Why didn’t David build the Temple?

Posted: July 3, 2011 in Christian

I’m sure this isn’t a topic that will keep you awake at night, but I have been curious why The Lord didn’t want David to build the Temple so I decided to go to the source and look it up. II Samuel 7:5-17“Go and tell My servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Would you build a house for Me to dwell in? “For I have not dwelt in a house since the time that I brought the children of Israel up from Egypt, even to this day, but have moved about in a tent and in a tabernacle. “Wherever I have moved about with all the children of Israel, have I ever spoken a word to anyone from the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?’ ” ‘ “Now therefore, thus shall you say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: “I took you from the sheepfold, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel. “And I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you, and have made you a great name, like the name of the great men who are on the earth. “Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously, (11) “since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies. Also the LORD tells you that He will make you a house. “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. “He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. “I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. “But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. “And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.” ‘(16) “According to all these words and according to all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David. (NKJV)

When I first read this I was a little confused by the context because I expected this to be the passage about Christ being the lineage of David. It is…but not in the way that I expected. To really get a feel for the text I had to read the previous chapter. II Samuel 6 opens with the new king David who had just routed the Philistines (Palestinians) gathering his men to move the Ark of the Covenant from it’s resting place in the house of Abinadad to the fresh, new City of David. Uzzah, a son of Abinadad reached to steady the Ark as it was being bounced going up a hill and was struck down by The Lord, which fairly well shook every one up, so the left the Ark at this location for three months , but eventually brought it into the City of David with much celebration, fanfare, dancing and great hooplah.

In II Samuel chapter 7 David started reflecting that The Lord had blessed him with a City and solid roof over his head so he figured that the Ark of the Covenant, where The Lord dwelt, should have a permanent temple also but The Lord had other plans and told the prophet Nathan to squelch David’s plan for a temple. He also instructed Nathan to remind David that his ascent to the throne was by the will of The Lord.

OK, that was the contextual lead-in to the passages covered in the discussion question. As I said previously, when I first read it I was a little confused because I didn’t understand the context the passages were lifted from, but it seems clear now.

The Lord continued in verse 11 to remind David where he came from and where is and what is in store for the future of David and his lineage. The Lord told David he wasn’t to build a temple, but his son that followed would build a temple to The Lord and even though he would falter and fall, The Lord promised that he wouldn’t turn his back on him as he did to Saul, which must have given David comfort. In verse 16 The Lord gave David some comforting words here when he promised that he would bless the house, the kingdom and the throne of David forever, which is a Messianic prophecy. Also, the word forever must be a foreign concept to a lot that read it, because they seem to not understand that forever means…forever.

When I first read this I initially took the promise in verse 16 almost as some sort of consolation prize for not getting to be able to build a temple…but I don’t think that is it. Chuck Missler has alluded to David not being able to build the temple to some disobedience and there may be support for that elsewhere in the scriptures…but I don’t think that’s it either.

I personally think that The Lord didn’t allow David to build a temple to The Lord, because if he had built a temple, that is what he would be remembered for in posterity…it would have been David’s Temple, instead of Solomon’s Temple. Luke reminds us in Acts that The Lord said David was a man after his own heart and I think that is what The Lord wanted to make sure that is what David is remembered for…not a bunch of massive stones.

Acts 13:22“And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’ (NKJV)

If you search a concordance you will find positive reference after positive reference after positive reference about David and I think The Lord wanted to make sure the historical references and legends passed down about the most famous ancestor of Christ that would be remembered and talked about wouldn’t be muddied by our human nature to elevate those who achieve great feats, such as Solomon with his majestic temple. Therefore I believe The Lord wanted the historical record of David to be about the person, the family the throne and the promises and not about his personal achievements.

God Bless, Jim


  1. Myron Heckman says:

    Why didn’t God allow David to build to build the temple? David himself says in I Chronicles 28:3 it’s because God said David was “a man of war and have shed blood.” Some think it was because he shed Uriah’s blood (and therefore was a discipline for the Bathsheba affair and it’s aftermath) but that doesn’t account for the “man of war” reason. It seems that God wanted the message of His House to be about peace – perhaps a parallel to the fact that in Christ the war is over, through His gift we receive an inheritance of peace with God and a place in His House.

  2. Fred Thomas Barner says:

    How about God waiting to see if the new nation would give itself to justice and mercy, or, like other nations exploit the weak and poor the way nations do.

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