Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 7

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-3

Second Samuel - Chapter 7 and First Chronicles - Chapter 1

David Conceives a Notion, 2 Samuel 7:1-3 AND 1 Chronicles 17:1-2

The incident about to be recorded is one of the pivotal events of God’s plan of the ages. It occasions God’s giving of the Davidic covenant, which is a milestone in the unfolding of Messianic prophecy. The time was after David had completed his wars against the Philistines and consolidated his kingdom among the surrounding nations.

The ark is in its sanctuary in the city of Jerusalem. It was now that David conceived the notion that he should construct a palace for the ark, and the idea of the temple was born. Nathan, the prophet, appears here for the first time in the Scriptures. Nothing is known of his origin, but it is apparent that he was a major influence in David’s kingship. To him David expressed his desire to construct a house of cedar, like the king’s palace, for the Lord.

In this first appearance of Nathan, the prophet appears a bit naive, or over-zealous. He was too certain of himself in speaking concerning the will of God. The king’s idea for building a cedar house for the ark and removing it from its tent of curtain seemed good and right. It was meant to honor the Lord, so the prophet assured David that he should do all that was in his heart "for the Lord is with thee."

Verses 4-11

Nathan Brings God’s Message, 2 Samuel 7:4-11 AND 1 Chronicles 17:3-10

Very promptly the Lord came to Nathan and informed him that his advice to David was not according to God’s will. Man’s thoughts are not God’s thoughts, and it is impossible for him to direct God’s will according to his ideas (Isaiah 55:8-9). David and Nathan had supposed God would want a house. They acted without consulting Him. They had not considered that He had been Israel’s God for many centuries, and He had never asked for a house of cedar. The old tabernacle had worn out and been replaced (1 Chronicles 17:5), and the Lord had been pleased to accept each as His sanctuary. Had He desired a permanent house, such as David proposed He would surely have long ago advised its construction.

David was exhibiting some of the feelings of self-importance which had contributed to Saul’s undoing. He was forgetting his humble origin, a shepherd boy herding the sheep and penning them in the sheepcote. Here the Lord had found him and exalted him to be ruler over Israel. His fame and honor had come about by the aid of the Lord in leading him and giving him victory over his enemies. Now David was thinking of doing something for the Lord, in effect feeling sorry for the Lord dwelling in the old curtained tabernacle.

David desired to establish and strengthen Israel so that they would never be removed and so that the wicked, pagan nations around them would never again subject them. The Lord had Nathan to tell David that He will appoint a place in the earth for Israel and establish them permanently there. This is a constant promise made through all the prophets (e.g., Amos 9:11-15). And Nathan should tell David that the Lord will make David a house rather than David making God a house.

Verses 12-17

Davidic Covenant, 2 Samuel 7:12-17 AND 1 Chronicles 17:11-15

At this point begins that part of God’s revelation to David through Nathan known as the Davidic Covenant. It contains the Messianic promises of Christ’s kingdom as descended from David. Like many of the prophecies of the Old Testament it contains things relative to that present time, fulfilled in Solomon, and others with a long-range fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Many times a prophecy begins with a person, such as Solomon in this case, then expands itself to deal with a greater, as in this case dealing with Christ. Prophecies of Christ are found relative to events in David’s life (as Psalms 22), or Zerubbabel (Haggai 2:21­-23). Two heathen kings are prophesied against, only to have the prophecy expanded to relate to the evil force behind them, Satan (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:12-19).

The application to Solomon is clearest in II Samuel, whereas the account of First Chronicles more evidently applies to the Messiah. Again this illustrates the purpose of the inspired scribe who compiled the Chronicles after the return from Babylonian exile to show the continuation of the Davidic line in the coming Messiah. There are three basic promises of the covenant which may involve Solomon as David’s successor: 1) the son of David will definitely succeed his father on the throne, and his throne and kingdom will be established; 2) he will build the house of the Lord which David is not to be allowed to build; 3) if he falls into error the Lord will chasten him with the stripes of men, but will not cut off his line as He did that of Saul.

At verse 16 (Samuel; 13, Chronicles) the words are more pointedly applied to the Messiah. Here the Lord promises that David’s throne and kingdom shall be established for ever; that Divine mercy will not be deprived from the Son of David. It is quite clear these things cannot be applied to Solomon, nor to his line, for Solomon’s line was cut off in Jeconiah (Jeremiah 22:28-30). Nathan faithfully conveyed these words of the Lord to David.

Verses 18-29

David’s Prayer of Submission, 2 Samuel 7:18-29 AND 1 Chronicles 17:16-27

David was very humbled by the covenant of the Lord concerning his house. It seems probable that he recognized the promise of the Messiah was to be realized in his issue.

In his going in and sitting before the Lord is an obvious reference to his going to the place where he had installed the ark to pray and thank the Lord for this revelation. He begins with a confession of his unworthiness, both as to himself and his house, or family.

But the Lord had promised to him great exaltation "according to the estate of a man of high degree." David could say nothing, more or less, for these promises were not like the promises of a man which might well be broken. They were the promises of the Lord, who knew David and advised him of the great things which would be done for him.

Next David extols the Lord for His greatness and His unity, according to everything that had been said of Him in David’s ears. -His blessing had made of Israel an unique nation. His promises concerning His nation were, as those He made to David, unsurpassed. His faithfulness to Israel had been demonstrated ever since they had become a nation, when He had brought them out of Egypt, and He now promises to establish them for ever.

The prayer of David turns now to supplication. He submits his will to that of the Lord, praying that the things promised may come to pass as He had said. He prays that the Lord’s name may be magnified by the establishment of David’s house for ever, not for David’s sake, but for the Lord’s.

This word from the Lord had provoked him to pray this prayer. He acknowledged the Lord as God and His words as good, but he knows the fickleness of man. Therefore he prays that the Lord will be pleased to continually bless the house of David, according to everything He has spoken, for ever.

Lessons to be noted: 1) Men should not plan their deeds for the Lord unmindful of His will; 2) no changes are to be made in God’s plan except what He makes; 3) God has made covenants with men through the ages whereby He reveals His plan for man to eternity; 4) the throne and kingdom of David’s Son, Jesus Christ, are everlasting; 5) when God’s will is made known to the believer he should humbly submit to it and thank the Lord for His blessing.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 7". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. 1985.