Now therefore so shall you say to my servant David, Thus said the LORD of hosts, I took you from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Sheepcote.—Better, pasture.2 Samuel 7:8. So shalt thou say unto my servant David — Lest David should be discouraged, or judge himself neglected of God, as one thought unworthy of so great an honour, God here gives him the honourable title of his servant, thereby signifying that he accepted of his service and good intentions.2 Samuel 7:11). But a comparison with such passages as Psalm 78:67-68; 1 Kings 8:16; and 1 Chronicles 28:4, favors the reading "tribes," and the phrase is a condensed one, the meaning of which is, that whatever tribe had in times past supplied the ruler of Israel, whether Ephraim in the days of Joshua, or Benjamin in the time of Saul, or Judah in that of David, God had never required any of these tribes to build a house in one of their cities.
An house of cedar - See 1 Kings 7:2-3; 1 Kings 10:17, 1 Kings 10:21; Jeremiah 22:14, Jeremiah 22:23. Beams of cedar marked a costly building. The cedar of Lebanon is a totally different tree from what we improperly call the red or Virginian cedar, which supplies the sweet-scented cedar wood, and is really a kind of juniper. The cedar of Lebanon is a close-grained, light-colored, yellowish wood, with darker knots and veins.
4-17. it came to pass that night, that the word of the Lord came unto Nathan—The command was given to the prophet on the night immediately following; that is, before David could either take any measures or incur any expenses.So shalt thou say unto my servant David: lest David should be too much discouraged, or judge himself neglected and forsaken of God, as one thought unworthy of so great an honour, God here gives him the honourable title of his servant, thereby signifying that he accepted of his service, and of his good intentions, which also was expressed at this time, as it may seem from 1 Kings 8:18, though not in this place.
I took thee from the sheep-cote, to be ruler over my people; I advanced thee, and I do not repent of it.
thus saith the Lord of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel; for that was his employment, to keep his father's sheep, before he was taken into Saul's court, and married his daughter, when after his death he came to have the crown, of Israel: now this is said, not to upbraid him with his former meanness, but to observe the goodness of God unto him, and what reason he had for thankfulness, and to look upon himself as a favourite of God, who of a keeper of sheep was made a shepherd of men, to rule and feed them; so Cyrus is called a shepherd, Isaiah 44:28; and Agamemnon, in Homer (w), is called "the shepherd of the people".Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. from the sheepcote] Rather, from the pasture. Cp. Psalm 78:70-71.
to be ruler] Cp. ch. 2 Samuel 5:2, 2 Samuel 6:21.Verse 8. - I took thee from the sheepcote. There is in Nathan's message a marked advance upon the words of all previous prophecies. Hitherto God's promises had been general, and no tribe, and much less any special person, had been chosen as the progenitor of the Messiah. The nearest approach to the selection of a tribe had been the prediction of Judah's supremacy until Shiloh came (Genesis 49:10); but it was not even there expressly declared that Shiloh should be of Judah's race. But now David is clearly chosen. Jehovah takes him from the sheepcote; Hebrew, "the meadow" (see Psalm 78:70). It was in the meadows, the Naioth, round Ramah, that Samuel had gathered the young men of Israel to study their ancient records, and raise their country to a sense of its high calling. In those meadows David had been formed for his high vocation; but he had returned from them to Bethlehem, to feed his father's sheep. And now, "from following the ewes that gave suck," Jehovah takes him to be "his servant," a word of high dignity, applied to but few persons in the Old Testament. It signifies the prime minister, or vicegerent of Jehovah, as the theocratic king, and is the special title of Moses among God's people, and, among the heathen, of Nebuchadnezzar, as one summoned to do a great work for God. But it is in the last twenty-seven chapters of Isaiah that the title reaches its full grandeur. For there, first of all, Israel is called Jehovah's servant, because it was Israel's office to be the witness for the oneness of God amidst the debasing polytheism of all the nations round. And then, finally, the servant is Messiah, as being the personal Representative of God upon earth. The title is now given to David as the type of Christ's kingly office, and also as the sweet singer, who added a new service to the worship of God, and made it more spiritual, and more like the service of angels round God's throne. 2 Samuel 5:11), and Jehovah had given him rest from all his enemies round about, he said to Nathan the prophet: "See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, and the ark of God dwelleth within the curtains." היריעה in the singular is used, In Exodus 26:2., to denote the inner covering, composed of a number of lengths of tapestry sewn together, which was spread over the planks of the tabernacle, and made it into a dwelling, whereas the separate pieces of tapestry are called יריעת in the plural; and hence, in the later writers, יריעות alternates sometimes with אהל (Isaiah 54:2), and at other times with אהלים (Sol 1:5; Jeremiah 4:20; Jeremiah 49:29). Consequently היריעה refers here to the tent-cloth or tent formed of pieces of tapestry. "Within (i.e., surrounded by) the tent-cloth:" in the Chronicles we find "under curtains." From the words "when the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies round about," it is evident that David did not form the resolution to build the temple in the first years of his reign upon Zion, nor immediately after the completion of his palace, but at a later period (see the remarks on 2 Samuel 5:11, note). It is true that the giving of rest from all his enemies round about does not definitely presuppose the termination of all the greater wars of David, since it is not affirmed that this rest was a definitive one; but the words cannot possibly be restricted to the two victories over the Philistines (2 Samuel 5:17-25), as Hengstenberg supposes, inasmuch as, however important the second may have been, their foes were not even permanently quieted by them, to say nothing of their being entirely subdued. Moreover, in the promise mentioned in 2 Samuel 7:9, God distinctly says, "I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies before thee." These words also show that at that time David had already fought against all the enemies round about, and humbled them. Now, as all David's principal wars are grouped together for the first time in 2 Samuel 8 and 10, there can be no doubt that the history is not arranged in a strictly chronological order. And the expression "after this" in 2 Samuel 8:1 is by no means at variance with this, since this formula does not at all express a strictly chronological sequence. From the words of the prophet, "Go, do all that is in thy heart, for the Lord is with thee," it is very evident that David had expressed the intention to build a splendid palatial temple. The word לך, go (equivalent to "quite right"), is omitted in the Chronicles as superfluous. Nathan sanctioned the king's resolution "from his own feelings, and not by divine revelation" (J. H. Michaelis); but he did not "afterwards perceive that the time for carrying out this intention had not yet come," as Thenius and Bertheau maintain; on the contrary, the Lord God revealed to the prophet that David was not to carry out his intention at all.
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