Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Davidic Covenant, Part II

Once the Lord had given David rest from all his enemies it David shared his observation with Natan that it was improper that he, David, should be dwelling in a house of cedar while the Ark of God resided behind curtains. Natan concurred and gave David carte blanche to do what was in his heart. However, that night the Lord told Natan otherwise:

5. "Go and say to My servant, to David; so says the Lord: 'Shall you build Me a house for My dwelling? 6. For I have not dwelt in a house from the day that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, 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, did I speak a word with any of the rulers of Israel whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying: 'Why do you not build for me a house of cedar?'

The key word here is house (bayit). This "house" seems to stand at odds with the pastorally depicted past of the children of Israel. Permanence is contrasted with transience. The problem seems to be not particular to David but with the very concept of a "house for My dwelling". As David's son proclaims on the day he brought the ark into the Holy of Holies (1 Kings, 8:27):

"But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold the heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You; much less this temple (bayit) that I have erected."

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