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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible
2 Samuel 7

 

 

Verses 1-29

The Lord having given grace to David to subdue the nations surrounding Israel, it is understandable that David's thoughts turned to a serious consideration of what is due the God of Israel. Why should David enjoy a house of cedar while the ark of God was housed in a tent (v.2)? This is a case similar to the previous chapter, where David's godliness deceived him. Of course his godliness was commendable, but it is not to be depended on for guidance. A godly man, out of genuine desire for the glory of God, may do the wrong thing, just because he has not first sought God's direction. We must be constantly reminded that God's Word alone can be trusted. David had forgotten this in the way in which he first sought to bring up the ark to Jerusalem: now he forgets it in reference to having a permanent building prepared for the ark.

Nathan was no more careful than David in this matter, however. He told David to do all that was in his heart because the Lord was with him (v.3). Nathan too was depending too much on David's reputation for godliness. In general it was true that the Lord was with David. But Nathan ought to have advised him to seek God's special guidance for a matter so special as the building of a temple. Indeed, we needed this not only for large matters, but for those smaller too!

That night God spoke decisively to Nathan to tell him to completely change his message to David. He must tell David, "Would you built a house for Me to dwell in?" (v.5) Then He reminds him that ever since God brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt a tabernacle had been His dwelling (v.6). God had been virtually a Sojourner on earth. Did He not also expect His people to realize that earth is no lasting place of rest? Had He ever suggested to any one of all the leaders of Israel that they should build Him a permanent house (v.7)? If God had expressed Himself in this way, then certainly David would have been right to do it. But he had no word from God on which to act.

As to David personally, God has to remind him that it had been God's own work to bring David from his lowly shepherd employment and make him ruler over His people Israel (v.8). David had no initiative in this whatever. More than this, God had been with him through all this. God had cut off his enemies and had given David a great name to compete with any other great men of the earth. Let David learn in all this that it is God's sovereign will alone that is to be trusted.

"Moreover," God adds, "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; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them any more" (v.10). Here is a promise of remarkable blessing for Israel such as they have never seen to this day, and yet which will be fulfilled in absolute perfection in God's time.

When David wanted to do something for the Lord, he had to be reminded that God Himself had done things for him and for Israel and would do great things for them in the future. "Also," He says to David, "the Lord tells you that He will make you a house" (v.11). Although David personally was not worthy of this, as he admits in 2 Samuel 23:5, yet this promise of the Lord is absolute. The reason for it is that God chose David to be a type of Christ, and to be the king from whose line Christ would come, according to the flesh (Romans 1:3). thus, the virgin Mary and her husband Joseph were of the house of David (Luke 1:27) and Mary was told that the Lord God would give to her child Jesus the throne of His father David (Luke 1:32).

Verse 12 then shows that after David's death God would set up David's seed who would come from his body, and would establish his kingdom. This speaks directly of Solomon, David's son who reigned after him in greater splendor than any other ruler. But this was simply as another type of the Lord Jesus, not as a sufferer, but as He will be in His future exaltation in millennial glory.

Solomon would also build a house for God's name (v.13). God had decreed this. David was not to be permitted to build the house because he was a man of war and had shed much blood (1 Chronicles 22:8). In this way he had been a type of Christ in subduing all His enemies. The building of the house must not be connected with war and bloodshed, but with peace established after conquest, a character in which Solomon was a type of the Lord Jesus.

"And I will establish the throne of His kingdom forever." Of course this did not refer to Solomon personally, but only as a type of Christ. for Solomon's kingdom was torn in two almost immediately after his death, and to this day there has been no recovery from the resulting ruin. But our verse speaks of the future kingdom of the Lord Jesus, which will stand forever.

"I will be His Father and He shall be My son." This is quoted in Hebrews 1:5 as referring to the Lord Jesus, which is of course the most important matter. In a secondary way it was true of Solomon, but not in the vital, eternal way that it is true of Christ. "If he commits iniquity, I will chastise him with the rod of men, and with the blows of the sons of men." This cannot refer to the Lord Jesus as it does to Solomon, who did commit iniquity in having many wives and even worshiping their idols (2 Kings 11:8). He suffered for this under the governing hand of God (1 Kings 11:11-14).

In spite of Solomon's grievous failure, God's mercy did not depart from him as it did from Saul, whose kingdom abruptly ended with his death (v.15). Solomon's kingdom continued through his descendants, and Matthew 1:6-7 shows him in the lineage of the Messiah, though this was only officially, not actually, for Joseph was not the actual father of the Lord Jesus, but only officially so, as Matthew 1:16 says, "Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ."

In this way David's house and David's throne should be established forever (v 16). How great an honor this was for David! No other line of all mankind could have this signal dignity. But it was dependent altogether upon the grace and counsels of God, not on David's faithfulness or work.

When Nathan had given this message of God to David, David was deeply subdued and went in to sit before the Lord (v.18). His sitting would imply that he had no work to do, but he is rather calmly considering the work of God. He becomes a worshiper rather than a doer. First, he takes his own place of being fully unworthy of all that God has done for him and of all that He would yet do. "Who am I, 0 Lord God? and what is my house, that You have brought me this far?" Why had David been chosen to be taken from the lowly work of sheep herding, to come through experiences that are most unusual and to be exalted to the place of ruling a nation whom God had chosen as His own people? It was certainly only right that he should remain little in his own sight.

Yet he realizes (v.19) that this was comparatively only a small thing in God's sight, for God had spoken of His purposes as to David's house "for a great while to come" -- far beyond all the days of David's life, reaching to a "manner of man" whom David realizes to be far greater than he. This King -- God's choice of Messiah for Israel -- would be of David's house, yet infinitely greater than David. Indeed, as the Lord Jesus pointed out to the Pharisees, David in writing of the Messiah, called Him "Lord" (Matthew 22:41-45), quoting from Psalms 110:1. Though He is David's son, yet He is David's Lord.

After hearing such great things from God, David (in verse 20) shows himself to be at a loss for words by which to respond to the Lord, yet takes comfort in the fact that God knew His servant well. He sees too (v.21) that God was not doing all these things merely for David's blessing, but for His word's sake and according to His own heart. The glory of God is the highest consideration in this matter God's Word is to be absolutely fulfilled in accordance with the counsels of His own heart. Of course, when the name of God is supremely honored, there will be marvelous blessing for His creatures too. But His glory is first. David also deeply appreciates the fact that God has kindly acquainted His servant with His wonderful counsels of grace.

Since God has spoken to David concerning his house "for a great while to come" (v.19) and has "done all these great things" (v.21), David's fitting response is, "Therefore Thou art great, 0 Lord God" (v.22). He gives God personally the place of supreme greatness, none being like Him or none even in a little lesser place beside Him. Absolute, solitary dignity and grandeur are His.

Yet this great God has seen fit to bless one nation in an outstanding way. No other nation was like Israel whom God had taken the great pains to redeem from the bondage of Egypt in order to make them His own people (v.23). By this unusual work He had accomplished a name of high honor for Himself as well as doing great and awesome deeds for the sake of His land, in the sight of His people whom He had redeemed out of Egypt -- in fact from the nations and their gods. He had clearly separated Israel from all the nations and from their widespread idolatry.

In all this work of God He had made Israel His very own people forever. In spite of centuries of failure and disobedience on their part since that time, this purpose of God has not failed. They will be restored to greater blessing that they have ever known in the past, and will rejoice with unspeakable joy in the knowledge that the Lord is their God.

In verse 25 David shows the faith that receives and submits to the Word of God with the expressed desire that it should be accomplished simply as God had said, both concerning David himself and concerning his house. In comparison to God's Word, all David's wisdom and energy becomes nothing.

More than this, and consistent with it, he adds, "So let Thy name be magnified forever", saying, "The Lord of hosts is the God over Israel" (v.26). What God has revealed is that which rightly magnifies the glory of His name, and as "Jehovah of hosts". He is the God over Israel. Though Israel may seem small compared to the great population of other nations, their God is "the Lord of hosts." Then, in connection with the honor due God's name, he again asks that the house of God's servant should be established before the Lord.

It is evident (v.27) that David takes deeply to heart the significance of the two expressions, "the Lord of hosts" and "God of Israel." Both designations are full of meaning to him in reference to the revelation God has given him that He would build a house for David. For this reason, as he says, it was laid upon his heart to pray as he did.

In verse 28 he uses another expression, which he uses six times (see J.N.D.'s translation) in this prayer, "Lord Jehovah." As Lord He is in absolute authority; as Jehovah He is seen in covenant relationship with Israel, showing great goodness to them. All these expressions are necessary in different connections, to give some adequate knowledge of our great God. He is not only great, but full of grace and truth, and David finds delight in affirming that God's words are true in promising such great goodness His servant.

Therefore, in glad confidence he asks for the fulfillment of what God had promised, in blessing the house of David forever (v.29). This can only be because the Messiah of Israel would be of the house of David. David can do nothing but give his thankful "Amen" to the clearly declared Word of God.

While David had desired to build a house for God, God made it clear that a mere material building was nothing in comparison to what God had planned. The house of David refers to people redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, a house in which God's name would receive the highest honor through "a manner of man" infinitely greater than David, but the Son of David. God would build this house, requiring much more time than the building of a material temple. We know today too that while the house of David will be great in the millennial earth, God's house today, the Church, is more wonderful in many respects than the house of David on earth will be.

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 7:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/2-samuel-7.html. 1897-1910.

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Tuesday, May 21st, 2019
the Fifth Week after Easter
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