For your word's sake, and according to your own heart, have you done all these great things, to make your servant know them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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. For thy word’s sake; that thou mightest fulfil thy promises made to me by Samuel and Nathan, and thereby demonstrate thy faithfulness.
According to thine own heart, i. e. of thine own mere liberality and good pleasure, without any desert of mine. So far was David, though now a very gracious man, from thinking his actions meritorious.
To make thy servant know them, i.e. that thy gracious and wonderful purposes of mercy towards me, which lay hid in thine own heart, might be manifested unto me and others by thy most kind words and actions. So it agrees with 1 Chronicles 17:19. 1 Chronicles 17:19,
and according to thine own heart; of his own sovereign good will and pleasure, of his own grace, as the Arabic version, and not according to the merits and deserts of David:
hast thou done all these great things; in making him king of Israel, and settling the kingdom in his posterity to the times of the Messiah, who should spring from him:
to make thy servant know them; as he now did by Nathan the prophet, what he and his should enjoy for time to come; so that it is not only a blessing to have favours designed, purposed, and promised, but to have the knowledge of them, to know the things that are freely given of God.For thy word's sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)21. For thy word’s sake] To fulfil Thy promises made to me through Samuel. The reading of 1 Chronicles 17:19, and of the LXX. here, is for thy servant’s sake.Verse 21. - For thy word's sake; In 1 Chronicles 17:19 we read, "For thy servant's sake." The phrase seemed, perhaps, to the Chronicler difficult, but it does not mean "because of thy previous promise," for no such promise had been given, but "because thou hast now said it." Nor does it imply pre-existing merit in David, but that God had now chosen to declare his will, and what was according to his own heart. It thus makes God's own good will and pleasure the cause of the great honours bestowed upon David. Instead of these great things, the Hebrew has this great thing; that is, the lasting continuance of David's family. 1 Kings 2:12); so that Solomon was able to say, "The Lord hath fulfilled His word that He spoke; for I have risen up in the stead of my father David," etc. (1 Kings 8:20). Solomon built the temple, as the Lord said to David (1 Kings 6:1; 1 Kings 8:15.). But in his old age Solomon sinned against the Lord by falling into idolatry; and as a punishment for this, after his death his kingdom was rent from his son, not indeed entirely, as one portion was still preserved to the family for David's sake (1 Kings 11:9.). Thus the Lord punished him with rods of men, but did not withdraw from him His grace. At the same time, however unmistakeable the allusions to Solomon are, the substance of the promise is not fully exhausted in him. The threefold repetition of the expression "for ever," the establishment of the kingdom and throne of David for ever, points incontrovertibly beyond the time of Solomon, and to the eternal continuance of the seed of David. The word seed denotes the posterity of a person, which may consist either in one son or in several children, or in a long line of successive generations. The idea of a number of persons living at the same time, is here precluded by the context of the promise, as only one of David's successors could sit upon the throne at a time. On the other hand, the idea of a number of descendants following one another, is evidently contained in the promise, that God would not withdraw His favour from the seed, even if it went astray, as He had done from Saul, since this implies that even in that case the throne should be transmitted from father to son. There is still more, however, involved in the expression "for ever." When the promise was given that the throne of the kingdom of David should continue "to eternity," an eternal duration was also promised to the seed that should occupy this throne, just as in 2 Samuel 7:16 the house and kingdom of David are spoken of as existing for ever, side by side. We must not reduce the idea of eternity to the popular notion of a long incalculable period, but must take it in an absolute sense, as the promise is evidently understood in Psalm 89:30 : "I set his seed for ever, and this throne as the days of heaven." No earthly kingdom, and no posterity of any single man, has eternal duration like the heaven and the earth; but the different families of men become extinct, as the different earthly kingdoms perish, and other families and kingdoms take their place. The posterity of David, therefore, could only last for ever by running out in a person who lives for ever, i.e., by culminating in the Messiah, who lives for ever, and of whose kingdom there is no end. The promise consequently refers to the posterity of David, commencing with Solomon and closing with Christ: so that by the "seed" we are not to understand Solomon alone, with the kings who succeeded him, nor Christ alone, to the exclusion of Solomon and the earthly kings of the family of David; nor is the allusion to Solomon and Christ to be regarded as a double allusion to two different objects.
But if this is established, - namely, that the promise given to the seed of David that his kingdom should endure for ever only attained its ultimate fulfilment in Christ, - we must not restrict the building of the house of God to the erection of Solomon's temple. "The building of the house of the Lord goes hand in hand with the eternity of the kingdom" (Hengstenberg). As the kingdom endures for ever, so the house built for the dwelling-place of the Lord must also endure for ever, as Solomon said at the dedication of the temple (1 Kings 8:13): "I have surely built Thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for Thee to abide in for ever." The everlasting continuance of Solomon's temple must not be reduced, however, to the simple fact, that even if the temple of Solomon should be destroyed, a new building would be erected in its place by the earthly descendants of Solomon, although this is also implied in the words, and the temple of Zerubbabel is included as the restoration of that of Solomon. For it is not merely in its earthly form, as a building of wood and stone, that the temple is referred to, but also and chiefly in its essential characteristic, as the place of the manifestation and presence of God in the midst of His people. The earthly form is perishable, the essence eternal. This essence was the dwelling of God in the midst of His people, which did not cease with the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem, but culminated in the appearance of Jesus Christ, in whom Jehovah came to His people, and, as God the Word, made human nature His dwelling-place (ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν, John 1:14) in the glory of the only-begotten Son of the Father; so that Christ could say to the Jews, "Destroy this temple (i.e., the temple of His body), and in three days I will build it up again" (John 2:19). It is with this building up of the temple destroyed by the Jews, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that the complete and essential fulfilment of our promise begins. It is perpetuated with the Christian church in the indwelling of the Father and Son through the Holy Ghost in the hearts of believers (John 14:23; 1 Corinthians 6:19), by which the church of Jesus Christ is built up a spiritual house of God, composed of living stones (1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Peter 2:5; compare 2 Corinthians 6:16; Hebrews 3:6); and it will be perfected in the completion of the kingdom of God at the end of time in the new Jerusalem, which shall come down upon the new earth out of heaven from God, as the true tabernacle of God with men (Revelation 21:1-3).
As the building of the house of God receives its fulfilment first of all through Christ, so the promise, "I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son," is first fully realized in Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of the heavenly Father (vid., Hebrews 1:5). In the Old Testament the relation between father and son denotes the deepest intimacy of love; and love is perfected in unity of nature, in the communication to the son of all that the father hath. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand (John 3:35). Sonship therefore includes the government of the world. This not only applied to Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, but also to the seed of David generally, so far as they truly attained to the relation of children of God. So long as Solomon walked in the ways of the Lord, he ruled over all the kingdoms from the river (Euphrates) to the border of Egypt (1 Kings 5:1); but when his heart turned away from the Lord in his old age, adversaries rose up against him (1 Kings 11:14., 1 Kings 11:23.), and after his death the greater part of the kingdom was rent from his son. The seed of David was chastised for its sins; and as its apostasy continued, it was humbled yet more and more, until the earthly throne of David became extinct. Nevertheless the Lord did not cause His mercy to depart from him. When the house of David had fallen into decay, Jesus Christ was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, to raise up the throne of His father David again, and to reign for ever as King over the house of Jacob (Luke 1:32-33), and to establish the house and kingdom of David for ever. - In 2 Samuel 7:16, where the promise returns to David again with the words, "thy house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever," the expression לפניך (before thee), which the lxx and Syriac have arbitrarily changed into לפני (before me), should be particularly observed. David, as the tribe-father and founder of the line of kings, is regarded either "as seeing all his descendants pass before him in a vision," as O. v. Gerlach supposes, or as continuing to exist in his descendants.
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