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Christian Biblical Studies
Scripture citations are to the Authorised Version (KJV) unless noted otherwise.
Recapitulation: ‘sanctions’ denote a formal decree, originally of an ecclesiastical nature, favourable – ratifying or authorising some course of action; or unfavourable – prohibiting some course of action, under penalty. In modern parlance the word invariably carries the latter, negative, connotation.
Sanctions are of various kinds: religious, legal, social, economic.
We continue on the topic of religious sanction, using the example of King David.
Scripture pays him the compliment of being a ‘man after God’s heart’ – first in the Old Testament, when King Saul was rejected, at 1 Sam. 13: 13, 14; then by the Apostle Paul’s citing this passage at Acts 13: 22. True, David was critically flawed and a man of uneven temper. His matrimonial and family relations were fractious and reflected little credit on his role father. How, then was David dear to God’s heart?
On Acts 13: 22 Adam Clarke’s commentary has this:
That is, a man who would rule the kingdom according to God’s will. Dr. Benson's observation on this point is very judicious: ‘When it is said that David was a man after God's own heart, it should be understood, not of his private, but of his public, character. He was a man after God’s own heart, because he ruled the people according to the Divine will. He did not allow of idolatry; he did not set up for absolute power. He was guided in the government of the nation by the law of Moses, as the standing rule of government, and by the prophet, or the Divine oracle, whereby God gave directions upon particular emergencies. . . .’
2 Sam. 7: 1-3
1. And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies;
2. That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.
3. And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee.
At this juncture (v. 3) David’s counsellor-prophet commends the King’s ambition – to ‘do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee’. Note that in this regard, Nathan had expressed his own view – as a man, not under inspiration. The prophets were infallible only when under the influence of the holy spirit. Instance the case of Elisha and the young son of the Shunammite woman. (See 2 Kings 4: 8-37 for the context.) Her son had suddenly fallen ill and died. Overcome with grief, she raced to see Elisha, the ‘man of God’, who had earlier predicted the birth of the child. Elisha perceived she was in distress, but was unable to divine the exact nature of the trouble: ‘. . . her soul is vexed within her: and the LORD hath hid it from me, and hath not told me.’
In Nathan’s case, the LORD countermanded his counsel to the king.
4. And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying,
5. Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? [the answer: Thou shalt not.]
6. Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle.
7. In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar?
8. Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David . . .
17 . . . so did Nathan speak unto David.
The gist of this reversal is found in vs. 12-16 (which see), wherein the LORD reveals that His holy temple would be constructed after David’s death, under the reign of his son, ‘Jedediah’, the second son of David and Bathsheba, re-named Solomon.
1 Chron. 22: 1-10 [with emphases added]
1. Then David said, This is the house of the LORD God, and this is the altar of the burnt offering for Israel.
2. And David commanded to gather together the strangers that were in the land of Israel; and he set masons to hew wrought stones to build the house of God.
3. And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails for the doors of the gates, and for the joinings; and brass in abundance without weight;
4. Also cedar trees in abundance: for the Zidonians and they of Tyre brought much cedar wood to David.
5. And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for the LORD must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore now make preparation [by laying out the construction materials] for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death.
6. Then he called for Solomon his son, and charged him to build an house for the LORD God of Israel.
7. And David said to Solomon, My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God:
8. But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight.
9. Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days.
10. He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever.
To be continued
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