David's care for the ark. (1-3) God's covenant with David. (4-17) His prayer and thanksgiving. (18-29)
Verses 1-3 David being at rest in his palace, considered how he might best employ his leisure and prosperity in the service of God. He formed a design to build a temple for the ark. Nathan here did not speak as a prophet, but as a godly man, encouraging David by his private judgment. We ought to do all we can to encourage and promote the good purposes and designs of others, and, as we have opportunity, to forward a good work.
Verses 4-17 Blessings are promised to the family and posterity of David. These promises relate to Solomon, David's immediate successor, and the royal line of Judah. But they also relate to Christ, who is often called David and the Son of David. To him God gave all power in heaven and earth, with authority to execute judgment. He was to build the gospel temple, a house for God's name; the spiritual temple of true believers, to be a habitation of God through the Spirit. The establishing of his house, his throne, and his kingdom for ever, can be applied to no other than to Christ and his kingdom: David's house and kingdom long since came to an end. The committing iniquity cannot be applied to the Messiah himself, but to his spiritual seed; true believers have infirmities, for which they must expect to be corrected, though they are not cast off.
Verses 18-29 David's prayer is full of the breathings of devout affection toward God. He had low thoughts of his own merits. All we have, must be looked upon as Divine gifts. He speaks very highly and honourably of the Lord's favours to him. Considering what the character and condition of man is, we may be amazed that God should deal with him as he does. The promise of Christ includes all; if the Lord God be ours, what more can we ask, or think of? ( Ephesians 3:20 ) . He knows us better than we know ourselves; therefore let us be satisfied with what he has done for us. What can we say more for ourselves in our prayers, than God has said for us in his promises? David ascribes all to the free grace of God. Both the great things He had done for him, and the great things He had made known to him. All was for his word's sake, that is, for the sake of Christ the eternal Word. Many, when they go to pray, have their hearts to seek, but David's heart was found, that is, it was fixed; gathered in from its wanderings, entirely engaged to the duty, and employed in it. That prayer which is from the tongue only, will not please God; it must be found in the heart; that must be lifted up and poured out before God. He builds his faith, and hopes to speed, upon the sureness of God's promise. David prays for the performance of the promise. With God, saying and doing are not two things, as they often are with men; God will do as he hath said. The promises of God are not made to us by name, as to David, but they belong to all who believe in Jesus Christ, and plead them in his name.
2 Samuel 7:1-3 . NATHAN APPROVES THE PURPOSE OF DAVID TO BUILD GOD A HOUSE.
2. the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar--The palace which Hiram had sent men and materials to build in Jerusalem had been finished. It was magnificent for that age, though made wholly of wood: houses in warm countries not being required to possess the solidity and thickness of walls which are requisite for dwellings in regions exposed to rain and cold. Cedar was the rarest and most valuable timber. The elegance and splendor of his own royal mansion, contrasted with the mean and temporary tabernacle in which the ark of God was placed, distressed the pious mind of David.
3. Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart--The piety of the design commended it to the prophet's mind, and he gave his hasty approval and encouragement to the royal plans. The prophets, when following the impulse of their own feelings, or forming conjectural opinions, fell into frequent mistakes.
2 Samuel 7:4-17 . GOD APPOINTS HIS SUCCESSOR TO BUILD IT.
4-17. 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.
11. Also the Lord telleth thee that he will make thee an house--As a reward for his pious purpose, God would increase and maintain the family of David and secure the succession of the throne to his dynasty.
12. I will set up thy seed after thee, &c.--It is customary for the oldest son born after the father's succession to the throne to succeed him in his dignity as king. David had several sons by Bath-sheba born after his removal to Jerusalem ( 2 Samuel 5:14-16 ; compare 1 Chronicles 3:5 ). But by a special ordinance and promise of God, his successor was to be a son born after this time; and the departure from the established usage of the East in fixing the succession, can be accounted for on no other known ground, except the fulfilment of the divine promise.
13. He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever--This declaration referred, in its primary application, to Solomon, and to the temporal kingdom of David's family. But in a larger and sublimer sense, it was meant of David's Son of another nature ( Hebrews 1:8 ).
2 Samuel 7:18-29 . DAVID'S PRAYER AND THANKSGIVING.
18. Then went king David in, and sat before the Lord--Sitting was anciently an attitude for worship ( Exodus 17:12 , 1 Samuel 4:13 , 1 Kings 19:4 ). As to the particular attitude David sat, most probably, upon his heels. It was the posture of the ancient Egyptians before the shrines; it is the posture of deepest respect before a superior in the East. Persons of highest dignity sit thus when they do sit in the presence of kings and it is the only sitting attitude assumed by the modern Mohammedans in their places and rites of devotion.
19. is this the manner of man, O Lord God?--that is, is it customary for men to show such condescension to persons so humble as I am? [See 1 Chronicles 17:17 .]
20. what can David say more unto thee?--that is, my obligations are greater than I can express.