2 SAMUEL CHAPTER 7.
The Promise of the Messiah.
THE NEWS ANNOUNCED TO DAVID. — V.1. And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, an expression referring to his permanent abode after having attended to all the external affairs of the kingdom, and the Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies, all those nations which still felt strong enough to dispute the growing power of Israel having been vanquished, v.2. that the king said unto Nathan, the prophet, whom he regarded highly as a confidential adviser, See, now, I dwell in an house of cedar, in a fine palace, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains. Even though David had provided a tabernacle in his city which consisted of very fine and costly curtains, like those of the first Tabernacle, yet the contrast was too obvious and too incongruous; it did not seem right and fitting to David that he should have a finer palace than that used for housing the ark. V.3. And Nathan, understanding the suggestion of the king and approving his intention, said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart, all that David had resolved upon; for the Lord is with thee. This approval of David’s purpose, however, came out of Nathan’s own mind, not by divine revelation. V.4. And it came to pass that night that the word of the Lord came unto Nathan, saying, v.5. Go and tell My servant David, an honoring designation for the king, Thus saith the Lord, Shalt thou build Me an house for Me to dwell in? The question implies, of course, a very decided denial of his request, a rejection of his proposal to build a temple. V.6. Whereas I have not dwelt in any house, any permanent building, 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, literally, “I was a wanderer in tent and dwelling-place”; for even after the children of Israel had reached Canaan, the tent had been moved from Gilgal to Shiloh, and then to the hill between Gibeah and Gibeon. The Tabernacle, the structure as built by Moses, Ex. 35, 11, had been Jehovah’s dwelling-place. V.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? Neither during the desert journey, nor during the entire period of the Judges, when the leadership passed from one tribe of the more important ones to another, had the Lord ever commanded the children of Israel to build Him a permanent and costly sanctuary, worthy of His glory. V.8. Now, therefore, so shalt thou say unto My servant David, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Jehovah Sabaoth, the King of the whole earth, I took thee from the sheepcote, from the meadows where the sheep were pastured, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel. That was an act of God’s merciful favor. V.9. And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, David had always been sure of the merciful presence of Jehovah, even during the years when Saul persecuted him, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, from before thy face, and have made thee a great name like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth; for David’s victories had brought him into prominent attention in all the surrounding nations. Of so much concerning his outward success Nathan was to remind David first, of the fact that he owed his position and all his success to the Lord alone. V.10. Moreover, I will appoint a place for My people Israel and will plant them, rather, “I have established and I have planted,” that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more, not be troubled, distressed, and driven from one place to another; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime, in the time of the Egyptian oppression, v.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. The former days of slavery and tribulation were to return no more. Those were the blessings which the Lord had provided for the people as such. And now comes the most wonderful promise of all, one affecting both king and people to the most remote descendants. Also the Lord telleth thee that he will make thee an house, literally, “And there announces to thee Jehovah that a house will make to thee Jehovah,” a very solemn announcement preparing for the prophecy proper. V.12. And when thy days be fulfilled and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, after David would have been laid to rest in the hope of a glorious resurrection to eternal life, I will set up thy Seed after thee, one of David’s descendants, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, as a true descendant according to the flesh, and I will establish His kingdom, confirm the royal office in His case. V.13. He shall build an house for My name, to the name of Jehovah, and I will stablish the throne of His kingdom forever. The descendant of David to whom this prophecy looked forward was to be confirmed in regal honor and dignity in a most singular way, in a kingdom which would have everlasting duration. His building of a house to Jehovah, moreover, would be the same as that of Jehovah making a house to Himself, v.11. The two statements refer to the same event. The relation between Jehovah and this singular descendant of David is now described in detail. V.14. I will be His Father, and He shall be My Son. If he commit iniquity, literally, “whom, if He transgresses,” I will chasten Him with the rod of men and with the stripes of the children of men. That this is not spoken of Solomon, as most modern commentators will have it, may be seen from the fact that Solomon was a mere man, and there would have been nothing unusual in his being punished for any transgressions after the manner of men. This singular descendant of David, if found guilty of the sins of men, the implication being that the latter would be imputed to Him, would have to bear the penalty of a sinner. V.15. But my mercy shall not depart away from Him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee, “from before thy face.” The descendant of David to whom the Lord refers would not experience the rejection which struck Saul, because He would not become guilty of such disobedience to Jehovah. V.16. And thine house and thy kingdom, the royal power in lineal descendants of David, shall be established forever before thee; thy throne shall be established forever. The constant repetition of the phrase “forever, for eternity,” again forces the conclusion that we must look beyond Solomon, to the eternal existence of the Son here concerned, to One who is Himself possessor of eternal life and of a kingdom which shall never have an end. This, of course, may rightly be said only of Christ, for it was in His case alone that there was so complete an identification with the sons of men as to make the expression possible: “He was made sin for us,” 2 Cor. 5, 21. V.17. According to all these words and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David. The temple here spoken of is that of the Christian Church, the communion of saints, which is the habitation of God in the Spirit. Christ is the Lord, and the believers cling to this Head in the Kingdom which shall last through all eternity.
DAVID’S PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING. — V.18. Then went King David in and sat before the Lord, he spent some time in the tent where the ark of the Lord’s presence was; for it took him a long while to become familiar with the miraculous contents of the message announced to him; and he said, Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, his entire family, that thou hast brought me hitherto? He humbly acknowledged that all the blessings and benefits bestowed upon him by the Lord were expressions of His free love and mercy. V.19. And this, the wonderful external favors, 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? literally, “And this is the law of the man, namely, Lord Jehovah.” David not only understood that the Messianic prophecy was given to his family, that the eternal establishment of his house and kingdom, in the person of Messiah, was included in the prophecy which had come to him, but it was also clear to him that this singular descendant would, in His person, combine two natures, the human and the divine. Messiah, the true man, would at the same time be the Lord Jehovah. V.20. And what can David say more unto Thee? Human language is inadequate to convey the gratitude which filled his heart. For Thou, Lord God, knowest Thy servant. V.21. For Thy word’s sake, the promise transmitted to him by Nathan, and according to Thine own heart, out of free grace and mercy, hast thou done all these great things, for David even now considered the promises fulfilled, to make thy servant know them. V.22. Wherefore Thou art great, O Lord God, in the revelation of His grace toward all mankind; for there is none like Thee, neither is there any God beside Thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears, namely, of the great deeds whereby in the past God had revealed Himself to His people as such a God. V.23. And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, an emphatic statement of the singular position Israel enjoyed in the grace of Jehovah, 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? it is a short review of all the great and mighty wonders with which God had visited His people since He had chosen them for His own, down to the time when He had driven out the heathen of Canaan and their idols before Israel’s victorious armies. V.24. For Thou hast confirmed to Thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto Thee forever; and Thou, Lord, art become their God. The Lord’s free grace had been the source of the covenant which existed, and Israel’s obedience was the condition of the continuance of this relation. V.25. And now, O Lord God, the word that Thou hast spoken concerning Thy servant, the special Messianic promise, and concerning his house, establish it forever, as Thou hast said, so that it would truly be fulfilled. V.26. And let Thy name be magnified forever, saying, The Lord of hosts is the God over Israel, the almighty God, who rules heaven and earth, is the Defender and Protector of Israel. And let the house of Thy servant David be established before Thee. V.27. For Thou, O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, literally, “hast uncovered the ear,” by the announcement of Nathan, saying, I will build Thee an house; therefore hath thy servant found in his heart, gained the courage, to pray this prayer unto Thee; for out of the fullness of the heart his mouth spoke. V.28. And now, O Lord God, Thou art that God, the one true God, and Thy words be true, and Thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant. V.29. Therefore, now, let it please Thee to bless, rather, begin to bless, the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before Thee; having determined upon His course, the Lord is begged to set Himself to the fulfillment of His promise, to take it in hand speedily; for Thou, O Lord, hast spoken it, and with Thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed forever. David completes his prayer of thanksgiving by expressing his confident hope, his firm trust, that the word of the Lord will certainly come to pass. True faith clings to the promises of God and applies them to ourselves.