Problem: Solomon's kingdom didn't last forever
Verses: 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Status: Minor

This is 2 Samuel 7:12-16, and God is addressing David, king of Israel and Judah:

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. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 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, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever. (ESV)

The offspring being referred to here is Solomon. The problem is that Solomon's kingdom did not last forever. Firstly, the northern part of the kingdom rebelled and broke away, becoming the Kingdom of Israel, which survived until about 720 BC. Secondly, the southern part - the Kingdom of Judah - was itself eventually conquered in 586 BC, and ceased to be an independent nation, instead being controlled by a succession of foreign powers (for which see the Wikipedia entry below).

This then appears to be a failed prophecy. But it's always possible to reinterpret prophecy and say that it means something else; and the modern Christian interpretation is that the real everlasting kingdom is the kingdom of Christ; and that, since Jesus was descended from Solomon (in Matthew's genealogy, though not in Luke's) this therefore means that the kingdom of Solomon prevails, in a sense.

This strikes me as a rather weak sense, but there we go.

Updated: 2008-12-16

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