2 Samuel 7


David consults the prophet Nathan about building a temple for

the Lord, and is encouraged by him to do it, 1-3.

That night Nathan receives a revelation from God, stating that

Solomon, not David, should build the temple, 4-16.

Nathan delivers the Divine message, and David magnifies God for

his mercies, and makes prayer and supplication, 17-29.


Verse 1. When the king sat in his house] That is, when he became

resident in the palace which Hiram, king of Tyre, had built for


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.

Verse 2. I dwell in a house of cedar] That is, a house whose

principal beams, ceiling, and wainscot, were cedar.

Dwelleth within curtains.] Having no other residence but the

tabernacle, which was a place covered with the skins of beasts,

Ex 26:14.

Verse 3. Nathan said to the king] In this case he gave his

judgment as a pious and prudent man, not as a prophet; for the

prophets were not always under a Divine afflatus; it was only at

select times they were thus honoured.

For the Lord is with thee.] Thou hast his blessing in all that

thou doest, and this pious design of thine will most certainly

meet with his approbation.

Verse 5. Shalt thou build me a house] That is, Thou shalt not:

this is the force of the interrogative in such a case.

Verse 7. With any of the tribes] "Spake I a word to any of the

JUDGES" is the reading in the parallel place, 1Ch 17:6, and this

is probably the true reading. Indeed, there is but one letter of

difference between them, and letters which might be easily

mistaken for each other: shibtey, tribes, is almost the same

in appearance with shophetey, judges; the beth

and the pe being the same letter, the apex under the upper

stroke of the pe excepted. If this were but a little effaced in

a MS., it would be mistaken for the other, and then we should have

tribes instead of judges. This reading seems confirmed by

2Sa 7:11.

Verse 10. I will appoint a place] I have appointed a place, and

have planted them. See the observations at the end.

See Clarke on 2Sa 7:25.

Verse 11. The Lord-will make thee a house.] Thou hast in thy

heart to make me a house; I have it in my heart to make thee a

house: thy family shall be built up, and shall prosper in the

throne of Israel; and thy spiritual posterity shall remain for

ever. God is the author of all our holy purposes, as well as of

our good works, he first excites them; and if we be workers

together with him, he will crown and reward them as though they

were our own, though he is their sole author.

Verse 13. He shall build] That is, Solomon shall build my

temple, not thou, because thou hast shed blood abundantly, and

hast made great wars. See 1Ch 22:8; and see also the observations

at the end. See Clarke on 2Sa 7:25.

The throne of his kingdom for ever.] This is a reference to the

government of the spiritual kingdom, the kingdom of the Messiah,

agreeably to the predictions of the prophet long after, and by

which this passage is illustrated: "Of the increase of his

government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of

David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it,

with judgment and with justice, from henceforth even FOR EVER."

Isa 9:7.

Verse 14. If he commit iniquity] Depart from the holy

commandment delivered to him; I will chasten him with the rod of

men-he shall have affliction, but his government shall not be

utterly subverted. But this has a higher meaning. See the

observations at the end. See Clarke on 2Sa 7:25.

Verse 15. 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 Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins. See the

observations at the end of the chapter. See Clarke on 2Sa 7:25.

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.

Verse 18. Sat before the Lord] Sometimes, when a Hindoo seeks a

favour from a superior, he sits down in his presence in silence;

or if he solicits some favour of a god, as riches, children, &c.,

he places himself before the idol, and remains in a waiting

posture, or repeats the name of the god, counting the beads in his


Verse 19. And is this the manner of man] Literally: And this, O

Lord God, is the law of Adam. Does he refer to the promise made to

Adam, The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent?

From my line shall the Messiah spring, and be the spiritual and

triumphant King, for ever and ever. See the additions at the end.

See Clarke on 2Sa 7:25.

Verse 20. What can David say more] How can I express my endless

obligation to thee?

Verse 25. And do as thou hast said.] David well knew that all

the promises made to himself and family were conditional; and

therefore he prays that they may be fulfilled. His posterity did

not walk with God, and therefore they were driven from the throne.

It was taken from them by the neighbouring nations, and it is now

in the hands of the Mohammedans; all the promises have failed to

David and his natural posterity, and to Christ and his spiritual

seed alone are they fulfilled. Had David's posterity been

faithful, they would, according to the promises of God, have been

sitting on the Israelitish throne at this day.

IT is worthy of remark how seldom God employs a soldier in any

spiritual work, just for the same reason as that given to David;

and yet there have been several eminently pious men in the army,

who have laboured for the conversion of sinners. I knew a

remarkable instance of this; I was acquainted with Mr. John Haime,

a well known preacher among the people called Methodists. He was a

soldier in the queen's eighth regiment of dragoons, in Flanders,

in the years 1739-46. He had his horse shot under him at the

battle of Fontenoy, May 11, 1745; and was in the hottest fire of

the enemy for above seven hours; he preached among his fellow

soldiers frequently, and under the immediate patronage of his

royal highness the Duke of Cumberland, commander-in-chief; and was

the means of reforming and converting many hundreds of the

soldiers. He was a man of amazing courage and resolution, and of

inflexible loyalty. One having expressed a wonder "how he could

reconcile killing men with preaching the Gospel of the grace and

peace of Christ," he answered, "I never killed a man." "How can

you tell that? were you not in several battles?" "Yes, but I am

confident I never killed nor wounded a man." "How was this? did

you not do your duty?" "Yes, with all my might; but when in

battle, either my horse jumped aside or was wounded, or was

killed, or my carbine missed fire, and I could never draw the

blood of the enemy." "And would you have done it if you could?"

"Yes, I would have slain the whole French army, had it been in my

power; I fought in a good cause, for a good king, and for my

country; and though I struck in order to cut, and hack, and hew,

on every side, I could kill no man." This is the substance of his

answers to the above questions, and we see from it a remarkable

interfering Providence; God had appointed this man to build a

spiritual house in the British army, in Flanders, and would not

permit him to shed the blood of his fellow creatures.

"This chapter is one of the most important in the Old Testament,

and yet some of its most interesting verses are very improperly

rendered in our translation; it therefore demands our most careful

consideration. And as in the course of these remarks I propose to

consider, and hope to explain, some of the prophecies descriptive

of THE MESSIAH, which were fulfilled in JESUS CHRIST, among which

prophecies that contained in this chapter is worthy of particular

attention, I shall introduce it with a general state of this great


"It having pleased God that, between the time of a Messiah being

promised and the time of his coming, there should be delivered by

the prophets a variety of marks by which the Messiah was to be

known, and distinguished from every other man; it was impossible

for any one to prove himself the Messiah, whose character did not

answer to these marks; and of course it was necessary that all

these criteria, thus Divinely foretold, should be fulfilled in

the character of Jesus Christ. That these prophetic descriptions

of the Messiah were numerous, appears from Christ and his

apostles, (Lu 24:27, 44; Ac 17:2, 3; 28:23, &c.,) who referred

the Jews to the Old Testament as containing abundant evidence of

his being THE MESSIAH, because he fulfilled all the prophecies

descriptive of that singular character. The chief of these

prophecies related to his being miraculously born of a virgin; the

time and place of his birth; the tribe and family from which

he was to descend; the miracles he was to perform; the manner of

his preaching; his humility and mean appearance; the perfect

innocence of his life; the greatness of his sufferings; the

treachery of his betrayer; the circumstances of his trial; the

nature of his death and burial; and his miraculous resurrection.

Now amongst all the circumstances which form this chain of

prophecy, the first reference made in the New Testament relates to

his descent; for the New Testament begins with asserting that

JESUS CHRIST was the son of David, the son of Abraham. As to the

descent of Christ from ABRAHAM, every one knows that Christ was

born a Jew, and consequently descended from Jacob, the grandson of

Abraham. And we all know that the promise given to Abraham

concerning the Messiah is recorded in the history of Abraham's

life, in Ge 22:18. Christ being also to descend from DAVID, there

can be no doubt that this promise, as made to David, was recorded

likewise in the history of David. It is remarkable that David's

life is given more at large than that of any other person in the

Old Testament; and can it be supposed that the historian omitted

to record that promise which was more honourable to David than any

other circumstance? The record of this promise, if written at all,

must have been written in this chapter; in the message from God by

Nathan to David, which is here inserted. Here, I am fully

persuaded, the promise was, and still is, recorded; and the chief

reason why our divines have so frequently missed it, or been so

much perplexed about it, is owing to our very improper translation

of the 10th and 14th verses. 2Sa 7:10, 14

"This wrong translation in a part of Scripture so very

interesting, has been artfully laid hold of, and expatiated upon

splendidly, by the deistical author of The Ground and Reasons of

the Christian Religion; who pretends to demonstrate that the

promise of a Messiah could not be here recorded. His reasons,

hitherto I believe unanswered, are three: 1. Because, in

2Sa 7:10, the prophet speaks of the

future prosperity of the Jews, as to be afterwards fixed, and no

more afflicted; which circumstances are totally repugnant to the

fate of the Jews, as connected with the birth and death of Christ.

2. Because the son here promised was (2Sa 7:13) to

build a house; which house, it is pretended, must mean the

temple of Solomon; and of course Solomon must be the son here

promised. And, 3. Because 2Sa 7:14 supposes that this son

might commit iniquity, which could not be supposed of the

Messiah. The first of these objections is founded on our wrong

translation of 2Sa 7:10, where the words should be expressed as

relating to the time past or present. For the prophet is there

declaring what great things God had already done for David and his

people; that he had raised David from the sheepfold to the throne;

and that he had planted the Israelites in a place of safety, at

rest from all those enemies who had so often before afflicted

them. That the verbs vesamti, and unetati, may

be rendered in the time past or present, is allowed by our own

translators; who here (2Sa 7:11) render

vahanichothi, and have caused thee to rest, and also

render vehiggid, and telleth; which construction, made

necessary here by the context, might be confirmed by other proofs

almost innumerable. The translation, therefore, should run thus:

I took thee from the sheepcote; and have made thee a great name;

and I HAVE APPOINTED a place for my people Israel; and HAVE

PLANTED them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and

move no more. Neither DO the children of wickedness afflict them

any more; as before-time, and as since the time that I commanded

judges to be over Israel: and I HAVE CAUSED thee to rest from all

thine enemies.

"Objection the second is founded on a mistake in the sense.

David indeed had proposed to build a house for God, which God did

not permit. Yet, approving the piety of David's intention, God was

pleased to reward it by promising that he would make a house for

DAVID; which house, to be thus erected by God, was certainly not

material, or made of stones, but a spiritual house, or family, to

be raised up for the honour of God, and the salvation of mankind.

And this house, which God would make, was to be built by David's

SEED; and this seed was to be raised up AFTER David slept with his

fathers; which words clearly exclude Solomon, who was set up and

placed upon the throne BEFORE David was dead. This building

promised by God, was to be erected by one of David's descendants,

who was also to be an everlasting king; and indeed the house and

the kingdom were both of them to be established forever. Now that

this house or spiritual building was to be set up, together with a

kingdom, by the Messiah, is clear from Zechariah; who very

emphatically says, (Zec 6:12, 13,)

Behold the man whose name is The Branch; HE SHALL BUILD THE

TEMPLE of the Lord. Even HE SHALL BUILD THE TEMPLE of the Lord;

and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his

THRONE, &c. Observe also the language of the New Testament. In

1Co 3:9-17, St. Paul says,

Ye are God's BUILDING-Know ye not that YE are the temple of

God-the temple of God is holy, which temple YE are. And the author

of the Epistle to the Hebrews seems to have his eye upon this very

promise in Samuel concerning a son to David, and of the house

which he should build; when he says, (Heb 3:6,)


"As to the third and greatest difficulty, that also may be

removed by a more just translation of 2Sa 7:14; for the Hebrew

words do not properly signify what they are now made to speak. It

is certain that the principal word, behaavotho, is not the

active infinitive of kal, which wouid be , but from

is in niphal, as from . It is also certain that

a verb, which in the active voice signifies to commit iniquity,

may, in the passive signify to suffer for iniquity; and hence it

is that nouns from such verbs sometimes signify iniquity,

sometimes punishment. See Lowth's Isaiah, p, 187, with many other

authorities which shall be produced hereafter. The way being thus

made clear, we are now prepared for abolishing our translation, if

he commit iniquity; and also for adopting the true one, even in

his suffering for iniquity. The Messiah, who is thus the person

possibly here spoken of, will be made still more manifest from the

whole verse thus translated: I will be his father, and he shall be

my son: EVEN IN HIS SUFFERING FOR INIQUITY, I shall chasten him

with the rod of men, (with the rod due to men,) and with the

stripes (due to) the children of ADAM. And this construction is

well supported by Isa 53:4, 5:

He hath carried OUR SORROWS, (i.e., the sorrows due to us, and

which we must otherwise have suffered,) he was wounded for our

transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the

chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we

are healed. See note, p. 479, in Hallet, on Heb 11:26. Thus,

then, God declares himself the Father of the Son here meant; (see

also Heb 1:5;) and promises that, even amidst the

sufferings of this Son, (as they would be for the sins of

others, not for his own,) his mercy should still attend him: nor

should his favour be ever removed from this king, as it had been

from Saul. And thus (as it follows) thine house (O David) and thy

kingdom shall, in Messiah, be established for ever before ME:

(before GOD:) thy throne shall be established for ever. Thus the

angel, delivering his message to the virgin mother, Lu 1:32, 33,

speaks as if he was quoting from this very prophecy: The Lord God

shall give unto him the throne of his father David, and he shall

reign over the house of Jacob FOR EVER: and of his kingdom there

shall be no end. In 2Sa 7:16,

lephaneycha, is rendered as lephanai, on the

authority of three Hebrew MSS., with the Greek and Syriac

versions; and, indeed, nothing could be established for ever in

the presence of David, but in the presence of God only.

"Having thus shown that the words fairly admit here the promise

made to David, that from his seed should arise Messiah, the

everlasting King; it may be necessary to add that, if the Messiah

be the person here meant, as suffering innocently for the sins of

others, Solomon cannot be; nor can this be a prophecy admitting

such double sense, or be applied properly to two such opposite

characters. Of whom speaketh the prophet this? of HIMSELF, or of

SOME OTHER man? This was a question properly put by the Ethiopian

treasurer, (Ac 8:34,) who never dreamed that such a description

as he was reading could relate to different persons; and Philip

shows him that the person was Jesus only. So here it may be asked,

Of whom speaketh the prophet this? of Solomon, or of Christ? It

must be answered, Of Christ: one reason is, because the

description does not agree to Solomon; and therefore Solomon being

necessarily excluded in a single sense, must also be excluded in a

double. Lastly, if it would be universally held absurd to consider

the promise of Messiah made to Abraham as relating to any other

person besides MESSIAH; why is there not an equal absurdity in

giving a double sense to the promise of Messiah thus made to


"Next to our present very improper translation, the cause of the

common confusion here has been-not distinguishing the promise here

made as to Messiah alone, from another made as to Solomon alone:

the first brought by Nathan, the second by Gad; the first

near the beginning of David's reign, the second near the end of

it; the first relating to Messiah's spiritual kingdom, everlasting

without conditions, the second relating to the fate of the

temporal kingdom of Solomon, and his heirs, depending entirely

on their obedience or rebellion, 1Ch 22:8-13; 28:7. Let the

first message be compared with this second in 1Ch 22:8-13, which

the Syriac version (at 1Ch 22:8) tells us was delivered by

a prophet, and the Arabian says by the prophet GAD. This second

message was after David's many wars, when he had shed much blood;

and it was this second message that, out of all David's sons,

appointed Solomon to be his successor. At the time of the first

message Solomon was not born; it being delivered soon after David

became king at Jerusalem: but Solomon was born at the time of this

second message. For though our translation very wrongly says,

(1Ch 22:9,)

a son SHALL BE born to thee-and his name shall be Solomon; yet

the Hebrew text expressly speaks of him as then born-Behold a son,

(, natus est,) IS BORN to thee: and therefore the words

following must be rendered, Solomon IS his name, and I will give

peace in his days: he shall build a house for my name, &c.

"From David's address to God, after receiving the message by

Nathan, it is plain that David understood the Son promised to be

THE MESSIAH: in whom his house was to be established for ever. But

the words which seem most expressive of this are in this verse now

rendered very unintelligibly: And is this the manner of man?

Whereas the words vezoth torath haadam literally

signify, and this is (or must be) the law of the man, or of

the Adam; i.e., this promise must relate to the law or ordinance

made by God to Adam, concerning the seed of the woman; the man, or

the second ADAM; as the Messiah is expressly called by St. Paul,

1Co 15:45, 47. This meaning will be yet more evident from the

parallel place, 1Ch 17:17, where the words of David are now

miserably rendered thus: And thou hast regarded me according to

the estate of a man of high degree; whereas the words

ureithani kethor haadam hammaalah literally signify,

and thou hast regarded me according to the order of the ADAM


hammaalah very remarkably signifies hereafter as to time, and from

above as to place:) and thus St. Paul, including both senses-THE

SECOND MAN is THE LORD FROM HEAVEN-and Adam is the figure of him

that was to come, or the future, Ro 5:14.-See the

Preface of the late learned Mr. Peters on Job, referred to and

confirmed as to this interesting point in a note subjoined to my

Sermon on A VIRGIN SHALL CONCEIVE, &c., P. 46-52, 8VO. 1765. A

part of that note here follows: 'The speech of David

(2Sa 7:18-29) is such as one might naturally expect from a

person overwhelmed with the greatness of the promised blessing:

for it is abrupt, full of wonder, and fraught with repetitions.

And now what can David say unto thee? What, indeed! For thou,

LORD GOD knowest thy servant-thou knowest the hearts of all men,

and seest how full my own heart is. For thy word's sake-for the

sake of former prophecies, and according to thine own heart-from

the mere motive of thy wisdom and goodness, hast thou done all

these great things, to make thy servant know them. I now perceive

the reason of those miraculous providences which have attended me

from my youth up; taken from following the sheep, and conducted

through all difficulties to be ruler of thy people; and shall I

distrust the promise now made me? Thy words be true. If the

preceding remarks on this whole passage be just and well grounded,

then may we see clearly the chief foundation of what St. Peter

tells us (Ac 2:30) concerning DAVID: that

being a prophet, and KNOWING that God had sworn with an oath to

him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he

would raise up CHRIST to sit on his throne; he, seeing this

before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, &c.'"

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