Matthew Poole's Commentary
And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies;David being at rest desires to build God a house; which Nathan at first approves of; afterwards, in obedience to the word of God, forbiddeth him 2 Samuel 7:1-11. He promiseth him benefits and blessings in his seed, Solomon and the Messiah, who should build the house of God, 2 Samuel 7:12-17. David’s prayer and thanksgiving, 2 Samuel 7:18-29.
When the king sat in his house, i.e. was settled and warm in the house which Hiram’s men built for him, 2 Samuel 5:11; then he reflected upon the unhandsome and unsettled state of the ark. From all his enemies, Philistines, Moabites, and others; so that they durst not invade his land, as they had formerly done; for though you read of David’s wars with them, 2Sa 8, yet in them David was the aggressor, and entered their lands.
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.i.e. In a tent or tabernacle, 1 Samuel 7:6 composed of several curtains, Exodus 26:1, &c.
And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee.Pursue thy intentions, and build a house for the ark. The design being pious, and the thing not forbidden by God, Nathan hastily approves it, before he had either seriously considered it in his own mind, or consulted God about it, as both he and David certainly ought to have done in a matter of so great moment. And therefore Nathan meets with this rebuke, that he is forced to acknowledge his error, and recant it. For the holy prophets did not speak all things by prophetical inspiration, but some things by a human spirit, and prudent conjecture; and therefore they were ignorant and mistaken in some matters, as 1 Samuel 16:6 2 Kings 4:27.
And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying,It came to pass that night: because David’s mistake was pious, and from an honest mind, God would not suffer him to lie long in his mistake, nor to disquiet his mind, or run himself into inconveniencies, in order to the work, before he gave a stop to it.
The word of the Lord came unto Nathan; that the same person who had confirmed David in his mistake, might now rectify it.
Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?i.e. Thou shalt not. Or, Wilt thou build, &c.? Dost thou purpose it?
Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle.These two seem thus to be distinguished; the one may note the curtains and hangings within, the other the frame of boards, and coverings upon it.
In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar?Spake I a word? did I ever give any command about it? without which neither they did, nor thou shouldst attempt it.
With any of the tribes: in 1 Chronicles 17:6, it is of the judges; and to them, not to the tribes, the following words agree,
whom I commanded to feed my people Israel. Either therefore the tribes are here put synecdochically for the rulers of the tribes, as the word church is sometimes used for the governors of it; or the word here rendered tribes may be rendered sceptres, as it is used Genesis 49:10, and sceptres put for sceptre-bearers or rulers, as is very frequent.
Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel:So shalt thou say unto my servant David: lest David should be too much discouraged, or judge himself neglected and forsaken of God, as one thought unworthy of so great an honour, God here gives him the honourable title of his servant, thereby signifying that he accepted of his service, and of his good intentions, which also was expressed at this time, as it may seem from 1 Kings 8:18, though not in this place.
I took thee from the sheep-cote, to be ruler over my people; I advanced thee, and I do not repent of it.
And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth.No text from Poole on this verse.
Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime,I will appoint a place, i.e. I will make room for them; whereas hitherto they have been much constrained and distressed by their enemies, Or, I will establish (for so that verb sometimes signifies)
a place for them, i.e. I will establish them in their place or land. Some learned men render the verse thus, and the Hebrew words will bear it: And I have appointed (or assigned, or given) a place for my people Israel, (to wit, the land of Canaan,) and have planted them in it, that they may dwell in their own place, and be no more driven to and fro; or rather, and they shall dwell in their own place, &c.; i.e. as I did long ago appoint it to them, and afterwards planted them, or put them into actual possession; so now they shall continue or dwell in it, in spite of all their enemies.
For my people Israel. Among the favours which God had vouchsafed, and would vouchsafe to David, he reckons his blessings to the people of Israel, because they were great blessings to David; partly because the strength and happiness of a king consists in great part in the multitude and happiness of his people; and partly because David was a man of a pious and public spirit, and therefore no less affected with Israel’s felicity than with his own.
In a place of their own, i.e. in their own land, not in strange lands, nor mixed with other people.
As beforetime; either, first, As in the land of Egypt; and so he goes downward to the judges. Or, secondly, As in Saul’s time; and so he ascends to the judges.
And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house.Nor as they did under the judges, neither so oft nor so long. But all this is to be understood with a condition, except they should notoriously forsake God, or rebel against him; which being so oft declared by God in other places it was needless to mention it here. Or this may relate to the latter ages of the world, when the people of Israel shall be converted to Christ, and recalled out of captivity, and planted in their own place; when they shall enjoy a far greater degree of tranquillity than ever they did before. And this agrees best with the future tense,
I will appoint—and will plant them, & c.; otherwise the work was already done, God had already appointed this land for them, and actually planted them in it.
And have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies, i. e. and until this time in which I have given thee rest. But these words, though according to our translation they be enclosed in the same parenthesis with the foregoing clauses, may seem to be better put without it, and to be taken by themselves. For the foregoing words in this verse, and in 2 Samuel 7:10, do all concern the people of Israel; but these words seem to concern David alone, to whom the speech returns after a short digression concerning the people of Israel. And they may be rendered either thus, and I have caused thee to rest, &c., or, and I will cause thee to rest, &c., to wit, more fully and perfectly than vet thou dost.
He will make thee an house; for thy good intentions to make him an house, he will make thee an house, to wit, a sure house, as is expressed, 1 Kings 11:38, i. e. he will increase and uphold thy posterity, and continue thy kingdom in thy family.
And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.When thy days be fulfilled; when the time of thy life shall expire. This phrase implies that his days shall be completed and prolonged to the usual course and stint of nature, and not out off in the midst, by any violent or untimely death.
I will set up thy seed after thee; I will set up in thy stead and throne thy posterity, first Solomon, and then others successively, and at last the Messias. So the following words may be understood diversely, part of his posterity in general or indefinitely taken, part of Solomon, and part of Christ only, according to the differing nature of the several passages.
Out of thy bowels; out of thy inward parts, or from thy loins; who shall be begotten by thee.
He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.He shall build an house: this is meant literally and immediately of Solomon, who alone did build the material house or temple; but mystically and ultimately of Christ, who is the builder of God’s spiritual house or temple, Hebrews 3:3,6 1 Peter 2:5.
For my name, i. e. for my service, and worship, and glory.
I will stablish the throne of his kingdom: this is not meant of Solomon, for his kingdom was not for ever. And though the phrase for ever is sometimes used of the time of a man’s life, yet it cannot be so understood here, because the mercy here promised to David’s son is of another nature, and of far longer continuance, than that which was given to Saul, 2 Samuel 7:15, who yet enjoyed the kingdom as long as he lived. But it is to be understood of David’s posterity in general, but with special respect to Christ in whose person the kingdom was to be lodged for ever, Isaiah 9:7 Daniel 2:44 Luke 1:32,33.
I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:I will carry myself towards him as becomes a father, with all affection and tenderness, and I will own him its my son. This is intended both of Solomon, as a type of Christ; and of Christ himself, as is evident from Hebrews 1:5.
If he commit iniquity: this agrees only to Solomon and some others of David’s posterity; but not to Christ, who never committed iniquity, as Solomon did, who therein was no type of Christ and therefore this branch is terminated in Solomon; whereas in those things wherein Solomon was a type of Christ, the sense passeth through Solomon unto Christ.
With the rod of men; either, first. With such rods as men use to correct their sons, or to beat other men; which are here opposed to the rods or strokes which an angry God inflicts. See, Job 23:6 Psalm 39:11 Isaiah 47:3 Romans 9:22 Hebrews 10:31 12:29. Or, secondly, With such rods as are gentle and moderate, and suited to man’s weakness; as a tolerable and resistible temptation is called human, or common to men, 1 Corinthians 10:13.
But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.My mercy, or my kindness, i. e. the kingdom which l have mercifully an kindly promised to thee and thine.
As I took it from Saul; in regard of his posterity, for the kingdom was continued to his person during life.
And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.Before thee; thine eyes in some sort beholding it; for he lived to see his wise and godly son Solomon actually placed in the throne, with great reputation and general applause, 1 Kings 1:39,40, which was in itself a good presage of the continuance of the kingdom in his family; and being considered, together with the infallible certainty of God’s promise to him and his for ever, of the accomplishment whereof this was an earnest, gave him good assurance thereof; especially considering that he had his eyes and thoughts upon the Messia, Psalm 90:1, &c., whose day he saw by faith, as Abraham did, John 8:56, and whom he knew that God would raise out of the fruit of his loins to sit on his throne, as is affirmed, Acts 2:30, and that for ever: and so the eternity of his kingdom is rightly said to be before him. The LXX. and Syriac read before me, which is a usual phrase, which makes no great variation in the Hebrew text.
According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.Although it was contrary to his own opinion, and an evidence of his rashness and folly. This therefore is here mentioned as an evidence of his fidelity and impartiality in relating the whole mind of God herein, and of his modesty in taking shame to himself.
Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD, and he said, Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?Sat: this word may note either, first, His bodily posture, for there is no certain gesture to which prayer is limited and we have examples of saints praying in that posture, Exodus 17:12 1 Kings 19:4; or he might sit for a season whilst he was meditating upon these things, and then alter his posture, (though it be not here expressed,) and betake himself to prayer. Or rather, secondly, His continuance, as this Hebrew word is oft used, as Genesis 22:11 Leviticus 14:8 1 Samuel 1:22 20:19, that he did not barely present himself before God but abode there for some competent time, that he might with God’s leave pour out his soul freely before him. For howsoever one may in some cases pray sitting, yet it is most probable that David would in this holy place, and upon this occasion, use a more humble and reverent gesture, such as kneeling is, which therefore David prescribeth or adviseth, Psalm 95:6 and Solomon accordingly practiseth, 1 Kings 8:54 2 Chronicles 6:13.
Who am I, and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? how indefinitely unworthy am I and my family of this great honour and happiness!
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?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 what can David say more unto thee? for thou, Lord GOD, knowest thy servant.What can David say more unto thee? either, first, In way of gratitude and praise to thee; words cannot express my obligations to thee, nor my sense of these obligations. Or rather, secondly, In way of prayer, as appears by the parallel place, 1 Chronicles 17:18. What can I ask or desire of thee more than thou hast freely done?
Thou knowest thy servant; thou knowest, either, first, my deep sense of thy favours, and my obligations to thee; or rather, secondly, my condition and necessities, what I do or may need hereafter; and as thou knowest this, so I doubt not thou wilt be ready to supply me accordingly. Compare Matthew 6:8,32.
For thy word's sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them.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.
Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.Thou art great, both in power and in goodness, as appears by the great and good things which thou hast done for me,
All that we have heard with our ears; what we have heard from our parents, or out of thy word, concerning the incomparable excellency of thy majesty, and of thy works; of that I have this day eminent experience.
And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods?God went, to wit, into Egypt; an expression of God after the manner of men.
To make him a name; to advance the glory of his power and goodness, and other perfections. Compare Exodus 9:16.
For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee for ever: and thou, LORD, art become their God.Thou hast confirmed to thyself; partly by thy promises, and that sure covenant which thou hast made with them; and partly by thy glorious works wrought on their behalf, as it appears this day.
Thou art become their God, in a peculiar manner, and by special relation and covenant; for otherwise he is the God and Father of all things, 1 Corinthians 8:6.
And now, O LORD God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said.No text from Poole on this verse.
And let thy name be magnified for ever, saying, The LORD of hosts is the God over Israel: and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee.The Lord of hosts is the God over Israel, i.e. do thou never cease to manifest thyself to be the God and Governor of Israel.
For thou, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house: therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee.Because thy promise hath given me encouragement to pray, and assurance of answer.
Found in his heart, or, found his heart, i.e. taken courage; as a man is said to lose his heart when he wants courage.
And now, O Lord GOD, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant:That God who hast declared thyself to be Israel’s God, and in particular my God.
Therefore now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee: for thou, O Lord GOD, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever.Thou, O Lord God, hast spoken it, and therefore wilt certainly do it, for thy words never fail.