Why you are great, O LORD God: for there is none like you, neither is there any God beside you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)All that we have heard with our ears.—Such expressions are common enough in all languages not only for that which has been communicated orally, but for all that has been made known in any way; the same word is used with reference to written records in Deuteronomy 4:6; 2Kings 17:14; 2Kings 18:12; 2Kings 19:16 (in Hezekiah’s prayer in reference to Sennacherib’s letter); Nehemiah 9:29; probably Esther 2:8; and in many other places. (So also the corresponding Greek word, Revelation 1:3, &c). It is therefore entirely unnecessary to suppose that David refers here only to oral tradition; he means the history of the Divine dealings with his people as recorded in their sacred books.2 Samuel 7:22. Wherefore thou art great — Both in power and in goodness, as appears by the great and good things which thou hast done for me. Neither is there any God besides thee — Thus Hannah had expressed herself in her song, in which she prophesied of him, 1 Samuel 2:2; 1 Samuel 2:10. According to all that we have heard — That is, what their forefathers had reported concerning the wonders which God had done by Moses and Joshua, and in the time of the judges.1 Chronicles 17:17. Our passage may be thus understood: But this is the law (or prerogative) of a great man to found dynasties which are to last into the far future. David expresses his astonishment that he, of such humble birth, and one so little in his own eyes, should not only be raised to the throne, but be assured of the perpetuity of the succession in his descendants, as if he were a man of high degree. Thou art great, both in power and in goodness, as appears by the great and good things which thou hast done for me,
All that we have heard with our ears; what we have heard from our parents, or out of thy word, concerning the incomparable excellency of thy majesty, and of thy works; of that I have this day eminent experience.
for there is none like thee; for his essence and attributes, for his greatness and goodness, for what he is in himself, for what he is to his people, and has done for them:
neither is there any God beside thee; there is but one God, the living and true God, the former and maker of all things; all others are but fictitious and factitious gods, see 1 Samuel 2:2;
according to all that we have heard with our ears; concerning what he did in the land of Egypt upon the Egyptians, and in the wilderness, in favour of the Israelites, and in the land of Canaan, by driving out the inhabitants before the people of Israel, and in the times of the judges, in raising them up to deliver his people.Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)22. Wherefore thou art great] Since Thou hast done these great things for me, I praise Thee and acknowledge Thy greatness. Cp. Psalm 35:27; Psalm 40:16; Psalm 48:1.
for there is none like thee, &c.] Cp. Exodus 15:11; Deuteronomy 3:24; Deuteronomy 4:35; 1 Samuel 2:2.
according to all, &c.] David passes from the evidence of God’s greatness derived from his own experience, to the evidence afforded by the history of His dealings with Israel, handed down from father to son by oral tradition. Cp. Exodus 10:2; Deuteronomy 4:9; Psalm 44:1; Psalm 86:8-10.Verse 22. - Wherefore thou art great. God's goodness is to David a proof of his greatness, and he sees it displayed, not only in his dealings with himself, but also in the past history of the Jewish nation. There is in this a depth of evangelic piety. An unconverted heart would see the greatness of God in the majesty of creation, or in severe dealings with the impenitent. David saw it in acts of mercy and kindness. We look upon Elijah as the very type of sternness, yet he too recognized the presence of God in "the still small voice" of gentleness and love (1 Kings 19:13). 1 Kings 2:12); so that Solomon was able to say, "The Lord hath fulfilled His word that He spoke; for I have risen up in the stead of my father David," etc. (1 Kings 8:20). Solomon built the temple, as the Lord said to David (1 Kings 6:1; 1 Kings 8:15.). But in his old age Solomon sinned against the Lord by falling into idolatry; and as a punishment for this, after his death his kingdom was rent from his son, not indeed entirely, as one portion was still preserved to the family for David's sake (1 Kings 11:9.). Thus the Lord punished him with rods of men, but did not withdraw from him His grace. At the same time, however unmistakeable the allusions to Solomon are, the substance of the promise is not fully exhausted in him. The threefold repetition of the expression "for ever," the establishment of the kingdom and throne of David for ever, points incontrovertibly beyond the time of Solomon, and to the eternal continuance of the seed of David. The word seed denotes the posterity of a person, which may consist either in one son or in several children, or in a long line of successive generations. The idea of a number of persons living at the same time, is here precluded by the context of the promise, as only one of David's successors could sit upon the throne at a time. On the other hand, the idea of a number of descendants following one another, is evidently contained in the promise, that God would not withdraw His favour from the seed, even if it went astray, as He had done from Saul, since this implies that even in that case the throne should be transmitted from father to son. There is still more, however, involved in the expression "for ever." When the promise was given that the throne of the kingdom of David should continue "to eternity," an eternal duration was also promised to the seed that should occupy this throne, just as in 2 Samuel 7:16 the house and kingdom of David are spoken of as existing for ever, side by side. We must not reduce the idea of eternity to the popular notion of a long incalculable period, but must take it in an absolute sense, as the promise is evidently understood in Psalm 89:30 : "I set his seed for ever, and this throne as the days of heaven." No earthly kingdom, and no posterity of any single man, has eternal duration like the heaven and the earth; but the different families of men become extinct, as the different earthly kingdoms perish, and other families and kingdoms take their place. The posterity of David, therefore, could only last for ever by running out in a person who lives for ever, i.e., by culminating in the Messiah, who lives for ever, and of whose kingdom there is no end. The promise consequently refers to the posterity of David, commencing with Solomon and closing with Christ: so that by the "seed" we are not to understand Solomon alone, with the kings who succeeded him, nor Christ alone, to the exclusion of Solomon and the earthly kings of the family of David; nor is the allusion to Solomon and Christ to be regarded as a double allusion to two different objects.
But if this is established, - namely, that the promise given to the seed of David that his kingdom should endure for ever only attained its ultimate fulfilment in Christ, - we must not restrict the building of the house of God to the erection of Solomon's temple. "The building of the house of the Lord goes hand in hand with the eternity of the kingdom" (Hengstenberg). As the kingdom endures for ever, so the house built for the dwelling-place of the Lord must also endure for ever, as Solomon said at the dedication of the temple (1 Kings 8:13): "I have surely built Thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for Thee to abide in for ever." The everlasting continuance of Solomon's temple must not be reduced, however, to the simple fact, that even if the temple of Solomon should be destroyed, a new building would be erected in its place by the earthly descendants of Solomon, although this is also implied in the words, and the temple of Zerubbabel is included as the restoration of that of Solomon. For it is not merely in its earthly form, as a building of wood and stone, that the temple is referred to, but also and chiefly in its essential characteristic, as the place of the manifestation and presence of God in the midst of His people. The earthly form is perishable, the essence eternal. This essence was the dwelling of God in the midst of His people, which did not cease with the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem, but culminated in the appearance of Jesus Christ, in whom Jehovah came to His people, and, as God the Word, made human nature His dwelling-place (ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν, John 1:14) in the glory of the only-begotten Son of the Father; so that Christ could say to the Jews, "Destroy this temple (i.e., the temple of His body), and in three days I will build it up again" (John 2:19). It is with this building up of the temple destroyed by the Jews, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that the complete and essential fulfilment of our promise begins. It is perpetuated with the Christian church in the indwelling of the Father and Son through the Holy Ghost in the hearts of believers (John 14:23; 1 Corinthians 6:19), by which the church of Jesus Christ is built up a spiritual house of God, composed of living stones (1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Peter 2:5; compare 2 Corinthians 6:16; Hebrews 3:6); and it will be perfected in the completion of the kingdom of God at the end of time in the new Jerusalem, which shall come down upon the new earth out of heaven from God, as the true tabernacle of God with men (Revelation 21:1-3).
As the building of the house of God receives its fulfilment first of all through Christ, so the promise, "I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son," is first fully realized in Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of the heavenly Father (vid., Hebrews 1:5). In the Old Testament the relation between father and son denotes the deepest intimacy of love; and love is perfected in unity of nature, in the communication to the son of all that the father hath. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand (John 3:35). Sonship therefore includes the government of the world. This not only applied to Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, but also to the seed of David generally, so far as they truly attained to the relation of children of God. So long as Solomon walked in the ways of the Lord, he ruled over all the kingdoms from the river (Euphrates) to the border of Egypt (1 Kings 5:1); but when his heart turned away from the Lord in his old age, adversaries rose up against him (1 Kings 11:14., 1 Kings 11:23.), and after his death the greater part of the kingdom was rent from his son. The seed of David was chastised for its sins; and as its apostasy continued, it was humbled yet more and more, until the earthly throne of David became extinct. Nevertheless the Lord did not cause His mercy to depart from him. When the house of David had fallen into decay, Jesus Christ was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, to raise up the throne of His father David again, and to reign for ever as King over the house of Jacob (Luke 1:32-33), and to establish the house and kingdom of David for ever. - In 2 Samuel 7:16, where the promise returns to David again with the words, "thy house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever," the expression לפניך (before thee), which the lxx and Syriac have arbitrarily changed into לפני (before me), should be particularly observed. David, as the tribe-father and founder of the line of kings, is regarded either "as seeing all his descendants pass before him in a vision," as O. v. Gerlach supposes, or as continuing to exist in his descendants.
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