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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(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; 1Kings 1:10; 1Kings 1:12; 1Kings 1:34; 1Kings 1:38). Nathan “the prophet” and Gad “the seer” wrote parts of the history of this and the succeeding reign (1Chronicles 29:29; 2Chronicles 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.

7:1-3 David being at rest in his palace, considered how he might best employ his leisure and prosperity in the service of God. He formed a design to build a temple for the ark. Nathan here did not speak as a prophet, but as a godly man, encouraging David by his private judgment. We ought to do all we can to encourage and promote the good purposes and designs of others, and, as we have opportunity, to forward a good work.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. 2. 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. i.e. In a tent or tabernacle, 1 Samuel 7:6 composed of several curtains, Exodus 26:1, &c.

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 tradition (t) 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?

(t) Hieron. Trad. Heb. in 2 Reg. fol. 79. M. & in lib. Paralipom. fol. 89. B. F.

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, Ex 26:7.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. Nathan the prophet] The first mention of one of the most eminent men in the reigns of David and Solomon. It was he who rebuked David for his sin with Bathsheba (ch. 2 Samuel 12:1 ff.); who became Solomon’s tutor (ch. 2 Samuel 12:25, note), and took a leading part in securing his succession to the throne (1 Kings 1:22 ff.); who wrote a history of the reign of David and of part at least of the reign of Solomon (1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29), from which in all probability a large portion of the books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, is derived.

within curtains] The term applied in Exodus 26:1 ff; Exodus 36:8 ff., to the coverings of the tabernacle.

Verse 2. - A house of cedar; Hebrew, cedars. As these trees were sent by Hiram, and as the house was built, and David now settled in it, some considerable time must have elapsed since his accession. Moreover, the league with Hiram would be the result of David's successes recorded in 2 Samuel 8:1; for the bond of union between the two was their mutual fear of the Philistines. As we have seen before, the alliance with Tyro had a very civilizing effect upon the Hebrews, who were far inferior to the Tyrians in the mechanical arts; and David's house of hewn cedar logs was marvellous in the eyes of a people who still dwelt chiefly in tents. David purposed to build even a more sumptuous palace for Jehovah, and advised with Nathan as his chief counsellor, and the person to whom subsequently the education of Solomon was confided. Within curtains; Hebrew, the curtain; that is, the tent. The tabernacle prepared by Moses for the ark was formed of ten curtains (Exodus 26:1), but the significance lay, not in their number, but in the dwelling of Jehovah still being a mere temporary lodging, though his people had received from him a settled land. 2 Samuel 7:2When David was dwelling in his house, i.e., the palace of cedar (2 Samuel 5:11), and Jehovah had given him rest from all his enemies round about, he said to Nathan the prophet: "See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, and the ark of God dwelleth within the curtains." היריעה in the singular is used, In Exodus 26:2., to denote the inner covering, composed of a number of lengths of tapestry sewn together, which was spread over the planks of the tabernacle, and made it into a dwelling, whereas the separate pieces of tapestry are called יריעת in the plural; and hence, in the later writers, יריעות alternates sometimes with אהל (Isaiah 54:2), and at other times with אהלים (Sol 1:5; Jeremiah 4:20; Jeremiah 49:29). Consequently היריעה refers here to the tent-cloth or tent formed of pieces of tapestry. "Within (i.e., surrounded by) the tent-cloth:" in the Chronicles we find "under curtains." From the words "when the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies round about," it is evident that David did not form the resolution to build the temple in the first years of his reign upon Zion, nor immediately after the completion of his palace, but at a later period (see the remarks on 2 Samuel 5:11, note). It is true that the giving of rest from all his enemies round about does not definitely presuppose the termination of all the greater wars of David, since it is not affirmed that this rest was a definitive one; but the words cannot possibly be restricted to the two victories over the Philistines (2 Samuel 5:17-25), as Hengstenberg supposes, inasmuch as, however important the second may have been, their foes were not even permanently quieted by them, to say nothing of their being entirely subdued. Moreover, in the promise mentioned in 2 Samuel 7:9, God distinctly says, "I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies before thee." These words also show that at that time David had already fought against all the enemies round about, and humbled them. Now, as all David's principal wars are grouped together for the first time in 2 Samuel 8 and 10, there can be no doubt that the history is not arranged in a strictly chronological order. And the expression "after this" in 2 Samuel 8:1 is by no means at variance with this, since this formula does not at all express a strictly chronological sequence. From the words of the prophet, "Go, do all that is in thy heart, for the Lord is with thee," it is very evident that David had expressed the intention to build a splendid palatial temple. The word לך, go (equivalent to "quite right"), is omitted in the Chronicles as superfluous. Nathan sanctioned the king's resolution "from his own feelings, and not by divine revelation" (J. H. Michaelis); but he did not "afterwards perceive that the time for carrying out this intention had not yet come," as Thenius and Bertheau maintain; on the contrary, the Lord God revealed to the prophet that David was not to carry out his intention at all.
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