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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

2 Samuel 7

Verse 1

DAVID’S PURPOSE TO BUILD THE TEMPLE, AND NATHAN’S MESSAGE FROM GOD CONCERNING IT, 2 Samuel 7:1-17.

1. Sat in his house Became established in his royal palace on Zion.

Had given him rest It was a time of national peace and quiet, not, however, after all David’s wars.

Verse 2

2. I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark… within curtains A compunctious thought and feeling. He had housed himself right royally, while the sacred symbol of Jehovah’s presence had been quite neglected.

Within curtains Literally, in the midst of the curtain, (1 Chronicles 17:1,) under curtains, that is, tent-coverings, woven of goat’s hair. Exodus 26:7. On the tent in which the ark then abode, see note on

2 Samuel 6:17.

Verse 3

3. Nathan said The prophet gave this counsel from the apparent propriety and laudableness of David’s purpose, and not by divine revelation. Accordingly he was called upon that night to counsel the king differently. Here we learn that the prophets were not always under inspiration.

Verse 5

5. Shalt thou build me a house Is not such a purpose on thy part presumption? Nay, rather, I will make thee a house. Compare 2 Samuel 7:11. The question implies a negative answer, and in 1 Chronicles 17:4, we have, “Thou shalt not build me a house.”

Verse 7

7. With any of the tribes In the persons of their representatives, the elders. In Chronicles the reading is judges of Israel. Hitherto there had been no command to build such a house as David proposed. According to Josephus ( Ant., 2 Samuel 7:4 ; 2 Samuel 7:4) Moses had foretold the building of such a temple but no such prediction appears in his writings.

Verse 10

10. I will appoint All the versions have, with strange unanimity, translated שׂמתי , I have appointed, as if it were in the future tense. All difficulty is removed and the sense made plain when it is properly translated as the preterit: I have appointed a place, etc., namely, the land of Canaan.

Will plant Rather, have planted.

As beforetime When in the bondage of Egypt.

Verse 11

11. And as since During the time of the Judges, as well as in Egypt, had Israel suffered much from heathen foes.

The Lord… will make thee a house An allusion to the question of 2 Samuel 7:5. Thou shalt not build a house for me, but I will make a house for thee in thy posterity. “This thought is not merely a play upon words entirely in the spirit of prophecy, but contains the deep general truth that God must first of all build a man’s house before the man can build God’s house, and has reference especially to the kingdom of God in Israel.” Keil.

Verse 12

12. I will set up thy seed after thee Here is the germ of those Davidic prophecies of Messiah which come out in greater boldness and precision in some of his psalms. Psalms 2, 110. Thy seed refers primarily to Solomon and his successors, but it reaches on in its prophetic significance, and includes that Greater Son in whom alone the kingdom finds its eternal perpetuity.

Verse 13

13. He shall build a house Here, again, the subject is primarily Solomon, for so Solomon himself explained it. 1 Kings 5:5; but the for ever with which the verse ends points unmistakably to a greater than Solomon. The house which Solomon built continued till the time of the Babylonish exile, when it was burned by Nebuchadnezzar, (2 Kings 25:8;) but it was rebuilt at the close of the exile, (Ezra 6:15,) and of it then the prophet Haggai said, (Haggai 2:9:) “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former;” for this second temple was the connecting link between the Jews of Haggai’s time and the Messiah, who said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” He spake of the temple of his body, (John 2:19,) and by the resurrection from the dead he became, in his own sacred person, the foundation of a far more glorious building a spiritual house, built up of living stones, for a habitation of God through the Spirit. Eph 2:22 ; 1 Peter 2:5.

Verse 14

14. I will be his father, and he… my son Referred (Hebrews 1:5) immediately to Christ. This was true of Solomon, whom God made greater than all the other kings of Israel and of the earth; but it was true in a deeper sense of Him on whom at Jordan the opened heavens shone, and of whom the Father said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

If he commit iniquity This is supposed only of Solomon and others of the royal seed who should succeed David on the throne. Clarke regards העות as in the Niphal, and translates, “Even in his sufferings for iniquity I will chasten him,” etc., thus making this verse a prophecy of the suffering Saviour. But the Hebrew verb is in the Hiphil form, and in every other passage where it occurs in this form means to commit iniquity or act perversely. This whole prophecy, as far as it refers to the promised seed, was fulfilled primarily in Solomon, and that is, therefore, a strained interpretation which tries to apply it all pre-eminently to Christ.

The rod of men That rod and those stripes of chastisement which scourge other men when they sin. The king’s son is not to be exempted from the punishments common to all men who act perversely. In this matter God is no respecter of persons. Accordingly, when Solomon forsook the law of the Lord, he was threatened with bitter and humiliating judgments. 1 Kings 11:9-40.

Verse 15

15. But my mercy shall not depart Even though the royal seed commit iniquity, yet for David and Jerusalem’s sake the prophecy and promise of this Scripture shall not fail. “The family of Saul became totally extinct. The family of David remained till the incarnation. Joseph and Mary were both of that family; Jesus was the only heir to the kingdom of Israel, But he did not choose to sit on the secular throne, he ascended the spiritual throne, and now he is exalted to the right hand of God, a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins.” Clarke.

Verse 16

16. For ever… for ever of all the words of promise that fell on David’s ears these were the most charming. They find repeated utterance in his prayer, ( 2Sa 7:19 ; 2 Samuel 7:25; 2 Samuel 7:29,) often in the Psalms, (Psalms 18:50; Psalms 89:29,) and even echo in the angel’s words of salutation to the mother of our Lord. Luke 1:32-33. By them we see that this message of Nathan to David was largely a Messianic prophecy.

Verse 18

DAVID’S PRAYER, 2 Samuel 7:18-29.

18. Sat before the Lord In the sanctuary on Zion before the ark of the covenant. ישׁב , sat, cannot be pressed to show the posture of David while he prayed, for the word may also be rendered waited, or tarried.

Brought me hitherto From a humble shepherd boy to be ruler of all Israel. 2 Samuel 7:8.

Verse 19

19. For a great while to come Reference to the for ever of 2 Samuel 7:13; 2 Samuel 7:16.

Is this the manner of man Rather, This is the law of man. This gracious condescension of God in bestowing these promised blessings upon his servant David and his house is a sublime illustration of that law of love which should ever govern man that law which says, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Leviticus 19:18. As God dealt with David in his infinite grace, let man do unto his neighbour according to the ability which he may have. “When God the Lord,” says Hengstenberg, “in his treatment of poor mortals, follows the rule which he has laid down for the conduct of men one towards another when he shows himself kind and affectionate this must fill with adoring amazement those who know themselves and God.”

Verse 21

21. For thy word’s sake The word is the promise of the perpetuity of the throne of David, which was magnified before all Israel, and in later times referred to as the “sure mercies of David.” The Divine purpose to exalt the throne of David involved, also, the purpose of magnifying the word of prophecy.

Verse 23

23. To do for you great things For you refers to Israel. In the rapt earnestness and enthusiasm of his prayer, David seems in heart to have all Israel before him, and addresses them unconsciously as with an orator’s directness.

Thy land God’s land, the land of Canaan, because it was the land of divine promise.

This prayer of David is a model for all who approach the spiritual mercy-seat. It embodies confession, adoration, and supplication. David confesses his own unworthiness of blessings already received, (18,) adores Jehovah for personal favours, (19-21,) and also for the amazing displays of mercy and love for his chosen people, (22-24,) and lastly, with devout supplication, prays for the fulfilment of the Divine promise, (25-29.) Let the reader here observe that though the Divine promise to David and his seed was unconditional, and sure as the pledge of God could make it, (2 Samuel 7:15-16,) the pious monarch still prays for its fulfilment. Compare Ezekiel 36:36-37.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 7". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/2-samuel-7.html. 1874-1909.