Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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.
1Ch 17:1-10. David Forbidden to Build God a House.
1. as David sat in his house—The details of this chapter were given in nearly similar terms (2Sa 7:1-29). The date was towards the latter end of David's reign, for it is expressly said in the former book to have been at the cessation of all his wars. But as to narrate the preparations for the removal of the ark and the erection of the temple was the principal object of the historian, the exact chronology is not followed.
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.
5. I … have gone from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another—The literal rendering is, "I was walking in a tent and in a dwelling." The evident intention (as we may see from 1Ch 17:6) was to lay stress upon the fact that God was a Mithhatlek (a travelling God) and went from one place to another with His tent and His entire dwelling (the dwelling included not merely the tent, but the fore-courts with the altar of burnt offerings, &c.) [Bertheau].
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?
6. spake I a word to any of the judges—In 2Sa 7:7 it is "any of the tribes" of Israel. Both are included. But the judges "who were commanded to feed the people," form the more suitable antithesis to David.
Why have ye not built me an house of cedars?—that is, a solid and magnificent temple.
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:
7. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote—a round tower of rude construction, high walled, but open at the top, in which sheep are often enclosed at night to protect them from wild beasts. The meaning is, I elevated you to the throne from a humble condition solely by an act of divine grace, and not from any antecedent merits of your own (see on 1Sa 16:11), and I enabled you to acquire renown, equal or superior to any other monarch. Your reign will ever be afterwards regarded as the best and brightest era in the history of Israel, for it will secure to the nation a settled inheritance of prosperity and peace, without any of the oppressions or disorders that afflicted them in early times.
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,
9, 10. at the beginning, and since the time that I commanded judges—that is, including the whole period from Joshua to Saul.
I tell thee that the Lord will build thee an house—This was the language of Nathan himself, who was specially directed to assure David, not only of personal blessing and prosperity, but of a continuous line of royal descendants.
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.
11. I will raise up thy seed—(See on 2Sa 7:12).
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:
13. I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee—My procedure in dealing with him will be different from My disposal of Saul. Should his misconduct call for personal chastisement, I shall spare his family. If I see it necessary to withdraw My favor and help for a time, it will be a corrective discipline only to reform and restore, not to destroy. (On this passage some have founded an argument for Solomon's repentance and return to God).
But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.
14. I will settle him in my house—over My people Israel.
and in my kingdom for ever—God here asserts His right of supreme sovereignty in Israel. David and Solomon, with their successors, were only the vicegerents whom He nominated, or, in His providence, permitted.
his throne shall be established for evermore—The posterity of David inherited the throne in a long succession—but not always. In such a connection as this, the phrase "for evermore" is employed in a restricted sense (see on La 3:31). We naturally expect the prophet to revert to David before concluding, after having spoken (1Ch 17:12) of the building of Solomon's temple. The promise that his house should be blessed was intended as a compensation for the disappointment of his wish to build the temple, and hence this assurance is appropriately repeated at the conclusion of the prophet's address [Bertheau].
According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.
15. According to all … this vision—The revelation of the divine will was made to the prophet in a dream.
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?
16. David the king … sat before the Lord, and said—(See on 2Sa 7:18).
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.