2 Samuel 7

The Lord Establishes a Covenant with David

1The king settled into his palace,
Heb “house” (also in the following verse).
for the Lord gave him relief
Or “rest.”
from all his enemies on all sides.
The translation understands the disjunctive clause in v. 1b as circumstantial-causal.
2The king said to Nathan the prophet, “Look! I am living in a palace made from cedar, while the ark of God sits in the middle of a tent.” 3Nathan replied to the king, “You should go
Several medieval Hebrew mss and the Syriac Peshitta lack this word.
and do whatever you have in mind,
Heb “all that is in your heart.”
for the Lord is with you.”
4That night the Lord told Nathan,
Heb “the word of the Lord was [i.e., came] to Nathan.”
5“Go, tell my servant David: ‘This is what the Lord says: Do you really intend to build a house for me to live in? 6I have not lived in a house from the time I brought the Israelites up from Egypt to the present day. Instead, I was traveling with them and living in a tent.
Heb “in a tent and in a dwelling.” The expression is a hendiadys, using two terms to express one idea.
7Wherever I moved among all the Israelites, I did not say
Heb “Did I speak a word?” In the Hebrew text the statement is phrased as a rhetorical question.
to any of the leaders
Heb “tribes” (so KJV, NASB, NCV), but the parallel passage in 1 Chr 17:6 has “judges.”
whom I appointed to care for
Heb “whom I commanded to shepherd” (so NIV, NRSV).
my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house made from cedar?”’

8 “So now, say this to my servant David: ‘This is what the Lord of hosts says: I took you from the pasture and from your work as a shepherd
Heb “and from after the sheep.”
to make you leader of my people Israel.
9I 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 great name like the name of the great ones who are in the earth.”
10I will establish a place for my people Israel and settle
Heb “plant.”
them there; they will live there and not be disturbed
Heb “shaken.”
any more. Violent men
Heb “the sons of violence.”
will not oppress them again, as they did in the beginning
11and during the time when I appointed judges to lead my people Israel. Instead, I will give you relief
Or “rest.”
from all your enemies. The Lord declares
In the Hebrew text the verb is apparently perfect with vav consecutive, which would normally suggest a future sense (“he will declare”; so the LXX, ἀπαγγελεῖ [apangelei]). But the context seems instead to call for a present or past nuance (“he declares” or “he has declared”). The synoptic passage in 1 Chr 17:10 has וָאַגִּד (vaaggid, “and I declared”). The construction used in 2 Sam 7:11 highlights this important statement.
to you that he himself
Heb “the Lord.”
will build a dynastic house
Heb “house,” but used here in a metaphorical sense, referring to a royal dynasty. Here the Lord’s use of the word plays off the literal sense that David had in mind as he contemplated building a temple for the Lord. To reflect this in the English translation the adjective “dynastic” has been supplied.
for you.
12When the time comes for you to die,
Heb, “when your days are full and you lie down with your ancestors.”
I will raise up your descendant, one of your own sons, to succeed you,
Heb “your seed after you who comes out from your insides.”
and I will establish his kingdom.
13He will build a house for my name, and I will make his dynasty permanent.
Heb “and I will establish the throne of his kingdom permanently.”
14I will become his father and he will become my son. When he sins, I will correct him with the rod of men and with wounds inflicted by human beings. 15But my loyal love will not be removed from him as I removed it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16Your house and your kingdom will stand before me
Heb “before you.” A few medieval Hebrew mss read instead “before me,” which makes better sense contextually. (See also the LXX and the Syriac Peshitta.) The MT reading is probably the result of dittography (note the כ [kaf] at the beginning of the next form), with the extra כ then being interpreted as a pronominal suffix.
permanently; your dynasty
Heb “throne.”
will be permanent.’”
17Nathan 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 Offers a Prayer to God

18 King 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?
19And you didn’t stop there, O Lord God! You have also spoken about the future of your servant’s family.
Heb “and this was small in your eyes, O Lord God, so you spoke concerning the house of your servant for a distance.”
Is this your usual way of dealing with men,
Heb “and this [is] the law of man”; KJV “is this the manner of man, O Lord God?”; NAB “this too you have shown to man”; NRSV “May this be instruction for the people, O Lord God!” This part of the verse is very enigmatic; no completely satisfying solution has yet been suggested. The present translation tries to make sense of the MT by understanding the phrase as a question that underscores the uniqueness of God’s dealings with David as described here. The parallel passage in 1 Chr 17:17 reads differently (see the note there).
O Lord God?
20What more can David say to you? You have given your servant special recognition,
Heb “and you know your servant.” The verb here refers to recognizing another in a special way and giving them special treatment (see 1 Chr 17:18). Some English versions take this to refer to the Lord’s knowledge of David himself: CEV “you know my thoughts”; NLT “know what I am really like.”
O Lord God!
21For the sake of your promise and according to your purpose
Heb “for the sake of your word and according to your heart.”
you have done this great thing in order to reveal it to your servant.
Heb “to make known, your servant.”
22Therefore you are great, O Lord God, for there is none like you! There is no God besides you! What we have heard is true!
Heb “in all which we heard with our ears.” The phrase translated “in all” בְּכֹל (bekhol) should probably be emended to “according to all” כְּכֹל (kekhol).
23Who is like your people, Israel, a unique nation
Heb “a nation, one.”
on 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.
The verb is plural in Hebrew, agreeing grammatically with the divine name, which is a plural of degree.
to claim
Heb “redeem.”
a nation for himself and to make a name for himself! You did great and awesome acts for your land,
Heb “and to do for you [plural form] the great [thing] and awesome [things] for your land.”
before your people whom you delivered for yourself from the Egyptian empire and its gods.
Heb “from Egypt, nations and their gods.” The LXX has “nations and tents,” which reflects a mistaken metathesis of letters in אֶלֹהָיו (elohav, “its gods”) and אֹהָלָיו (’ohalav, “its tents”).
24You made Israel your very own people for all time.
Heb “and you established for yourself your people Israel for yourself for a people permanently.”
You, O Lord, became their God.
25So now, O Lord God, make this promise you have made about your servant and his family a permanent reality.
Heb “and now, O Lord God, the word which you spoke concerning your servant and concerning his house, establish permanently.”
Do as you promised,
Heb “as you have spoken.”
26so 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.
as people say,
Heb “saying.” The words “as people” are supplied in the translation for clarification and stylistic reasons.
‘The Lord of hosts is God over Israel!’ The dynasty
Heb “the house.” See the note on “dynastic house” in the following verse.
of your servant David will be established before you,
27for you, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have told
Heb “have uncovered the ear of.”
your servant, ‘I will build you a dynastic house.’
Heb “a house.” This maintains the wordplay from v. 11 (see the note on the word “house” there) and is continued in v. 29.
That is why your servant has had the courage
Heb “has found his heart.”
to pray this prayer to you.
28Now, O sovereign Lord, you are the true God!
Heb “the God.” The article indicates uniqueness here.
May your words prove to be true!
The translation understands the prefixed verb form as a jussive, indicating David’s wish/prayer. Another option is to take the form as an imperfect and translate “your words are true.”
You have made this good promise to your servant!
Heb “and you have spoken to your servant this good thing.”
29Now be willing to bless your servant’s dynasty
Heb “house” (again later in this verse). See the note on “dynastic house” in v. 27.
so that it may stand permanently before you, for you, O sovereign Lord, have spoken. By your blessing may your servant’s dynasty be blessed on into the future!”
Or “permanently”; cf. NLT “it is an eternal blessing.”

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