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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 7

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 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;

When the king sat in his house - not while he was musing at home, but after he had become established in the splendid mansion he had built. The date of the memorable transactions recorded in this chapter must he fixed at a period soon after the accession of David to the throne of all Israel. The narrative, as given both in this passage and in the Book of Chronicles, follows apparently, in the natural order of events, the conquest of Jerusalem, the building of his palace, and the removal of the ark to the metropolis of the kingdom. Nay, it is expressly said, 1 Chronicles 17:1, that immediately consequent on the completion of the palace, the king announced his purpose to erect a new and permanent sanctuary. To these considerations, which seem clearly to determine the early date of the temple-scheme, may be added a circumstance of a different kind, namely, that Solomon, the son and the destined successor of David, was not yet born.

It has been objected that David's purpose to erect the temple is here said to have originated when "the Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies." There is nothing said of this in the parallel passage of Chronicles (1 Chronicles 17:1); and we find him involved in contests with many of the neighbouring states (2 Sam

8), which were followed by foreign wars and intestine troubles during all his life. But the statement, that he had "rest round about from all his enemies," referred to an interval of peace which occurred shortly after his succession, on the discomfiture of the Philistines, with whom, according to Josephus, the Syrians and Phoenicians were combined in two successive campaigns (see the notes at 2 Samuel 5:17-25) - a defeat so complete that they ceased for a long time to invade the Hebrew territory. This interval of peace was remarkable; and David most probably fancied it to be the period referred to by Moses (Deuteronomy 12:10-11) for the erection of a national place of worship.

Verse 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.

See now, I dwell in an house of cedar. The palace which Hiram had sent men and materials to build in Jerusalem had been finished. It was magnificent for that ago, though made wholly of wood: houses in warm countries not being required to possess the solidity and thickness of walls which are requisite for dwellings in regions exposed to rain and cold. Cedar was a rare, valuable, and durable timber. The elegance and splendour of his own royal mansion, contrasted with the mean and temporary tabernacle in which the ark of God was placed, distressed the pious mind of David. To him it appeared that some other provision should now be made for the ordinances of the national religion than had hitherto existed. He felt that although a moveable sanctuary might have comported with the migratory life of the Hebrews in the desert, it was altogether unsuitable in their settled state of society; and he proposed to erect, not only a more permanent edifice, but one characterizied by all the external splendour and sumptuous style of decorations which wealth and art could supply.

Verse 3

And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee.

Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart. The piety of the design commended it to the prophet's mind, and he gave his hasty approval and encouragement to the royal plans. The prophets, when following the impulse of their own feelings, or forming conjectural opinions, fell into frequent mistakes (see the notes at 1 Samuel 16:6; 2 Kings 4:27).

Verse 4

And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying,

It came to pass that night, that the word of the Lord came unto Nathan. The command was given to the prophet on the night immediately following - i:e., before David could either take any measures, or incur any expenses.

Verse 5

Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?

Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? The interrogation here, according to the Hebrew idiom, expresses a strong negation, and is equivalent to, "Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in" (1 Chronicles 17:4: see similar instances, 2 Samuel 22:6-8; Genesis 4:9; Amos 5:25.

Verse 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.

I ... have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. 'Yahweh's walking' refers to His ark accompanying the migrations of the Israelites through the desert, no less than to its frequent removals in Canaan to Gigal, Shiloh, Nob, and Gibeon (cf. 1 Chronicles 17:5). [As to the difference between 'ohel (H168), tent, and mishkaan (H4908), tabernacle, the one describes the outer coverings of goats' hair, the other the framework, or proper dwelling. The Septuagint has (very incorrectly), en katalumati kai en skeenee, in a khan and a tent.]

Verse 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?

Spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, [ shibTeey (H7626), tribes; but in 1 Chronicles 17:6 the word is shopªTeey (H8199), judges],

Whom I commanded to feed my people Israel. [The difference may have arisen from the error of a copyist, who mistook a pe (p) for a beth (b); but it has been suggested that "tribes" is used here for 'sceptres' (cf. Genesis 49:10) = sceptre-bearers, rulers; or the tribes and the judge are viewed as one (Hengstenberg, 'Christology,' 1:, p 129).]

Verse 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:

So shalt thou say unto my servant David. Yahweh's designation of David by the honourable title of his servant, was to give him a gracious assurance that his pious intentions were appreciated. It was a kind and delicate form of address, with a view not to dishearten him or wound him feelings, by a stern or disdainful rejection of his proposal; and though it is not stated here, it is affirmed elsewhere (1 Kings 8:18) that a positive expression of approval was given him on this occasion.

Verse 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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 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,

Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel - i:e., according to my ancient promise, which has already been so far fulfilled by their being put in actual possession of Canaan. I will, through thy agency, establish their national tenure of that land, as well as their national privileges, in spite of all the assaults of their enemies.

Neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them anymore [ bªneey (H1121) `awlaah (H5766), wicked people] (cf. Psalms 89:22-24).

As beforetime - namely, Pharaoh in Egypt, and foreign conquerors in the troubled era of the judges. This promise or pledge of national security was of course suspended on the condition of their avoiding national rebellion and apostasy, and maintaining faithful allegiance to the law of God. The general purport of the communication was, that David's intention was approved of. But the time for carrying it into effect had not yet come. The humble tabernacle, with its curtained canopy, had been designed by Yahweh to educate His people-long familiar with the gorgeous temples and the sensuous religion of Egypt-in a simpler form of worship, and in more spiritual ideas of the Divine Being, ever present in it by His emblem. It must still be continued a while longer, until those important ends were attained. From the time of the judges until the death of Saul the government was uncertain and temporary; and when the kingdom, through David, should have become consolidated, there would be an abiding temple. There was another, and a personal reason, of a symbolical nature, disclosed in a subsequent communication made to David (see the notes at 1 Chronicles 22:8-9; 1 Chronicles 28:3), for delaying the proposed erection. Meanwhile, he might be assured of the presence as well as favour of Yahweh in the simple tent as in the magnificent temple.

Verse 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.

Also the Lord telleth thee that he will make thee an house. As a reward for his pious purpose, God would increase and maintain the family of David, and, instead of dooming him to the fate of Saul, secure the succession of the throne to his dynasty. There is here a paranomasia or play upon the word house. David had proposed to build a house for the glory of God; but God announces His purpose to 'make David an house.' By the erection of a magnificent temple, it was intended to establish a center of religious unity for the nation; but now it was made known that the presence and the oracles of God would be henceforth embodied, not in a national temple, but in the living line of David's dynasty. In other words, the promise now made, with the previous blessings it involved, would from this time be associated, not with a temple of stone, but with "the son of David." This announcement is celebrated in strains of the liveliest gratitude and joy (Psalms 21:1-5; Psalms 61:5-6; Psalms 138:2-8).

Verse 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.

I will set up thy seed after thee ..., [ zar`ªkaa (H2233)] - used collectively for the whole descendants. It is customary for the oldest son born after the father's succession to the throne to succeed him in his dignity as king. David had several sons by Bathsheba, born after his removal to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:14-16: cf. 1 Chronicles 3:5; 1 Chronicles 17:11). But by a special ordinance and promise of God, his successor was to be a son born after this time; and the departure from the established usage of the East, in fixing the succession, can be accounted for on no other known ground except the fulfillment of the divine promise (see the notes at 1 Kings 2:12).

Verse 13

He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.

He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. This declaration referred, in its primary application, to Solomon, and to the temporal kingdom of David's family. The first clause of the verse refers to the building of the temple. 'The general establishment of the royal house of David precedes the building of the temple; the eternal establishment, mentioned in the last clause of 2 Samuel 7:13, follows the, building of the temple, or is coincident with it (Hengstenberg).

Verse 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:

I will be his father, and he shall be my son - i:e., my procedure toward him will be kind, tender, and paternal (cf. Psalms 89:26).

If he commit iniquity, [ 'ªsher (H834) bears the sense of "he" in various passages: Exodus 9:21; Joshua 15:16; Judges 1:12; 1 Samuel 11:7-8.] It cannot mean, if the Messiah commit iniquity, but whosoever of David's natural posterity shall do so, as is plainly determined, Psalms 89:30-32; Psalms 132:12.

I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men - i:e., the trials, calamities, and sufferings to which sinful men are subject.

Verse 15

But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.

But my mercy shall not depart away from him ... - (cf. Psalms 89:33-34.)

Verse 16

And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.

Thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee ... The chain of Messianic promises which for ages had been broken, or transmitted obscurely under the forms of Mosaic ritual, was now renewed by the addition of a new and most important link, in the great promise made to David of perpetual succession in his family. This promise was understood by him (as it was also by Solomon) as including the exercise of universal dominion (cf. Psalms 2:1-12; Psalms 62:1-12); and although the theocracy soon reached its culminating point of conquest under David, as well as of peace and splendour under Solomon-although it was destined, with all the accompaniment of Mosaic polity and ceremonial institutions, at a remote era to be overthrown-although, in short, 'the sceptre did depart from Judah'-yet the promise was, in a larger and sublimer sense, fulfilled in David's son, of another nature (Hebrews 1:8). This is the oath which God aware by his holiness to David-the covenant which He made with him respecting the perpetuity of his royal seed and kingdom (Psalms 89:3-4; Psalms 89:35-36) - the word upon which He caused him to hope (Psalms 119:49), and which is afterward so much dwelt upon through the Psalms, and by the succeeding prophets.

This promise, like that made to Abraham, has a twofold aspect-one points to David's natural posterity and temporal kingdom, the other to the Messiah and the kingdom of heaven. It respected the former only as types and pledges of the latter. Some, indeed, restrict this promise entirely to the Messiah, and deny that it was applicable to David's natural descendants at all. The passages which seem to apply any part of it to these, refer, in their opinion, to another premise made unto David, which was of a temporal nature, and altogether distinct from this. But we have no account of any such premise in all the history. The truth is, this promise, like many others in the Old Testament, has a twofold sense-it takes in the type as well as the antitype; so that these who saw it accomplished in what respected David's temporal house, had a proof that the Lord spoke by the prophet Nathan, and consequently a pledge that He would also in due time fulfill the spiritual part of it also.

That it included David's descendants, who by ordinary generation were to succeed him on the throne of Israel, is evident from David's application of it to his son Solomon, in whom the temporal part of it had a partial accomplishment (1 Chronicles 22:6-11; 1 Chronicles 28:5-8). The Lord himself also applies it to Solomon, when He appeared in vision (2 Chronicles 8:7-18). It contains a threatening against such of David's children as should commit iniquity, which was verified on his royal posterity who succeeded him on the throne, whom the Lord punished for their transgressions, as the sacred history abundantly shows. It was to fulfill the temporal part of this promise that the Lord continued the house of David so long on the throne of Judah, notwithstanding all their frequent and aggravated rebellions against Him (1 Kings 11:36; 2 Kings 8:19; 2 Chronicles 21:7); sea it was repeatedly appealed to by the Jewish Church when the judgments inflicted upon David's temporal house and kingdom seemed to make it void. This promise as it represented David's natural seed was conditional, so that the Lord at length deprived them of the kingdom; but He did not by that deprivation violate or nullify the covenant with His servant; for this was of it what he threatened at the commencement of it to do in the event of their committing iniquity. (1 Chronicles 27:9).

But how, then, was the promise made good, that David's seed should sit on his throne for ever? The spiritual and eternal part of the promise pointed to the Messiah, who was to come of the seed of David according to the flesh, and to be raised up from the dead to sit for ever on His heavenly throne. The promise as it respected the Messiah was absolute, and in Him had its full accomplishment (cf. the last words of David, 2 Samuel 23:5; Acts 2:25-47 with Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 11:1-10; Isaiah 55:1-5; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Jeremiah 33:14-26; Ezekiel 34:23-24; Ezekiel 37:24-25; Daniel 2:44; Hosea 3:5; Luke 1:31-33; Luke 1:60-70: see Hegstenberg's 'Christology,' 1:, pp. 123-145; 'Edinburgh Evangelical Magazine,' May, 1803; Hardwick's 'Christ and other Masters,' 1:, p. 145).

Verse 17

According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 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?

Then went king David in, and sat before the Lord. Sitting was anciently an attitude for worship (Exodus 17:12; 1 Samuel 4:13; 1 Kings 19:4). As to the particular attitude, David sat most probably upon his heels. It was the posture of the ancient Egyptians before the shrines; it is the posture of deepest respect before a superior in the East. Persons of highest dignity sit thus when they do sit in the presence of kings; and it is the only sitting attitude assumed by the modern Mohammedans in their places and rites of devotion. In Pococke's Travels' is drawn the figure of a person half-sitting, half-kneeling, that is, kneeling so as to rest the muscular part of the body upon the heels. This, he informs us, is the attitude in which inferiors sit at this day before great men in the East; and it is regarded as a posture of proper humility. Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house? This prayer breathes throughout a spirit of joyful surprise and overflowing gratitude. The exordium shows that David's thoughts had been taking a rapid retrospective survey of his marvelous career, from his humble origin until his elevation to the throne-a career distinguished in every stage by signal tokens of the divine favour, the crowning expression of which was the promised prosperity of his royal line (Psalms 21:3: see Pye Smith's 'Scripture Testimony,' p. 117).

Verse 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?

Thou hast spoken also of thy servant's house for a great while to come, [ lªmeeraachowq (H7350)] - to time far distant.

And is this the manner of man, O Lord God?, [ wªzo't (H2063) towrat (H8452) haa'aadaam (H120)] - and this is the manner of man. This is the rendering of Gesenius, who further explains it, 'not of God' - i:e., to deal with me thus so familiarly, as man with man. The Hebrew Adam being sometimes used to denote mean persons, some render these words, 'Is this the manner of men to deal with obscure people? And so thou hast done to me, not as to the son of a humble shepherd, but of some, illustrious sovereign, entitled to such notice.' But others, comparing these words with 1 Chronicles 17:17, and conceiving there is a mystic import lying under them, regard them as pointing to the more than mortal character and dignity of the Messiah (see Barrett's 'Synopsis of Criticisms,' 2:, p. 545).

Verse 20

And what can David say more unto thee? for thou, Lord GOD, knowest thy servant.

What can David say more unto thee - i:e., my obligations are infinitely greater than I can express; and then, "thou, Lord, knowest thy servant," must refer to the deep, unspeakable feelings of his ravished heart. But by reference to the parallel passage (1 Chronicles 17:17), this is spoken rather as a prayer, intimating that David could neither ask nor desire anything greater than what had been now conferred; and therefore he would leave all his wants to be supplied by his gracious 'Lord, who knew his servant.'

Verse 21

For thy word's sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy For thy word's sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them.

For thy word's sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things - i:e., it was of thine own gratuitous liberality, not from personal merits of mine, that thou hast entertained these marvelous purposes of favour toward me; and still more, that thou hast disclosed them for my individual gratification, as well as my family aggrandizement (cf. 1 Chronicles 17:19).

Verse 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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 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?

What one nation ... is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem. The phraseology is used more humano; and the allusion is to the deliverance from Egyptian bondage. The rest of the sentence, which is confused and nearly unintelligible in our version, is translated by Kennicott as follows: 'And to make himself a name, and to do for them things great and terrible, to drive out from before thy people (whom thou redeemedst to thee out of Egypt) the nations and their gods. And thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel, to be a people unto thee for ever; for thou, Yahweh, hast been their God.'

Verses 24-26

For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee for ever: and thou, LORD, art become their God.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 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.

For thou, O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, [ gaaliytaah (H1540) 'et (H854) 'ozen (H241), hast uncovered the ear of thy servant] - i:e., enlightened his mind, by communicating through thy inspired prophet the knowledge of thy kind and gracious purposes.

Verse 28

And now, O Lord GOD, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant:

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 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.

Thou, O Lord God, hast spoken it - (cf. Isaiah 40:8; Isaiah 46:10; 1 Peter 1:25.)

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/2-samuel-7.html. 1871-8.
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