1 Chronicles 17


This chapter contains an account of David's intention to build an house for God, which, he signified to Nathan the prophet, who first encouraged him to it; but afterwards was sent by the Lord to him with an order to desist from it, assuring him, at the same time, that his son should build it, and that his own house and kingdom should be established for ever; for which David expressed great thankfulness, the whole of which is related in #2Sa 7:1-29 with some little variation, see the notes there; only one thing has since occurred, which I would just take notice of, that here, #1Ch 17:5 as there also, it is said by the Lord, that he had "not dwelt in an house since the day he brought up Israel out of Egypt"; which seems to suggest that he had dwelt in one before, as has been hinted on #2Sa 7:6 even while the people of Israel were in Egypt, though it is nowhere mentioned by Moses, or any other writer; yet it is not unreasonable to suppose it; for as the ancestors of the Israelites, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, when only travellers from place to place, built altars for God wherever they came; so their posterity, it is highly probable, not only did the same, but when they found themselves settled in Egypt, in the land of Goshen, might build places of worship; and when we consider the wealth of Joseph, and his family, and indeed of all Israel, who enjoyed for many years great plenty, prosperity, and liberty, before their servitude, the vast numbers they increased to and the long continuance of them in Egypt, more than two hundred years; it will not seem strange that they should build houses for religious worship, and even one grand and splendid for public service, to which also they might be led by the example of the Egyptians; who, as Herodotus says {i}, were the first that erected altars, images, and temples to the gods, and who in the times of Joseph had one at On, where his father-in-law officiated as priest, #Ge 41:45 or rather to this they might be directed by some hints and instructions of their father Jacob before his death, who it is certain had a notion of a Bethel, an house for the public worship of God, #Ge 28:17,19,22 35:1 and I find a learned man {k} of our own nation of this opinion, and which he founds upon this passage; and he supposes the house God dwelt in, in Egypt, was not a tent of goats' hair, as in the wilderness, but a structure of stones or bricks, a firm and stable house, such an one as Abraham built at Damascus when settled there; which continued to the times of Augustus Caesar, as related by Nicholas of Damascus {l}. See #2Sa 7:1-29.
{i} Euterpe, sive, l. 2. c. 4.
{k} Dickinson. Physic. vet. & vera, c. 19. sect. 24.
{l} Apud. Joseph. Antiqu. l. 1. c. 7. sect. 2. (Gill, OLB)

My notes on this chapter can be found in 2 Samuel 7.

Vv. 2ff., Nathan at first tells David to build, for the Lord is with him. The Lord, however, speaks to Nathan to tell David not to build, but that his son will build the house that was in David's desire.


1) Even men of God, Nathan, can, and do, speak without proper knowledge of the mind of the Lord.
2) Nathan had to go back to David and correct what he said without checking with the Lord.
3) Godly King David needed a "prophet", a man of God to speak God's word to him.
4) Though David wrote many Psalms under the Spirit's inspiration, he did not get lifted up with pride, and reject proper spiritual advice.

V. 5, from tent to tent tells us that as one tent or tabernacle wore out, another was built.

V. 6, God walked with His people Israel wherever they went, and lived as His people lived–they shall call his name Emmanuel, with being interpreted is, God with us. (Matt. 1:23.)

V. 7, God lifted David up, and established him as ruler over His people, Israel.

V. 8, God cut off David's enemies, though many times physical warfare was required.

V. 9, the place ordained for God's people, Israel, is Christ, not any physical land.

Vv. 10-14, the Lord promises to build David an house. If the Lord does not build the house, they labour in vain that build it, Psalms 127:1. The house, seed, here promised is in and through Christ, the seed of David.

Vv. 16-20, David realized from where the Lord brought him, and at times, here included, was overwhelmed with gratitude for what the Lord did for him, as defined in v. 7.

V. 22 For thy people Israel didst thou make thine own people for ever; and thou, LORD, becamest their God.

There are many verses that correspond with v. 22 above, e.g., Deuteronomy 7:6-8, 26:18, 19. These passages could be misapplied by those who deny New Testament Scripture, to say that this promise applies to national Israel, though it was destroyed in 70 AD.

But in order to apply these passages to national Israel, one must deal with,

Exodus 19:6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

Peter takes the above passage and applies it to the new Israel of God, the church:

1 Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

And thus those who want to revive the old national Israel must say that Peter was not really quoting and applying Exodus 19:6 to the Church. Those who desire to restore and support a renewed nation of Israel, though it was clearly destroyed in 70 AD, must do some destructive things with these passages—they must, in their words, "rightly divide the word of truth" in order to separate the New Testament from the Old Testament to support what they want to believe.

V. 25, David's overflowing heart resulted in prayer.

Really, this chapter does not bring Solomon into the picture nearly as clearly as do other passages, e.g., 2 Samuel 7. This passage openly points to Christ; there can be no mistaking of whom the promise speaks.