Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 7

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of 2 Samuel 7)

Verse 1

[1] And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies;

Sat — That is, was settled in the house which Hiram's men had built for him, then he reflected upon the unsettled state of the ark.

Verse 2

[2] That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.

Curtains — That is, in a tent or tabernacle, verse 6, composed of several curtains.

Verse 3

[3] And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee.

Nathan said — Pursue thy intentions, and build an house for the ark. The design being pious and the thing not forbidden by God, Nathan hastily approves it, before he had consulted God about it, as both he and David ought to have done in a matter of so great moment. And therefore Nathan meets with this rebuke, that he is forced to acknowledge his error, and recant it. For the holy prophets did not speak all things by prophetic inspiration, but some things by an human spirit.

Verse 4

[4] And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying,

The word of the Lord came — Because David's mistake was pious, and from an honest mind, God would not suffer him to lie long in it.

Verse 5

[5] Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?

Shalt thou — That is, thou shalt not.

Verse 6

[6] Whereas 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.

Tent and tabernacle — These two seem thus to be distinguished, the one may note the curtains and hangings within, the other the frame of boards, and coverings upon it.

Verse 8

[8] Now 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:

My servant — Lest David should be too much discouraged, or judge himself neglected of God, as one thought unworthy of so great an honour, God here gives him the honourable title of his servant, thereby signifying that he accepted of his service, and good intentions.

Verse 10

[10] Moreover 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,

Appoint — That is, I will make room for them, whereas hitherto they have been much distressed by their enemies. Or, I will establish a place for them, that is, I will establish them in their place or land.

My people — Among the favours which God had vouchsafed, and would vouchsafe to David, he reckons his blessings to Israel, because they were great blessings to David; partly, because the strength and happiness of a king consists in the multitude and happiness of his people; and partly, because David was a man of a public spirit, and therefore no less affected with Israel's felicity than with his own.

Before time — Namely in Egypt.

Verse 11

[11] And 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.

And as since — Nor as they did under the judges. But all this is to be understood with a condition, except they should notoriously forsake God.

And have caused thee — That is, and as until this time in which I have given thee rest. But these words, though according to our translation they be enclosed in the same parenthesis with the foregoing clauses, may be better put without it, and taken by themselves. For the foregoing words in this verse, and in verse 10, all concern the people of Israel; but these words concern David alone, to whom the speechs returns after a short digression concerning the people of Israel. And they may be rendered thus.

And I will cause thee to rest, … — More fully and perfectly than yet thou dost.

He will, … — For thy good intentions to make him an house, he will make thee an house, a sure house, that is, he will increase and uphold thy posterity, and continue thy kingdom in thy family.

Verse 12

[12] And 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.

And when, … — When the time of thy life shall expire. This phrase implies, that his days shall be prolonged to the usual course of nature, and not cut off in the midst, by any violent or untimely death.

I will set — I will set up in thy throne, thy posterity, first Solomon, and then others successively, and at last the Messiah. So the following words may be understood, part of his posterity in general, part of Solomon, and part of Christ only, according to the different nature of the several passages.

Verse 13

[13] He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.

He shall — This is meant literally of Solomon, who alone did build the material house or temple; but ultimately of Christ, who is the builder of God's spiritual house or temple.

For my name — That is, for my service, and glory.

For ever — This is not meant of Solomon, for his kingdom was not for ever. But it is to be understood of David's posterity, in general, and with special respect to Christ, in whose person the kingdom was to be lodged for ever.

Verse 14

[14] I 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:

His father — I will carry myself towards him as a father, with all affection, and I will own him as my son. This is intended both of Solomon, as a type of Christ; and of Christ himself as is evident from Hebrews 1:5.

If he commit — This agrees only to Solomon and some others of David's posterity; but not to Christ, who never committed iniquity, as Solomon did, who therein was no type of Christ, and therefore this branch is terminated in Solomon; whereas in those things wherein Solomon was a type of Christ, the sense passes through Solomon to Christ.

Rod of men — With such rods as are gentle and moderate, and suited to man's weakness.

Verse 15

[15] But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.

My mercy — That is, Or, my kindness, that is, the kingdom which I have mercifully promised to thee and thine.

From Saul — In regard of his posterity, for the kingdom was continued to his person during life.

Verse 16

[16] And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.

Before thee — Thine eyes in some sort beholding it: for he lived to see his wise son Solomon actually placed in the throne, with reputation and general applause, which was in itself a good presage of the continuance of the kingdom in his family: and being considered, together with the infallible certainty of God's promise to him and his, (of the accomplishment whereof, this was an earnest,) gave him good assurance thereof; especially considering that he had his eyes and thoughts upon the Messiah, Psalms 110:1, etc. whose day he saw by faith, as Abraham did, John 8:56, and whom he knew that God would raise out of the fruit of his loins to sit on his throne, and that for ever: and so the eternity of his kingdom is rightly said to be before him.

Verse 18

[18] Then 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?

In — Into the tabernacle.

Sat — He might sit for a season whilst he was meditating upon these things, and then alter his posture and betake himself to prayer.

Who am I, … — How infinitely unworthy am I and my family of this great honour and happiness!

Verse 19

[19] And 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?

This — Which thou hast already done for me, that thou hast brought me hitherto, to that pitch of honour, and peace, and prosperity, in which through thy favour I now stand.

Was small — Though it was more than I deserved, or could expect, yet thou didst not think it enough for thee to give to me.

A great while — For many future ages, and indeed to all eternity.

Is this, … — Do men use to deal so kindly with their inferiors, as thou hast done with me? No: this is the prerogative of divine grace.

Verse 20

[20] And what can David say more unto thee? for thou, Lord GOD, knowest thy servant.

David say — Either in a way of gratitude and praise, words cannot express my obligations to thee, nor my sense of these obligations: Or in a way of prayer. What can I ask of thee more than thou hast freely done? Thou knowest - Thou knowest my deep sense of thy favours, and my obligations to thee. And my condition and necessities, what I do or may need hereafter; and as thou knowest this, so I doubt not thou wilt supply me.

Verse 21

[21] For thy word's sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them.

Thy word's sake — That thou mightest fulfil thy promises made to me, and thereby demonstrate thy faithfulness.

Own heart — Or thy own mere liberality and good pleasure, without any desert of mine. So far was David, though a very gracious man, from thinking his actions meritorious.

Verse 22

[22] Wherefore 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.

Great — Both in power and in goodness, as appears by the great and good things which thou hast done for me.

Verse 24

[24] For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee for ever: and thou, LORD, art become their God.

Confirmed — Partly, by thy promises, and that sure covenant which thou hast made with them: and partly, by thy glorious works wrought on their behalf, as it appears this day.

Their God — In a peculiar manner, and by special relation and covenant: for otherwise he is the God and father of all things.

Verse 26

[26] And 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.

Let thy name — That is, do thou never cease to manifest thyself to be the God and governor of Israel.

Verse 27

[27] For 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.

This prayer, … — That prayer that is found in the tongue only will not please God. It must be found in the heart. That must be lifted up and poured out before God.

Verse 28

[28] And now, O Lord GOD, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant:

That God — That God who hast declared thyself to be Israel's God, and in particular my God.

Verse 29

[29] Therefore 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.

Continue forever, … — When Christ for ever sat down on the right-hand of God, and received all possible assurance, that his seed and throne should be as the days of heaven, then this prayer was abundantly answered.

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