one to build the temple. Perhaps that gives us some understanding of why the Levites, who serviced the tabernacle and temple, were designated as draft exempt per God's command.
However, the good news of the eternally-established kingdom of David far surpasses the disappointment of not being allowed to build the temple himself. As a matter of fact, this passage marks the establishment of the Davidic Covenant - certain eternal promises made by God to David.
The Davidic covenant consists of the following promises:
There's another aspect of the Davidic Covenant that is worth considering here. David was far from a flawless man, although God does acknowledge that David was a man "who followed me with all his heart" in I Kings 14:8 (see notes). However, after this covenant in II Samuel 7 was established, David did commit some grievous sins - adultery and murder around the incident involving Bathsheba and Uriah (II Samuel 11, see notes). So here's the question: Was God's covenant with David still valid during the time that David was committing these awful sins? Answer: OF COURSE IT WAS STILL VALID! God's covenant with David was and is unconditional. So...what's the point here? Well...think about it: The unconditional covenant that God makes with each of us for salvation is not invalidated by our sinful actions as Christians any more than God's covenant with David was invalidated by David's actions. A COVENANT IS A COVENANT! Now, God dealt severely with David for his sins, but he never invalidated the covenant. Likewise, God deals with Believers' sins, but he never invalidates his covenant with us. For a complete understanding of how God chastises disobedient Christians, see the notes on Hebrews 12:5-11.
All in all, it was a really good day for David. By the way, this covenant sits at the base of virtually all our prophecies; it's the foundation for the Book of Revelation.
David prays to God (II Samuel 7:18-29; I Chronicles 17:16-27)
II Samuel 7
I Chronicles 17
|18 Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD, and he said, Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?
19 And this was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord GOD; but thou hast spoken also of thy servant’s house for a great while to come. And is this the manner of man, O Lord GOD?
20 And what can David say more unto thee? for thou, Lord GOD, knowest thy servant.
21 For thy word’s sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them.
22 Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.
23 And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods?
24 For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee for ever: and thou, LORD, art become their God.
25 And now, O LORD God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said.
26 And let thy name be magnified for ever, saying, The LORD of hosts is the God over Israel: and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee.
27 For thou, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house: therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee.
28 And now, O Lord GOD, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant:
29 Therefore now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee: for thou, O Lord GOD, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever.
|16 And David the king came and sat before the LORD, and said, Who am I, O LORD God, and what is mine house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?
17 And yet this was a small thing in thine eyes, O God; for thou hast also spoken of thy servant’s house for a great while to come, and hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree, O LORD God.
18 What can David speak more to thee for the honour of thy servant? for thou knowest thy servant.
19 O LORD, for thy servant’s sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all this greatness, in making known all these great things.
20 O LORD, there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.
21 And what one nation in the earth is like thy people Israel, whom God went to redeem to be his own people, to make thee a name of greatness and terribleness, by driving out nations from before thy people, whom thou hast redeemed out of Egypt?
22 For thy people Israel didst thou make thine own people for ever; and thou, LORD, becamest their God.
23 Therefore now, LORD, let the thing that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant and concerning his house be established for ever, and do as thou hast said.
24 Let it even be established, that thy name may be magnified for ever, saying, The LORD of hosts is the God of Israel, even a God to Israel: and let the house of David thy servant be established before thee.
25 For thou, O my God, hast told thy servant that thou wilt build him an house: therefore thy servant hath found in his heart to pray before thee.
26 And now, LORD, thou art God, and hast promised this goodness unto thy servant:
27 Now therefore let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may be before thee for ever: for thou blessest, O LORD, and it shall be blessed for ever.
So, what do you do when God promises to establish your kingdom forever? David speaks to God in prayer expressing his gratitude for God's goodness to David and his people. Incidentally, Psalm 89 (see notes) is particularly meaningful when read in light of this occasion. It is also worth noting in this prayer of thanksgiving that David does not mourn God's refusal to allow him to be the one to build the temple itself. David is just thankful to God for his special considerations upon David and all of Israel.
Oh...by the way...notice the frequent usage by David in this prayer of "LORD God." That's really the combination of two words which are ordinarily translated "Lord" in English, but are distinctly different in Hebrew. When you see in all caps "LORD," the Hebrew word is "Jehovah" (aka "Yahweh"). It is the unique name for the God of Israel. English Bibles consistently designate this Hebrew rendering by printing "LORD" in all capital letters. When all the letters are not capitalized (Lord or lords) that Hebrew word is "adon(ay);" this word equates to "master" and, in addition to its usage as a reference to God, is also used to note the authority one person has over another i.e. Genesis 18:12 when Sarah refers to Abraham as her "lord." The proper rendering is determined by context. For the sake of this discussion, I should also mention the Hebrew word for "God." It's "elohim;" context determines to whom this Hebrew word refers - the God of Heaven or the false gods. The form of the word is plural in Hebrew, but when speaking of the one true God, the modifiers and associated verbs take on a singular form. When the modifiers and accompanying verbs are plural, it's talking about false gods.
Now that we have that groundwork out of the way, let's take a look at those words in David's prayer here. Every time you see the words "Lord God" in this prayer, he's really using the "adonai Yahweh" combination. However, I guess the editors of the KJV thought that sounded a little funny translated into English (Lord LORD), so they substituted the English word "God" in place of "Lord" in this passage. Usually, God is derived from the Hebrew word "Elohim."