Lectionary Year B
July 20, 2003
II Samuel 7:1-14a

Step V: Distillation

A. Summary of Salient Features

(JFC) This pericope rotates around a theological core of God's wanting to build for/of/from David a dynasty, more than a house or even a palace or temple like that which David wants to build for the Ark. The Ark represents God's presence as we have seen in past weeks. Yet, this story tells of God's dynamic constructing a people. Here God intends to make of David a leadership block of chosen and established winners of battles against enemies whom God renders ineffective and lets David and his following generations rest. God's plans are paramount here. Of secondary significance appear Nathan's role as an encourager of David to follow his dreams and go ad build a dwelling for the Ark. God recalls some of Israel's recent history, recollects that He has always accompanied His people on the move and reminds David that an abode for the All Mighty is undesired.

B. Smoother Translation

(JFC) 1 And it happened that was settled the King and Yahweh caused him to rest from all his enemies all around about. 2 And said the King unto Nathan the prophet, "Look, now I am living in a house of cedars and the Ark of Elohim is lodged behind a drape/curtain." 3 And said Nathan unto the King, "All that which (is) in your heart go do for Yahweh (is) with you." 4 And happened in that very night that the Word of Yahweh unto Nathan came saying, 5 "Go and speak unto my servant David, 'Thus says Yahweh, "Will you build for me a house to live in? 6 For not have I lived in a house since from the day I brought up the children Israel from Egypt and continue unto this day and it happened in the traveling in a tent and in a tabernacle. 7 In all where I have gone in all the children Israel hardly a word which I have spoken to even one of the tribes of Israel whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel to say, 'Why not have you built for me a house cedars?' 8 And now you say to my servant David, 'Thus says Yahweh of hosts, "I (emphatic) have taken you from a place of shepherding a flock to become a ruler/leader/prince over my people over Israel. 9 And I am with you in all your walking around/coming and going and I cut off/destroy all your enemies from before you and I made of you a name great which (is) of the great names of the earth/land. 10 And I have made a place for my people for Israel and I have fixed/planted/established him to settle down/dwell/tabernacle/reside instead of/for the sake of/instead of and not will he ever tremble again and not will they do more the children of injustice/wrong to afflict him like what (happened) before/formerly. 11 And from the day which I ordered/commanded [piel, perfect] judges to/for my people Israel and I have caused you to rest from all your enemies and have declared to you that Yahweh will make a house for you. 12 When your days are finished and you will have lain down with your ancestors and I shall cause to arise your seed after you which shall go out from you and I shall establish his kingdom. 13 He (emphatic) shall build a house unto/for my name and I shall establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I (emphatic) shall be for him like a father and he shall be like a son to me.

C. Hermeneutical Bridge

(JFC) In the late 60's Robert Davidson was a lecturer in Old Testament Theology at Edinburgh's New College. When studying the "Covenant with David", he said something like, "Psalms 89:3, 28 and 34 and 132:12 as well as Jeremiah 33:21 reveal that the institution of kingship is new for Israel and they had to find a way to relate humans to God's sovereignty in governing His people. See Judges 8:23, Gideon's rejection of kingship in favor of God's sole sovereignty. Here, we have a very real tension in Israel's thinking. The theological answer is to be found in the covenant God makes with David within the covenant made with the whole nation. It is a relationship based on grace (II Samuel 7:8-11) . . ." These words seem to put the covenant in proper context.

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