VII Nathan approves David's design of building an house for God, ver. 1-3. God forbids it, but promises to bless him and his seed, ver. 4-17. His prayer and thanksgiving, ver. 18-29.
Verse 1. 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. Curtains - That is, in a tent or tabernacle, ver. 6, composed of several curtains.
Verse 3. 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. 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. Shalt thou - That is, thou shalt not.
Verse 6. 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. 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. 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. 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 ver. 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, &c. - More fully and perfectly than yet thou dost. He will, &c. - 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. And when, &c. - 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. 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. 14. 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 Heb. i, 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. 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. 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, Psalm cx, 1, &c. whose day he saw by faith, as Abraham did, John viii, 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. 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, &c. - How infinitely unworthy am I and my family of this great honour and happiness!
Verse 19. 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, &c. - 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. 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. 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. Great - Both in power and in goodness, as appears by the great and good things which thou hast done for me.
Verse 24. 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. Let thy name - That is, do thou never cease to manifest thyself to be the God and governor of Israel.
Verse 27. This prayer, &c. - 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. That God - That God who hast declared thyself to be Israel's God, and in particular my God.
Verse 29. Continue forever, &c. - 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.