David desires to build a house for God. God tells him his son will build it instead, and God will build a house for David. It will not be a literal house but a dynasty that will last for ever.
In this chapter, after King David has settled into his palace in Jerusalem, he decides to build a temple for God (v1). God's earthly throne, the ark of the covenant, was still housed in the tabernacle, an elaborate tent that God has instructed Moses to build, about 400 years earlier during the time of the exodus.

However, through Nathan the prophet, God reveals to David that he is not the one to build God a temple (v2-15). One of David's sons will build it instead, after David has died, but there is a twist. Because God is pleased with David's desire to build a house for him, God promises instead to build a house for David. It will be not be a literal house, but a dynastic house (v10). And God promises that David's dynasty will last forever!

There is also another strange twist. God promises that he will become a father to David's son, and that David's son will become God's son! David then responds in praise of God for his amazing promises (v16-27).

This promise of a 'Son of David' who will build God's temple is seen in scripture as having a dual-fulfilment. It was fulfilled historically through David's son Solomon who built the first temple. The name Solomon comes from the word 'Shalom' and means peace. When he was born, God instructed Nathan the prophet to also give him the name Jedidiah which means 'beloved of Jehovah' (2 Samuel 12:24-25). The promise was fulfilled in that Solomon built the first temple, there was peace throughout his reign, and his descendants ruled as kings of Israel or Judah for nearly 500 years. However, in 586 BC, David's dynasty was overthrown, Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed, and the people of Israel were taken into exile.

First impressions are that God's promise ultimately failed. However, various other prophecies point to a future 'Son of David' who will once again build God's temple and rule on David's throne forever as the Son of God. During the time of the exile, the prophet Daniel had a vision of the coronation of this future king. He saw 'one like a son of man' coming upon the clouds, approaching the Ancient of Days (God), and receiving ruling authority, honour and sovereignty. His authority is eternal and his kingdom will never be destroyed (Daniel 7:13-14).

After the exile, the temple was rebuilt by Zerubbabel the governor of Jerusalem, and Joshua the high priest, but David's dynasty was never restored. The prophet Zechariah told Joshua that he was a symbol of God's coming servant called 'the Branch' (Zechariah 3:8). Later, Zechariah made a crown and placed it on Joshua's head, in a symbolic act of coronation. He told told Joshua that the Branch will one day come and sit on his throne as both king and priest, and he will rebuild God's temple (Zechariah 6:11-14). In Old Testament times, whenever someone was appointed king or high priest, they were anointed with oil. The oil symbolised God giving his Holy Spirit to this person, to bless and empower them for the role. This coming king who would sit on David's throne came to be known as the 'Messiah', a Hebrew word meaning 'anointed one'. In Greek, the same word is 'Christ'. Many Old Testament Messianic prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus in his first coming. Many more will be fulfilled in his second coming.
Symbols: Joshua as a symbol, Solomon as a symbol
Tags: Jesus as the Son of David, Jesus as the Son of God, Jesus as the Branch, Jesus will build the temple, Millennial temple, Jesus as king of Israel, Jesus as Davidic ruler, Dynasty of David
God Makes a Promise to David
17 When David had settled into his palace, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Look, I am living in a palace made from cedar, while the ark of the Lord’s covenant is under a tent.”
2 Nathan said to David, “You should do whatever you have in mind, for God is with you.”
3 That night God told Nathan,
4 “Go, tell my servant David: ‘This is what the Lord says: “You must not build me a house in which to live.
5 For I have not lived in a house from the time I brought Israel up from Egypt to the present day. I have lived in a tent that has been in various places.
6 Wherever I moved throughout Israel, I did not say to any of the leaders whom I appointed to care for my people Israel, ‘Why have you not built me a house made from cedar?’”’
7 “So now, say this to my servant David: ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “I took you from the pasture and from your work as a shepherd to make you a leader of my people Israel.
8 I was with you wherever you went and I defeated all your enemies before you. Now I will make you as famous as the great men of the earth.
9 I will establish a place for my people Israel and settle them there; they will live there and not be disturbed anymore. Violent men will not oppress them again, as they did in the beginning
10 and during the time when I appointed judges to lead my people Israel. I will subdue all your enemies.
“‘“I declare to you that the Lord will build a dynastic house for you!
11 When the time comes for you to die, I will raise up your descendant, one of your own sons, to succeed you, and I will establish his kingdom.
12 He will build me a house, and I will make his dynasty permanent.
13 I will become his father and he will become my son. I will never withhold my loyal love from him, as I withheld it from the one who ruled before you.
14 I will put him in permanent charge of my house and my kingdom; his dynasty will be permanent.”’”
15 Nathan told David all these words that were revealed to him.

David Praises God
16 King David went in, sat before the Lord, and said: “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that you should have brought me to this point?
17 And you did not stop there, O God! You have also spoken about the future of your servant’s family. You have revealed to me what men long to know, O Lord God.
18 What more can David say to you? You have honored your servant; you have given your servant special recognition.
19 O Lord, for the sake of your servant and according to your will, you have done this great thing in order to reveal your greatness.
20 O Lord, there is none like you; there is no God besides you! What we heard is true!
21 And who is like your people, Israel, a unique nation in the earth? Their God went to claim a nation for himself! You made a name for yourself by doing great and awesome deeds when you drove out nations before your people whom you had delivered from the Egyptian empire and its gods.
22 You made Israel your very own nation for all time. You, O Lord, became their God.
23 So now, O Lord, may the promise you made about your servant and his family become a permanent reality! Do as you promised,
24 so it may become a reality and you may gain lasting fame, as people say, ‘The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is the God of Israel.’ The dynasty of your servant David will be established before you,
25 for you, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a dynasty for him. That is why your servant has had the courage to pray to you.
26 Now, O Lord, you are the true God; you have made this good promise to your servant.
27 Now you are willing to bless your servant’s dynasty so that it may stand permanently before you, for you, O Lord, have blessed it and it will be blessed from now on into the future.”