1 Chronicles 17:1-27 – God’s Promise to David


1 Chronicles 17:1-27


In this pivotal chapter, God promises that David will always have a son on the throne of Judah (vv. 1-15), and David responds with thanks and praise (vv. 16-27).


God’s covenant with David (1 Chronicles 17:3-15) and God’s promise of forgiveness to Solomon at the dedication of the temple (2 Chronicles 7:11-22) form the two pillars upon which the Chronicler’s theology is structured: king and cult. As usual, the Chronicler has reframed the earlier material from Samuel to allow the text to speak to the concerns of his own postexilic community.

Here, the Chronicler has followed his source (2 Samuel 7) very closely. There, as here, God’s promise is developed through a delightful play on the ambiguous nature of the fourteen occurrences of the Hebrew word for “house,” variously signifying the “palace” where David lives (v. 1), “the temple” he wishes to build for God (v. 4), or the “dynasty” of his descendants who will sit upon his throne (vv. 10b, 14). There, as here, though, God will not permit David to build a house (temple) for God (v. 4), God will build a house (dynasty) for David (v. 10b), and one of that house (dynasty) will build the house (temple) for God (v. 12a).

The small differences, however, are significant:

  • Mention of the exodus in 2 Samuel 7:6 is omitted by the Chronicler, possibly because the deliverance from Egypt has been eclipsed for his community by the activity of David and their own return from Babylon.
  • The reference to Solomon’s expected sin and God’s punishment (2 Samuel 7:14) is left out for the same reason that David’s peccadilloes are omitted.
  • Most important, God says that Solomon, not David, will be confirmed as king in the kingdom that is described as belonging to God, not to David (1 Chronicles 17:14, contrast 2 Samuel 7:16).