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2 Samuel 7:11-16 (ESV)
11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, 15 but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.'"

It doesn't seem that it can be just Solomon since Solomon's kingdom didn't last forever. It also doesn't seem like it can be a reference to the Messiah/Jesus because this bit doesn't fit with what I know of the Christians believe that Jesus, being God, could not do wrong:

2 Samuel 7:14 (ESV)
14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men,

So who is being referred to in this passage?

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I removed your "God needs housing?" remark; it doesn't belong in this question. If you'd like to ask another question about what the purpose of God having a physical place on earth dedicated to him in which his presence was to dwell, that should be a separate question. – Caleb Nov 19 '11 at 19:19
This would be better on Biblical Hermeneutics. – DJClayworth Nov 19 '11 at 22:18
@DJClayworth I think it would have been better asked there too and if it collects a bunch of off topic close votes here I will migrate it but I don't think I can justify doing that unilaterally because it's in the overlap zone that is potentially on topic here too and the OP clearly cares more about resulting doctrine than the details of the text. – Caleb Nov 20 '11 at 5:51
I am interested in facts and truth. It's often based on historical accuracy, analysis of humans' nature, and so on rather than faith. If possible I want to know God without faith. – Jim Thio Nov 21 '11 at 6:33
@DJClayworth So far it got one close vote. On second review I think it actually needs to stay here unless the OP wants to change the direction a bit. The interpretation of what kingdom is being referred to is very much a doctrinal issue. – Caleb Nov 23 '11 at 16:36
up vote 7 down vote accepted

The Matthew Henry commentary says that this passage is referring to the family of David, including Solomon; it also refers to Christ, who Henry says is sometimes called David or Son of David.

The section in which you're questioning the iniquity is not referring to Christ himself; rather, its talking about His spiritual seed (or believers). Believers have weaknesses, which they can expect to be corrected, but know that they won't be cast out because of them.

My answer is paraphrased from these commentary notes.

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The tradition insists that the passage is indeed about Solomon. Note that the passage does not say that Solomon's kingdom will last — in the event, it did not — but that the throne of the kingdom would endure whether the earthly kingdom did or not. And the Christian tradition would see that promise as fulfilled because Jesus is currently occupying that Davidic throne, in the heavens, and will one day occupy it again on earth.

I must admit, it would have seemed a vast disappointment to the people originally receiving this promise that their kingdom did not, in fact, endure; and that “throne” was not, as they might have reasonably expected, a synecdoche for “kingdom”, but a separate concept that could endure before God whether their nation survived intact or fell. So I am not claiming that the concept of a heavenly throne would have satisfied the original recipients of this promise, or lead them to believe that God was faithful. I am only describing how the promise was worked out as nevertheless the promise of a faithful God in later Jewish and Christian tradition!

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