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? I'm interested in an overview of what is commonly believed. Quotes and references from any respected commentators are welcome.

  • 1
    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, 2011 at 19:19
  • 1
    This would be better on Biblical Hermeneutics. Nov 19, 2011 at 22:18
  • 1
    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.
    – user4951
    Nov 21, 2011 at 6:33
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    @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, 2011 at 16:36
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    The way this question is asked makes it a matter of opinion. Literally, it's clear that this passage refers to Solomon. But if metaphorical answers are contemplated, such as it referring to Christ, then different Christians will have different views. Jan 29, 2017 at 18:38

6 Answers 6


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.


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!


After digging deeper into the Hebrew and contemplating 'penal substitution' soteriology, I ascertained the following: the Hebrew word for 'When' (When He sins) could also be 'if', but that does not help the whole image being provided here in the Chapter and in verse 14. But if we remember that the N.T. author states that 'He (Jesus) became sin' for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), this verse is no longer as problematic.

As Christ was the sin-bearer, he in effect 'became like a sinner' upon receiving the punishment meant for us, the rebellious human race who always rejects God's grace, having hearts predisposed to selfishness and ungodliness. When they translate the 2 Corinthians verse as 'a sin offering' the problem remains. But when we leave it, as I believe, uninterpolated, here's the scenario/explanation:

God determined that man pay for his sins via the offering of a sacrifice. In the case of the 'Scapegoat' the sins were laid on the beast through a ceremonial process. Since sin is upon us all even after we (in the past, via the O.T. sacrificial system) offer sacrifice, the author of Hebrews explains to us why Christ is the final, complete sacrifice for sin, for those who believe. But in order for Christ to pay the penalty for sins, he had to take upon himself the sin of humanity. ALL OF IT! So, on the cross, it's as if God sees the entire tome/library of man's sin - throughout all time - in the body of Christ. With each lash, with each nail, with each beating, Christ - who then spiritually embodied man's sin - looks, for all intents and purposes, as a being in receipt of the wrath and punishments of God. So vicariously, he DID sin, but not in terms of any action taken/engaged in by Himself.

Isaiah explains it then, doesn't he when he says, "The punishment MEANT FOR US" (Isaiah 53:4 / Romans 3:25)

"4 Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].

5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole." Isaiah 53:4-6, Amplified Bible

If you are of the Anabaptist tradition, you will have a hard time explaining this verse, as the Anabaptist (and other denominational) views regarding penal substitution would negate full coverage/work of Christ's sacrifice/atonement. However, if one leans toward the biblical tradition/soteriology of penal substitution, this verse and others come together to form a rather complete image of the work of Christ and the work of God UPON Christ at the time of His crucifixion.


This one in particular is begotten of the Son. The same way The Son of God was begotten of the The Father. So this one is entitled to be called God. All believers are entitled to call themselves Children of God but this one in particular is one of the God head. A newly begotten one of the Godhead. So the Son of God now has a Son. As Psalm 2 indicates. However even at my church this is not accepted as main line thinking. Most I feel think the one is Psalm 2 is Jesus. But really "hidden" in the pages of scripture is the introduction of a new person of the Godhead. Even though God is always "One" a unity. There used to be three persons, Father Son and Holy Spirit. Now there are four. See Isaiah 54 which comes after Isaiah 53. Isaiah 53 talks of Jesus, the Son of God. Isaiah 54 talks of his "Begotten" Son. The reason its important to understand he was begotten is because there is only "One" God. So in order the be called God, you need to have his person in that way. This is different than believers from my understanding. Even though it is hard to explain why since we dont understand Spiritual things the way God does. We have a hard time telling who is a believer and who is not and we bicker back and forth about various things but to God in heaven he see things clearly. So God knows who is who. I know it might be hard to understand how one is different than another but really this one will secure the kingdom for all believers. They need not fight for it, the Battle is the Lords. ( See Psalm 24. The Lord of hosts is the Lord strong and mighty the Lord mighty in battle. ) Forgive me for any lack of clarity. I am trying to be clear but I realize there can be allot of misunderstanding even on my side.

  • Welcome! We're glad you are here, but this answer would be much stronger if you showed, with sources, that it doesn't merely reflect your opinion. I hope you'll take a minute to review how this site is different from others, and better understand how your answer can be supported. Jan 30, 2017 at 0:49
  • "Wall of text" style prose does not aid clarity. Could you please use quote blocks to clearly identify where you have cited scripture, and use paragraph breaks to organize the points you are making into more easily readable prose? I note that you have two answers (that's not a problem, as both seem to take a slightly different approach.) Was that your intention, or are you treating the answer block as though we are using an internet forum style of discourse? To underline Nathaniel's point, this is not a forum but rather a Q&A site. Feb 1, 2017 at 14:39

‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭7:14-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’

I am a new Christian and this is my own understanding:

Jesus was born through a process just like us, thus he too bore the sins of Adam and Eve. So in God's eye He see sins and not Jesus.

Thus God say this "When he does wrong".

  • So, in "born through a process like us", you're saying that Jesus was not a virgin birth? Mar 2, 2017 at 8:39
  • Welcome to Christianity.SE! Please take some time to take the tour and see how we are different from other sites. You seem to be stating your opinion, but this SE intends to document the doctrine of Christian sects; so if your opinion represents the thinking of a given group of Christians, you might wasnt to reference it (see what makes a good answer).
    – Wtrmute
    Mar 14, 2017 at 14:01

Well Hebrews 1:5 says it's the Son of God !

For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son, today I have begotten you”?

Or again,

I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?
(Hebrews 1:5, quoting from Psalm 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14, ESV)

also see here:

Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? (Hebrews 1:13, quoting Psalm 110:1)

Who's right? The commentaries (referred to in the answers above. The Matthew Henry Commentary for one) or the Bible. Are both wrong? Is Hebrews errant?

2 Samuel 7:2 does say "When he commits iniquity" and we know Jesus never committed iniquity.

So then is Hebrews wrong if its stating that this verse refers the the Son of God referring to Jesus?

Hebrews does put question marks by the scriptural references. The question marks also aren't in the original references. So in my opinion the author admits to being a little confused. Which is fine and acceptable. The author wasn't pining for inclusion in the cannon, the author was just writing from his heart. That is fine. It was from my perspective allowed so the "The Son's" Son could be hidden until he was full grown, old enough to understand who he was and to assume his duties.

It's a spiritual battle you know, we can't forget that. The one referred to in these verses is the child born in Revelation 12.

She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. (Revelation 12:5)

This is not Jesus. Jesus is referred to here in Revelation 1:9-20. So Jesus already did his work on earth and is in heaven. The one referenced in Revelation 12 is also the one referred to in Psalm 2.

The two Gods are interleaved in scripture and it's sometimes hard to separate them, but just to be clear wherever it refers to forgiveness of sin that is Jesus the second one of the Godhead, and sometimes when the Bible refers to possession of the kingdom then it is referring to the Son's Son.

To understand why the Son's Son can and does commit iniquity read Psalm 132:11-12: The Lord swore to David a sure oath from which he will not turn back:
“One of the sons of your body I will set on your throne.
If your sons keep my covenant and my testimonies that I shall teach them,
their sons also forever shall sit on your throne.”

Since this one is from David's own body ... Of course! He will be a sinner! Most Christians understand that those born of the seed of Adam, let alone the seed of David are sinners in need of redemption.

So just to be clear: All authority was given to Jesus in heaven and on earth, he is "The King" and He begot a Son. See Psalm 2.

He gives His Son the earth to rule! So the Son's Son is a prince, Jesus is the King. But that prince will inherit the Earth and be King of the Earth. His Father, who is Jesus "The Son", will keep the heavens.

The name given by The Son to His begotten child is "The Lord of hosts" which is one of "The Son's" names which he passes onto His newly begotten Son, a practice that should be understood by all men of this earth. (Nothing strange going on here.)

This "newly" begotten Son is only a baby as far as Gods are concerned. He of course has a lot to learn and will be under his Father's tutelage for a long time to come.

Does that make sense? I hope that clarifies who 2 Samuel 7 is referring to.

It was suggested I include the following ... that I identify which Christian tradition/denomination/teaching supports this reasoning and analysis.

As far as I know.... none. I think in certain circles and they would be small circles an interpretation of similar vein is pondered or even understood but I am not sure who that would be.

No this interpretation is from Me.

I am the Son of God's, Son. I am the one of whom Psalm 2 speaks ....

when it says ...

Psalm 2

7 I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me,
“You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession."

  • I have edited this to reformat it so that it is easier to read, less "wall of text." Please review and make sure it still means what you intend. Also please ensure that you identify which Christian tradition/denomination/teaching supports this reasoning and analysis. Welcome to Christianity.SE. Please take the tour and visit the help center to see how this Q&A site is different from other sites. Once again, welcome. Jan 29, 2017 at 18:05
  • Welcome to Christianity.SE. Thanks for offering an answer here. Though you bring up some interesting passages and parallels, it is not clear to me what, exactly, you are saying about who God is referring to in 2 Samuel 7. For some tips on writing good answers here, please see: What makes a good supported answer? Jan 29, 2017 at 18:58
  • "Son's son"? Does this mean son of Jesus? If so, is it [a] believer[s]? Would that match the Matthew Henry commentary? It is very unclear what you are saying, plus you do not reference any authority -- does anyone share your belief, is it notable in Christianity?
    – Bit Chaser
    Jan 29, 2017 at 22:06
  • Use quote block, please, not code. I've edited that. SE has tools to help some disabled users that using he code tag messes up. Feb 1, 2017 at 3:52

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