Truth, Understanding, Insight

Precious Promises

1st August 2016, hej


13) Promises to King David (~960BC)

David after conquering Jerusalem and making it his capital, wants to build a house there for his God. The reply is a very public promise. The promise to David was delivered by the prophet Nathan and recorded in the book of Samuel, which was always intended as a public history.

This says Yahweh of Armies, “I took you from the sheep pen, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people, over Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a great name, like the name of the great ones who are in the earth”. (2 Samuel 7:8)

First David was given a personal promise. And this has been fulfilled: who does not know of this king David? It goes on to speak of Israel.

I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in their own place, and be moved no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more,.. and I will cause you to rest from all your enemies. (2Sam 7:9-12)

This was not talking about the kingdom of Israel BC 1000. Why would they need a place appointed then? They had a reasonable territory (somewhat larger than present day Israel). They only lost it later. In fact at that time also their enemies were quiet. The key to the time frame is that this promise is to take effect at some point in time long after David was dead. Then he would have a descendant who was also to be the son of God.

Yahweh will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who shall proceed out of your bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son: if he commit iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men; but my loving kindness shall not depart from him.. Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before you: your throne shall be established forever. (2Sam 7:12-16)

If there is no future for David on earth, there seems nothing in this for David. Does it really matter if he has a son whose throne goes on forever, if he can't enjoy it? But David is promised that his kingdom would last forever in his presence. That is, David is promised that he will see “before him” his descendant who reigns forever on his throne in Jerusalem. David would not sit on his throne, but he would see his son on it, after he is dead or 'asleep with his fathers'. This promise is for resurrection and life forever.

This throne was real, physical, and over a territory that we can identify today. Solomon the son of David did build a temple to the Mighty One of Israel, but Solomon was not the promised 'seed'. Solomon himself is given a personal but conditional promise.

And if you will walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and will keep my statutes and my judgments: Then I will establish the throne of your kingdom upon Israel forever, as I promised to David your father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel. But if you shall at all turn from following me, you or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes ...and serve other gods.. Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them;.. and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people: (1Kings 9:4-7)

Solomon, his sons and the people did serve other gods, and Solomon's throne will not be established before him forever. The house of David was to continue to provide another son – or rather 'The Seed'. Later when the sons of David do not serve their God, the prophets write that the promise to David must still be honoured.

2 Chronicles 21:7 Howbeit Yahweh would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and as he promised to give a light to him and to his sons for ever.
2 Kings 8:19 Yet Yahweh would not destroy Judah for David his servant’s sake, as he promised him to give him always a light, and to his children.

We can look back over history and note the last of the descendants of David were carried away to Babylon and the kingdom ceased in BC 580 a mere 400 or so years after the promise. Until 70 AD Judeans, or Jews as they came to be known, knew who were of the royal line. Jesus was a descendant from David from a son named Nathan (not Solomon). However in AD 70 the records were lost with the destruction of the temple. The promise to David is yet to be fulfilled or the people were deluded. The second option has surprising reasons for being unlikely.