INTRODUCTION TO 1 Chronicles 17
This chapter contains an account of David's intention to build an house for God, which, he signified to Nathan the prophet, who first encouraged him to it; but afterwards was sent by the Lord to him with an order to desist from it, assuring him, at the same time, that his son should build it, and that his own house and kingdom should be established for ever; for which David expressed great thankfulness, the whole of which is related in 2 Samuel 7:1 with some little variation, see the notes there; only one thing has since occurred, which I would just take notice of, that here, 1 Chronicles 17:5 as there also, it is said by the Lord, that he had "not dwelt in an house since the day he brought up Israel out of Egypt"; which seems to suggest that he had dwelt in one before, as has been hinted on 2 Samuel 7:6 even while the people of Israel were in Egypt, though it is nowhere mentioned by Moses, or any other writer; yet it is not unreasonable to suppose it; for as the ancestors of the Israelites, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, when only travellers from place to place, built altars for God wherever they came; so their posterity, it is highly probable, not only did the same, but when they found themselves settled in Egypt, in the land of Goshen, might build places of worship; and when we consider the wealth of Joseph, and his family, and indeed of all Israel, who enjoyed for many years great plenty, prosperity, and liberty, before their servitude, the vast numbers they increased to and the long continuance of them in Egypt, more than two hundred years; it will not seem strange that they should build houses for religious worship, and even one grand and splendid for public service, to which also they might be led by the example of the Egyptians; who, as Herodotus says (i), were the first that erected altars, images, and temples to the gods, and who in the times of Joseph had one at On, where his father-in-law officiated as priest, Genesis 41:45 or rather to this they might be directed by some hints and instructions of their father Jacob before his death, who it is certain had a notion of a Bethel, an house for the public worship of God, Genesis 28:17 and I find a learned man (k) of our own nation of this opinion, and which he founds upon this passage; and he supposes the house God dwelt in, in Egypt, was not a tent of goats' hair, as in the wilderness, but a structure of stones or bricks, a firm and stable house, such an one as Abraham built at Damascus when settled there; which continued to the times of Augustus Caesar, as related by Nicholas of Damascus (l). See 2 Samuel 7:1.(i) Euterpe, sive, l. 2. c. 4.
(k) Dickinson. Physic. vet. & vera, c. 19. sect. 24. (l) Apud. Joseph. Antiqu. l. 1. c. 7. sect. 2.
Now it came to pass, as David sat in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, Lo, I dwell in an house of cedars, but the ark of the covenant of the LORD remaineth under curtains.See Chapter Introduction
Then Nathan said unto David, Do all that is in thine heart; for God is with thee.
And it came to pass the same night, that the word of God came to Nathan, saying,
Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in:
For I have not dwelt in an house since the day that I brought up Israel unto this day; but have gone from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another.
Wheresoever I have walked with all Israel, spake I a word to any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people, saying, Why have ye not built me an house of cedars?
Now therefore thus shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, even from following the sheep, that thou shouldest be ruler over my people Israel:
And I have been with thee whithersoever thou hast walked, and have cut off all thine enemies from before thee, and have made thee a name like the name of the great men that are in the earth.
Also I will ordain a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, and they shall dwell in their place, and shall be moved no more; neither shall the children of wickedness waste them any more, as at the beginning,
And since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel. Moreover I will subdue all thine enemies. Furthermore I tell thee that the LORD will build thee an house.
And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom.
He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever.
I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee:
But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.
According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.
And David the king came and sat before the LORD, and said, Who am I, O LORD God, and what is mine house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?
And yet this was a small thing in thine eyes, O God; for thou hast also spoken of thy servant's house for a great while to come, and hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree, O LORD God.
What can David speak more to thee for the honour of thy servant? for thou knowest thy servant.
O LORD, for thy servant's sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all this greatness, in making known all these great things.
O LORD, there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.
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?
For thy people Israel didst thou make thine own people for ever; and thou, LORD, becamest their God.
Therefore now, LORD, let the thing that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant and concerning his house be established for ever, and do as thou hast said.
Let it even be established, that thy name may be magnified for ever, saying, The LORD of hosts is the God of Israel, even a God to Israel: and let the house of David thy servant be established before thee.
For thou, O my God, hast told thy servant that thou wilt build him an house: therefore thy servant hath found in his heart to pray before thee.
And now, LORD, thou art God, and hast promised this goodness unto thy servant:
Now therefore let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may be before thee for ever: for thou blessest, O LORD, and it shall be blessed for ever.