Sunday, April 06, 2014

2 Samuel 4-7 His kingdom will last forever

From 2 Samuel 4-7


2 Sam 4.1-12; Story; Ish-bosheth Murdered
2 Sam 5.1-5; Story; David Anointed King of Israel
2 Sam 5.6-10; Story; David conquers and takes Jerusalem
2 Sam 5.11-16; Story; David receives a house and is given more concubines and wives
2 Sam 5.17-25; Story; David Defeats the Philistines
2 Sam 6.1-4; Story; The Ark Brought to Jerusalem
2 Sam 6.5-15; Story-Sin; Uzzah and the Ark
2 Sam 6.16-23; Story; David and Michal
2 Sam 7.1-17; Story; The LORD’S Covenant with David
2 Sam 7.18-29; Story; David’s Prayer of Gratitude

Passage and Comments

People keep dying in Saul’s household. But several people still remain. One man is Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son. When Mephibosheth’s nurse heard of Saul and Jonathans defeat she fled. In her haste Mephibosheth fell over and both his feet became lame. He will live. Of  Saul’s household, the only remaining significant threat to David is Ish-bosheth. He will die. Thinking David will reward them, two men creep up on Ish-bosheth while he is sleeping and kill him. They take his head and bring it to David. David however considered Ish-bosheth a righteous man so he condemns their actions. He has them both killed and he buries Ish-bosheth with Abner. Whether David intended it or not, all significant threats to his reign have now been removed (2 Sam 4.1-12).

David makes a covenant with Israel and he becomes king over them. Now he rules over a united kingdom of Judah and Israel (2 Sam 5.1-5).

Some cities still remain in the land under foreign control. Jerusalem is one of them. Jerusalem was famous for having unassailable defenses. The inhabitants boasted it could be defended with ‘the blind and the lame’. David puts this to the test and exploits a weakness in their defenses. A water shaft. He enters the city and defeats ‘the blind and the lame’ defenders. He calls this city after himself. David becomes greater and greater because the LORD was with him (2 Sam 5.6-10).

One of David’s neighbour’s, the king of Tyre, hears about David successes. He builds David a house. David realises the LORD has established him as king. The LORD gives David more concubines and wives (cf. 2 Sam 12.8) and they produce more offspring for David (2 Sam 5.11-16).

The Philistines hear David is anointed king over Israel and they decide to attack him like they did Saul and Jonathan. David inquires of the LORD and he is instructed how to defeat them. David follows the LORD’s instructions and the Philistines get smashed (2 Sam 5.17-25).

David decides to bring the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem celebrating all the way. However they have not taken the proper steps to respect the LORD. During the journey the cart is upset and Uzzah tries to stabilise the ark. When he touches the ark he dies. Bam! David is angry because of the incident and afraid of the LORD. He leaves the ark at the city of Obed-edom for a time and it is consequently blessed by the LORD. When David hears of this blessing he brings up the ark again, this time performing sacrifices every six steps they took and celebrating before the LORD (2 Sam 6.5-15).

When the ark finally arrives in Jerusalem David gives everyone some food. But David’s wife Michal the daughter of Saul (cf. 1 Sam 18.20-29) sees him dancing in the nude and she criticises him. David rebukes her in return and she has no children to the day of her death (2 Sam 6.16-23).

The kingdom is united under David. The LORD has subdued all his enemies and granted him many concubines, wives and offspring. Today’s passage is the highpoint of David’s reign.
7 Now when the king lived in his house and the LORD had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, 2 the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” 3 And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you.” (2 Sam 7.1-3)
Initially this seems a worthy request. Nathan acknowledges David’s current status before the LORD.
4 But 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? 6 I 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. 7 In 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?” ’ (2 Sam 7.4-7)
The LORD initially does not like the implied request. He doesn’t need a house, he is omnipresent and hard to contain. He hasn’t asked for a house either. If he wanted one he would has asked. It seems David was a little presumptuous. If we look into the distant future Stephen will comment on the LORD dwelling in houses in a negative light (Acts 7.45-50). However Stephens comments are not directed towards David or Solomon, rather the attitude the Jews had towards the temple (Acts 6.13-14). But the LORD has not finished. He changes tack, moving from gentle rebuke to describe the way he has treated Israel.
8 Now, 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. 9 And 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. 10 And 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, 11 from 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. (2 Sam 7.8-11)
The LORD has established David. He has put Israel in this land and that will be at peace. Unlike the period of the judges, no longer will foreigners reign over them. In addition to this the LORD will establish David’s household.
12 When 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. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. (2 Sam 7.12-14a)
The LORD makes a significant promise. After David dies the LORD will raise up a son from his line. The LORD will establish his kingdom. He shall build a new house for the LORD’s name and his kingdom will last forever.
When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, 15 but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. (2 Sam 7.14b-15)
The offspring spoken of will commit iniquity and be disciplined for it. Which is an interesting point considering who we may think the offspring is.
16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’ ” 17 In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David. (2 Sam 7.16)
The LORD reiterates that this house, kingdom and throne will last forever. Graeme Goldsworthy wrote a book called Gospel and Kingdom which shows how the theme of God’s people, God’s land and God’s King are assumed in various texts of the bible. This passage is one of the main texts.

David’s house = God’s people
David’s kingdom = God’s land
David’s offspring = God’s King

When David hears this he offers a prayer of thanks. He acknowledges how great the LORD is in what he has done for Israel. He is assured the LORD will fulfill his promise. He asks the LORD to bless his house, so the promise will be fulfilled (2 Sam 7.18-29).

Story of Israel

Promises are part of a covenant. This is one of the most significant covenants on the Old Testament. The covenants made to Abraham and Moses being the others. These covenants may be viewed separately, but more than not, they are thought of as progressions on the former. The covenant forms a significant element of Israel’s understanding of her relationship with God.

Now covenants have several aspects to them. Covenants have members, obligations, blessings and curses. The members in the covenant are God and his people. God makes promises and these are his obligations according to the covenant. Israel is given obligations to, they keep the law God gives them. Keeping the law means making a regular practice of all the commands of the law. It does not necessarily mean sinless perfection because the law provided a means to atone for sin and receive forgiveness for those who trusted in God. There are blessings and curses. More often than not Israel will be cursed because she continually breaks the law = breaks the covenant.

The Jewish understanding of ethics and morality presuppose the Jewish law. This includes how they perceive God’s ethics and morality, in addition to his faithfulness in meeting his covenant obligations. Is we consider the concept of righteousness and covenant - Israel’s Righteousness is listening to and obeying the voice of the LORD as expressed in his covenant law. God’s Righteousness on the other hand is about him fulfilling his own covenant obligations (promises, blessings, curses).

In the Old Testament we are continually confronted with Israel breaking the covenant by disobedience, yet God still remains obligated to fulfill his promises.

Story of Jesus

The covenant promises the LORD made David predicting the future King come true in Jesus Christ. In his death and resurrection he showed according to the scriptural predictions that he is the promised Christ. Now that he is risen from the dead he will not die. So his kingdom will last forever. As the apostles state;
29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, band of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,
“ ‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
 until I make your enemies your footstool.” ’
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2.29-36)
1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, (Rom 1.1-4)
God fulfilled the promises he made to David in Jesus. God is righteous according to the covenant.