Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
2. the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house
of cedar--The palace which Hiram had sent men and materials to build
in Jerusalem had been finished. It was magnificent for that age, though
made wholly of wood: houses in warm countries not being required to
possess the solidity and thickness of walls which are requisite for
dwellings in regions exposed to rain and cold. Cedar was the rarest and
most valuable timber. The elegance and splendor of his own royal
mansion, contrasted with the mean and temporary tabernacle in which the
ark of God was placed, distressed the pious mind of David.
3. Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart--The
piety of the design commended it to the prophet's mind, and he gave his
hasty approval and encouragement to the royal plans. The prophets, when
following the impulse of their own feelings, or forming conjectural
opinions, fell into frequent mistakes.
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.
11. Also the Lord telleth thee that he will make thee an house--As a
reward for his pious purpose, God would increase and maintain the
family of David and secure the succession of the throne to his dynasty.
12. I will set up thy seed after thee, &c.--It is customary for the
oldest son born after the father's succession to the throne to succeed
him in his dignity as king. David had several sons by Bath-sheba born
after his removal to Jerusalem
But by a special ordinance and promise of God, his successor was to be
a son born after this time; and the departure from the established
usage of the East in fixing the succession, can be accounted for on no
other known ground, except the fulfilment of the divine promise.
13. He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the
throne of his kingdom for ever--This declaration referred, in its
primary application, to Solomon, and to the temporal kingdom of David's
family. But in a larger and sublimer sense, it was meant of David's Son
of another nature
18. Then went king David in, and sat before the Lord--Sitting was
anciently an attitude for worship
As to the particular attitude David sat, most probably, upon his
heels. It was the posture of the ancient Egyptians before the
shrines; it is the posture of deepest respect before a superior in the
East. Persons of highest dignity sit thus when they do sit in the
presence of kings and it is the only sitting attitude assumed by the
modern Mohammedans in their places and rites of devotion.
19. is this the manner of man, O Lord God?--that is, is it customary
for men to show such condescension to persons so humble as I am? (See
20. what can David say more unto thee?--that is, my obligations are
greater than I can express.