The Lord Establishes a Covenant with David
1 The king settled into his palace, for the Lord gave him relief from all his enemies on all sides. 2 The king said to Nathan the prophet, “Look! I am living in a palace made from cedar, while the ark of God sits in the middle of a tent.” 3 Nathan replied to the king, “You should go and do whatever you have in mind, for the Lord is with you.” 4 That night the Lord told Nathan, 5 “Go, tell my servant David: ‘This is what the Lord says: Do you really intend to build a house for me to live in? 6 I have not lived in a house from the time I brought the Israelites up from Egypt to the present day. Instead, I was traveling with them and living in a tent. 7 Wherever I moved among all the Israelites, I did not say to any of the leaders whom I appointed to care for my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house made from cedar?”’
8 “So now, say this to my servant David: ‘This is what the Lord of hosts says: I took you from the pasture and from your work as a shepherd to make you leader of my people Israel. 9 I was with you wherever you went, and I defeated all your enemies before you. Now I will make you as famous as the great men of the earth. 10 I will establish a place for my people Israel and settle them there; they will live there and not be disturbed any more. Violent men will not oppress them again, as they did in the beginning 11 and during the time when I appointed judges to lead my people Israel. Instead, I will give you relief from all your enemies. The Lord declares to you that he himself will build a dynastic house for you. 12 When the time comes for you to die, I will raise up your descendant, one of your own sons, to succeed you, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He will build a house for my name, and I will make his dynasty permanent. 14 I will become his father and he will become my son. When he sins, I will correct him with the rod of men and with wounds inflicted by human beings. 15 But my loyal love will not be removed from him as I removed it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will stand before me permanently; your dynasty will be permanent.’” 17 Nathan told David all these words that were revealed to him.
David Offers a Prayer to God
18 King David went in, sat before the Lord, and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that you should have brought me to this point? 19 And you didn’t stop there, O Lord God! You have also spoken about the future of your servant’s family. Is this your usual way of dealing with men, O Lord God? 20 What more can David say to you? You have given your servant special recognition, O Lord God! 21 For the sake of your promise and according to your purpose you have done this great thing in order to reveal it to your servant. 22 Therefore you are great, O Lord God, for there is none like you! There is no God besides you! What we have heard is true! 23 Who is like your people, Israel, a unique nation on the earth? Their God went to claim a nation for himself and to make a name for himself! You did great and awesome acts for your land, before your people whom you delivered for yourself from the Egyptian empire and its gods. 24 You made Israel your very own people for all time. You, O Lord, became their God. 25 So now, O Lord God, make this promise you have made about your servant and his family a permanent reality. Do as you promised, 26 so you may gain lasting fame, as people say, ‘The Lord of hosts is God over Israel!’ The dynasty of your servant David will be established before you, 27 for you, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have told your servant, ‘I will build you a dynastic house.’ That is why your servant has had the courage to pray this prayer to you. 28 Now, O sovereign Lord, you are the true God! May your words prove to be true! You have made this good promise to your servant! 29 Now be willing to bless your servant’s dynasty so that it may stand permanently before you, for you, O sovereign Lord, have spoken. By your blessing may your servant’s dynasty be blessed on into the future!”
C H Spurgeon
2 Samuel 7:1-2. 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; 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.
He said no more, but his intention was very plain, namely, to build a house that should be a more suitable abode for the ark of the Lord.
2 Samuel 7:3. And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee.
He spoke too fast. Even prophets, who are inspired of God, must wait upon their Master for their message; and when they utter words which only come out of their own mouths, they say what they will have to unsay before long. It did look very clear that this was the proper thing for Nathan to say to David; but he had not a “Thus saith the Lord” for it.
2 Samuel 7:4-5. And it came to pass that night, that the ward of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying, Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD,—
“You have already let him know what Nathan had to say about the matter;
now go and tell him what Jehovah says:”
2 Samuel 7:5. Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?
The conception was altogether too low. He has made all space, time is his creation, and the arch of heaven stands by his almighty power; shall he himself have a house in which he can dwell?
2 Samuel 7:6. 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.
A structure to be set up, and taken down, and to be moved about wherever the people journeyed. That was sufficient to be a central shrine of worship, and God cared for nothing else.
2 Samuel 7:7. 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?
Did God ever put to the children of Israel such a question as this? No; and it is very remarkable that, from the time that the temple was built, you may date the decay of true religion in Israel; and the same thing has happened many times since; whenever religion is surrounded by elaborate ceremonies, and gorgeous architecture, it is almost certain to suffer loss of power and efficacy. The simplicity of worship may not be the life of it, but it has a very intimate connection with that life.
2 Samuel 7:8-11. 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: 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. 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, us beforetime, 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.
God has a way of returning men’s generosity in kind. Since David wished to build God’s house, God would build David’s house.
2 Samuel 7:12-15. 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. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. 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: but my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
Here is our warrant for believing in the final salvation of Solomon. Perhaps that Book of Ecclesiastes, the work of his old age, shows us by what rough and thorny ways God brought the wanderer back. He had tried to satisfy himself with the things of time and sense, but he was constrained at last to utter this verdict, “Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity;” and he had to go back to his God, and God his comfort there.
2 Samuel 7:16-18. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David. Than went king David in, and sat before the LORD,—
Like one weighted down with a great load of mercy, too heavy for him to stand up under it, and therefore he must needs sit down, and consider, and meditate upon the wonderful words of God to him.
2 Samuel 7:18-19. And he said, Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? 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?
“All that thou hast done for me, therefore, in overcoming my enemies, and making me king over this people, has seemed to be but a small thing to thee, for ‘thou hast spoken also of thy servant’s house for a great while to come.’” That astonished David, and therefore he asked, “Is this the manner of man, O Lord God?” “Man gives stingily after his own grudging fashion; but thou givest in a lordly, kingly, divine way.” David’s question may be rendered, “Is this the law of the Man? Am I to be the parent of that Man who shall be my Lord as well as my Son, who shall reign for ever and ever, and of whose kingdom there shall be no end?” David was spelling out the inner mystery hidden in the words of the Lord, reading between the lines, and discovering that the covenant which God had made with him was, at least in some respects, a repetition of that greater covenant made with Christ on his behalf.
2 Samuel 7:20. And what can David say more unto thee?
He had not said much, but he could not say much under such circumstances. He was utterly overwhelmed, just as, when some wondrous kindness has been shown to us, we wish rather to sit still, in grateful silence, than to stand up, and speak acknowledgments, for our heart is too full for utterance.
2 Samuel 7:20-22. For thou, LORD GOD, knowest thy servant. For thy word’s sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them. 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.
God had said to David, in the message he sent by Nathan, “I have made thee a great nation, like unto the name of the great that are in the earth;” and now David brings back the words to God, and says, “Thou art great, O Lord God; for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee.”
2 Samuel 7:18. Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD,
This was not the usual Oriental posture of prayer, but David was mingling meditation with his supplication, so that his attitude was not according to ordinary rules.
2 Samuel 7:18. And he said, Who am I, O Lord GOD?
Why, you are David, the valiant man who slew Goliath! No, no, no; the man of God is nobody in his own esteem.
2 Samuel 7:18-19. And what is my house that thou hast brought me hitherto? 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?
No, it is not the manner of man in general, but it is the manner of the Man Christ Jesus.
2 Samuel 7:20-22. And what can David say more unto thee? for thou, Lord GOD, knowest thy servant. For thy word’s sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them. 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.
There is some sweet doctrine here. The Lord blesses David, not because of David’s virtue, or David’s merit, or David’s prowess, but for his own sake: “For thy word’s sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them.” The reason why streams of love flow from God is just this, it is according to his nature. He is a fountain, so the blessing must flow from him. He is a sun, so he must shine. It is not only because we need his love, but because “God is love,” that his love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given unto us. Now what is the inference from all this? Does David say, “Wherefore, O Lord, I am great and honourable”? Oh, no! he has nothing to say in praise of himself; but he says, “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.”
2 Samuel 7:23-25. 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 redeemest to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods? For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee for ever: and thou, LORD, art become their God. And now, O LORD God, the word that thou host spoken concerning thy servant and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said.
What a blessed prayer this is, “Do as thou hast said”! Get hold of a promise of the Lord, take it to the throne of grace, and then urge this plea, “Do as thou hast said.” It is a good argument to use with every upright man when we remind him of his promise, and ask him to keep his pledged word; and certainly we may use this plea with the thrice holy God: “Do as thou hast said.”
2 Samuel 7:26. And let thy name be magnified for ever,-
Or, “be greatened”-be made great “for ever.” Notice the way David returns to God the words that were addressed to himself. The Lord said to him, “I have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great that are in the earth;” so David replies, “Let thy name be made great for ever. Thou, Jehovah of hosts, art God over Israel; if thou hast made me king, and if my throne shall be established, much more shall thine.”
2 Samuel 7:26-27. Saying, The LORD of hosts is the God over Israel: and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee. For thou, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel,-
Notice how the name of the Lord seems to grow in this chapter until here it comes to its full force, and dignity, and majesty: “Thou, O Jehovah of hosts, God of Israel,”-
2 Samuel 7:27. 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.
That is the best place to find a prayer,-in your heart; no prayer comes up before God, with acceptance, but that which comes out of the very heart, which should be like the sacred ark of old, wherein were hidden Israel’s most precious things. God’s words had gone right down into David’s heart, and touched the secret springs of it, and now they welled up in this blessed prayer
2 Samuel 7:28-29. And now, O Lord GOD, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant: 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:
There is that grand pleading again: “Thou, O Lord God, hast spoken it.” If you can remind God of his own promise, you may have whatsoever you will of him; if he has said anything, his word shall surely be fulfilled.
2 Samuel 7:29. And with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever.