1 Chronicles 17

God Makes a Promise to David

When David had settled into his palace,
Heb “house.”
Heb “David.” The pronoun “he” has been used in the translation here to avoid redundancy in keeping with contemporary English style.
said to Nathan the prophet, “Look, I am living in a palace
Heb “house.”
made from cedar, while the ark of the Lord’s covenant is under a tent.”
Heb “tent curtains.”
Nathan said to David, “You should do whatever you have in mind,
Heb “all which is in your heart.”
for God is with you.”

That night God told Nathan the prophet,
Heb “the word of God was [i.e., came] to Nathan the prophet.”
“Go, tell my servant David: ‘This is what the Lord says: “You must not build me a house in which to live. For I have not lived in a house from the time I brought Israel up from Egypt
The words “from Egypt” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
to the present day. I have lived in a tent that has been in various places.
Heb “and I was from tent to tent and from tabernacle.” The words אֶל־מִשְּׁכָּן (’el-mishekan, “to tabernacle”) should probably be added at the end of the sentence to complete this prepositional phrase and produce symmetry with the preceding prepositional phrase. The words probably fell from the text by homoioteleuton.
I have lived in a tent that has been in various places. The point here is that the Lord moved with the tabernacle as it moved from place to place; he did not confine himself to a particular location.
Wherever I moved throughout Israel, I did not say
In the Hebrew text the statement is phrased as a rhetorical question (“Did I say?”) meaning “I did not say.”
to any of the leaders whom I appointed to care for my people Israel,
Heb “to one of the judges of Israel whom I commanded to shepherd my people.”
‘Why have you not built me a house made from cedar?’”’

“So now, say this to my servant David: ‘This is what the Lord who commands armies
Traditionally, “Lord of hosts.”
says: “I took you from the pasture and from your work as a shepherd
Heb “and from after sheep.”
to make you a leader of my people Israel.
I was with you wherever you went and I defeated
Heb “cut off.”
all your enemies before you. Now I will make you as famous as the great men of the earth.
Heb “and I will make for you a name like the name of the great men who are in the earth.”
I will establish a place for my people Israel and settle
Heb “plant.”
them there; they will live there and not be disturbed
Heb “shaken.”
anymore. Violent men will not oppress them again, as they did in the beginning
Heb “and sons of violence will no longer consume them as in the beginning.”
10 and during the time when I appointed judges to lead my people Israel. I will subdue all your enemies.

“‘“I declare to you that the Lord will build a dynastic house
Here the word “house” is used in a metaphorical sense, referring to a royal dynasty. The Lord’s use of the word here plays off the literal sense that David had in mind as he contemplated building a temple (“house”) for the Lord. In the translation the adjective “dynastic” is supplied to indicate that the term is used metaphorically.
for you!
11 When the time comes for you to die,
Heb “and it will be when your days are full to go with your ancestors.”
I will raise up your descendant,
Heb “your seed.”
one of your own sons, to succeed you, and I will establish his kingdom.
12 He will build me a house, and I will make his dynasty permanent.
Heb “and I will establish his throne permanently.”
13 I will become his father and he will become my son. I will never withhold my loyal love from him, as I withheld it from the one who ruled before you.
The one who ruled before you is a reference to Saul, from whom the kingdom was taken and given to David.
14 I will put him in permanent charge of my house and my kingdom; his dynasty will be permanent.”’”
Heb “and his throne will be established permanently.”
15 Nathan told David all these words that were revealed to him.
Heb “according to all these words and according to all this revelation, so Nathan said to David.”

David Praises God

16  David went in, sat before the Lord, and said: “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family,
Heb “house.”
that you should have brought me to this point?
17 And you did not stop there, O God! You have also spoken about the future of your servant’s family.
Heb “and this was small in your eyes, O God, so you spoke concerning the house of your servant for a distance.”
You have revealed to me what men long to know,
The translation “You have revealed to me what men long to know” is very tentative; the meaning of the Hebrew text is unclear. The text appears to read literally, “and you see me like the searching of man, that which is upward,” which is nonsensical. The translation above assumes the following: (1) The Qal verb translated “you see me” is repointed as a Hiphil, “you showed me,” (2) תּוֹר (tor) is understood in the sense of “searching, exploring,” and (3) הַמַּעֲלָה (hammaalah) is taken in a temporal sense of “that which lies beyond.” Thus one could translate, “you have shown me what men search for, what lies beyond.”
O Lord God.
18 What more can David say
The word “say” is supplied in the translation for clarification.
to you? You have honored your servant; you have given your servant special recognition.
Heb “for honoring your servant, and you, your servant, know.”
19 O Lord, for the sake of your servant and according to your will,
Heb “heart.”
you have done this great thing in order to reveal your greatness.
Heb “to make known all the great deeds.”
20 O Lord, there is none like you; there is no God besides you! What we heard is true!
The Hebrew text reads literally, “in all which we heard with our ears,” but בְּכֹל (bekhol, “in all”) should probably be emended to כְּכֹל (kekhol, “according to all”).
21 And who is like your people, Israel, a unique nation
Heb “a nation, one.”
in the earth? Their God
Heb “whose God,” or “because God.” In the Hebrew text this clause is subordinated to what precedes. The clauses are separated in the translation for stylistic reasons.
went to claim
Heb “redeem” or “deliver.”
a nation for himself! You made a name for yourself by doing great and awesome deeds
Heb “to make for yourself a name [with] great and awesome [deeds].”
when you drove out
Heb “to drive out.”
nations before your people whom you had delivered from the Egyptian empire and its gods.
Heb “from Egypt, nations.” The parallel text in 2 Sam 7:23 reads “from Egypt, nations and its gods.”
22 You made Israel your very own nation for all time.
Heb “and you made your people Israel your own for a people permanently.”
You, O Lord, became their God.
23 So now, O Lord, may the promise you made about your servant and his family become a permanent reality!
Heb “and now, O Lord, the word which you spoke concerning your servant and concerning his house, may it be established permanently.”
Do as you promised,
Heb “as you have spoken.”
24 so
Following the imperative in v. 23b, the prefixed verbal form with vav (ו) conjunctive indicates purpose/result: “so it might become a reality.”
it may become a reality
Heb “so it might be established.”
and you may gain lasting fame,
Heb “and your name might be great permanently.” Following the imperative in v. 23b, the prefixed verbal form with vav conjunctive indicates purpose/result (parallel to the previous purpose/result clause): “[so]…you might gain lasting fame.”
as people say,
Heb “saying.” The words “as people” are supplied in the translation for clarification and for stylistic reasons.
‘The Lord who commands armies is the God of Israel.’
Heb “the Lord who commands armies [traditionally, the Lord of hosts], the God of Israel, Israel’s God.” The phrases אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל (’elohey yisrael, “God of Israel”) and אֱלֹהִים לְיִשְׂרָאֵל (’elohim leyisrael, “Israel’s God”) are probably alternative readings that have been conflated in the text.
David’s dynasty
Heb “the house of David.”
will be established before you,
25 for you, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a dynasty
Heb “house.”
for him. That is why your servant has had the courage to pray to you.
Heb “That is why your servant found to pray before you.” Perhaps the phrase אֶת לִבּוֹ (’et libbo, “his heart”) should be supplied as the object of the verb “found.”
26 Now, O Lord, you are the true God;
Heb “the God.” The article indicates uniqueness here.
you have made this good promise to your servant.
Heb “and you have spoken to your servant this good thing.”
27 Now you are willing to bless your servant’s dynasty
Heb “house.”
so that it may stand permanently before you, for you, O Lord, have blessed it and it will be blessed from now on into the future.”
Heb “for you, O Lord, have blessed and [it is] blessed permanently.”

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