Summary: In today’s text we learn about God’s covenant with David, which is to establish an everlasting kingdom.
Today is the Fourth Sunday of Advent.
Our Scripture reading in this Advent season brings us to 2 Samuel 7:1-17. King David has conquered all his enemies, and is now living in relative tranquility toward the end of his life. He has built himself a magnificent palace. But the ark of God, which represented the presence of God, did not yet have a permanent home; the ark of God still dwelt in a tent. David desired to build a house for God. In response, however, God promised that God would build a house for David instead.
In this section of Scripture there is a play on the word “house.” David wanted to build a house (meaning “temple”) for God, but God said that he would instead build a house (meaning “dynasty”) for David.
The events portrayed in 2 Samuel 7 may rightly be understood as the climax of David’s life, and the foundation for a major theme in the writings of the Latter Prophets.
One commentator understands this section to be “the center and focus of. . . the Deuteronomic history itself.” Another commentator sees it as “the dramatic and theological center of the entire Samuel corpus” and in fact “the most crucial theological statement in the Old Testament.” And still another commentator says that “the Lord’s words recorded here arguably play the single most significant role of any Scripture found in the Old Testament in shaping the Christian understanding of Jesus.”
Let us read 2 Samuel 7:1-17:
1Now when the king lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, 2the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” 3And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.”
4But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, 5“Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in? 6I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. 7In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” ’ 8Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. 9And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 12When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, 15but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’ ” 17In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David. (2 Samuel 7:1-17)
Second Samuel chapter records the establishment of God’s Covenant with David. It is also known as the Davidic Covenant, which is God’s unconditional promise to David and his posterity.
Now, it is not called a “covenant” here in 2 Samuel 7, but it is called a “covenant” in 2 Samuel 23:5, where David says of God, in part, “For he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure.”
God’s covenant with David is an important key to understanding God’s irrevocable pledge of a king from the line of David to rule forever (v. 16). It has been estimated that over 40 individual biblical passages are directly related to these verses. Thus, this text is a major highlight in the Old Testament. The ultimate fulfillment of God’s covenant with David comes at Christ’s second advent when he sets up his kingdom on earth.