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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Samuel 7

Verse 1

2 Samuel 7:1. When the king sat in his house Dwelt in his house. Houb. i.e. enjoyed himself in peace and repose in the house which Hiram had built for him. Dr. Delaney supposes, it was during this peace that he composed the 92nd Psalm.

Verse 2

2 Samuel 7:2. Nathan the prophet Nathan was both polite and prudent, and knew how to temper the severity of wisdom with the sweetness of good manners. Grotius compares him to Manlius Lepidus, who is celebrated by Tacitus, "for diverting the emperor Tiberius from such cruel purposes, as the vile flattery of others was apt to instigate him to." He compares him likewise to Piso, the chief priest of the Romans, who is described by the same historian as one who was never guilty of the least degree of servile adulation, but upon all occasions truly master of his tempter. It must be confessed, however, that Nathan went beyond these two celebrated personages; he knew how to reprove princes with authority, and yet without offence, without losing the least degree of interest or influence, or affection from his sovereign: on the contrary, he increased in both so much, that, as tradition tells us, David named one son after him, and committed another, even his favourite and successor, to his tuition and instruction.

Verse 3

2 Samuel 7:3. Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart Nathan answered as a prudent man, not as a prophet; for the prophets did not know all events, but such only as God thought fit to reveal to them. Nathan, however, had great reason for what he said; for he knew the regard which the Lord had shewn to David, and thence might well conclude, that he would approve this pious design; besides, as David was himself a prophet, Nathan might well presume that this intention was suggested to him from God.

REFLECTIONS.—David is now at rest from all his enemies, enjoying in peace that kingdom which he so well deserved: yet is not his comfort complete while the ark of God dwells under curtains. Therefore,

1. He purposes to build a house meet for its reception. He could not look upon his own house of cedar without a secret reproach. He resolves, therefore, to improve the calm that he enjoyed in so grateful a service to the God who had done such great things for him. Note; A gracious soul is ever seeking to testify its gratitude, and happy to be employed for the glory of God.

2. David consults with Nathan the prophet about the matter: and as the piety of the design was evident, Nathan hesitates not to encourage him to proceed in the good purposes which were in his heart; but as they consulted not God in the matter, his will appeared different, though the good intention was accepted. Note; (1.) We ought to strengthen their hands, who have it at heart to build up the church of Christ. (2.) If the Lord be with us, then the desire of our heart will be to please him.

Verse 5

2 Samuel 7:5. Shalt thou build me an house, &c.— The interrogation here has the force of a negative. The meaning is, Thou shalt not build me, &c. See Psalms 132:3; Psalms 132:18.

Verse 7

2 Samuel 7:7. Spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel The Judges of Israel. [שׁפטי] Houbigant. Hallet in his notes, vol. 2: p. 25 makes the same remark.

Verses 10-11

2 Samuel 7:10-10.7.11. I will appoint—and will plant I have appointed—and have planted] Houbigant.

And move no more Neither may the sons of iniquity afflict them any more, as they have done before time; and even from the time when I placed judges over my people Israel, 2 Samuel 7:11. I also have given thee rest from all thine enemies, &c. Houbigant.

An house A family. Hamm. in Psalms 113:9. See 2 Samuel 7:27.

Verses 13-16

2 Samuel 7:13-10.7.16. I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever We have often had occasion to remark, in the course of these notes, that the phrase for ever and those similar to it, frequently signify in the Old Testament only a considerable length of time. There can be no doubt that these words, in their primary sense, refer to Solomon and his kingdom. But as David was heir of that two-fold government, concerning which we have spoken at large on the book of Genesis; (see particularly chap. 9 and ch. 12) there can be no doubt that, in their secondary and complete sense, they refer to that Son of David, of whom Solomon the Jedidiah, or, beloved of the Lord, was a type. See Joh 12:34 and Hebrews 1:5. In these double prophesies, we are carefully to distinguish what concerns the type, and what the anti-type.

Verse 18

2 Samuel 7:18. And sat before the Lord Dr. Pococke, in his first volume, p. 213, has given us the figure of a person half sitting, and half kneeling; that is, kneeling so far as to rest the most muscular part of his body on his heels: which, he observes, is the manner in which inferior persons sit at this day before great men, and that it is considered as a very humble posture. Agreeably to which he informs us, in his second volume, p. 102, that the attendants of the English consul, when he waited on the Caiah of the Pasha of Tripoli, sat in this manner resting behind on their hams. In this manner, I suppose, it was that David sat before the Lord, when he went into the sanctuary to bless him for his promise concerning his family. Abarbanel, and some Christian expositors, seem perplexed about the word sitting before the Lord; but sitting after this manner was expressive of the greatest humiliation, and therefore no improper posture for one who appeared before the ark of God. Observations, p. 263.

Verse 19

2 Samuel 7:19. And is this the manner of man, O Lord God? See 1Ch 17:17 where we read, And thou hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree. David is full of pious wonder, that God should be willing to shew his kindness to him even dead, as is the manner of men, who establish by will their benevolence towards their relations, desiring it to be derived to their sons, and to be perpetual. He renders the passage, For thou providest for the house of thy servant for a long while to come, as is the manner of the sons of men. Various other interpretations are given of the passage; and it is thought by several commentators, that David here refers to God's goodness, not only extended to his immediate posterity, but to the descent of the Messiah from him, who should sit upon his throne for ever.

Verse 23

2 Samuel 7:23. To do for you Instead of for you, the LXX, Vulgate, and Arabic read, for them, which is certainly right. See Houbigant, Hallet, &c. By referring to 1Ch 17:21 the embarrassment of this verse may be removed, and the whole rendered thus: For what one nation upon earth is there like thy people Israel, whom God went to redeem to be his own people, that he might make to himself a name; might do in their favour great and terrible things, and might drive the nations, and their gods, before his people, whom he delivered from Egypt.

REFLECTIONS.—Overcome with Nathan's gracious message from the Lord, though his purposes were prevented, the great and precious promises declared to him by the prophet, awaken the liveliest returns of thankfulness. He immediately repairs to the tabernacle, and there pours forth his prayers and praises before his Covenant-God.

1. Abased in the dust, he confesses his own vileness and unworthiness of these distinguished favours; speaking with deep humility of himself, though so distinguished in gifts and graces. Note; They whom God honours, will have the lowliest opinion of themselves.

2. He acknowledges with thankfulness and admiration what God had done for him. It was to him alone that he was indebted for all that advancement at which he was arrived, and God had now added the promise of many days to come. He is overwhelmed with such goodness! Yet thus has God done, exceeding even his utmost wishes, and leaving David nothing more to ask. Note; (1.) God bestows on his people not only more than they deserve, but more than they can desire. (2.) Men are niggards of their gifts, especially to those who have offended them: but God blesses them that were his enemies; first reconciles them to himself, then covers them with mercies and loving-kindness, and more than all, gives them still greater blessings in promise, even than those they at present enjoy. (3.) God's covenant of grace contains all that a sinner needs: when we plead that before God, and lay hold by faith on Jesus, in whom alone this covenant standeth fast, then all things are ours.

3. He ascribes the whole to God's unmerited and boundless grace; who, for his word's sake, according to his promise by Samuel, or for the sake of his incarnate Son, the Word made flesh, thus graciously respected him, and had also made him know these mercies yet in store, Note; To know and be assured of our interest in the blessings of the New Covenant, is an unspeakable mercy.

4. He extols the glorious God whose mercy was so great towards him. There is none like unto him, no God beside him; none that can do as he doth, in works of power and grace towards his people.
5. The people of God, from their relation to him, appear also great and distinguished in his eyes. God, or, as the original is, Gods went to redeem them, not Moses and Aaron, (though they as magistrates may be called Elohim,) but the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; to save them from the nations, and their gods, to be a peculiar people to Jehovah, their Covenant-God. Note; More glorious is our spiritual redemption from idolatrous affections and servitude to sin, more peculiar our consecration to him through the blood of Jesus, than theirs by the blood of bulls and goats.

6. He concludes with his humble supplications for the fulfilment of the promises wherein God had caused him to put his trust. Since it had pleased him to reveal his great goodness to his servant, David can ask nothing greater, nothing better. Let the word be established; and this he confidently expects from the truth and faithfulness of God, and is thence encouraged in his heart to pray, because God has promised. Let God therefore be magnified, his great and glorious name be exalted in mercy, and, according as he hath said, Let David's house be built and blessed, and his throne continue for ever. Note; (1.) We may boldly ask, when we have God's promises to encourage us. (2) Let us not stagger at the greatness of the promise, but pray in faith, nothing doubting. (3.) Whenever we find in our heart to pray, God will not fail to hear and answer us. (4.) It is the constant desire of the faithful soul, that God may be glorified; and as this is especially the case when the kingdom of his dear Son is enlarged, therefore he prays, thy kingdom come. (5.) All repetition of our prayers is not vain repetition, but rather is often the liveliest expression of faith and importunity.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 7". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/2-samuel-7.html. 1801-1803.