But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)As I took it from Saul.—He and his house were utterly and permanently set aside; David’s descendants will be punished for their sins, yet shall never be forgotten, and shall, ultimately issue in one who shall conquer sin and death for ever.2 Samuel 7:15-16. My mercy shall not depart from him — Or, my kindness, as the Hebrew word חסדי, chasdi, rather means. That is, the kingdom which I have mercifully and kindly promised to thee and thine. As I took it from Saul — In regard of his posterity, for the kingdom was continued to Saul himself during his life. Thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee — Thine eyes, in some sort, beholding it; for he lived to see his wise son Solomon actually placed on the throne with reputation and general applause, which was in itself a good presage of the continuance of the kingdom in his family; and, when considered in connection with God’s infallible promises made to him and his descendants, must have given him assurance thereof. David, however, had his eyes and thoughts on the Messiah, Psalm 110:1; whose day he saw by faith, as Abraham had done; whom he knew God would raise up of the fruit of his loins to sit on his throne, Acts 2:30, and the eternity of whose kingdom might well be said to be before him. Thy throne shall be established for ever — The kingdom shall be continued for a long time, even for many ages, in thy family, and in the Messiah, who is to be thy seed, to all eternity. Thus the angel, applying this promise to Jesus, says to Mary, The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of HIS FATHER DAVID. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob FOR EVER, and of HIS KINGDOM there shall be NO END.Isaiah 55:3, i. e. unfailing, lasting mercies: mercies which are like streams of water that never dry up Isaiah 33:16; Jeremiah 15:18. This is explained in 2 Samuel 7:16, where the word established is the same word as is rendered sure in Isaiah.
Before thee - Before Me is probably the true reading in 2 Samuel 7:15-16 (if the rest of the text be sound), according to the analogy of Jeremiah 35:19; 1 Samuel 2:30, 1 Samuel 2:35; and many other places; whereas the idea contained in the reading, before thee, is unparalleled. But the reading in 1 Chronicles 17:13 is quite different: "As I took it from him that was before thee," meaning Saul, which gives a very good sense, and suggests that the text here may have been corrupted.My mercy, or my kindness, i. e. the kingdom which l have mercifully an kindly promised to thee and thine.
As I took it from Saul; in regard of his posterity, for the kingdom was continued to his person during life. Psalm 89:32; but then this here designs such mercy as may be taken away from another, and as it was from Saul, as it follows:
as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee; and therefore must be understood of his mercy and kindness, in giving him a kingdom, and setting him on the throne; this should not be taken away from him, as it was from Saul, whom God rejected from being king; not him personally, but his posterity; but so the Lord would not do, nor did he, to Solomon, in whose posterity the kingdom of Judah continued to the Babylonish captivity.But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15. shall not depart, &c.] Lit, shall not be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I took away from before thee. The three verbs belong to the same root. But there is perhaps some error in the text. 1 Chronicles 17:13 reads, “my mercy will I not take away from him, as I took it away from him who was before thee;” and the Sept. here has, “My mercy will I not take away from him, as I took it away from them that I took away from before me.”Verses 15, 16. - Before thee. This does not refer to time, but means "in thy presence," or "before thy face," that is, "as thou hast thyself been witness." There is a strong contrast between the fate of Saul's house and this eternal endurance promised to that of David. The lineage of Saul might have made a new start in Jonathan, and even when he died at Gilboa, he left a son behind him. Still, no one ever locked upon Mephibosheth as having any title to the throne; and though Shimei (2 Samuel 16:5) may have conceived the hope that, if David were overthrown, the kingdom might return to Saul's family, yet, as a matter of fact, among the many vicissitudes of the ten tribes, the attempt never was made to search for a descendant of Saul to be Israel's king. Saul's was a royalty for one generation; David's throne was to be established forever. Not because David was sinless. His character is sullied by crimes of the darkest hue. But he never sank into a mere tyrant, such as Saul was towards David and towards the priests at Nob. Nor did David ever become an irreligious man (1 Samuel 22:18, 19; 1 Samuel 28:15), though there is in him a strange and painful mixture of great good and great evil. The salt that preserves his character is his genuine sincerity and earnestness both towards God and man; and these qualities make him not unworthy of the high place he holds among God s people. Still, the premise was not because of David's deserts, but because from him was to come the Christ, who is blessed. forevermore. 2 Samuel 7:5, but Jehovah Sebaoth, because He manifests himself in the following revelation as the God of the universe): "I have taken thee from the pasturage (grass-plat), behind the flock, to be prince over my people Israel; and was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and exterminated all thine enemies before thee, and so made thee, ועשׂיתי (perfect with vav consec.), a great name, ... and created a place for my people Israel, and planted them, so that they dwell in their place, and do not tremble any more (before their oppressors); and the sons of wickedness do not oppress them any further, as at the beginning, and from the day when I appointed judges over my people Israel: and I create thee rest from all thine enemies. And Jehovah proclaims to thee, that Jehovah will make thee a house." The words ישׂ עמּי ... היּום למן are to be joined to בּראשׁונה, "as in the beginning," i.e., in Egypt, and from the time of the judges; that is to say, during the rule of the judges, when the surrounding nations constantly oppressed and subjugated Israel. The plan usually adopted, of connecting the words with והניחתי, does not yield any suitable thought at all, as God had not given David rest from the very beginning of the times of the judges; but the period of the judges was long antecedent to the time of David, and was not a period of rest for the Israelites. Again, והניחתי does not resume what is stated in 2 Samuel 7:9, and is not to be rendered as a preterite in the sense of "I have procured thee rest," but as a perfect with vav consec., "and I procure thee rest" from what is now about to come to pass. And והגּיד is to be taken in the same way: the Lord shows thee, first of all through His promise (which follows), and then through the fact itself, the realization of His word. והניחתי refers to the future, as well as the building of David's house, and therefore not to the rest from all his enemies, which God had already secured for David, but to that which He would still further secure for him, that is to say, to the maintenance and establishment of that rest. The commentary upon this is to be found in Psalm 89:22-24. In the Chronicles (1 Chronicles 17:10) there is a somewhat different turn given to the last clauses: "and I bend down all thine enemies, and make it (the bending-down) known to thee (by the fact), and a house will Jehovah build for thee." The thought is not essentially changed by this; consequently there is no ground for any emendation of the text, which is not even apparently necessary, unless, like Bertheau, we misinterpret the words, and connect והכנעתּי erroneously with the previous clause.
The connection between 2 Samuel 7:5-7 and 2 Samuel 7:8-16 has been correctly indicated by Thenius as follows: Thou shalt not build a house for Me; but I, who have from the very beginning glorified myself in thee and my people (2 Samuel 7:8-11), will build a house for thee; and thy son shall erect a house for me (2 Samuel 7:13). 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 applies it especially to the kingdom of God in Israel. As long as the quiet and full possession of the land of Canaan, which had been promised by the Lord to the people of God for their inheritance, was disputed by their enemies round about, even the dwelling-place of their God could not assume any other form than that of a wanderer's tent. The kingdom of God in Israel first acquired its rest and consolation through the efforts of David, when God had made all his foes subject to him and established his throne firmly, i.e., had assured to his descendants the possession of the kingdom for all future time. And it was this which ushered in the time for the building of a stationary house as a dwelling for the name of the Lord, i.e., for the visible manifestation of the presence of God in the midst of His people. The conquest of the citadel of Zion and the elevation of this fortress into the palace of the king, whom the Lord had given to His people, formed the commencement of the establishment of the kingdom of God. But this commencement received its first pledge of perpetuity from the divine assurance that the throne of David should be established for all future time. And this the Lord was about to accomplish: He would build David a house, and then his seed should build the house of the Lord. No definite reason is assigned why David himself was not to build the temple. We learn this first of all from David's last words (1 Chronicles 28:3), in which he says to the assembled heads of the nation, "God said to me, Thou shalt not build a house for my name, because thou art a man of wars, and hast shed blood." Compare with this the similar words of David to Solomon in 1 Chronicles 22:8, and Solomon's statement in his message to Hiram, that David had been prevented from building the temple in consequence of his many wars. It was probably not till afterwards that David was informed by Nathan what the true reason was. As Hengstenberg has correctly observed, the fact that David was not permitted to build the temple on account of his own personal unworthiness, did not involve any blame for what he had done; for David stood in a closer relation to the Lord than Solomon did, and the wars which he waged were wars of the Lord (1 Samuel 25:28) for the maintenance and defence of the kingdom of God. But inasmuch as these wars were necessary and inevitable, they were practical proofs that David's kingdom and government were not yet established, and therefore that the time for the building of the temple had not yet come, and the rest of peace was not yet secured. The temple, as the symbolical representation of the kingdom of God, as also to correspond to the nature of that kingdom, and shadow forth the peace of the kingdom of God. For this reason, David, the man of war, was not to build the temple; but that was to be reserved for Solomon, the man of peace, the type of the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:5).
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