The Davidic Covenant

II Samuel 7

Alan Lewis
Elon, North Carolina
October 2021

Last week, we looked at one big topic in II Samuel 7, when God says “No.”  All of us have dreams.  Sometimes, God says “no” to our dreams.  He says “no” to our prayers and to our plans.  David wanted to build God a temple and God said, “no”.  We saw how David responded when that happened and how we should respond.

Today, we want to look at the other big topic in this chapter.  Today, we are going to be looking at a covenant God made to David.  In the Bible, God operates through covenants.

What exactly are covenants?  There are a lot of them in the Bible.  Covenants are agreements between God and people, binding agreements.  When they are between people, they are called contacts but when they are between God and people, they are called “covenants.”

We are affected today by some of these covenants.  We are affected by the Noahic Covenant.  God promises to never again kill everyone on the planet with a flood, even if we deserve it.  The world seems to get worse each year.

If you don’t believe me, just turn on the news but no matter how bad it gets, this will never happen again. God promises.  There are other covenants that we are directly affected by, such as the New Covenant.

If you read II Samuel 7, you will not find the word “covenant” there anywhere, but God makes one with David.  He makes a covenant with David.  He swears by oath.  He gives David some promises and says that He will not lie to David.  He makes a prophecy in the chapter, a messianic prophecy.  It was not just about David; it was about the Son of David.

It is one of the most important covenants in the Bible.  It was probably the most important day in David’s life and yet few Christians know much about it. There are not too many sermons on it.

I have a friend who is going to a conservative seminary in NC.  He is almost through with his Ph.D. and he told me that he did not learn much in seminary on the Davidic Covenant.  Where is this covenant in the Bible?  What did God promise David in this covenant?  Is this covenant conditional, unconditional or both?

It is a covenant found in three main places in the Bible. It is found in II Samuel 7.  It is found in I Chronicles 17, and it is found in Psalm 89.  There are ten specific promises in this covenant.  God makes David ten amazing promises.  God makes ten “I will” statements in this chapter.  There are nine things that God promises to do and one thing that He promises not to do.

Ten Incredible Promises

1) I will make your name great

That is a promise of popularity.  Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth (II Samuel 7:9 NIV)David was unpopular originally.  He was a nobody.  David began as an obscure shepherd boy.  When the Prophet Samuel came to his house, he was not even invited to the dinner table.

He went from being someone that no one thought about to being one of the most famous men in the country.  Songs were written about him.  He took out Goliath with a slingshot.  He was a national hero.  He became the king.  He went from being one of the most famous He was one of the most famous people in the country to being one of the most famous people in history.  People still talk about him today.

2) I will provide a home for my people Israel

And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own (II Samuel 7:10 NIV).  That is a promise of a national homeland for the Jews.  That has been fulfilled.  They had a homeland in David’s day and the Jews have one today.

3) I will also give you rest from your enemies

That is a promise of peace.  I will also give you rest from ALL your enemies (II Samuel 7:11 NIV).  God had already begun to do that.  All of David’s enemies had been defeated (Saul, Ishbosheth, Abner, the Philistines).  The Jews do not have rest from their enemies today.  It has not been fulfilled.

Israel is a small country in the Middle East surrounded by twenty-two Muslim nations.  Not all of them are their enemies but many are.  Some have said that they plan to wipe Israel off the map.  Since 2001, thousands of missiles have been fired into the country.  The Jews are still disturbed today by their neighbors.  They still receive threats from terrorists.

4) I will raise up your offspring to succeed you

That is a promise of a dynasty.  When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood (II Samuel 7:12 NIV). God promised David that not only would he be king but his kids after him would be king (the House of David).

God said, “Before a house a house is built for Me, I will build a house for you.” Saul was king but never had a dynasty that lasted.  He had kids but none of them took over after he died.  One tried, but he did not last long, and was assassinated.  That is what happens when you fight the will of God.  God said David would be the next king.  Someone else tried and it did not work out.

5) I will establish his kingdom

This is the promise of a kingdom, along with a promise of a future temple.  God did that. I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name (II Samuel 7:12-13 NIV). God established Solomon’s kingdom and Solomon built the temple.

6) I will establish the throne of his kingdom.

This is the promise of a long-lasting kingdom.  In fact, it was a kingdom that was not just long-lasting, it was eternal.  I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever (I Samuel 7:13 NIV).  As one preacher put it, sin cannot destroy it (II Samuel 7:14-15).  Death cannot annul it (II Samuel 7:12-13).  Even though David dies, the covenant goes on.  Time will not exhaust it (II Samuel 7:16).[1] This kingdom will last forever.

7) I will be his father, and he will be my son

This is the promise of adoption in II Samuel 7:14. David’s son Solomon was also God’s son.  God called the king his son.  It is a relationship promise.  We can have that same relationship with God that Solomon had.  This is also a promise of intimacy.  We have a father/son or daughter relationship to God.  We get to call God “Father.”  We can have a personal relationship to God.  We are His children if we are saved.

8) When he does wrong, I will punish him

You say, “I thought this was a prophecy of Jesus.  Jesus did not do anything wrong.  He was sinless.”  That is true but the Davidic Covenant was not just about Jesus.  It has dual fulfilment.

Part of it was fulfilled by Solomon and part of it will be fulfilled by Jesus.  Jesus did not do anything wrong, but Solomon did.  Which part will be fulfilled by Solomon and which part will be fulfilled by Jesus? II Samuel 7 focuses on Solomon. I Chronicles 17 focuses on Jesus.

God says, “When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands” (II Samuel 7:14 NIV). God disciplines his children.  That does not mean that God hates us.

It is actually a sign of love.  Proverbs says, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them” (Proverbs 13:24 NIV).

9) I will NOT take my love away from him

That is the promise of perpetual love.  God tells David that if individual kings’ sin against him, they will get in trouble, God said, “BUT my love will NEVER be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you” (II Samuel 7:15 NIV)

What does that mean?  Individual kings could sin, and individual kings could be judged by God, but individual kings could not do anything to do away with this covenant. God does not take his love away from us either.

It is like our salvation.  If we sin, God chastens us.  God disciplines His children, but they are still his children, but we don’t lose our salvation every time we sin.  We sin every day.  We would have to be, not just born again but born again and again and again.

I will maintain my love to him forever, and my covenant with him will never fail. 29 I will establish his line forever, his throne as long as the heavens endure. 30 “If his sons forsake my law and do not follow my statutes,

31 if they violate my decrees and fail to keep my commands, 32 I will punish their sin with the rod, their iniquity with flogging; 33 but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness.

34 I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered. 35 Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness—and I will not lie to David— 36 that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun; 37 it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.” (Psalm 89:28-37 NIV).

“This is what the Lord says: ‘If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, 21 then my covenant with David my servant—and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me—can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne (Jeremiah 33:20-21 NIV)

What is strange is that Solomon sinned worse that Saul.  What did Saul do that was wrong?  He let someone live that he was supposed to kill.  He offered a sacrifice without waiting for the prophet Samuel.  At least he was offering the sacrifices to God.  Solomon became a complete idolater.  He built temples to pagan gods.

As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done (I Kings 11:4-6 NIV).

The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command (I Kings 11:9-10 NIV).

God judged Solomon but did not end the Davidic Covenant.  It continued after Solomon.  It continued after the Babylonian Captivity.  How do we know? We know that from the NT.  The Angel Gabriel said to Mary that Jesus, “will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:32-33 NIV).

10) I will establish David’s house, David’s kingdom and David’s throne forever.

Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’ (II Samuel 7:16).

 Did God Keep His Word to David?

This is the promise of an enduring covenant that is permanent and eternal.  The word “forever” is found two times in the verse.  That leads to a problem.  If you know biblical history, the House of David did NOT last forever.

It only lasted four hundred years.  God did not tell David that his kingdom would last four hundred years.  He said that it would last FOREVER.  No king is sitting on this throne today.  In fact, there is no throne to sit on.  If you go to Israel today, you will not even kind a king.  No king sat on the throne of David since 586 BC.

Is this objection valid?  There are three things to keep in mind here:

1) God promised to establish David’s line forever (Psalm 89:29) and that promise was kept.

David’s line never died out.  Today, no one knows if they are a descendant of King David, but the NT begins with two genealogies of Jesus and they both go back to David. He will come from David’s body.

He was the root and offspring of David (Revelation 22:16).  He was a Son of David (Matthew 1:1).  He had royal blood in him.  It is the first time that we are told that the Messiah would not only be a Jew and not only come from the tribe of Judah but would be a descendant of David.

2) There were conditional aspects to this covenant

God promised that there would always be a descendant to reign on David’s throne (Jeremiah 33:21), which he always had but, because of disobedience, some kings did not get an opportunity to do that, because included in the Aspects of this covenant were conditional.

“I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, act like a man, 3 and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses.

Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go 4 and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: ‘IF your descendants watch how they live, and IF they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’ (I Kings 2:2-4 NIV)

“Now Lord, the God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me on the throne of Israel, IF only your descendants are careful in all they do to walk before me faithfully as you have done.’ (I Kings 8:25 NIV)

3) The OT prophets predicted that God will restore Davidic kingdom to Israel in the last days.

Even after the Babylonian Captivity, but the OT prophets predicted that one day the House of David would return with a king on the throne of Israel.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. HE WILL REIGN ON DAVID’S THRONE and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7 NIV)

’The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah. “’In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. (Jeremiah 33:14-15 NIV)

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior. (Jeremiah 23:5 NIV)

For the Israelites will live MANY DAYS without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods. 5 AFTERWARD the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days. (Hosea 3:4-5 NIV)

Two Views of the Davidic Covenant

There are two views of the Davidic Covenant in the church today.  They are very different.  What are the two views?

View One – The Davidic Covenant has been fulfilled already

One proponent of this view is Hank Hanegraaff.  He was on the radio at one time.  He had a program for many years called “The Bible Answer Man.”    He believes that this covenant is completely fulfilled today.  Jesus is ruling on the Davidic Covenant in heaven.

Hanegraaff says, “God’s promise to David that his descendants would sit on the throne forever (see II Samuel 2:11-16; cf. Isaiah 9:6) was fulfilled when Christ, ‘the Son of David (cf. Matthew 1:1; 12:23; 21:15; Luke 1:32), ascended to the throne of the heavenly Jerusalem and established his reign and rule over all of the earth.”[2]  He quotes Acts 2 to support this view.

“Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 

31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. (Acts 2:29-33 NIV)

In order for this view to work you have to spiritualize the Davidic Covenant.

Jesus is sitting on a spiritual throne.  The throne of David is in heaven.

It is a spiritual rule, not over the tribes and Israel and Judah but over the church (the true Jews).

It is a spiritual kingdom, an invisible spiritual rule inside people’s hearts.

It involves a spiritual temple.  Paul said that we are the temple.  The church is the temple today.  That is what God is building, a spiritual house.

It involves spiritual enemies and spiritual peace (It is something inside your heart).

The problem with this view is that the parts of the covenant that were already fulfilled were fulfilled literally. David literally died.  He went to be with his ancestors when his days were over.  He had an heir who literally succeeded him.  His son Solomon succeeded him as king.

Solomon was a literal king.  He had a literal kingdom.  He sat on a literal throne.  He built a literal temple for God.  When he sinned, he was literally punished for disobedience.

The covenant could not be already fulfilled because aspects of it have not been fulfilled yet.  Israel does not live in safety today (Jeremiah 23:5).  Wicked men still oppress the Jews today (II Samuel 7:10).  They do not have rest from all of their enemies (II Samuel 7:11).

The Prince of Peace who will sit on David’s throne will bring peace to the earth, peace that will never end (Isaiah 9:6-7).  That has not happened yet.  His reign will result in justice and righteousness (Isaiah 9:7).  When you look at the earth today, you see the exact opposite.  You see wickedness. You see sin.  You see injustice.

View Two – The Davidic Covenant will not be completely fulfilled until the future

Part of the Davidic Covenant has already been fulfilled but it will not be completely fulfilled until Jesus returns.  Jesus will return to earth as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Some of it has been fulfilled already.  David had a son who sat on his throne and built a temple, like God promised, but Jesus is not currently sitting on the throne of David.

Jesus is sitting on his Father’s throne.  He is sitting on the right hand of God.  There is not peace in the earth.  There is not safety to the Jews living in the land of Israel but when Jesus returns, there will be safety and peace for the Jews.

The advantage to this view is that it takes the covenant literally.  It doesn’t try to spiritualize it. If these parts of the covenant were literal, why wouldn’t the rest of it be literal as well?  This was a covenant that God swore that He will fulfill it by an oath.  He promised to David that He would fulfill it.


[2] Hank Hanegraaff, The Apocalypse Code, 200.


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