1 Chronicles 17:1 After David was settled in his palace, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under a tent.”

2 Nathan replied to David, “Whatever you have in mind, do it, for God is with you.”

3 But that night the word of God came to Nathan, saying:

4 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: You are not the one to build me a house to dwell in. 5 I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought Israel up out of Egypt to this day. I have moved from one tent site to another, from one dwelling place to another. 6 Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their leaders[a] whom I commanded to shepherd my people, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’

7 “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. 8 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name like the names of the greatest men on earth. 9 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 10 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also subdue all your enemies.

“‘I declare to you that the Lord will build a house for you: 11 When your days are over and you go to be with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. 13 I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. 14 I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.’”


15 Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.


a. 1 Chronicles 17:6 Traditionally judges; also in verse 10

Now this is a story I remember reading to a Sunday School class at some point. I wonder if the commentaries will come up with the same questions I have.

  • Was Nathan just complimenting David when he told him “Whatever you have in mind, do it, for God is with you.”?
  • Was David wrong to decide God needed a house?
  • Is Solomon the son God is talking about in verses 11-14?


The Sunday School class depicted God as angry... like David and Nathan were committing a great crime. I remember quite clearly the text under a picture of an angry gray haired gray bearded guy all in white... mad as a hornet over something... with the caption that said... "You can't build my house. You're a murderer."

The easy English commentary has a lot to say.. including some answers to my questions.

The events in this chapter happened after the wars that are in the next chapter. The LORD had given peace to David. At last, David had defeated all his enemies (2 Samuel 7:1). The date was about 995 BC or later.

We know a few facts about Nathan the prophet. It was Nathan who helped David to organise the Levites (2 Chronicles 29:25). When David sinned with Bathsheba, Nathan came to show David his sin (2 Samuel chapter 12). When David was old, one of his sons tried to become king. But Nathan made sure that Solomon became king (1 Kings chapter 1). Also, Nathan recorded the history of David and Solomon (1 Chronicles 29:29 and 2 Chronicles 9:29). The writer of Chronicles probably used some of these records when he wrote these books.

In this chapter, David spoke to Nathan about the desire of his heart. David lived in the palace that Hiram had helped him to build (14:1). The ark of God was in a tent (16:1). So, David wanted to build a temple for the LORD. At first Nathan told David to do what he wanted.

Nathan had replied to David in a natural manner. It must have seemed right to build a temple for the LORD. But that night in a vision, the LORD spoke to Nathan. He told Nathan to go back to David with a message from the LORD. David must not build the temple.

The reason for the LORD’s decision was that David was a man of war. He had killed so many men and he was not a man of peace . The idea of a temple was good but it was not for David to build it. Solomon would be a man of peace and he would build it.

Since the time when the Israelites left Egypt, there was no permanent building as the house of God. While the Israelites travelled in the desert, the ark was in a special tent. The ark and its tent travelled with the Israelites from each place to the next place. When the Israelites took control of Canaan, the ark was still in that tent. They put the tent in Shiloh. That was where Samuel served God (1 Samuel 3:3). The Philistines destroyed Shiloh and they took away the ark for a few months (Jeremiah 7:12; 1 Samuel 5:1). But then the Philistines sent the ark back to Israel. So at the time of David, the ark was in a house in Kiriath Jearim (1 Samuel 7:1). And the special tent was at Gibeon (1 Chronicles 16:39). As we have seen, David moved the ark into a new tent in Jerusalem. But he left the old tent as a place of worship in Gibeon.

So the ark of God had travelled with the people from place to place. And the LORD never asked any of the leaders of Israel to build a permanent house for the ark. The LORD was not against the idea of a temple. But there was no hurry for one. It could wait until the right time.

God promised David that one of his sons would build the temple. That son would be Solomon. God promised that there would be future kings from the family of Solomon. The rule of that family would last for all time. This is a prophecy about the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God. But he was born into the family of David. Both Mary and Joseph were descendants of David.

When Jesus came, he set up his kingdom in the hearts of people (Luke 17:21). That kingdom will never end. When Jesus comes again, he will rule the world in the final kingdom on earth (Daniel 2:44; Romans 15:12).

Solomon would be a son of God, as in fact David was. This would be so because Solomon would be the king of God’s people. God would not turn away from Solomon as he had done to Saul. Solomon did turn from the LORD, yet the LORD did not turn away from Solomon. Because of this promise to David, the LORD did not take the kingdom from Solomon (1 Kings 11:9-12).

But this is not only about Solomon. Solomon was a son of God because of his function as the king of God’s people. The meaning also refers to the future king. That king will be the Son of God. Jesus is the Son of God because he has a special relationship with God the Father. Jesus has the same nature as God. He is God the Son, who with God the Father and the Holy Spirit is God.

Jesus the Son of God will rule over the kingdom of God. There shall be no end to his kingdom.

So.... According to what I just read... I can set my heart at ease.

Nathan's comment was a compliment. Everything was going so good... it seemed that God was on David's side. Everything David touched went right.... so why not honor God by building him a swank permanent human place for the Ark.

God wasn't angry because David wanted to build him a permanent human structure to put the Ark in. Apparently He was touched by the offer. No one ever offered that before. It must have been like the first time a young child wants to share his favorite teddy bear with someone. It's heartfelt. It was right to think and God was not at all angry.

According to what I just read.... God is talking about both Solomon and Jesus. Solomon would build a permanent human structure for God. Jesus would build a permanent dynasty for God through the line of David. Good Job David.... Nice offer.