Troublesome Topic: God’s Covenant Was Expanded with David

Lesson 2 of 3

In David’s time God once again added more details to His covenant relationship with Israel.

God’s covenant with David is really an extension of the covenant relationship of God with His chosen human ambassadors. David was expected to continue following all the requirements of the Covenant inaugurated with Moses as the people’s leader. Since a covenant is a type of relationship, and God’s relationship with His people did not change every so often, His covenant relationship with them was one continual covenant. The people changed but God did not (there is a “little detail” called death which means we don’t live as long as God does). Whereas many writers speak of God’s covenants (plural), and separate them into numerous different covenantal relationships, I see them as all part of God’s relationship with man. I believe they were covenants within a covenant. The only line of demarcation that should be drawn is that which the Bible itself explains—the break between the Former Covenant and the New Covenant. All the covenant relationships established in the Old Testament are actually various pieces of the same picture. They should not be placed in separate frames and hung separately on the wall of redemptive history, they belong in the same frame.

Now you may be thinking that it is wrong to add to God’s word, or take away from it. You are right. However, since He is the Author of it, God can add to it if He so chooses. It appears that He chose to do just that by including additional information in the covenant as the centuries went by. He was slowly preparing his servants for someone who would come later.

These additions to the covenant added more information about the coming savior. It happened like this:

David came to a point where he wanted to build a temple in which people could worship God. The people had achieved a degree of stability in the land by this point, having passed, if they wished, from their tents into more permanent dwellings, and God had given David rest from his enemies. All this had taken over 400 years, and tents are not the most durable form of construction. We can be sure that the tabernacle was repaired many times, but the degree to which you can make a tent look nice is always limited. Why then should they not grant to God’s presence among them a more permanent station? It made perfect sense.

2 Samuel 7:2


Then the king said to NATHAN

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the prophet, “I ask you to please see this, I live in a house of cedar, but the ark of ELOHIM dwells inside curtains.”


Then the king said to the prophet GIVEN BY GOD,  “I ask you to please consider this, I am living in a fancy, permanent house, but the special spot where THE CREATOR AND RULER OF ALL THINGS dwells is located

in a place that has no permanence and is not very nice.”

2 Samuel 7:3


Then NATHAN said to the king, “Go and do everything that is in your heart, for YHVH is with you.”


Then GIVEN BY GOD said to the king, “It sounds good to me. I think you should go for it; fulfill everything you have in mind to do because you are a man of God, therefore THE ETERNAL AND PERSONAL GOD is with you and will bless your efforts.”

2 Samuel 7:4


But it so happened that during the night, the word of YHVH came to NATHAN saying:


But that same night a message from THE ETERNAL AND PERSONAL GOD came to GIVEN BY GOD, saying this:

2 Samuel 7:5


“Go and tell my servant DAVID, ‘This is what YHVH says: Will you build a house for me to live in?


“Go and tell my servant THE ONE WHO IS LOVED, ‘This is what THE ETERNAL AND PERSONAL GOD says: Do you think you will build a house for me to live in?

2 Samuel 7:6


I have not lived in a house from the time I brought the sons of ISRAEL out of EGYPT even to this day, but I have moved about in a tent, in a mobile dwelling.


I have not lived in a permanent house from the time I brought THOSE WHO REFUSE TO LET GO OF GOD out of the land BOUND BY SIN till now, rather I have been mobile like a nomad, my tent has been my dwelling.

2 Samuel 7:7


In all the places I have moved about with all the sons of ISRAEL, have I ever spoken a word to one of the scepters

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of ISRAEL whom I commanded to shepherd my people, ISRAEL, saying “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’


Amid all the moving I have done among the descendants of THE ONE WHO REFUSED TO LET GO OF GOD, have I ever spoken so much as a word to one of the authority figures among THOSE WHO REFUSE TO LET GO OF GOD whom I have commanded to guide and protect my people to the effect of “Why haven’t you built me a fancy, permanent house yet?”

2 Samuel 7:11


Now YHVH tells you, “YHVH will make you a house.


Now THE ETERNAL AND PERSONAL GOD will tell you what’s going to happen – THE ETERNAL AND PERSONAL GOD is going to build up your house more than you could ever build Him a house.

2 Samuel 7:12


When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your seed after you who will come from your body, and I will firmly establish his kingdom,


After you have reached the end of your life and you have joined those who died before you, I will raise up one of your offspring, one of your own flesh and blood, and I will firmly establish his kingly rule,

2 Samuel 7:16


And your house will be secured and your kingdom for ever before you, and your throne shall be firmly established for ever.”’


The final result will be that your name, your leadership and your legacy will be well secured as will be your kingly rule, what’s more, your exercise of authority will be firmly established for ever.”’

David already had a house, and a very nice house at that. But when he came up with the idea of building a more permanent residence for God the answer was, “David, do you really think I need you to establish stability for me? Rather I will grant you true stability and longevity.”

Why was God happy to move about in a tent rather than have a permanent “residence” established in one place? For God, the physical location was not as important as the relationship. He wanted to be where the people were. Up until then even what we would call the “capital” had moved and was not permanent, so God moved about also.

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This demonstrated the emphasis that God wanted to portray, an emphasis on closeness and intimacy with His people.

All humans desire and strive for a reasonable degree of stability and security. It is part of our nature.

In some ways David showed that he got it, and in other ways he showed that he didn’t get it. By his actions David demonstrated that he understood that the throne he sat on was not his, it was God’s. The authority to make decisions did not truly belong to David; rather he was God’s representative at the head of God’s people (see I Chron. 29:23).

However, there were some ways in which David still had his eyes on the wrong things. God used David’s desire to build God a permanent place to remind him that security and longevity do not come from material things. God let him know that true stability and security come only from God and our relationship with Him.

For people of ancient times, living in a tent meant an ambulatory lifestyle with no stability, while living in a city meant a permanent, secure dwelling; it meant putting down roots. But this human perspective is wrong-headed. In various ways God tried to show them that true stability and security do not come from the accumulation of sheep or gold coins, or from power or influence. They come from a close relationship with God.

How about us?  Where do we find our stability and security? In our pay checks, or our relationship with God? Through insurance policies, or through prayer?

I fear that we are even more prone to look for security and stability in the material things of this world than David was. We tend to think that owning things makes us more secure.

The next lesson in the full and medium series on Covenants is: Was the Davidic Covenant Conditional or Unconditional?

The next lesson in the short series on Covenants is: The Covenant Has Been Violated



The name NATHAN means “given or giver.” It was probably implied that this child was “given by God,” and that is why, in the paraphrase column, I include the assumption. We are familiar with the person in the New Testament whose name is “Nathaniel;” that name spells out that this child was “given by God.”


The word I have rendered as “scepter” means “a club, a rod, a scepter, something important, someone who is a chief or a shepherd,” and it also means “a tribe.” Here it is used of an authority figure, thus “scepter” seems to fit well.


One problem was that sometimes the ark of the covenant was in one place and the tabernacle with its altars was in a different place.