The Oracle of Nathan. 1a After the king had taken up residence in his house, and the LORD had given him rest from his enemies on every side,b 2the king said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent!”c 3Nathan answered the king, “Whatever is in your heart, go and do, for the LORD is with you.”d 4But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan: 5Go and tell David my servant, Thus says the LORD: Is it you who would build me a house to dwell in?e 6I have never dwelt in a house from the day I brought Israel up from Egypt to this day, but I have been going about in a tent or a tabernacle. 7As long as I have wandered about among the Israelites, did I ever say a word to any of the judges whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel: Why have you not built me a house of cedar?
8Now then, speak thus to my servant David, Thus says the LORD of hosts:* I took you from the pasture, from following the flock, to become ruler over my people Israel.f 9I was with you wherever you went, and I cut down all your enemies before you. And I will make your name like that of the greatest on earth.g 10I will assign a place for my people Israel and I will plant them in it to dwell there; they will never again be disturbed, nor shall the wicked ever again oppress them, as they did at the beginning, 11and from the day when I appointed judges over my people Israel. I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the LORD also declares to you that the LORD will make a house for you:h 12i when your days have been completed and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, sprung from your loins, and I will establish his kingdom. 13He it is* who shall build a house for my name, and I will establish his royal throne forever. 14I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. If he does wrong, I will reprove him with a human rod and with human punishments;j 15but I will not withdraw my favor from him as I withdrew it from Saul who was before you.k 16Your house and your kingdom are firm forever before me; your throne shall be firmly established forever.* l 17In accordance with all these words and this whole vision Nathan spoke to David.
David’s Thanksgiving. 18Then King David went in and sat in the LORD’s presence and said, “Who am I, Lord GOD, and what is my house, that you should have brought me so far?m 19And yet even this is too little in your sight, Lord GOD! For you have made a promise regarding your servant’s house reaching into the future, and giving guidance to the people, Lord GOD! 20What more can David say to you? You know* your servant, Lord GOD! 21For your servant’s sake and as you have had at heart, you have brought about this whole magnificent disclosure to your servant. 22Therefore, great are you, Lord GOD! There is no one like you, no God but you, as we have always heard.n 23What other nation on earth is there like your people Israel? What god has ever led a nation, redeeming it as his people and making a name by great and awesome deeds, as you drove out the nations and their gods before your people, whom you redeemed for yourself from Egypt?o 24p You have established for yourself your people Israel as your people forever, and you, LORD, have become their God. 25Now, LORD God, confirm the promise that you have spoken concerning your servant and his house forever. Bring about what you have promised 26so that your name may be forever great. People will say: ‘The LORD of hosts is God over Israel,’ when the house of your servant David is established in your presence. 27Because you, LORD of hosts, God of Israel, have revealed to your servant, ‘I will build you a house,’ your servant now finds the courage to make this prayer before you. 28Since you, Lord GOD, are truly God and your words are truth and you have made this generous promise to your servant,q 29do, then, bless the house of your servant, that it may be in your presence forever—since you, Lord GOD, have promised, and by your blessing the house of your servant shall be blessed forever.”
* [7:8–16] The message Nathan delivers to David, called the Dynastic Oracle, is prompted by David’s intention to build a house (i.e., a temple) for the Lord, like David’s own house (i.e., palace) of cedar. David is told, in effect, not to bother building a house for the Lord; rather, the Lord will make a house for him—a dynasty, the House of David. Not only will he have descendants (v. 12) who will sit upon the throne of Israel (v. 13), their rule will last forever (vv. 13, 16); and even if they transgress the Lord’s commands, the line of David will never be removed from kingship as Saul was (cf. 1 Sm 13; 15). The oracle establishes the Davidic king as standing in relationship to the Lord as a son to a father (v. 14; cf. Ps 2:7; 89:27). The Dynastic Oracle, with cognate texts in the Scriptures, is the basis for Jewish expectations of an anointed king (1 Sm 12:3, 5), son of David (Mt 21:9); cf. Acts 2:30; Heb 1:5.
* [7:13] He it is: Solomon, in the event.
* [7:16] The unconditional promise made here, and reflected in Ps 89:34–35, stands in contrast to the tradition in Ps 132:12, where the continuation of the line of David depends on their fidelity to the Lord; cf. also 1 Kgs 2:4; 6:12; 8:25.