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. (2 Samuel 7:12-16)God said that David’s house (dynasty), kingdom, and throne would be eternal. This is an important promise to be considered in our study of the book of Daniel, because the book records the historical interruption in the reign from the throne of David (known as the Times of the Gentiles). The Babylonian Captivity, of which Daniel was a part, brought about the end of the line of Davidic kings reigning from Jerusalem. If we are familiar with God’s promise to David, we will approach the events of the first chapter of the book of Daniel with several questions: “What happened to God’s promise to David? Has it been canceled? Will it ever be fulfilled? If so, how and when?” Answering these questions becomes the thrust of much of the prophetic content within the book.We find the promise reiterated to David’s son Solomon:
And the LORD said to him: “I have heard your prayer and your supplication that you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. Now if you walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’ ” (1 Kings 9:3-5)The condition God incorporates into this promise is of great importance to an understanding of the book of Daniel: “If you keep My statutes and My judgments , then I will establish the throne of your kingdom . . . You shall not fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.” Israel’s failure to keep this condition triggers the major historical events which form the backdrop to the book of Daniel.The failure to keep God’s statutes and judgments began during the reign of Solomon. In his old age, through the influence of his foreign wives, Solomon was induced to sanction the worship of idols (1K. 11:9-11). God responded by visiting the king’s house with chastisement—leading to the revolt of ten of the twelve tribes upon Solomon’s death. Even so, God preserved the Davidic kingdom through the continued loyalty of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin centered at Jerusalem with the temple (1K. 11:13). During this time of the divided kingdom, the ten tribes under the rule of Jeroboam constituted the northern kingdom, often referred to as “Israel” or “Samaria” (1K. 11:31, 35-36), while the two tribes under the rule of Solomon’s son Rehoboam formed the southern kingdom, often referred to as “Judah”.
1 Image courtesy of CRDP Académie de Strasbourg. Image is in the public domain.