FOUNDATIONAL FRAMEWORK. PART 39
Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person, separating us from God.
God declares one righteous by faith alone, apart from works.
The glory of God is the centerpiece and goal of all existence.
God’s glory is maximally realized in the promised, coming Kingdom.
When we speak of kings and kingdoms, we are always speaking of eternal matters. The descriptions that we have in Scripture with relation to Satan and heavenly beings always speak of thrones, rulership, earthly leaders, and/or crowns in some capacity (Ezek 28:12-26; John 14:30; 16:11; 2 Cor 4:4; 11:13-15; Eph 2:2; Eph 6:11; 2 Thess 2:3-4). This concept of ruling and reigning is found throughout the Bible because it is the chief end to which God is working all of history so that His Son will be glorified in ruling over the nations of the earth (Psa 2). Building towards this glorious end, we have the man David as a significant turning point in the history of God’s plan for a future, glorious kingdom!
David is known for two main things in popular Christianity. On the devotional side, he is known as “a man after God’s heart.” This is seen in 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22. On the side of disgrace and sin, David is known for his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her faithful husband Uriah the Hittite (2 Sam 11:1-12:23). While his sin is particularly heinous, we will focus on his heart toward the Lord and the Lord’s promises made to David. This is seen in 2 Samuel 7:8-16 and Psalm 89.
2 Samuel 7:8-16. At the beginning of this chapter, David is disturbed that he lives in a finely-built house with materials of superior quality while the Ark of the Covenant sat in a tent outside (7:1-3). However, the Lord speaks to Nathan the prophet in replying to David, telling him that He is not in need of a house. But it is David’s heart in the matter, his desire to care for YHWH, the love that he wanted to show YHWH, that turns the tables of history with David, seeing that YHWH establishes David’s house and kingdom forever. Notice some of the specifics of this passage.
In the same way that YHWH took Saul from a meager existence and elevated him to king (1 Sam 15:17), so YHWH does the same for David (2 Sam 7:8). YHWH recounts His constant presence in David’s life and begins to unfold the blessings that He has in store for him (v.9). This involves the establishment of Israel in the land (v.10), which is in keeping with the promise given to Abram in Genesis 12:2. The specifics in v.10 obviously point to a future time because there is the promise of Israel not being disturbed and that the wicked would not afflict them “as formerly.” Verse 11 elaborates that the “former time” being spoken of was the time of the Judges (hence the importance of having read through Judges), with the declaration of “rest” from all your enemies.
YHWH then states that He will build a house for David (v.11b)! This “house” (bayit- “house, temple, dwelling place, family, dynasty”) will be a house of people, descendants that will reign (v.12). Many have concluded that the offspring mentioned in v.12 is Jesus, but v. 13-14 show that the person in mind is Solomon, seeing that he builds the temple for YHWH (1 Kings 6:1-38) and that he was chastised by the LORD for his rebellion (1 Kings 11:11-13). Jesus did not build the temple, nor did He sin and need chastisement. YHWH then notes in v.15 that His hesed (“loyal love”) would not depart from Solomon, contrasting this relationship with that of Saul. If Saul is a picture of a kingdom sustained by works, Solomon is a picture of a kingdom sustained by grace.
In v. 16, “forever” is the word used to describe David’s house and kingdom, meaning that it is sure and certain because the Word of YHWH has stated it (v.13). In fact, YHWH goes to great lengths in the Scriptures to reiterate the incontrovertible and indisputable fact of David’s descendant reigning on the throne of Israel and his Kingdom having no end (2 Sam 23:1-5; Psa 89:33-37; Jer 33:14-26). This covenant, like the Abrahamic Covenant, is unconditional in nature, meaning that human failure does not negate its ultimate fulfillment because it is based on YHWH’s Word and not one’s actions. It is possible for human disobedience to hinder the fulfillment of an unconditional promise made by YHWH as seen in Numbers 13 & 14, but this does not mean that the promise will not be fulfilled at a later time by YHWH.
The three main elements mentioned in v.16 are: 1) house, 2) kingdom, and 3) throne. As we have already seen, “house” refers to David’s progeny (v.11b). This is a blood line, being established by YHWH. The “kingdom” would be those in David’s line who had the right to rule over Israel. No one else had legal claim to royalty. This was to be a regal, family-ran ministry of humility and servanthood unto Israel (Deut 17:14-20). The “throne” deals with a literal place of ruling in which David’s descendants were to reign. Jerusalem is the place of this reign. It alone is the center of the universe. No other place is sufficient for ruling, nor has the Lord made such promises to any other people.
The astute Bible student will immediately notice the connection to the Lord Jesus Christ in these designations. Bergen notes that, “Three of Jesus’ claims concerning himself allude to this verse. First, Jesus claimed he would build a temple (cf. Matt 26:61; 27:40; Mark 14:58; 15:29; John 2:19–22). Second, he claimed to possess an eternal throne (cf. Matt 19:28–29). Finally, he claimed to possess an imperishable kingdom (cf. Luke 22:29–30; John 18:36).”
2 Samuel 7:18-29. This passage is David’s prayer-response to what we have just read, which is commonly known as the Davidic Covenant. Of significant observation is the use of “LORD” (YHWH), “God” (Elohim), and “Lord GOD” (Adonai YHWH, meaning “Master, Self-existent One”). The reverence given as a response in prayer is humble and tender, revealing to us the type of man that David was. His transition to “Adonai YHWH” shows the high reverence that he placed upon YHWH and His promise, which he uses eight times in this prayer. In this prayer-response, one will do well to notice the celestial connections made in v.22, 23b, & 26-27.
In His grace, the Holy Spirit has seen fit to give us a complementary passage in Psalms that aids in our study of 2 Samuel 7:8-16.
Psalm 89:1-37. Before reading this Psalm, it is vital that we are acutely aware of the significance of God’s name “YHWH” when it is used in Scripture. This name communicates the understanding that He alone is self-existent and needs nothing else to survive, endure, be, or continue. YHWH alone is completely self-sufficient and the uncaused Cause of history. All else is His creation. This fact stands in awesome opposition to the divine council in the heavenlies, described here as the “assembly of the holy ones” (v.5), those “in the skies” (v.6a), the “sons of the mighty” (v.6b), the “council of the holy ones” (v.7a), and “those who are around Him” (v.7b). The repetition of YHWH’s name is important. Joseph Alexander explains, “The divine name here used implies that what makes him so terrible is his infinite power. The angels are again called holy ones, but furthermore described as the privy council, the confidential intimates, of God himself… Yet even to these, as being endlessly superior, he is and ought to be an object of adoring fear.”
From v.5 to v.18 is a praise unfolding to the superiority of YHWH and the rule that He has because He is the Owner of all things. If the heart does not jump for joy in reading this section, your jumper is broken!
The term “Rahab” in v.10 is a difficult one, commonly understood as “Egypt” (Psa 87:4) but also as “Leviathan” (Isa 51:9). Ross explains that “’Rahab,’ representing Egypt (cf. Isa. 30:7), was probably the name of a powerful demonic force thought to be behind that nation.” With the mention of the divine council in v.5-8, the possibility of “Rahab” being the name of the demon over Egypt (v.10), and a possible reference to the “godly ones” in v.19 being the divine council (or possibly the prophet Nathan), one can see that the covenant made with David has some serious implications as far as the heavenly realm is concerned. More on this in a moment.
In v.17b & 24b, the use of the word “horn” may seem odd but is seen as trumpets, flasks, on the corners of the altars, and can even be understood as the peak of a hill, all speaking in a literal sense. This word is also used to express someone’s kingdom, strength, or honor when understood in a figurative-literal sense.
The Lord is clear in verses 30-37 that David’s son’s disobedience will not negate the promise of YHWH’s Word toward David. The covenant with David’s house does not excuse sin and all sin will be punished. The covenant with David is such that YHWH cannot lie about it (v.33-37). He is faithful to the uttermost in everything that He has spoken.
Two things are certain in reading through this Psalm. First, YHWH has a solidified plan with the house of David that has been sealed in the Davidic Covenant. Second, this covenant rests solely on YHWH’s “loyal love” (hesed- “lovingkindness”) and His faithfulness. Even the disobedience of David’s line cannot negate the promise of YHWH.
The prophecies spoken forth so far concerning the Messiah have been nothing short of damning to Satan and the fallen angels. In Genesis 3:15, the “seed of the woman” is spoken of as crushing the head of the serpent. In Genesis 12:1-3, Abram is promised a Land and worldwide blessing, but it is the Seed, being the Lord Jesus Christ, that would come forward, even though Abram and Sarai were beyond producing offspring. Genesis 49:10 speaks of the privileged position of Judah, from which the scepter of rule will never depart. The obedience of all people will one day be directed to the tribe of Judah.
These prophecies are promises resting on the character of God that await their fulfillment in history. Each step that God takes in revealing more about the eventual triumph of the coming King and the establishment of His glorious Kingdom on earth to rule with a rod of iron (Psa 2) is a threat to the father of lies, the enemy, the murderer, Satan (Col 2:13-15). It is a declaration of victory to the divine council, much of which are demonic spirits overseeing the nations and ruling them in corruption and injustice despite YHWH’s rebukes of them (See Psa 82).
For YHWH to extend such a blessed promise to David is monumental. It is David’s faithfulness that brought him such a privilege in YHWH’s plan for the ages, and it would be through David’s lineage that Christ the Lord would enter into this world, both by blood and by heritage as the only One possessing the right to be the King over Israel.
The message of triumph is: CHRIST WILL BE KING! YHWH’s WORD STANDS FIRM! Victory is as certain as God Himself!
 Joseph Addison Alexander, The Psalms: Translated and Explained, The Classic Commentary Library (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1964), p. 371.