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1 Chronicles 17

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

 NASB  NKJV  NRSV  TEV   NJB
(LXX versing)
God's Covenant with David God's Covenant with David Why David Himself Did Not Build the Temple Nathan's Message to David Nathan's Prophecy
17:1-2 17:1-2 17:1-2 17:1 17:1-2
17:2
17:3-10a 17:3-15 17:3-10a 17:3-6 17:3
17:4-14
17:7-14
17:10b-15 17:10b-15
17:15 17:15
David's Prayer in Response David's Prayer of Thanksgiving David's Prayer
17:16-22 17:16-22 17:16-22 17:16-22 17:16a
17:16b-22
17:23-27 17:23-27 17:23-27 17:23-27 17:23-27

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Bible Interpretation Seminar")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT THE PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

  1. First paragraph
  2. Second paragraph
  3. Etc.

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

  1. This is a crucial and powerful theological context. It is parallel to 2 Samuel 7. However, 2 Samuel 7 mentions YHWH's disciplining David's royal descendants when they sin, but Chronicles ignores the waywardness of the Judean Kings. This text has no counterpoint to 2 Sam. 7:14-15 nor does it mention Saul's rejection.

  2. The God of Israel promises to establish the house/dynasty of David as King forever. This is the essence of the Davidic Covenant. The Messiah will be a descendant of King David (cf. Matthew 1; Luke 3).

  3. This context obviously links to Jacob's tribal blessing of Genesis 49, about tribe Judah (cf. Gen. 49:8-12).

  4. The problem comes with the NT focus on "all humans," not just Israel.

  5. Notice the variety in God's names.
    1. God (Elohim), 1 Chr. 17:17,21,22,26
    2. Lord (YHWH), 1 Chr. 17:4,10,19,20,22,23,26,27
    3. Lord of hosts, 1 Chr. 17:7,24
    4. O Lord God (YHWH, Elohim), 1 Chr. 17:16,17
    5. the God of Israel (Eloah), 1 Chr. 17:24
    6. the God to Israel (Elohim), 1 Chr. 17:24

SPECIAL TOPIC: WHY DO OT COVENANT PROMISES SEEM SO DIFFERENT FROM NT COVENANT PROMISES?

SPECIAL TOPIC: NAMES FOR DEITY, C. and D.

SPECIAL TOPIC: Lord OF HOSTS

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 17:1-2
1And it came about, when David dwelt in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, "Behold, I am dwelling in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under curtains." 2Then Nathan said to David, "Do all that is in your heart, for God is with you."

17:1 "his house" This refers to David's palace (cf. 2 Sam. 5:11; 1 Chr. 14:1), built with materials and craftsmen from Hiram, King of Tyre, a friend of David.

The "cedar" for David's palace came from Lebanon.

▣ "ark of the covenant" See SPECIAL TOPIC: ARK OF THE COVENANT.

▣ "under curtains" This refers to the tabernacle, described in Exodus 25-26.

SPECIAL TOPIC: CHART OF THE TABERNACLE

17:2 How Nathan, the royal court prophet, received this initial revelation is not stated. Later he will receive a divine reversal in a dream to David (cf. 1 Chr. 17:3-4). David will not build the temple (cf. 1 Chr. 28:23).

Note the IMPERATIVES of God's word.

  1. 1 Chr. 17:2, "do" ‒ BDB 793, KB 889, Qal IMPERATIVE
  2. 1 Chr. 17:4, "go" ‒ BDB 229, KB 241, Qal IMPERATIVE

Possibly Nathan assumed to know God's will without asking or God made a later clarification. David could plan and gather material but Solomon would build the temple with Hiram's materials and artisans.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 17:3-10a
3It came about the same night that the word of God came to Nathan, saying, 4"Go and tell David My servant, 'Thus says the Lord, "You shall not build a house for Me to dwell in; 5for I have not dwelt in a house since the day that I brought up Israel to this day, but I have gone from tent to tent and from one dwelling place to another. 6In all places where I have walked with all Israel, have I spoken a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people, saying, 'Why have you not built for Me a house of cedar?'"' 7Now, therefore, thus shall you say to My servant David, 'Thus says the Lord of hosts, "I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be leader over My people Israel. 8I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a name like the name of the great ones who are in the earth. 9I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and not be moved again; and the wicked will not waste them anymore as formerly, 10even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel. And I will subdue all your enemies.

17:3 The OT Tyndale Commentary by Martin Selman (pp. 181-182) suggests that "the word of God" mentioned in 1 Chr. 17:3-15, along with 2 Chr. 7:11-22, is the key theological theme around which the Chronicler structures his book.

17:4 "My servant" See SPECIAL TOPIC: MY SERVANT.

▣ "you shall not build a house for Me to dwell in" The reason is stated in 1 Chr. 28:2-3; David was a man of war.

17:5 The parallel in 2 Sam. 7:6 specifically mentions "Egypt." The exodus is alluded to in 1 Chr. 17:21.

17:6 "I have walked with all Israel" This is anthropomorphic language.

A temple for YHWH was not YHWH's idea or command, but a desire on David's part.

SPECIAL TOPIC: THE PROBLEMS AND LIMITATIONS OF HUMAN LANGUAGE

▣ "judges" The parallel in 2 Sam. 7:7 has "tribes" and the LXX has "tribes" here, but because "judges" are mentioned specifically again in 1 Chr. 17:10, the MT is probably correct (AB, p. 124).

17:7 "My servant David" See note at 1 Chr. 17:4.

▣ "the Lord of hosts" See SPECIAL TOPIC: Lord OF HOSTS.

▣ "I took you from the pasture. . ." This is an allusion to YHWH's choice of David from among the sons of Jesse (cf. 1 Samuel 16).

David as a shepherd reflects biblical imagery (royal title).

  1. God as shepherd, Ps. 23:1 (see full note online); 80:2; Jer. 31:10; Ezek. 38:11-16
  2. Moses' successors, Num 27:17; 1 Kgs. 22:17; 2 Chr. 18:16
  3. Jesus (the Davidic Messiah) as shepherd, Isa. 40:11; Zechariah 10-12; John 10

17:8 "I have been with you wherever you have gone" What a great promise and spiritual reality for God's presence and leadership!

Notice how YHWH's personal presence manifested itself.

  1. I have cut off all your enemies, 1 Chr. 17:8
  2. I will make you a name (similar to Gen. 12:1-3), 1 Chr. 17:8
  3. I will appoint a place (i.e., land) for My people Israel, 1 Chr. 17:9
    1. I will plant them
    2. they will dwell in their own place
    3. they will be moved no more
    4. the wicked shall not waste them any more
  4. I will subdue all your enemies, 1 Chr. 17:10
  5. I will build you a house (i.e., dynasty), 1 Chr. 17:10
  6. I will establish your sons (i.e., Solomon and his seed) on the throne forever, 1 Chr. 17:12-14

17:9 "will plant them" This is imagery of Israel as a grape plant.

  1. she was transplanted from Egypt (cf. Psalm 80)
  2. planted in the Promised Land (cf. Exod. 15:17; 2 Sam. 7:10; Ps. 44:2)
  3. she brought forth bad grapes (cf. Isaiah 5; Jer. 2:21; 11:17; 12:2)
  4. she was uprooted and transplanted in Mesopotamia (cf. Isa. 5:2,7; Jer. 45:4; 32:36-44)
  5. YHWH will plant her again in Canaan, never to be uprooted again (cf. 1 Chr. 17:9; Jer. 24:6; Ezek. 34:25-31; Amos 9:15)

▣ "the wicked" The MT has "sons of wickedness." This idiom is also found in 2 Sam. 7:10; Ps. 89:22.

SPECIAL TOPIC: "SONS OF. . ." (OT)

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 17:10b-15
10bMoreover, I tell you that the Lord will build a house for you. 11When your days are fulfilled that you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up one of your descendants after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. 12He shall build for Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever. 13I will be his father and he shall be My son; and I will not take My lovingkindness away from him, as I took it from him who was before you. 14But I will settle him in My house and in My kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever."'" 15According to all these words and according to all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David.

17:11 "When your days are fulfilled" This VERB (BDB 569, KB 583, Qal PERFECT) is an idiom for the appointed days of a person's life, here David's (cf. 2 Sam. 7:12). Also note its usage in Lam. 4:18. Believers' lives are in the hand of God (cf. Matt. 6:25-34; 10:29-31), not a result of luck, fate, chance, or a capricious spiritual entity.

▣ "go to be with your fathers" The LXX has "lie down" or "sleep," which translated the Hebrew idiom for death (i.e., "sleep," cf. 2 Sam. 7:12).

▣ "I will establish his kingdom" In context this refers to Solomon, but in the larger message of the Bible, it refers to Jesus, the Davidic Messiah (cf. Mark 1:11; Luke 1:32-33; Heb. 1:5).

17:12 "He shall build for Me a house" This refers to Solomon. 1 Kings 8 records Solomon's wonderful dedicatory prayer. He clearly understood the purpose of YHWH's temple.

17:13 "I will be his father" See SPECIAL TOPIC: THE FATHERHOOD OF GOD and SPECIAL TOPIC: THE SON OF GOD.

▣ "My lovingkindness" See SPECIAL TOPIC: LOVINGKINDNESS (hesed).

YHWH will not take away His Spirit from Solomon as He did with Saul (cf. 1 Sam. 16:14,23; 18:12; 28:15). The parallel in 2 Sam. 7:14 mentions Divine discipline instead of rejection.

However, one must also remember the conditional nature of YHWH's covenant with Israel (cf. Jeremiah 7; 15:1-4; 16:5). YHWH's covenant demanded faith, obedience, and perseverance!

SPECIAL TOPIC: COVENANT

17:14 Notice that Solomon's kingdom is YHWH's Kingdom; the temple is YHWH's house (cf. 1 Chr. 28:5; 29:22; 2 Chr. 9:8; 13:8)!

SPECIAL TOPIC: THE KINGDOM OF GOD

▣ "forever" The term is repeated twice.

SPECIAL TOPIC: FOREVER ('olam)

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 17:16-22
16Then David the king went in and sat before the Lord and said, "Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house that You have brought me this far? 17This was a small thing in Your eyes, O God; but You have spoken of Your servant's house for a great while to come, and have regarded me according to the standard of a man of high degree, O Lord God. 18What more can David still say to You concerning the honor bestowed on Your servant? For You know Your servant. 19O Lord, for Your servant's sake, and according to Your own heart, You have wrought all this greatness, to make known all these great things. 20O Lord, there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears. 21And what one nation in the earth is like Your people Israel, whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, to make You a name by great and terrible things, in driving out nations from before Your people, whom You redeemed out of Egypt? 22For Your people Israel You made Your own people forever, and You, O Lord, became their God.

17:16 Apparently David entered the Tabernacle of the wilderness, which is described in Exodus 25-26. It is surprising that David is said to "sit" before the Lord. It is found in 2 Sam. 7:18. It may be a metaphor for "tarrying" before the Lord.

In 1 Chr. 17:16-18, David marvels at YHWH's love, care, and promotions of himself and his family.

17:17 The end of this verse is very ambiguous and uncertain in the MT. There are many suggestions but no consensus among translations or scholars. The JPSOA has "You regard me as a man of distinction." The NET Bible explains its emendations and assumptions of the translation ("You have revealed to me what man longs to know") on p. 654, #30.

The MT has "as the turn of man and the step." The meanings of both "turn" (BDB 1064) and "step" (BDB 752 II) are questionable. It is possible "turn" means "law" (see Robert B. Girdlestone, Synonyms of the Old Testament, pp. 47-48).

17:18 "honor" This is one usage of kabod (NIDOTTE, vol, 2, p. 580 [b]).

SPECIAL TOPIC: GLORY (kabod, OT)

17:19 David affirms the great mercy and power of YHWH. God's character (i.e., "mercy") and purposes (i.e., "redemption,") are the theological keys to human history!

SPECIAL TOPIC: CHARACTERISTICS OF ISRAEL'S GOD (OT)

SPECIAL TOPIC: YHWH'S ETERNAL REDEMPTIVE PLAN

▣ "for Your servant's sake" The parallel in 2 Sam. 7:21 has "for the sake of Your word."

▣ "all the greatness" See 2 Sam. 7:21, 23, which describe the great acts of God before and during the exodus.

17:20 See SPECIAL TOPIC: MONOTHEISM.

17:21 "redeem" This VERB is used twice in this verse. God formed Israel into a people based on His promises to Abraham (i.e., Gen. 12:1-3; 15:21-22) and now through a Davidic covenant, which complements and extends the Mosaic covenant. All are conditional on God's initiation and preservation. All are presented in a conditional structure (i.e., obedience).

SPECIAL TOPIC: RANSOM/REDEEM

▣ "by great and terrible things" This refers to YHWH's miraculous acts in delivering Israel from Egypt (cf. 2 Sam. 7:23; Ps. 106:22).

SPECIAL TOPIC: SIGN (OT)

17:22-24 "forever" This is a theological extension of 1 Chr. 17:12-14. See SPECIAL TOPIC: FOREVER ('olam) for the conditional nature of "forever." See SPECIAL TOPIC: COVENANT. Note also that the rejection of Saul mentioned in 2 Sam. 7:14-15, implies the conditional nature of the royal promise. See D. Brent Sandy, Plowshares and Pruning Hooks, "Conditional or Unconditional?" (pp. 44-47).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 17:23-27
23"Now, O Lord, let the word that You have spoken concerning Your servant and concerning his house be established forever, and do as You have spoken. 24Let Your name be established and magnified forever, saying, 'The Lord of hosts is the God of Israel, even a God to Israel; and the house of David Your servant is established before You.' 25For You, O my God, have revealed to Your servant that You will build for him a house; therefore Your servant has found courage to pray before You. 26Now, O Lord, You are God, and have promised this good thing to Your servant. 27And now it has pleased You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue forever before You; for You, O Lord, have blessed, and it is blessed forever."

17:23 David prays (IMPERATIVE OF REQUEST) that God's plans for him and his seed be established.

  1. be established ‒ BDB 52, KB 63, Niphal IMPERFECT used in a JUSSIVE sense
  2. do as You have spoken ‒ BDB 793, KB 889, Qal IMPERATIVE

The theological keys to the Davidic Covenant are the will and character of YHWH.

17:24 YHWH's name being great is the goal of all history! All of the Patriarchs and leaders of Israel are meant to magnify YHWH's name! The latter part of 1 Chr. 17:27 may also refer to YHWH, not David.

SPECIAL TOPIC: "THE NAME" OF YHWH

17:26 "You are God" This phrase has the DEFINITE ARTICLE, which denotes monotheism, which is also alluded to in 1 Chr. 1:20.

SPECIAL TOPIC: MONOTHEISM

17:27 "bless" This VERB (BDB 138, KB 159) is used three times.

  1. Piel INFINITIVE CONSTRUCT
  2. Piel PERFECT
  3. Pual PARTICIPLE

SPECIAL TOPIC: BLESSING (OT)

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

  1. Why is this chapter crucial in the theology of Chronicles?
  2. Did Nathan make a false prophetic statement in 1 Chr. 17:2?
  3. Why did David want to build a house for the ark?
  4. Did God want a temple?
  5. What are the two meanings of the word "house" in 1 Chronicles 17?
  6. Why does Chronicles not mention God's discipline of David's descendants found in 2 Sam l 7?
  7. Is the Davidic covenant conditional or unconditional?
  8. Does 1 Chr. 17:20 affirm monotheism?

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