Nathan's prophecy that King David's son would succeed him on the throne

Bible passage: 2 Samuel 7:12
Prophet: Nathan
Written: Nathan lived about 3,000 years ago

The prophet Nathan, who lived about 3,000 years ago, told King David that a son of his would be raised up to succeed him on the throne:

12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. (2 Samuel 7:12, NIV)

David was already king and it might seem natural that one of his sons would succeed him. But in fact, David was only the second king of Israel. The first king was Saul. Although David was not a son of Saul, he did succeed Saul as king, rather than a son of Saul.

Secondly, David already had sons who could succeed him on the throne, including Absalom and Adonijah. But, with the phrasing in the verse, "I will raise up," there is an indication for some Bible scholars that David's successor would be a son who had not been born yet.

Solomon, in fact, was born after this prophecy from Nathan was given and he became the son who succeeded David on the throne.

Solomon reigned over the united kingdom of Israel for 40 years.

At one point, Solomon, when speaking before the Israelites, spoke of Nathan's prophecy as being fulfilled in him:

20 "The Lord has kept the promise he made: I have succeeded David my father and now I sit on the throne of Israel, just as the Lord promised, and I have built the temple for the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel." (1 Kings 8:20, NIV)

There is also a Messianic application to this prophecy in that Solomon would be the initial fulfillment and that the Messiah would be the ultimate fulfillment.

The prophetic details of 2 Samuel 7:12 are part of a broader prophecy found in 2 Samuel 7:12-16. In verse 14, there is a reference to a descendant of David being regarded as God's son. And in verse 16, there is a promise that David's throne would be permanent and eternal, a promise that cannon find fulfillment in any one mortal being.

The line of Davidic kings lasted about 400 years and came to an end during the rise of the Babylonian Empire, about 2,600 years ago. Jesus was born about 600 years after that. As the literal son of God, Jesus is eternal, and literally fulfills verses 14 and 16. As a descendant of King David, Jesus also fulfills verse 12.

The prophecy found in 2 Samuel 7:12 is repeated in 1 Chronicles 17:11.

- by Ray Konig, author of 100 Prophecies. © Ray Konig and AboutBibleProphecy.com.