2Sa 5:3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron,…. Which either explains what is meant by the tribes coming to him, 2Sa_5:1; namely, coming by their elders as their representatives; or else the meaning is, that the messengers the tribes sent, when they returned and reported the favourable reception they had met with from David; the elders of the several tribes, the princes or principal men met, and came together to David in Hebron:
and King David made a league with them before the Lord; the states of the nation; he entered into a covenant with them; he on his part promising to rule them in justice and judgment according to the laws, and they promising to yield a cheerful obedience to him in all things just and lawful: and this was done “before the Lord”; either before the ark of the Lord, as Abarbinel; but that was in Kirjathjearim, from whence it was after this brought by David to this city; rather, as Kimchi observes, wherever all Israel, or the greater part of them, were assembled, there the divine Shechinah or Majesty dwelt; so that what was done in a public assembly was reckoned as done before the Lord, and in his presence; or this covenant was made before the Lord, and each party appealed to him as witness of it, so that it was a very solemn one:
and they anointed David king over Israel; that is, over all Israel, which was the third time of his being anointed; the first was by Samuel, pointing out the person the Lord chose and appointed king; the second was by the tribe of Judah, when they invested him with the office of a king over them; and now by all the tribes, when he was inaugurated into the whole kingdom of Israel; and not only the elders came at this time, but great numbers of the people from the several tribes, and continued with David some days, eating, drinking and rejoicing, see 1Ch_12:1.
The age of David is conclusive as to the fact that the earlier years of Saul’s reign (during which Jonathan grew up to be a man) are passed over in silence, and that the events narrated from 1 Sam. 13 to the end of the book did not occupy more than 10 years. If David was 20 years old at the time he killed Goliath, four years in Saul’s service, four years of wandering from place to place, one year and four months in the country of the Philistines, and a few months after Saul’s death, would make up the 10 years necessary to bring him to the age of 30.
2Sa 5:4 David was thirty years old when he began reign,…. Over Judah, which was the age of his antitype Christ, when he entered upon his public ministry, Luk_3:23,
and he reigned forty years; and six months, as appears by 2Sa_5:5; but the months are not mentioned, only the round number of years given: two reasons the Jews (a) give for this; the one, that he fled six months from Absalom; the other is, that he was ill in Hebron so long, and therefore are not reckoned.
(a) Hieron. Trad. Heb. in lib. Reg. fol. 77. I.
2Sa 5:5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months,…. So long the kingdom of Israel continued in the house of Saul after his death; and by this it appears that David was near thirty eight years of age when the elders of Israel came and made him their king:
and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah; which in all made forty years and six months, see 1Ki_2:11; upon his being made king over all the tribes, as soon as he had taken the strong hold of Zion, which he immediately attacked, as follows, he removed the seat of his kingdom from Hebron to Jerusalem.
2Sa 5:6 And the king and his men went to Jerusalem,…. Which, at least part of it, belonged to the tribe of Benjamin; and therefore until all Israel, and that tribe, with the rest, made him king, he did not attempt the reduction of it, but now he immediately set out on an expedition against it:
unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: who inhabited the country about it, and even dwelt in that itself; for the tribe of Judah could not drive them out at first from that part of it which belonged to them, nor the tribe of Benjamin from that part which was theirs; in short, they became so much masters of it, that it was called, even in later times, Jebus, and the city of the Jebusites; see Jos_15:63 Jdg_1:21,
which spake unto David; when he came up against them, and besieged them:
except thou take away the blind and lame, thou shalt not come in hither; which many understand of their idols and images, which had eyes, but saw not, and feet, but walked not, which therefore David and his men in derision called the blind and lame; these the Jebusites placed for the defence of their city, and put great confidence in them for the security of it, and therefore said to David, unless you can remove these, which you scornfully call the blind and the lame, you will never be able to take the place. And certain it is the Heathens had their tutelar gods for their cities as well as their houses, in which they greatly trusted for their safety; and therefore with the Romans, when they besieged a city, the first thing they attempted to do was by any means, as by songs particularly, to get the tutelar gods out of it (b); believing otherwise it would never be taken by them; or if it could, it was not lawful to make the gods captives (c): and to this sense most of the Jewish commentators agree, as Kimchi, Jarchi, Ben Gersom, and R. Isaiah, who take them to be images; some say, made of brass, which were placed either in the streets of the city, or on the towers: it was usual with all nations to place on their walls both their household and country gods, to defend them from the enemy (d). A learned countryman of ours (e) is of opinion that these were statues or images talismanically made, under a certain constellation, by some skilful in astrology, placed in the recess of the fort, and intrusted with the keeping of it, and in which the utmost confidence was put: but it seems better with Aben Ezra and Abarbinel, and so Josephus (f), to understand this of blind and lame men; and that the sense is, that the Jebusites had such an opinion of the strength of their city, that a few blind and lame men were sufficient to defend it against David and his army; and perhaps in contempt of him placed some invalids, blind and lame men, on the walls of it, and jeeringly told him, that unless he could remove them, he would never take the city:
thinking: or “saying” (g); this was the substance of what they said, or what they meant by it:
David cannot come in hither; it is impossible for him to enter it, he cannot and shall not do it, and very probably these words were put into the mouths of the blind and lame, and they said them frequently.
(b) Vid. Valtrinum de re militar. Rom. l. 5. c. 5. (c) Vid. Macrob. Saturnal. l. 3. c. 9. Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 6. c. 4. (d) Cornel. Nepot. Vit. Themistocl. l. 2. c. 7. (e) Gregory’s Notes and Observations, &c. ch. 7. (f) Antiqu. l. 7. c. 3. sect. 1. (g) לאמר “dicendo”, Pagninus, Montanus.
2Sa 5:6 Land. This was the only canton which the infidels still retained, as they had still possession of the citadel of Jebus, (Calmet) though the Israelites had been in the country above 400 years. (Kennicott) — Nothing could reflect greater glory on the beginning of David’s reign, than the seizing of this place, (Calmet) which was deemed so impregnable, that the Jebusites thought the blind and the lame were sufficient to defend it. (Haydock) — They placed some upon the walls, (Menochius) “despising him, on account of the strength of their walls.”
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
the stronghold of Zion — Whether Zion be the southwestern hill commonly so-called, or the peak now level on the north of the temple mount, it is the towering height which catches the eye from every quarter – “the hill fort,” “the rocky hold” of Jerusalem.
The stronghold of Zion – Or castle 1Ch_11:5, 1Ch_11:7. The ancient Zion was the hill on which the temple stood, and the castle seems to have been immediately to the north of the temple. The modern Zion lies to the southwest of the temple.
The same is the city of David – The name afterward given to it 2Sa_5:9, and by which it was known in the writer’s time.
i. e. “Whosoever will smite the Jebusites, let him reach both the lame and the blind, who are the hated of David’s soul, by the gutter or water-course, and he shall be chief.” The only access to the citadel was where the water had worn a channel (some understand a subterranean channel), and where there was, in consequence, some vegetation in the rock. Joab (see the marginal reference) took the hint, and with all the activity that had distinguished his brother Anabel 2Sa_2:18, climbed up first. The blind and the lame are either literally such, placed there in derision by the Jebusites who thought the stronghold impregnable, or they are the Jebusite garrison, so called in derision by David.
Wherefore they said … – i. e. it became a proverb (as in 1Sa_19:24). The proverb seems merely to have arisen from the blind and the lame being the hated of David’s soul, and hence, to have been used proverbially of any that were hated, or unwelcome, or disagreeable.
2Sa 5:8 And David said on that day,…. On which he took the strong hold of Zion:
whosoever getteth up to the gutter; where it is generally supposed the blind and lame were, whether images or real men: but what is meant by “Tzinnur”, we render “gutter”, is not easy to say; we follow some of the Jewish writers, who take it to be a canal, or water spout, used to carry off the water from roofs of houses into cisterns, as the word is rendered in Psa_42:7; which is the only place besides this in which it is used in Scripture; but R. Isaiah takes it to be the bar or bolt of the gate, and the sense to be, whoever got up to the gate, and got in at that, unbolting it, or breaking through it; the Targum interprets it of the tower of the city, or strong fortress, and so Abarbinel; but Jarchi says it was a ditch, agreeably to which Bochart (h) translates the words, and indeed more agreeably to the order of them;”whosoever smites the Jebusites, let him cast into the ditch (next the wall) both the blind and the lame, extremely hated by David.”But a learned modern writer (i) gives a more ingenious and probable interpretation of these words thus;”whosoever (first) smiteth the Jebusites, and through the subterraneous passages reaches the lame and the blind, &c.”and which seems to be favoured by Josephus, as he observes; who says (k), the king promised the command of the whole army to him who should δια των υποκειμενων φαραγγων, “through the subterraneous cavities”, go up to the citadel, and take it: to which I would add that the word is used in the Chaldee paraphrase of Ecc_1:7, of the several subterraneous passages, through which the rivers flow out of and reflow into the ocean: remarkable is the note of Theodoret,
“a certain Hebrew says, Aquila renders it “through a pipe”; on which, he observes, David being willing to spare the walls of the city, ordered the citizens should enter into the city by an aqueduct;”according to the Jews, there, was a cave underground, which reached from the king’s house in Jerusalem to Jericho, when it was taken by Nebuchadnezzar; See Gill on Jer_39:4; in which story there may be a mixture of fable; yet it is not improbable that there was such a subterraneous passage; since Dio Cassius (l) speaks of several such, through which the Jews made their escape in the last siege of the city:
and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind; or even the lame and the blind men the Jebusites had placed to mock David; and therefore it follows:
that are hated of David’s soul: because he was despised and jeered at by them, and through them: if these could be understood of their idols and images, the phrase would be easily accounted for, nothing being more abominable to David than idolatry:
he shall be chief and captain; these words are not in the original text here, but are supplied from 1Ch_11:6; that is, he shall be chief commander of the army, as Joab became, who was the first that went up and smote them:
wherefore they said, the blind and the lame shall not come into the house; that is, either the Jebusites said this, that their images, called in derision by David the blind and the lame, if these did not keep David out, they should never be intrusted with the safety of their fort any more (m); or rather because the blind and the lame men said this of David, he shall not come into the house, the fort, or citadel, therefore David hated them; which is the sense of the above learned writer (n).
(h) Phaleg. l. 4. c. 36. col. 304. (i) Dr. Kennicott’s Dissert. 1. p. 35. (k) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 7. c. 3. sect. 1.) (l) Hist. l. 66. (m) Gregory, ut supra. (Notes and Observations, &c. ch. 7.) (n) Dr. Kennicott, ut supra. (Dissert. 1. p. 35.)
2Sa 5:9 So David dwelt in the fort,…. The strong hold of Zion, which he took:
and called it the city of David; from his own name, to keep up the memory of his taking it, and of his habitation in it:
and David built round about, from Millo and inward; built a wall about it, and enlarged the place, increased the buildings both within and without. Millo is supposed to be a ditch round the fort, full of water, from whence it had its name; or was a large hollow place which divided the fort from the lower city, and which afterwards Solomon filled up, and made it a level, and therefore is called so here by anticipation; though Jarchi says it was done by David. According to Dr. Lightfoot (o), it was a part or Sion, or some hillock, east up against it on the west side; his first sense is best, Millo being no other than the fortress or citadel; which, as Josephus says (p), David joined to the lower city, and made them one body, and erecting walls about it made Joab superintendent of them; and this was the “round about”, or circuit, which David made, reaching from Millo, or the citadel, to that again, which is meant by “inward”, or “to the house” (q), as it should be rendered; that is, to the house of Millo, as in 2Ki_12:20; and so it is said 1Ch_11:8; that David built the city “from Millo round about”; that is, to the same place from whence he began (r).
(o) Works, vol. 2. Chorograph. Cent. c. 24. p. 25. (p) Antiqu. l. 7. c. 3. sect. 2. (q) וביתה “et ad domum”. (r) See Dr. Kennicott, ut supra, (Dissert. 1.) p. 49, &c.
Keil and Delitzsch
“David dwelt in the fort,” i.e., he selected the fort or citadel as his palace, “and called it David’s city.” David may have been induced to select the citadel of Zion as his palace, and by so doing to make Jerusalem the capital of the whole kingdom, partly by the natural strength of Zion, and partly by the situation of Jerusalem, viz., on the border of the tribes of Benjamin and Judah, and tolerably near to the centre of the land. “And David built, i.e., fortified (the city of Zion), round about from Millo and inwards.” In the Chronicles we have וְעַד־הַסָּבִיב, “and to the environs or surroundings,” i.e., to the encircling wall which was opposite to the Millo. The fortification “inwards” must have consisted in the enclosure of Mount Zion with a strong wall upon the north side, where Jerusalem joined it as a lower town, so as to defend the palace against the hostile attacks on the north or town side, which had hitherto been left without fortifications. The “Millo” was at any rate some kind of fortification, probably a large tower or castle at one particular part of the surrounding wall (comp. Jdg_9:6 with Jdg_9:46 and Jdg_9:49, where Millo is used interchangeably with Migdal). The name (“the filling”) probably originated in the fact that through this tower or castle the fortification of the city, or the surrounding wall, was filled or completed. The definite article before Millo indicates that it was a well-known fortress, probably one that had been erected by the Jebusites. With regard to the situation of Millo, we may infer from this passage, and 1Ch_11:8, that the tower in question stood at one corner of the wall, either on the north-east or north-west, “where the hill of Zion has the least elevation and therefore needed the greatest strengthening from without” (Thenius on 1Ki_9:15). This is fully sustained both by 1Ki_11:27, where Solomon is said to have closed the breach of the city of David by building (fortifying) Millo, and by 2Ch_32:5, where Hezekiah is said to have built up all the wall of Jerusalem, and made Millo strong, i.e., to have fortified it still further (vid., 1Ki_9:15 and 1Ki_9:24).
2Sa 5:11 And Hiram king of Tyre,…. This was father of that Hiram that lived in the times of Solomon, whose name was Abibalus before he took the name of Hiram, which became a common name of the kings of Tyre; his former name may be seen in the ancient historians quoted by Josephus (s); of the city of Tyre; see Gill on Isa_23:1; which was built one year before the destruction of Troy (t). This king, on hearing of David’s being acknowledged king by all Israel, and of his taking Jerusalem out of the hands of the Jebusites:
sent messengers to David; to congratulate him upon all this:
and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons; these might not be sent at first, but David intending to build himself an house, might, by the messengers on their return, request of Hiram to send him timber and workmen for that purpose; the people of Israel being chiefly employed in cultivating their fields, and vineyards, and oliveyards, and feeding their flocks and herds, few of them had any skill in hewing: timber and stone, and building houses, at least not like the Tyrians and Sidonians; see 1Ki_5:6; and accordingly he sent him cedars from Lebanon, a great part of which was in his dominions, and artificers in wood and stone, to build his house in the most elegant manner:
and they built David an house; to dwell in, a stately palace, called an house of cedar, 2Sa_7:2.
(s) Contr. Apion. l. 1. sect. 17, 18. (t) Justin e Trogo, l. 18. c. 3.
2Sa 5:12 And David perceived that the Lord had established him king over Israel,…. By the prosperity and success which attended him in everything he set his hand to:
and that he had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel’s sake; for their advantage and glory more than for his own.
When the king sat in his house – That is, when he became resident in the palace which Hiram, king of Tyre, had built for him.
And the Lord had given him rest – This was after he had defeated the Philistines, and cast them out of all the strong places in Israel which they had possessed after the overthrow of Saul; but before he had carried his arms beyond the land of Israel, against the Moabites, Syrians, and Idumeans. See 2Sa_8:1-14.
There is no indication how soon after the bringing up of the ark these things occurred, but it was probably at no long interval.
2Sa 7:2 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, 2Sa_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, 1Ch_21:29; but that which David had made for it, which consisted of curtains that were drawn around it, 2Sa_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 Deu_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.
2Sa 7:3 And Nathan said to the king, go, do till that is in thine heart,…. He perceived it was in his heart to build an house for God; he knew an house was to be built at one time or another, by some person or another; he knew it was a good work, and fit for a king to do, and might think this was a proper time any, he being at leisure, and therefore encouraged him to it: but inasmuch as the time when and the person by whom this was to be built were not pointed out particularly in the word of God, David and he should have consulted the Lord about it; in this they erred, and for which they were tacitly reproved; for, as the event shows, this was not the time when, nor David the person by whom, it was to be built. Nathan said this as a pious and good man, in a private capacity, not as a prophet, or under a spirit of prophecy; for prophets did not always speak under such an influence, but, as private men, said some things ignorantly and through mistake; see 1Sa_16:6,
for the Lord is with thee; prospering and succeeding him in all he undertook, giving him rest from all his enemies; and he might think that this motion he now made of building an house was from the Lord; the Targum is,”the Word of the Lord shall be for thine help,”
or thine helper, and shall assist thee in this work. David being thus encouraged by the prophet, his thoughts were more employed about it, and he was resolute and eager to perform it; and now it was he penned the hundred thirty second psalm, in which he expresses his oath and vow to find a place to build on, Psa_132:1.
2Sa 7:3 Thee. David did not, perhaps, consult him as a prophet; and Nathan thought that the proposal was so just, that it might be safely carried into effect. The prophets are not inspired in all their actions. Joseph was of a different opinion from his father, Genesis xlviii. 19. Samuel supposed that Eliab should have been king; (1 Kings xvi. 6,) and Eliseus confesses, that God had concealed from his the affliction of the woman with whom he lodged, 4 Kings iv. 24. (Calmet) — God afterwards sent the same Nathan to rectify his former decision, that he might not pass sentence, in future, without consulting him. (Menochius)
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
it came to pass that night, that the word of the Lord came unto Nathan — The command was given to the prophet on the night immediately following; that is, before David could either take any measures or incur any expenses.
2Sa 7:8 Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David,…. For it was taken well at his hands, in part, that it was in his heart, and he had a desire to build an house for God, though he was wrong in determining upon it without seeking the Lord; and lest he should be discouraged by the prohibition of him from building, the following things are observed to assure him it was not from disregard unto him, or displeasure at him, that he would not be employed in this service; since the Lord had given sufficient tokens of his favour to him, and with which he should be content, as having honour enough done him; it was enough that God had raised him up from a low estate to great grandeur and dignity:
thus saith the Lord of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel; for that was his employment, to keep his father’s sheep, before he was taken into Saul’s court, and married his daughter, when after his death he came to have the crown, of Israel: now this is said, not to upbraid him with his former meanness, but to observe the goodness of God unto him, and what reason he had for thankfulness, and to look upon himself as a favourite of God, who of a keeper of sheep was made a shepherd of men, to rule and feed them; so Cyrus is called a shepherd, Isa_44:28; and Agamemnon, in Homer (w), is called “the shepherd of the people”.
2Sa 7:9 And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest,…. When he went against Goliath, when he went forth against the Philistines, when in Saul’s court, when he fled from Saul, and was obliged to go to various places, God was with him protecting and preserving him, prospering and succeeding him every where, and in everything:
and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight: as Saul, and others in the land of Israel, and the Philistines, and other enemies round about him, so that he had rest from them all:
and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth; a name for a mighty king, warrior, and conqueror, such as some mighty kings and great men of the earth had obtained, and such fame, being made king over all Israel; and his success against the Jebusites had got him a name, as well as former victories he had been favoured with; on account of all which his name and fame had been spread abroad in the world, and he was reckoned as one of the greatest princes in it.
2Sa 7:10 Moreover, I will appoint a place for my people Israel,…. The land of Canaan: this the Lord had of old appointed to them, and had introduced them into and settled them in it, but not entirely and alone; in many places the Canaanites had inhabited; but now they should be expelled, and the Israelites should have the place to themselves:
and will plant them; so that they shall take root and flourish, and continue:
that they may dwell in a place of their own; and not as they dwelt in Egypt, in a land that was not theirs; or “under themselves” (x); under their own rulers and governors:
and move no more; as they did in the times of the judges, when, sinning against God, they were often delivered into their enemies’ hands, and carried captives:
neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime; when in Egypt, and in the times of the judges; all which is supposed, provided they did not depart from the Lord, but abode by his word, worship, and ordinances, and obeyed his will; for it was by their obedience they held their tenure of the land of Canaan, see Isa_1:19; or all this may respect future times, when they shall be converted to the Messiah, and return to their own land, and ever continue in it, and never more be harassed and distressed, Jer_32:41.
(x) תחתיו, “sub se”, Montanus.
2Sa 7:11 And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel,…. Before the time the judges were raised they were greatly afflicted by one nation or another around them, and between judge and judge, but now they should be no more so; here the parenthesis should end:
and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies; this belongs to David personally, and intends the same as in 2Sa_7:1,
also the Lord telleth thee, that he will make thee an house; not only build up his family, and make that numerous, but establish the house of his kingdom, as the Targum; that whereas he was desirous of building an house for God, God would build up an house for him; which would be a clear proof, that though he did not think fit to make use of him in the building of his house, yet he was not cast out of his favour, nor was it to be so interpreted by himself or others.
2Sa 7:12 I will establish his kingdom. This prophecy partly relates to Solomon; but much more to Christ, who is called the Son of David in Scripture, and the builder of the true temple, which is the Church, his everlasting kingdom, which shall never fail, nor be cast off for any iniquity of her children. (Challoner) — God passes over all the children whom David had already, 3 Kings ii. 15. The temporal kingdom was enjoyed by David’s posterity for a long time, sufficient to verify the expression for ever, as it is often used in Scripture. (Calmet) — But the spiritual kingdom of the Messias will last till the end of time, and be perfected in eternity. (Haydock) — In these predictions we must always distinguish the type from the reality. (Calmet)
The prophet, having detailed God’s past mercies to David, now passes on to direct prophecy, and that one of the most important in the O d Testament.
I will set up the seed – In one sense this mannifestly refers to Solomon, David’s successor and the builder of the temple. But we have the direct authority of Peter Act_2:30 for applying it to Christ the seed of David, and His eternal kingdom; and the title the Son of David given to the Messiah in the rabbinical writings, as well as its special application to Jesus in the New Testament, springs mainly from the acknowledged Messianic significance of this prophecy. (See also Isa_55:3; Act_13:34.)
He shall build an house … – For the fulfillment of this in the person of Solomon, see 1Ki_8:16-20. For its application to Christ, see Joh_1:12; Eph_1:20-22; 1Ti_3:15; Heb_3:6; etc.; and Zec_6:12-13.
I will stablish the throne of his kingdom forever – The words forever, emphatically twice repeated in 2Sa_7:16, show very distinctly that this prophecy looks beyond the succession of the kings of Judah of the house of David, and embraces the throne of Christ according to the Angel’s interpretation given in Luk_1:31-33, where the reference to this passage cannot be mistaken. This is also brought out fully in Psa_89:29, Psa_89:36-37. See also Dan_7:13-14; Isa_9:6-7; Jer_23:5-6; Jer_33:14-21; Eze_34:24; Zec_12:7-8; Hos_3:5, etc.
Keil and Delitzsch
No definite reason is assigned why David himself was not to build the temple. We learn this first of all from David’s last words (1Ch_28:3), in which he says to the assembled heads of the nation, “God said to me, Thou shalt not build a house for my name, because thou art a man of wars, and hast shed blood.” Compare with this the similar words of David to Solomon in 1Ch_22:8, and Solomon’s statement in his message to Hiram, that David had been prevented from building the temple in consequence of his many wars. It was probably not till afterwards that David was informed by Nathan what the true reason was. As Hengstenberg has correctly observed, the fact that David was not permitted to build the temple on account of his own personal unworthiness, did not involve any blame for what he had done; for David stood in a closer relation to the Lord than Solomon did, and the wars which he waged were wars of the Lord (1Sa_25:28) for the maintenance and defence of the kingdom of God. But inasmuch as these wars were necessary and inevitable, they were practical proofs that David’s kingdom and government were not yet established, and therefore that the time for the building of the temple had not yet come, and the rest of peace was not yet secured. The temple, as the symbolical representation of the kingdom of God, as also to correspond to the nature of that kingdom, and shadow forth the peace of the kingdom of God. For this reason, David, the man of war, was not to build the temple; but that was to be reserved for Solomon, the man of peace, the type of the Prince of Peace (Isa_9:5).
2Sa 7:14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son,…. That is, I will be as kind unto him, and careful of him, as a father of a son; or he shall be, and appear to be my son, by adopting grace, as no doubt Solomon was, notwithstanding all his failings. This is applied to Christ, the antitypical Solomon, who was, in an higher sense, the Son of God, even by natural and eternal generation; see Heb_1:5,
if he commit iniquity; which cannot be supposed of Christ; for though he was made sin by imputation, he neither knew nor did any, but may be supposed of his spiritual offspring, whom he represented as an head and surety, as of Solomon, who committed many sins and transgressions:
I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men; either with men themselves, as Hadad the Edomite, Rezon the son of Eliadah, and Jeroboam the son of Nebat, by all whom he was afflicted and distressed, after he felt into idolatry, 1Ki_11:14; or with such rods and stripes as men correct their children with, not to destroy them, but to chastise them for their good; and so the phrases denote humane, kind, gentle, moderate corrections given in love, and which answer some good purposes.
I will be his father … – In marginal reference the equivalent expressions are applied to David. In Heb_1:5, this text is applied to Christ. But in 1Ch_17:13; 1Ch_22:9-10; 1Ch_28:6, it is expressly appropriated to Solomon.
With the rod of men … – i. e. such a chastisement as men inflict upon their children, to correct and reclaim them, not to destroy them. The whole clause is omitted in 1Ch_17:13.
But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul – His house shall be a lasting house, and he shall die in the throne of Israel, his children succeeding him; and the spiritual seed, Christ, possessing and ruling in that throne to the end of time.
The family of Saul became totally extinct; the family of David remained till the incarnation. Joseph and Mary were both of that family; Jesus was the only heir to the kingdom of Israel; he did not choose to sit on the secular throne, he ascended the spiritual throne, and now he is exalted to the right hand of God, a Prince and a Savior, to give repentance and remission of sins. See the observations at the end of the chapter, 2Sa_7:25 (note).
Many have applied these verses and their parallels to support the doctrine of unconditional final perseverance; but with it the text has nothing to do; and were we to press it, because of the antitype, Solomon, the doctrine would most evidently be ruined, for there is neither proof nor evidence of Solomon’s salvation.
2Sa 7:16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee,…. That is, both his family and his government should be perpetuated, or he should always have one of his family to sit upon his throne; the accomplishment of which, in the beginning of it, he saw with his eyes in his son Solomon, and with an eye of faith in his greater Son the Messiah, in whom only these words will have their complete fulfilment; and so Abarbinel says this vision or prophecy is explained by some of the days of the Messiah; and this house and kingdom, in 1Ch_17:14; are called by the Lord “my” house, and “my” kingdom:
thy throne shall be established for ever; which is a repetition of the same in other words for the confirmation of it.
Keil and Delitzsch
“According to all these words … did Nathan speak unto David,” i.e., he related the whole to David, just as God had addressed it to him in the night. The clause in apposition, “according to all this vision,” merely introduces a more minute definition of the peculiar form of the revelation. God spoke to Nathan in a vision which he had in the night, i.e., not in a dream, but in a waking condition, and during the night; for חִזָּיֹון = חָזֹון is constantly distinguished from חֲלֹום, a revelation in a dream.
2Sa 7:17 According to all these words, and according to all this vision,…. All the words of this prophecy, just as they were delivered to Nathan, were exactly expressed by him; he did not vary from them in the least, but with the greatest faithfulness related them:
so did Nathan speak unto David; though in the part which related to the history of the house of God, it was contrary to the advice which he had given; but he was not ashamed to retract his sense, when he was made acquainted with the mind of God.
2Sa 7:18 Then went King David in,…. Into the tabernacle where the ark was, which he had prepared for it, 2Sa_6:17,
and sat before the Lord; before the ark, the symbol of his presence, and prayed, and gave thanks, as follows: from whence it appears that a sitting posture was sometimes used in prayer, of which we have other instances, Exo_17:11. It is said (y) that Pythagoras, and also Numa, ordered that worshippers should sit. So that this act of devotion is not to be limited to any particular posture, though it seems most agreeable either to stand or kneel; and the Jews look upon this to be a peculiar case, and infer from hence that none were allowed to sit in the court but the kings of the house of Judah (z); and some of them (a) will not allow that to them, since the seraphim above are even said to stand, Isa_6:2; and suppose the meaning of this to be only that David supported himself in the court; and some render the words, “he remained before the Lord” (b); he continued in meditation, prayer, and thanksgiving, and such like acts of devotion, for a considerable time; so the Targum, in 1Ch_17:16.”King David came and continued in prayer before the Lord:”
and he said, who am I, O Lord God? a creature, a sinful creature, a mean and unworthy one, undeserving of a place in the house of God, and of access unto him, and to receive any favour from him, less than the least of all saints, less than the least of all mercies:
and what is my house: or family of which he was, the family of Jesse; for though it sprung from a prince in Israel, yet was but low and mean, in comparison of some others, and especially unworthy of the regard of the great God:
that thou hast brought me hitherto? to such grandeur and dignity, as to be king over all Israel and Judah, to have all his enemies subdued under him, and to be at peace and rest from them, and established in his kingdom; and which he signifies the Lord alone had brought him to, through many difficulties and tribulations, and which he could never have attained unto by his own wisdom and power, nor by the assistance of his friends; it was all the Lord’s doing, and wondrous in his eyes.
(y) Vid. D. Herbert. de Cherbury de Relig. Gent. c. 7. p. 65. (z) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 69. 2. Maimon & Bartenor. in Misn. Yoma, c. 7. sect. 1. (a) Midrash in Abarbinel in loc. (b) וישב “et mansit”, Vatablus.
Sat before the Lord – In the tent where the ark was. Standing or kneeling was the usual attitude of prayer (1Ki_8:22, 1Ki_8:54-55; but compare Exo_17:12). Modern commentators mostly take the word here in the sense of waiting, abiding, not sitting: but sat is the natural rendering. David sat down to meditate, and then rose up to pray.
2Sa 7:19 And this was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord God,…. This of raising him to the throne, and settling him on it, was but a small thing in comparison of what he promised to do for him and his:
but thou hast spoken also of thy servant’s house for a great while to come; since he had not only spoken of a son that should succeed him in the kingdom, but that he would make him an house, and establish his kingdom; yea, that the throne of his kingdom should be established for ever, that a race of kings should spring from him, and especially the King Messiah, of whose kingdom there would be no end; and so the Targum,”thou hast spoken of the house of thy servant unto the world to come,”a phrase often used by the Jews for the times of the Messiah; see Heb_2:5; and so Abarbinel thinks this clause has respect to Messiah the son of David:
and is this the manner of man, O Lord God? to bestow their favours on their inferiors, persons of no worth and merit, and is a profuse manner? it is not; and yet to one so much below thee, and so undeserving, hast thou most largely and liberally given such great and unmerited mercies: or is it the manner, or customary to deal thus with men mean and abject, though it may with great personages that make a great figure in the world? it is not: and yet I am regarded by thee as if I was one of the greatest monarchs on earth: this sense agrees with the parallel text in 1Ch_17:17; “and hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree”; or, “this is the law”, or “doctrine of the man who is the Lord God” (c). This doctrine contained in the promise now made respects the seed of the woman, the promised Shiloh, the illustrious man, Jehovah’s fellow, the incarnate God, the Messiah, who is Jehovah our righteousness, the true God and eternal life.
(c) So Luther and Osiander; or “this is the delineation of the man who is the Lord”, &c. So Hiller. Onomastic. Sacr. p. 447.
2Sa 7:20 And what can David say more unto thee,…. In a way of self-abasement, or in thankfulness for such wonderful favours, or in prayer for more and other mercies; he wants words, as if he should say, to express his sense of his own nothingness and unworthiness, and to praise the Lord for all his benefits; and so large are the grants and promises made, that there is no room for him to ask for more:
for thou, Lord God, knowest thy servant; what a sense he has of his own meanness and vileness, what gratitude his heart is filled with, and what his wants and necessities are, which God only can supply, and does abundantly, even more than he is able to ask or think. The Targum is,”and thou hast performed the petition of thy servant, O Lord God.”
2Sa 7:20 NET. What more can David say to you? You have given your servant special recognition, O LORD God!
2Sa 7:21 For thy word’s sake,…. For the sake of the promise he had made to him by Samuel, that he should be king, and his kingdom should be established; or for the sake of the Messiah, that should spring from him; the Memra, as the Targum, the essential Word of God; and so the Septuagint version, “because of thy servant”, with which agrees the parallel text in 1Ch_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.
2Sa 7:23 And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel,…. For the knowledge and worship of the true God among them, for laws and or given them, and for blessings of goodness bestowed upon them:
whom God went to redeem for a people to himself; the words are plural, “whom the gods went to redeem”; the Targum is,”they that were sent from the Lord,”meaning Moses and Aaron, of whom Jarchi interprets them, of the first of which it is said, “I have made thee a god unto Pharaoh”, Exo_7:1; but Kimchi and R. Isaiah understand it of the true God, only suppose, as the former, that the plural expression is used for the sake of honour and glory; whereas, no doubt, respect is had to the three divine Persons in the Trinity, who were all concerned in the redemption of Israel, see Isa_63:9, where mention is made of the Lord, and of the Angel of his presence, and of his holy Spirit, as engaged therein:
and to make him a name; either to get himself a name, and honour and glory in the world, to show forth his power and might, as well as his mercy and goodness, or to make his people famous, great, and glorious in the earth:
and to do for you great things and terrible; as he did in the land of Ham, at the Red sea, and in the wilderness, and in the land of Canaan, great things for his people, and terrible ones to their enemies:
for thy land; which is either spoken to God, whose was the land of Israel, and which he had chosen to dwell in, and had given to his people; or else to Israel, to whom the grant of this land was made, and who were put into the possession of it:
before thy people which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt: that is, the great and terrible things were done in their sight, when they were redeemed from the bondage of Egypt, see Psa_78:12,
from the nations, and their gods? meaning, that they were redeemed not only from Egypt, but the nations of the Canaanites were driven out before them; nor could their idols save them, but destruction came upon them as upon the gods of the Egyptians: some leave out the supplement “from”, and interpret this of the persons redeemed, even of the nations and tribes of Israel, and their great men, their rulers and civil magistrates, sometimes called gods.
2Sa 7:24 For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee for ever,…. So long as they were obedient to him, and observed his laws and statutes, and abode by his worship and ordinances, otherwise he would write a “loammi” on them, as he has, see Hos_1:9,
and thou, Lord, art become their God; their covenant God, they having avouched him to be their God, and he having avouched them to be his people, Deu_26:17.
2Sa 7:25 And now, O Lord God,…. From confessions of unworthiness, and of the goodness of God, and a recital of favours conferred on him and the people of Israel, David proceeds to petitions:
the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever: he prays for the sure performance of the promise of God respecting himself and his family, and the stability and perpetual continuance of the kingdom in it, and has, no doubt, a special regard to the Messiah, the promised seed that should spring from him:
and do as thou hast said: for though God had purposed and promised to do those several things, and would do them, yet it was expected by him, and it was right in David to pray for the performance of them; see Eze_36:37.
2Sa 7:26 And let thy name be magnified for ever,…. David desired the performance of the above things not so much for his own sake, and for the sake of his family, as for the glory of God; his great concern was, that God might be magnified, and his greatness displayed, in making him and his family great; and particularly that he might be magnified and glorified in that famous Son of his, the Messiah, as he has been, Joh_13:31; and by all his people in succeeding ages:
saying, the Lord of hosts is the God over Israel; the Lord of armies above and below, is God over all, and in a special and peculiar manner God over Israel, literal and spiritual, that takes care of them, supplies, protects, and defends them:
and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee; as he had promised, 2Sa_7:16.
2Sa 7:27 For thou, O Lord of hosts, God of Israel,…. As he is called in 2Sa_7:26,
hast revealed to thy servant; which he otherwise could not have known:
saying, I will build thee an house; see 2Sa_7:11,
therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee; found his heart disposed to this service, or found freedom and boldness in him to put up this prayer to God; what encouraged and emboldened him to do it was the gracious promise of God, that he would build up his family, and establish his kingdom; or otherwise he could not have taken such liberty, and used such boldness with God in prayer, as to have requested it of him.
2Sa 7:28 And now, O Lord God, thou art that God,…. Who is the Lord of hosts, and the God of Israel, that has promised and is able to perform, and is faithful to his promise:
and thy words be true; are truly, punctually, and faithfully performed, never fail:
and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant; concerning building and establishing his house. David repeats this promise as being greatly affected with it, and fully assured of the performance of it.
2Sa 7:29 Now therefore let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant,…. Not according to the merits of him or his family, but according to the sovereign will and pleasure of God; the Targum is, begin and bless; let the promised blessings begin to descend, that there may be some appearance of the performance of the promise, which may give encouragement that the whole will be fulfilled:
that it may continue for ever before thee; under his care and protection:
for thou, O Lord God, hast spoken it; whose words never fall to the ground, but have a sure accomplishment:
and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever; even both with temporal and spiritual blessedness.