The Book of 2nd Samuel

hew Henry is quick to observe, falls into two main parts. Alas, there is no mistaking
it. David’s great sin, recorded in chapter 11, marks the sad divide, right in the middle of
the book and right in the middle of David’s forty year’s reign, for it falls about the end of
the first twenty years. Up to this point all goes triumphantly for David; bur after this there
are ugly knots and tangles, grievous blows and tragic trials. In the first part, we sing
David’s triumph. In the second part, we mourn David’s troubles.”
Although the book of Second Samuel deals mainly with the reign of David, its
significance is in the Messianic prophecy that is given form in it. This prophecy comes in
the form of a covenant God made with David, the terms of which are found in chapter
seven. David had built himself a palace and had just moved in, realizing that “the Lord
had given him rest from all his enemies around him.” This made him conceive the plan
that the Ark of the Covenant, the symbol of the presence of God deserved a better place
than a tent. Consulting with the prophet Nathan, he initially receives the prophet’s
approval, but in the night God spoke to his prophet and said: “Go and tell my servant
David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I
have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day.
I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have
moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to
shepherd my people Israel, ‘‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’’ Now then,
tell my servant David, ‘‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture
and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you
wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will
make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. And I will provide
a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their
own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they
did at the beginning and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my
people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies. The Lord declares to you
that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you
rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from
your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for
my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and
he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with
floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it
away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will
endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’’ 1
J. Sidlow Baxter, in Explore the Book, comments on this: ‘On no account should
we fail to weigh duly the fact and the terms of this covenant; for, besides largely affecting
all that follows in the Scriptures, it determinatively affects the whole history of mankind,
especially that part which is yet future. It is one of the supremely great passages of the
Bible, and one of the principle keys to the Divine plan of history. From the time when

II Sam. 7:1-16
Second Samuel
this covenant was announced, the Jews have always believed that the Messiah must come
of David’s line. They believed it in the time of our Lord, and they believe it now. That
the Messiah should indeed be of David’s line was later affirmed by the prophets, in such
passages as Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23: 5; Ezekiel 37:25; and in accord with such
prophecies the angel Gabriel announced to Mary, concerning Jesus: ‘He shall be great,
and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the
throne of His father, David; and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of
His Kingdom there shall be no end.’’