And what one nation in the earth is like your people Israel, whom God went to redeem to be his own people, to make you a name of greatness and terribleness, by driving out nations from before your people whom you have redeemed out of Egypt?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And what one nation in the earth.—Rather, And who is like Thy people Israel, a single (isolated) race on the earth? (Comp. Numbers 23:9.)
Nation (gôy)—i.e., race; a people considered as united by common blood, speech, country.
People (‘ām)—i.e., a political community, social union, or state, owning one sovereign.
Whom God went . . .—Literally, which God went (marched) to redeem to Himself as a people. Samuel has “which gods went.”
To make thee a name.—That is, for Thyself, God. Samuel has “for him,” in the same sense.
A name of greatness and terribleness.—Both nouns are plural, and imply renown for great and terrible deeds.
By driving.—To drive; parallel with “to redeem “and “to make.”
Nations.—Samuel adds, “and his gods.” The text of this verse in Samuel is corrupt (comp. the LXX.), and perhaps the added phrase is spurious. But, on the other hand, the chronicler may have omitted it because, like Isaiah, he regarded the heathen deities as non-entities. In earlier times, foreign gods were spoken of as real beings, subordinate to Jehovah. (Comp. the LXX. rendering of Deuteronomy 32:8.)And what one nation in the earth is like thy people Israel, whom God went to redeem to be his own people, to make thee a name of greatness and terribleness, by driving out nations from before thy people whom thou hast redeemed out of Egypt?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)21. what one nation in the earth is like thy people Israel] Better as R.V. mg., who is like thy people Israel, a nation that is alone in the earth. Cp. Targ. a people unique and chosen in the earth.
of greatness and terribleness] R.V. by great and terrible things.Verse 21. - In the parallel verse (2 Samuel 7:23), our Authorized Version, following the Hebrew text (לְכֶם), reads, "To do for you great things and terrible." The transition is awkward, no way in harmony with the other short clauses of the passage, and it would be inexplicable except for the alternative open to us, of regarding it as a quotation from Deuteronomy 4:34, brought in regardless of the context into which it was introduced. The difficulty does not meet us in our present passage, being obviated by the other sentences of our compiler. Both places, however, manifestly quote from the Book of Deuteronomy, with the grand passages and grand verbiage of which we may well imagine David familiar. A similar familiarity is also betokened in the following verses, as regard other Pentateuchal passages. 1 Chronicles 17:11, עם־אבתיך ללכת, "to go with thy fathers," used of going the way of death, is similar to "to go the way of all the world" (1 Kings 2:2), and is more primitive than the more usual אבות עם שׁכב (2 Samuel 7:12). מבּניך יהיה עשׁר, too, is neither to be altered to suit ממּעיך יצא אשׁר of Samuel; nor can we consider it, with Berth., an alteration made by the author of the Chronicle to get rid of the difficulty, that here the birth of Solomon is only promised, while Nathan's speech was made at a time when David had rest from all his enemies round about (2 Samuel 8:1), i.e., as is usually supposed, in the latest years of his life, and consequently after Solomon's birth. For the difficulty had already been got rid of by the omission of those words in 1 Chronicles 17:1; and the word, "I have cut off all thine enemies from before thee" (1 Chronicles 17:8), does not necessarily involve the destruction of all the enemies who ever rose against David, but refers, as the connection shows, only to the enemies who up till that time had attacked him. Had the author of the Chronicle only wished to get rid of this supposed difficulty, he would simply have omitted the clause, since "they seed" included the sons of David, and needed no explanation if nothing further was meant than that one of his sons would ascend the throne after him. And moreover, the thought, "thy seed, which shall be among thy sons," which Bertheau finds in the words, would be expressed in Hebrew by מבּניך אשׁר, while מבּניך יהיה אשׁר signifies, "who will come out of (from) thy sons;" for מן היה does not denote to be of one, i.e., to belong to him, but to arise, be born, or go forth, from one: cf. Ben. 1 Chronicles 17:16; Ecclesiastes 3:20. According to this, the linguistically correct translation, the words cannot be referred to Solomon at all, because Solomon was not a descendant of David's sons, but of David himself.
(Note: As old Lavater has correctly remarked: Si tantum de Salomone hic locus accipiendus esset, non dixisset: semen quod erit de filiis tuis, sed quod erit de te.)
The author of the Chronicle has interpreted אחריך את־זרעך theologically, or rather set forth the Messianic contents of this conception more clearly than it was expressed in ממּעיך יצא אשׁר. The seed after David, which will arise from his sons, is the Messiah, whom the prophets announced as the Son of David, whose throne God will establish for ever (1 Chronicles 17:12). This Messianic interpretation of David's זרע explains the divergence of the chronicler's text in 1 Chronicles 17:13 and 1 Chronicles 17:14 from 2 Samuel 7:14-16. For instance, the omission of the words after בּן in 2 Samuel 7:13, "If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men" (2 Samuel 7:14), is the result of the Messianic interpretation of זרעך, since the reference to the chastisement would of course be important for the earthly sons of David and the kings of Judah, but could not well find place in the case of the Messiah. The only thing said of this son of David is, that God will not withdraw His grace from him.
The case is exactly similar, with the difference between 2 Samuel 7:14 and 2 Samuel 7:16. Instead of the words, "And thy house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee, thy throne shall be established for ever" (Sam.), the promise runs thus in the Chronicle: "And I will settle (העמיד, cause to stand, maintain, 1 Kings 15:4; 2 Chronicles 9:8) him (the seed arising from thy sons) in my house and in my kingdom for ever, and his throne shall be established for evermore." While these concluding words of the promise are, in the narrative in Samuel, spoken to David, promising to him the eternal establishment of his house, his kingdom, and his throne, in the Chronicle they are referred to the seed of David, i.e., the Messiah, and promise to Him His establishment for ever in the house and kingdom of God, and the duration of His throne for ever. That בּיתי here does not signify the congregation of the Lord, the people of Israel, as Berth. thinks it must be translated, is clear as the sun; for בּית, immediately preceding, denotes the temple of Jahve, and בּיתי manifestly refers back to לי בּית (1 Chronicles 17:12), while such a designation of the congregation of Israel or of the people as "house of Jahve" is unheard of in the Old Testament. The house of Jahve stands in the same relation to the kingdom of Jahve as a king's palace to his kingdom. The house which David's seed will build to the Lord is the house of the Lord in his kingdom: in this house and kingdom the Lord will establish Him for ever; His kingdom shall never cease; His rule shall never be extinguished; and He himself, consequently, shall live for ever. It scarcely need be said that such things can be spoken only of the Messiah. The words are therefore merely a further development of the saying, "I will be to him a Father, and I will not take my mercy away from him, and will establish his kingdom for ever," and tell us clearly and definitely what is implicitly contained in the promise, that David's house, kingdom, and throne will endure for ever (Sam.), viz., that the house and kingdom of David will be established for ever only under the Messiah. That this interpretation is correct is proved by the fact that the divergences of the text of the chronicler from the parallel narrative cannot otherwise be explained; Thenius and Berth. not having made even an attempt to show how בּבּיתי והעמדתּיהוּ could have arisen out of בּיתך ונאמן. The other differences between the texts in the verses in question, לי (Chron.) for לשׁמי, את־כּסאו for ממלכתּו כּסּא את (1 Chronicles 17:12, cf. 2 Samuel 7:13), and לפניך היה מאשׁר instead of וגו אשׁר שׁאוּל מעם (1 Chronicles 17:13, cf. 2 Samuel 7:15), are only variations in expression which do not affect the sense. With reference to the last of them, indeed, Berth. has declared against Thenius, that the chronicler's text is thoroughly natural, and bears marks of being more authentic than that of 2 Samuel 7.
In the prayer of thanksgiving contained in 1 Chronicles 17:16 to 27 we meet with the following divergences from the parallel text, which are of importance for their effect on the sense.
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