Written by: Don Carson
AFTER HIS PALACE IS BUILT, David recognizes that he is living in splendor in comparison with the small and unostentatious tabernacle. He desires to build a temple, a "house" in which to place the ark of the covenant (2 Sam. 7).
Through Nathan the prophet, however, God puts the shoe on the other foot. David wants to build a "house" for God, but God declares that he himself will build a "house" for David. The word house can refer to a building, but it can extend to household and even to a dynasty (e.g., the house of Windsor). David hopes to build a "house" for God in the first sense; God tells David he is building a "house" for him in the third sense. Although David's son Solomon will build a "house" for God, in the last analysis God himself is the ultimate Giver, and the "house" he proposes to build will prove more enduring.
In this context, then, God makes some remarkable promises to David. "The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you" (2 Sam. 7:11), God says. To continue David's line after his death, God adds, "I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever" (2 Sam. 7:12-13). The referent goes no farther than Solomon. In the storyline of 1 and 2 Samuel, Saul serves as the prime example of a king who reigned and whose throne was not secured, whose "house" was not built. But it will not be so with David. His offspring will reign. When Saul sinned, in due course God rejected him. But when David's son does wrong, God says, "I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. [So this "son" is certainly not Jesus.] But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul" (2 Sam. 7:14-15). So far, then, Solomon occupies the horizon.
But then once again God takes the long view: "Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever" (2 Sam. 7:16). This either means that there will always be someone on the throne in the line of David, or something more powerful. In the course of time, the prophecies about the coming "David" or "son of David" become freighted with much greater promise. Isaiah foresees someone who "will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom," but who is also called "Mighty God" and "Everlasting Father" (Isa. 9:6-7). Here is an heir to David who maintains the Davidic dynasty not by passing it on, but by his own eternal reign.