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Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies;
There is no indication how soon after the bringing up of the ark these things occurred, but it was probably at no long interval.
2That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.
Nathan the prophet - Here first mentioned, but playing an important part afterward (e. g. 2 Samuel 12:1; 1 Kings 1:10; 1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29). From the two last passages it appears that he wrote the history of David's reign, and a part at least of Solomon's. His distinctive title is the prophet, that of Gad the seer (compare 1 Samuel 9:9). He was probably nuch younger than David. In 2 Samuel 7:3, he spoke his own private opinion; in 2 Samuel 7:4, this was corrected by the word of the Lord.
3And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee.
4And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying,
5Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?
6Whereas 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.
Have walked - Implying the frequent moving of the tabernacle, in the times of the Judges, as opposed to a settled resting in one place. The word tent, refers especially to the outward covering of skins, etc.: the tabernacle denotes the framework of beards and bars. Observe the constant reference to the Exodus and to the details as given in the books of Moses.
7In 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?
The tribes of Israel - The duplicate passage reads judges (see margin and compare 2 Samuel 7:11). But a comparison with such passages as Psalm 78:67-68; 1 Kings 8:16; and 1 Chronicles 28:4, favors the reading "tribes," and the phrase is a condensed one, the meaning of which is, that whatever tribe had in times past supplied the ruler of Israel, whether Ephraim in the days of Joshua, or Benjamin in the time of Saul, or Judah in that of David, God had never required any of these tribes to build a house in one of their cities.
An house of cedar - See 1 Kings 7:2-3; 1 Kings 10:17, 1 Kings 10:21; Jeremiah 22:14, Jeremiah 22:23. Beams of cedar marked a costly building. The cedar of Lebanon is a totally different tree from what we improperly call the red or Virginian cedar, which supplies the sweet-scented cedar wood, and is really a kind of juniper. The cedar of Lebanon is a close-grained, light-colored, yellowish wood, with darker knots and veins.
8Now 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:
9And 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.
10Moreover 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,
Moreover I will appoint ... - It should be: And I have appointed a place, etc., and have planted them, etc. This was already done by the consolidation of David's kingdom. The contrast between this and 2 Samuel 7:11 is that of the troubled, unsettled times of the Judges and the frequent servitudes of Israel in those times, with the settled prosperity and independence of the kingdom of David and Solomon.
11And 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.
12And 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.
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 Acts 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 Isaiah 55:3; Acts 13:34.)
13He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
He shall build an house ... - For the fulfillment of this in the person of Solomon, see 1 Kings 8:16-20. For its application to Christ, see John 1:12; Ephesians 1:20-22; 1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 3:6; etc.; and Zechariah 6:12-13.
I will stablish the throne of his kingdom forever - The words forever, emphatically twice repeated in 2 Samuel 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 Luke 1:31-33, where the reference to this passage cannot be mistaken. This is also brought out fully in Psalm 89:29, Psalm 89:36-37. See also Daniel 7:13-14; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Jeremiah 33:14-21; Ezekiel 34:24; Zechariah 12:7-8; Hosea 3:5, etc.
14I 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 be his father ... - In marginal reference the equivalent expressions are applied to David. In Hebrews 1:5, this text is applied to Christ. But in 1 Chronicles 17:13; 1 Chronicles 22:9-10; 1 Chronicles 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 1 Chronicles 17:13.
15But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
My mercy shall not depart ... - Hence, Isaiah's saying, the sure mercies of David Isaiah 55:3, i. e. unfailing, lasting mercies: mercies which are like streams of water that never dry up Isaiah 33:16; Jeremiah 15:18. This is explained in 2 Samuel 7:16, where the word established is the same word as is rendered sure in Isaiah.
Before thee - Before Me is probably the true reading in 2 Samuel 7:15-16 (if the rest of the text be sound), according to the analogy of Jeremiah 35:19; 1 Samuel 2:30, 1 Samuel 2:35; and many other places; whereas the idea contained in the reading, before thee, is unparalleled. But the reading in 1 Chronicles 17:13 is quite different: "As I took it from him that was before thee," meaning Saul, which gives a very good sense, and suggests that the text here may have been corrupted.
16And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
17According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.
18Then 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 before the Lord - In the tent where the ark was. Standing or kneeling was the usual attitude of prayer (1 Kings 8:22, 1 Kings 8:54-55; but compare Exodus 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.
19And 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?
Is this the manner of man - Compare 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.
20And what can David say more unto thee? for thou, Lord GOD, knowest thy servant.
21For thy word's sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them.
22Wherefore 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.
23And 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?
The nations and their gods - i e. the people and the idols of Canaan.
24For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee for ever: and thou, LORD, art become their God.
25And 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.
26And 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.
27For 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.
Therefore hath thy servant found in his heart ... - The promises of God are the true guide to the prayers of His people. We may dare to ask anything, how great soever it may be, which God has promised to give. In this and the two following verses David expresses the same wonder at the riches of God's grace, and the same expectation founded on that grace, which Paul does. in such passages as Ephesians 1:5-7; Ephesians 2:7, etc. marginal references.
28And now, O Lord GOD, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant:
29Therefore 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.