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God Makes a Promise to David

17 When David had settled into his palace,[a] he[b] said to Nathan the prophet, “Look, I am living in a palace[c] made from cedar, while the ark of the Lord’s covenant is under a tent.”[d] Nathan said to David, “You should do whatever you have in mind,[e] for God is with you.”

That night God told Nathan,[f] “Go, tell my servant David: ‘This is what the Lord says: “You must not build me a house in which to live. For I have not lived in a house from the time I brought Israel up from Egypt[g] to the present day. I have lived in a tent that has been in various places.[h] Wherever I moved throughout Israel, I did not say[i] to any of the leaders whom I appointed to care for my people Israel,[j] ‘Why have you not built me a house made from cedar?’”’

“So now, say this to my servant David: ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies[k] says: “I took you from the pasture and from your work as a shepherd[l] to make you a leader of my people Israel. I was with you wherever you went and I defeated[m] all your enemies before you. Now I will make you as famous as the great men of the earth.[n] I will establish a place for my people Israel and settle[o] them there; they will live there and not be disturbed[p] anymore. Violent men will not oppress them again, as they did in the beginning[q] 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[r] for you! 11 When the time comes for you to die,[s] I will raise up your descendant,[t] 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.[u] 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.[v] 14 I will put him in permanent charge of my house and my kingdom; his dynasty will be permanent.”’”[w] 15 Nathan told David all these words that were revealed to him.[x]

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,[y] 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.[z] You have revealed to me what men long to know,[aa] O Lord God. 18 What more can David say[ab] to you? You have honored your servant; you have given your servant special recognition.[ac] 19 O Lord, for the sake of your servant and according to your will,[ad] you have done this great thing in order to reveal your greatness.[ae] 20 O Lord, there is none like you; there is no God besides you! What we heard is true![af] 21 And who is like your people, Israel, a unique nation[ag] in the earth? Their God[ah] went to claim[ai] a nation for himself! You made a name for yourself by doing great and awesome deeds[aj] when you drove out[ak] nations before your people whom you had delivered from the Egyptian empire and its gods.[al] 22 You made Israel your very own nation for all time.[am] 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![an] Do as you promised,[ao] 24 so[ap] it may become a reality[aq] and you may gain lasting fame,[ar] as people say,[as] ‘The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is the God of Israel.’[at] The dynasty[au] 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[av] for him. That is why your servant has had the courage to pray to you.[aw] 26 Now, O Lord, you are the true God;[ax] you have made this good promise to your servant.[ay] 27 Now you are willing to bless your servant’s dynasty[az] 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.”[ba]


  1. 1 Chronicles 17:1 tn Heb “house.”
  2. 1 Chronicles 17:1 tn Heb “David.” The pronoun “he” has been used in the translation here to avoid redundancy in keeping with contemporary English style.
  3. 1 Chronicles 17:1 tn Heb “house.”
  4. 1 Chronicles 17:1 tn Heb “tent curtains.”
  5. 1 Chronicles 17:2 tn Heb “all that is in your heart.”
  6. 1 Chronicles 17:3 tn Heb “the word of God was [i.e., came] to Nathan.”
  7. 1 Chronicles 17:5 tn The words “from Egypt” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
  8. 1 Chronicles 17:5 tc Heb “and I was from tent to tent and from tabernacle.” The words אֶל־מִשְׁכָּן (ʾel mishkan, “to tabernacle”) should probably be added at the end of the sentence to complete this prepositional phrase and produce symmetry with the preceding prepositional phrase. The words probably fell from the text by I have lived in a tent that has been in various places. The point here is that the Lord moved with the tabernacle as it moved from place to place; he did not confine himself to a particular location.
  9. 1 Chronicles 17:6 tn In the Hebrew text the statement is phrased as a rhetorical question (“Did I say a word?”) meaning “I did not say a word.”
  10. 1 Chronicles 17:6 tn Heb “to one of the judges of Israel whom I commanded to shepherd my people.”
  11. 1 Chronicles 17:7 tn Traditionally, “Lord of hosts.”
  12. 1 Chronicles 17:7 tn Heb “and from after sheep.”
  13. 1 Chronicles 17:8 tn Heb “cut off.”
  14. 1 Chronicles 17:8 tn Heb “and I will make for you a name like the name of the great men who are in the earth.”
  15. 1 Chronicles 17:9 tn Heb “plant.”
  16. 1 Chronicles 17:9 tn Heb “shaken.”
  17. 1 Chronicles 17:9 tn Heb “and sons of violence will no longer consume them as in the beginning.”
  18. 1 Chronicles 17:10 tn Here the word “house” is used in a metaphorical sense, referring to a royal dynasty. The Lord’s use of the word here plays off the literal sense that David had in mind as he contemplated building a temple (“house”) for the Lord. In the translation the adjective “dynastic” is supplied to indicate that the term is used metaphorically.
  19. 1 Chronicles 17:11 tn Heb “and it will be when your days are full to go with your ancestors.”
  20. 1 Chronicles 17:11 tn Heb “your seed.”
  21. 1 Chronicles 17:12 tn Heb “and I will establish his throne permanently.”
  22. 1 Chronicles 17:13 sn The one who ruled before you is a reference to Saul, from whom the kingdom was taken and given to David.
  23. 1 Chronicles 17:14 tn Heb “and his throne will be established permanently.”
  24. 1 Chronicles 17:15 tn Heb “according to all these words and according to all this revelation, so Nathan said to David.”
  25. 1 Chronicles 17:16 tn Heb “house.”
  26. 1 Chronicles 17:17 tn Heb “and this was small in your eyes, O God, so you spoke concerning the house of your servant for a distance.”
  27. 1 Chronicles 17:17 tn The translation “You have revealed to me what men long to know” is very tentative; the meaning of the Hebrew text is unclear. The text appears to read literally, “and you see me like the searching of man, that which is upward,” which is nonsensical. The translation above assumes the following: (1) The Qal verb translated “you see me” is repointed as a Hiphil, “you showed me,” (2) תּוֹר (tor) is understood in the sense of “searching, exploring,” and (3) הַמַּעֲלָה (hammaʿalah) is taken in a temporal sense of “that which lies beyond.” Thus one could translate, “you have shown me what men search for, what lies beyond.”
  28. 1 Chronicles 17:18 tn The word “say” is supplied in the translation for clarification. The Hebrew verb means “add.”
  29. 1 Chronicles 17:18 tn Heb “for honoring your servant, and you, your servant, know.”
  30. 1 Chronicles 17:19 tn Heb “heart.”
  31. 1 Chronicles 17:19 tn Heb “to make known all the great deeds.”
  32. 1 Chronicles 17:20 tn The Hebrew text reads literally, “in all which we heard with our ears,” but בְּכֹל (bekhol, “in all”) should probably be emended to כְּכֹל (kekhol, “according to all”).
  33. 1 Chronicles 17:21 tn Heb “a nation, one.”
  34. 1 Chronicles 17:21 tn Heb “whose God,” or “because God.” In the Hebrew text this clause is subordinated to what precedes. The clauses are separated in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  35. 1 Chronicles 17:21 tn Heb “redeem” or “deliver.”
  36. 1 Chronicles 17:21 tn Heb “to make for yourself a name [with] great and awesome [deeds].”
  37. 1 Chronicles 17:21 tn Heb “to drive out.”
  38. 1 Chronicles 17:21 tn Heb “from Egypt, nations.” The parallel text in 2 Sam 7:23 reads “from Egypt, nations and its gods.”
  39. 1 Chronicles 17:22 tn Heb “and you made your people Israel your own for a people permanently.”
  40. 1 Chronicles 17:23 tn Heb “and now, O Lord, the word which you spoke concerning your servant and concerning his house, may it be established permanently.”
  41. 1 Chronicles 17:23 tn Heb “as you have spoken.”
  42. 1 Chronicles 17:24 tn Following the imperative in v. 23b, the prefixed verbal form with vav (ו) conjunctive indicates purpose/result: “so it might become a reality.”
  43. 1 Chronicles 17:24 tn Heb “so it might be established.”
  44. 1 Chronicles 17:24 tn Heb “and your name might be great permanently.” Following the imperative in v. 23b, the prefixed verbal form with vav conjunctive indicates purpose/result (parallel to the previous purpose/result clause): “[so]…you might gain lasting fame.”
  45. 1 Chronicles 17:24 tn Heb “saying.” The words “as people” are supplied in the translation for clarification and for stylistic reasons.
  46. 1 Chronicles 17:24 tc Heb “the Lord of Heaven’s Armies [traditionally, the Lord of hosts], the God of Israel, Israel’s God.” The phrases אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל (ʾelohey yisraʾel, “God of Israel”) and אֱלֹהִים לְיִשְׂרָאֵל (ʾelohim leyisraʾel, “Israel’s God”) are probably alternative readings that have been conflated in the text.
  47. 1 Chronicles 17:24 tn Heb “house.”
  48. 1 Chronicles 17:25 tn Heb “house.”
  49. 1 Chronicles 17:25 tn Heb “That is why your servant found to pray before you.” Perhaps the phrase אֶת לִבּוֹ (ʾet libbo, “his heart”) should be supplied as the object of the verb “found.”
  50. 1 Chronicles 17:26 tn Heb “the God.” The article indicates uniqueness here.
  51. 1 Chronicles 17:26 tn Heb “and you have spoken to your servant this good thing.”
  52. 1 Chronicles 17:27 tn Heb “house.”
  53. 1 Chronicles 17:27 tn Heb “for you, O Lord, have blessed and [it is] blessed permanently.”