Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 7:2

that the king said to Nathan the prophet, "See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells within tent curtains."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ark;   Liberality;   Nathan;   Palace;   Temple;   Zeal, Religious;   Thompson Chain Reference - Cedar;   Curtains;   Leaders;   Nathan;   Prophets;   Religious;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Prophets;   Temple, the First;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Nathan;   Temple;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Nathan;   Prophecy, prophet;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - False Prophet;   Israel;   Mediator, Mediation;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Cedar;   David;   Nathan;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Beth;   Curtains;   Rabbah;   Temple;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Dwelling;   King, Kingship;   Samuel, Books of;   Temple of Jerusalem;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Covenant;   David;   Jerusalem;   Nathan;   Samuel, Books of;   Temple;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Nathan ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Temple;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Cedar;   David;   Nathan;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Na'than;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Curtain;   David;   Nathan (1);   Samuel, Books of;   Tent;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Ark of the Covenant;   David;   Jerusalem;   Temple of Solomon;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

I dwell in a house of cedar - That is, a house whose principal beams, ceiling, and wainscot, were cedar.

Dwelleth within curtains - Having no other residence but the tabernacle, which was a place covered with the skins of beasts, Exodus 26:14.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 7:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-7.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Nathan the prophet - Here first mentioned, but playing an important part afterward (e. g. 2 Samuel 12:1; 1 Kings 1:10; 1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29). From the two last passages it appears that he wrote the history of David‘s reign, and a part at least of Solomon‘s. His distinctive title is the prophet, that of Gad the seer (compare 1 Samuel 9:9). He was probably nuch younger than David. In 2 Samuel 7:3, he spoke his own private opinion; in 2 Samuel 7:4, this was corrected by the word of the Lord.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 7:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-samuel-7.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

That the king said unto Nathan the prophet,.... This is the first time this prophet is made mention of, but often afterwards, yet who he was, and from whence he came, is not known; he appears to be a man of great piety and prudence, as well as endowed with a prophetic spirit, and was very familiar with David, and perhaps dwelt in his palace; being a man on all accounts fit for conversation with princes, to whom David imparted what he had been meditating upon in his heart. The Jews have a traditionF20Hieron. Trad. Heb. in 2 Reg. fol. 79. M. & in lib. Paralipom. fol. 89. B. F. that he was the same with Jonathan the son of Shimea, the brother of David, 2 Samuel 21:21; which is not very likely:

see now, I dwell in an house of cedar; made of the cedars of Lebanon; see what a spacious palace it is:

but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains; in a tabernacle within curtains, as the Targum; not the tabernacle of Moses, for that was at Gibeon, 1 Chronicles 21:29; but that which David had made for it, which consisted of curtains that were drawn around it, 2 Samuel 6:17. It gave him a concern that he should dwell in so magnificent a palace, and the ark of God should have so mean an habitation; wherefore it was upon his mind to build a grand edifice for it, and this he suggested hereby to Nathan, and so he understood him, as appears by what follows; and the rather he was led to such a thought, being now at rest and in peace; for then it was an house was to be built for God, in which he would cause his name to dwell, as David might easily learn from Deuteronomy 12:9; and who so proper to set forward such a work as a king, and he when at rest from his enemies?

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 7:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-7.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within a curtains.

(a) Within the tabernacle covered with skins, (Exodus 26:7).
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 7:2". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-samuel-7.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

the king said unto Nathan the prophet, 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 age, 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 the rarest and most valuable timber. The elegance and splendor 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.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 7:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-samuel-7.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

Curtains — That is, in a tent or tabernacle, verse6, composed of several curtains.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 7:2". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-samuel-7.html. 1765.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

WHICH IS GRANDER? GOD’S HOUSE OR MINE?

‘I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.’

2 Samuel 7:2

I. The first lesson we should note is how well David employed his time of rest.—He was at peace just then, and all was well with him, yet his heart was full of the glory of the Lord. Erasmus, in one of his witty letters, tells a story about a storm he had been in. One of the passengers, when the ship was like to sink, was overheard praying to the Virgin very earnestly, and vowing to her any number of great candles if only she would bring him safe ashore. Some one upbraided him for such a vow, knowing well he had no money to fulfil it. But the man said, ‘Hush! If I once get ashore, catch me giving her a single candle.’ Now as this passenger acted towards the Virgin, so do a great many people act towards God. In times of peril or distress or illness they are ready to promise all kinds of strange obedience; but when the quiet days come, and when the sun is shining, and when they are free from pain and are at rest, how quickly they forget the eager promise and the vows they so passionately uttered in the storm! But David was a man after God’s own heart. He cried to Him when the sky was black as midnight. When the lion and the bear came up to rend his flock, when he stood against the champion Goliath, then he relied upon Jehovah’s help. But when all was at rest with him, he did not forget. When the peril was over, he walked with his Redeemer. And it is that stability, through storm and peace, that is the sure sign-manual of the saint.

II. Learn how God honours a good purpose.—God said to David, ‘It was good that it was in thine heart’ (1 Kings 8:18). Not for David was the building of the Temple—never by his hands was it to be reared—yet the fact that he had dwelt on such a scheme was very pleasing in the eyes of heaven. So God refuses David’s offer to build Him a house, but He wraps up His refusal in such a burst of grace and glory and revelation that David forgets to be disappointed, and can only marvel at the greatness and goodness of God. It was not that God was displeased with David’s desire to build Him a house; indeed, He said, ‘Thou didst well that it was in thine heart.’

III. The last lesson is how God tempers and illuminates His disappointments.—This was a very sore disappointment to King David, yet what a chapter of glorious promises conveys it! God shows him how he had watched him in the past. God tells the honour and glory of the future. He opens the eyes of David to the wings of love that are arched over the whole of his career. He says to him, ‘To-day I disappoint you; but do not think of to-day all by itself. Lay it against the background of a love that never failed you yet, and never will.’ But God had another plan for His loved servant; and when David saw it, it was so much better than his own plan that he cried out in an ecstasy: ‘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.’

Illustrations

(1) ‘I knew a girl who made the early resolve that she would give her life to foreign missions. But as she grew to womanhood her health gave way, and she knew that never could she build her temple. Yet that early purpose so impressed her character, and so filled her with loving interest in Christ’s kingdom; it made her such a blessing to her friends, and touched so many with missionary zeal: that she has heard God saying not once, but fifty times, “It was good that it was in thy heart.”’

(2) ‘When Æneas, in the tale of Virgil, flies from Troy, he makes his father, Anchises, carry the sacred things. Fresh from carnage as Æneas was, he felt it would be impiety to touch them. And a similar feeling broods upon this story, and keeps David from his cherished purpose, as if the hands which were imbrued in slaughter, must not erect the house of heavenly mercy.’ (See 1 Chronicles 22:8.)

(3) ‘Note the gentleness and considerateness of God’s dealings with His people. David seems surprised, almost overwhelmed, by the graciousness of the message which he received. His disappointment was so sweetly tempered by recallings of past mercies, and assurances of continual favour. Illustrate from the expressions used in Psalms 18:25-27. If we can plainly see that God’s ways with us are gracious at one time, we can trust that they are gracious at another time, when they may seem strange to us. “He doeth all things well.”’

(4) ‘How good it is to sit before the Lord—not exactly praying or asking, but communing—speaking as a man with his friend. We can but say, Do as Thou hast said, and may solace ourselves on the absolute certainty that every word will be fulfilled.’

(5) ‘Here we meet him in a new light. He is devout as well as daring. He has his hour and his place for prayer as well as for statesmanship. If David and Daniel, men of business, were also men of prayer, surely we have no excuse for neglecting this privilege. He who makes a business of prayer will be pretty sure to make a prayer of business. We need learn the lesson with which our study opens. The busiest man in all that land was the man who “went in and sat before the Lord.”

For we, brought forth and reared in hours

Of change, alarm, surprise,

What shelter to grow ripe is ours,

What leisure to grow wise?’

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 7:2". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/2-samuel-7.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 7:2 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.

Ver. 2. That the king said unto Nathan the prophet.] This he said out of that ardent devotion and zeal kindled and increased in him by his late religious joy at the removal of the ark; by the presence whereof he tasted more and more how good the Lord was: and thereupon consulted with himself and Nathan about a fit retribution: saying in effect as Psalms 116:12. The building of a temple non tantum voluit, sed et vovit, he both designed and vowed, [Psalms 132:2] but herein he failed, that he would run before the Lord’s commandment. So hard it is to hold the golden mean, and not to mingle some sin with our best actions.

See now, I dwell in an house of cedar.] Ahab dwelt in a palace of ivory, and yet had no thoughts of heart for God and his service. The thoughts of the wicked are little worth. [Proverbs 10:20]

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 7:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-7.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

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.

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

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

i.e. In a tent or tabernacle, 1 Samuel 7:6 composed of several curtains, Exodus 26:1, &c.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 7:2". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-7.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

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.

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

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Nathan. An admirable courier, (Grotius) and a great saint, Ecclesiasticus xlvii. He was neither too rough, nor too complaisant. --- Cedar. This was the most esteemed species of wood. The palace of the Persian kings, at Ecbatana, was chiefly built of it, and of cypress wood. (Polybius x.) --- Houses were not there built in such a solid manner, as they are in colder climates. They consisted mostly of wood. --- Skins. The outer veils of the tabernacle were made of skins, as others generally were. (Calmet) --- Hebrew and Chaldean, "of curtains."

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 7:2". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-7.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Nathan. The first occurrence of his name. Compare 1 Chronicles 29:29. An important figure in David"s reign, and associated with his son Solomon (verses: 2 Samuel 7:12, 2 Samuel 7:13; 2 Samuel 12:25. 1 Kings 1:10-45).

See now. Figure of speech Asterismos. App-6.

of. Genitive of Material. App-17,

God. Hebrew. Elohim. App-4.

curtains. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Cause) for the tent formed by them. Compare 2 Samuel 6:17.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 7:2". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-samuel-7.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

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

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(2) Nathan.—This is the first mention of him, but he was already a confidential counsellor of the king, and became prominent later in this reign and in the opening of that of Solomon (2 Samuel 12; 1 Kings 1:10; 1 Kings 1:12; 1 Kings 1:34; 1 Kings 1:38). Nathan “the prophet” and Gad “the seer” wrote parts of the history of this and the succeeding reign (1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29).

Within curtains.—This is the word used in Exodus 26 and 36 for the covering of the tabernacle. The ark was not now within that, but in a similar temporary structure. David’s heart is moved by a comparison of his own royal residence with the inferior provision for the ark. Compare the opposite state of things among the returned exiles in Haggai 1:10.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 7:2". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-7.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
Nathan
12:1; 1 Chronicles 29:29
I dwell
5:11; 1 Chronicles 14:1; Jeremiah 22:13-15; Haggai 1:4
the ark
Psalms 132:5; John 2:17; Acts 7:46
curtains
6:17; Exodus 26:1-14; 40:21; 1 Chronicles 16:1; 2 Chronicles 1:4
Reciprocal: Exodus 26:2 - curtain;  Exodus 35:17 - The hangings;  1 Samuel 1:9 - General2 Samuel 11:11 - The ark;  2 Samuel 15:25 - habitation;  2 Samuel 16:11 - came forth;  1 Kings 1:8 - Nathan;  1 Kings 1:26 - General1 Kings 4:5 - son of Nathan;  1 Kings 8:17 - General1 Chronicles 3:5 - Nathan;  1 Chronicles 13:2 - and that it be;  1 Chronicles 17:1 - as David;  1 Chronicles 22:7 - it was in;  1 Chronicles 28:2 - I had in mine heart;  2 Chronicles 6:7 - General2 Chronicles 29:25 - Nathan;  Psalm 30:1 - at the;  Jeremiah 22:14 - ceiled with cedar;  Hosea 12:9 - yet;  Zechariah 12:12 - Nathan

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 7:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-7.html.