Why did God forbid David from building the temple?

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By BibleAsk Team


David and Building the Temple

King David desired to build a temple for the Lord and he told the prophet Nathan: “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under tent curtains” (1 Chronicles 17:1). The king did not feel right that the Ark of the Covenant that resembled the presence of God resided in a tent. Instead, he wanted the Ark to reside in a proper structure.

Nathan was pleased with the King’s plan for building a God’s place of worship (1 Chronicles 17:2). But the Lord had other plans and told Nathan: “Go and tell My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: “You shall not build Me a house to dwell in” (1 Chronicles 17:4).

The Lord later gave the reason for his refusal to allow this king to build God’s house in 1 Chronicles 22:7-8. Instead, that job would go to his son, Solomon. “And David said to Solomon: ‘My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house to the name of the Lord my God; but the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight.’

The king shed much blood in war defending Israel so the promise went to his son who was more peaceful (1 Chronicles 22:9, 1 Chronicles 28:3). God’s house was to be associated with peace, not war, for it is a “house prayer for all nations” (Isaiah 56:7). Rather than the king building a temple, God decided to allow his son to oversee this work (1 Chronicles 28:11–12). God promised to be a Father to Solomon when he would continue as king (2 Samuel 7:13-14).

The king’s response to the promise was to praise the Lord saying: “You, Lord, are God! You have promised these good things to your servant. Now You have been pleased to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue forever in Your sight; for You, Lord, have blessed it, and it will be blessed forever” (1 Chronicles 17:26–27).

God used what would seem to be a curse by not allowing the king to build the temple and turned it into an even greater blessing by having Solomon build God’s house. Not only did king have the blessing of beginning the preparations of a great work for God (1 Chronicles 22:5), but he obtained the promise that the blessing of God would continue to the next generation. As a father, there can be no greater peace than to know God’s blessing will be upon his children after they are gone.

The Gathering of the Materials

David gathered material for building the temple in preparation and said to Solomon, “Indeed I have taken much trouble to prepare for the house of the Lord one hundred thousand talents of gold and one million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond measure, for it is so abundant. I have prepared timber and stone also, and you may add to them. Moreover there are workmen with you in abundance: woodsmen and stonecutters, and all types of skillful men for every kind of work. Of gold and silver and bronze and iron there is no limit. Arise and begin working, and the Lord be with you” (1 Chronicles 22:14–16).

Solomon and the Sanctuary

Solomon fulfilled God’s plan when he built His house to be the symbolic earthly dwelling place of the Almighty (1 Kings 8:20, 44; 9:1, 3). The Lord’s blessing was promised to Solomon, but His continual presence was conditional upon his obedience (1 Chronicles 28:6- 7). Sadly, Solomon sinned by marrying Pagan women which brought in many evils to the nation of Israel (Nehemiah 13:26; 1 Kings 11:7).  

The sins of Solomon were passed down to his offspring and despite God’s warnings for many years and generations, Israel would not listen and eventually God’s place of worship was destroyed by the Babylonians (2 Kings 25:8-17). Although the physical structure was destroyed, God’s promise of the kingdom to remain through the line of David is fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Luke 1:31-33) and those, who overcome as Christ, will sit on the throne with Him (Revelation 3:21).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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