Reflections for 9-25: David and Solomon

When David refers to a “house of cedar” he means a permanent house that is relatively nice compared to the mobile tent the Ark is in.  Nathan, speaking for God in 7:5-7, means a house as in a permanent temple for God as opposed to the mobile tabernacle.  In 7:11 God promises David a house which is like a family (as one might say the House of Windsor).  The house in 7:13 is a temple built to be built by David’s descendant (ostensibly Solomon) for God.  The statements about David’s dynasty in 7:14-16 reflect the eternal nature of the covenant and the fact that there is an award for good behavior (i.e. for building a temple) but also seems to mitigate the curse aspect of the covenant since God says David’s descendant will not suffer divine punishment but human punishment.  Psalm 2 establishes the king of Israel as God’s human representative and therefore says that anyone who challenges this king will be defeated with the assistance of God.  This emphasizes the idea from 2 Solomon 7 of a special relationship between God and the king.  Psalm 2:7 even calls the king God’s son, which reflects 2 Solomon 7:14.  The oracle and David’s response as a whole show that David and his house are handpicked by God from among the people (just like Deuteronomy 17:15 says) and emphasizes that God is still the supreme ruler and that the king is only his servant.

The post-exilic context of Chronicles must assert the benefits of a sovereign Israel and therefore emphasize how ideal the era under David was because Israel at this time was only a province subject to the Persian Empire.  Additionally, there is not the burden in the post-exilic era of explaining why Israel has suffered a defeat while there is such a burden during the exile which explains why the Deuteronomistic History is more harsh on David’s actions – it allows an explanation of how his kingdom could have been defeated.  Chronicles, according to the reading guide, also places more emphasis on David’s religious actions rather than his political actions which would be open to less criticism.

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