2 Samuel 7 has always been a focal point in discussion about the Davidic covenant and its relationship to the exodus (or Sinai) covenant. This new rhetorical study of the speeches of Yahweh and David in 2 Samuel 7 examines the dynamics of the conversation between the two characters, a conversation essentially about houses and obligation. The reading proposes that talk of a Davidic dynasty is a diversionary strategy that Yahweh uses to deflect David's interest from a temple building project. It also suggests that the manner in which Yahweh presents the offer of dynasty conceals an empty offer behind the facade of a grandiose and unending lineage. The history of religions problem of a Davidic versus sinaitic covenant may be resolved by attending less to the facade and more to the undertones of Yahweh's offer.
Lyle Eslinger received his Ph.D. from McMaster University. He is Professor of Western Religions at the University of Calgary.