2 Samuel 7:19
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?
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(19) Is this the manner of man?—This clause is very obscure in the original, and little help in determining its meaning can be had from the ancient versions. The word translated “manner” is a very common one, and never has this sense elsewhere; its well established meaning is law. Neither is there any reason to suppose that a question is intended. Translate, “And this is a law for man!” David expresses his surprise that so great a promise, even a decree of an eternal kingdom, should be given to such as himself and his posterity. The same thought is far less strikingly expressed in the parallel passage (1Chronicles 17:18), “Thou hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree.”

2 Samuel 7:19. This — Which thou hast already done for me, that thou hast brought me hitherto to this pitch of honour, and peace, and prosperity in which, through thy favour, I now stand. Was small — Though it was more than I deserved, or could expect, yet thou didst not think it enough for thee to give to me. A great while — For many future ages, and indeed to all eternity. Is this, &c. — Do men use to deal so kindly with their inferiors as thou hast done with me? No; this is the prerogative of divine grace.

7:18-29 David's prayer is full of the breathings of devout affection toward God. He had low thoughts of his own merits. All we have, must be looked upon as Divine gifts. He speaks very highly and honourably of the Lord's favours to him. Considering what the character and condition of man is, we may be amazed that God should deal with him as he does. The promise of Christ includes all; if the Lord God be ours, what more can we ask, or think of? Eph 3:20. He knows us better than we know ourselves; therefore let us be satisfied with what he has done for us. What can we say more for ourselves in our prayers, than God has said for us in his promises? David ascribes all to the free grace of God. Both the great things He had done for him, and the great things He had made known to him. All was for his word's sake, that is, for the sake of Christ the eternal Word. Many, when they go to pray, have their hearts to seek, but David's heart was found, that is, it was fixed; gathered in from its wanderings, entirely engaged to the duty, and employed in it. That prayer which is from the tongue only, will not please God; it must be found in the heart; that must be lifted up and poured out before God. He builds his faith, and hopes to speed, upon the sureness of God's promise. David prays for the performance of the promise. With God, saying and doing are not two things, as they often are with men; God will do as he hath said. The promises of God are not made to us by name, as to David, but they belong to all who believe in Jesus Christ, and plead them in his name.Is this the manner of man - Compare 1 Chronicles 17:17. Our passage may be thus understood: But this is the law (or prerogative) of a great man to found dynasties which are to last into the far future. David expresses his astonishment that he, of such humble birth, and one so little in his own eyes, should not only be raised to the throne, but be assured of the perpetuity of the succession in his descendants, as if he were a man of high degree. 19. is this the manner of man, O Lord God?—that is, is it customary for men to show such condescension to persons so humble as I am? (See 1Ch 17:17.) This, to wit, which thou hast already done for me, as he now said, that thou hast brought me hitherto, i.e. to that pitch of honour, and peace, and prosperity, in which through thy favour I now stand. This was yet a small thing in thy sight; though it was more than I deserved, or could expect, yet thou didst not think it enough for thee to give me.

For a great while to come; for many future ages and indeed to all eternity.

Is this the manner of man, O Lord God? do men use to deal so freely and kindly with their inferiors, as thou hast, done with me? No: this is the prerogative of Divine grace, to give such promises and largesses as this. So these are words of admiration; which very well suit with the foregoing and following words. Or, Is this the manner, or law, or custom, of mean or obscure men, &c, as the Hebrew adam is confessed and sometimes to signify as Psalm 49:2 62:9 Isaiah 2:9; i.e. Is this the manner of men’s dealing with mean and obscure persons, such as I am? So the Hebrew haadam is the genitive case of the object, which is frequent in the Hebrew and other languages. And this seems more probable, because it exactly agrees with the parallel place, 1 Chronicles 17:17, where the words are, thou hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree, i.e. thou hast dealt with me as if I had been not a poor mean shepherd, but the son of some great monarch, to whom such honours best agree.

And this was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord God,.... This of raising him to the throne, and settling him on it, was but a small thing in comparison of what he promised to do for him and his:

but thou hast spoken also of thy servant's house for a great while to come; since he had not only spoken of a son that should succeed him in the kingdom, but that he would make him an house, and establish his kingdom; yea, that the throne of his kingdom should be established for ever, that a race of kings should spring from him, and especially the King Messiah, of whose kingdom there would be no end; and so the Targum,"thou hast spoken of the house of thy servant unto the world to come,''a phrase often used by the Jews for the times of the Messiah; see Hebrews 2:5; and so Abarbinel thinks this clause has respect to Messiah the son of David:

and is this the manner of man, O Lord God? to bestow their favours on their inferiors, persons of no worth and merit, and is a profuse manner? it is not; and yet to one so much below thee, and so undeserving, hast thou most largely and liberally given such great and unmerited mercies: or is it the manner, or customary to deal thus with men mean and abject, though it may with great personages that make a great figure in the world? it is not: and yet I am regarded by thee as if I was one of the greatest monarchs on earth: this sense agrees with the parallel text in 1 Chronicles 17:17; "and hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree"; or, "this is the law", or "doctrine of the man who is the Lord God" (c). This doctrine contained in the promise now made respects the seed of the woman, the promised Shiloh, the illustrious man, Jehovah's fellow, the incarnate God, the Messiah, who is Jehovah our righteousness, the true God and eternal life.

(c) So Luther and Osiander; or "this is the delineation of the man who is the Lord", &c. So Hiller. Onomastic. Sacr. p. 447.

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 {h} man, O Lord GOD?

(h) Does this not come rather from your free mercy, than from any worthiness that can be in man?

19. And is this the manner of man] It is best to understand these difficult words as David’s expression of humble astonishment at the greatness of the honour destined for him and his house. Render, And this is a law for men! i.e. this decree that my kingdom shall be established for ever, is to be valid for weak human beings, such as myself and my posterity! Another explanation very commonly adopted is, And this is the manner of man, viz. to speak so familiarly and condescendingly as thou hast done to me; but the Heb. word is used nowhere else in the sense of manner, and the whole context requires a reference to the substance rather than to the manner of the communication.

The reading in 1 Chron. is quite different: “thou hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree.” One or other of the texts is perhaps corrupt.

Verse 19. - And is this the manner of man, O Lord God? Hebrew, and this is the law of man, O Lord Jehovah. In the parallel passage (1 Chronicles 17:17) the Hebrew has, "And thou hast regarded me according to the law of a man of high degree." The rendering of the Authorized Version here, which, by making the clause interrogative, implies a negative, gives absolutely no sense; but some commentators render, "And this is the manner of men, O Lord Jehovah," understanding thereby that God was acting towards David in a human manner, that is, as an earthly friend and benefactor would do. But though the Revised Version favours this rendering, the Hebrew word torah never has this meaning, and, unless, the attempt be made to amend the text, for which the versions give no help, we must take torah in its usual sense, and understand that this continuance of David's house into the distant future has now become a human law, that is, a divinely constituted ordinance, which must now take its place among the laws which govern human affairs. The words are undoubtedly difficult, and we feel that David was speaking in an ejaculatory manner, in sentences but half expressed, breaking forth from him bit by bit, under the pressure of deep excitement within. We notice too that, while there is no direct reference to the Messiah in David's words, yet that the Psalms indicate that he did connect the duration of his house with the Messiah's advent; and this ejaculation may have sprung forth, if not from a fully formed conviction, yet from the feeling that the permanence of his house was for the purpose of a higher kingdom than that of Jerusalem; and so the promise was a "law of man" and the promulgation of a decree which affected the whole human race. This may be the meaning of the Vulgate, which renders "a law of Adam," that is, one embracing within its scope all Adam's race, 2 Samuel 7:19"And this is still too little in Thine eyes, O Lord Jehovah, and Thou still speakest with regard to the house of Thy servant for a great while to come." למרחוק, lit. that which points to a remote period, i.e., that of the eternal establishment of my house and throne. "And this is the law of man, O Lord Jehovah." "The law of man" is the law which determines ore regulates the conduct of man. Hence the meaning of these words, which have been very differently interpreted, cannot, with the context immediately preceding it, be any other than the following: This - namely, the love and condescension manifested in Thy treatment of Thy servant - is the law which applies to man, or is conformed to the law which men are to observe towards men, i.e., to the law, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Leviticus 19:18, compare Micah 6:8). With this interpretation, which is confirmed by the parallel text of the Chronicles (in 2 Samuel 7:17), "Thou sawest (i.e., visitedst me, or didst deal with me) according to the manner of man," that words are expressive of praise of the condescending grace of the Lord. "When God the Lord, in His treatment of poor mortals, follows the rule which He has laid down for the conduct of men one towards another, when He shows himself kind and affectionate, this must fill with adoring amazement those who know themselves and God" (Hengstenberg). Luther is wrong in the rendering which he has adopted: "This is the manner of a man, who is God the Lord;" for "Lord Jehovah" is not an explanatory apposition to "man," but an address to God, as in the preceding and following clause.
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