Now when the king lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.”

But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’ Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house.12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, 15 but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’” 17 In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David. – 2 Samuel 7:1-17

“Thus says the Lord: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night will not come at their appointed time, 21 then also my covenant with David my servant may be broken, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and my covenant with the Levitical priests my ministers. – Jeremiah 33:20-21

I will not violate my covenant 
    or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
35 Once for all I have sworn by my holiness;
    I will not lie to David.
36 His offspring shall endure forever,
    his throne as long as the sun before me.
37 Like the moon it shall be established forever,
    a faithful witness in the skies.” Selah – Psalm 89:34-37

God’s covenant with David has two prongs to it; one is unconditional, and one is conditional. The covenant itself is unconditional; there will always be a son of David on the throne of Israel. The conditional aspect has to do with who it is that sits on that throne. In this post, I only want to deal with the unconditional aspect of the covenant. The next post will deal with the conditional aspects of the covenant.

The passage in 2 Samuel has a clever word play on the Hebrew word translated, house. David was sitting in his cedar house, a palace, and realized that God lived in a tent. God didn’t have a house. So, it was in David’s heart to build a house, temple, for God. However, God had a different idea. Since David was a man of war, he wouldn’t be allowed to build the temple. His son would. Then God turned tables on David and said he would build a house, a dynasty or kingdom, for David. So, house translates to a palace, a temple, and a kingdom.

Of David’s son, God says, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son.” There will be intimacy between Jehovah and David’s son, Solomon. When David’s son sins, God will discipline him, but God’s steadfast love will not depart from him as happened with Saul before David.

The final Son of David to sit on the throne is Jesus. Since he sits as the son of David, Matthew opens his Gospel with the genealogy of Jesus showing him to be the offspring of David. All of the Messianic hope we find in Scripture flows out of this covenant with David. The peace in the New Earth with no more wars and no spirit of anti-Christ flows from this kingly covenant.

So, in Revelation 21:3, when the Lord says, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man,” this is true because Christ fulfilled the Davidic covenant.

Once again, we are seeing the character of God in covenant. He revealed his name as, ” The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” He follows up with his promise to David regarding his king son, “but my steadfast love will not depart from him…”

How much more can we who are believers in Christ rely on the steadfast love of the Lord; we who are now found in the Great Son of David, Jesus Christ?

Related Posts:

Covenant: The architecture of Scripture

The mother of all covenants

The first covenant in time – a covenant of works

The mother of all promises

Everybody needs a rainbow

Episode #1 The Abrahamic covenant: the promise given

Episode #2 The Abrahamic covenant: the promise confirmed

Episode #3 The Abrahamic covenant: the promise signified

The Mosaic covenant that leads to Christ


If you would like to do more indepth reading on the concept of covenant in Scripture, I recommend this book, Sacred Bond. Click on the book and you will be taken to Amazon where you can purchase a copy.