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There are several instances in the Old Testament (and one or two in the N/T) where we read that David was not allowed to build a temple for God:

  • 1 Chronicles 22:8: "But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars; you shall not build a house to My name, because you have shed so much blood on the earth before Me" (NAS, emphasis added).

And this:

  • 1 Chronicles 28:3: "But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My name because you are a man of war and have shed blood’" (emphasis added).

Finally, David's son Solomon speaks to the people:

  • 1 Kings 8:18-19: "But the LORD said to my father David, ‘Because it was in your heart to build a house for My name, you did well that it was in your heart. 19‘Nevertheless you [David] shall not build the house, but your son who will be born to you, he will build the house for My name.’"

Because David was a "man of war" — one directed by God to accomplish all of these things, he would not be allowed to build the temple. Rather, he would only be able to assemble the supplies for one. Given that David was "a man after God's own heart," why would being a "man of war" matter? (I understand that the name "Solomon" represents "peace" so perhaps this provides a clue?)

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David was a man of war. He had much blood on his hands. Solomon was a man of peace, 1 Chronicles 22:

9 But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign.

Solomon didn't shed so much blood.

Why would being a "man of war" prevent David from building the temple of God (1 Chron. 22:8, 29:3, 1 Kings 8:18-19)?

The temple is a type of the OT church. The temple symbolizes the church. Benson explains:

Thou hast shed blood, &c.; thou shalt not build a house unto my name — Not that wars are simply unlawful, but to teach us that the church (whereof the temple was an illustrious type) should be built by Christ, the Prince of peace, Isaiah 9:6, and that it should be gathered and built up, not by might or power, but by God’s Spirit, Zechariah 4:6, and by the preaching the gospel of peace. David therefore was less fit for that service, than one who had not been called to such bloody work. Likewise, by setting him aside for this reason, God showed how precious human life is to him.

The church was to be built by Jesus, a man of peace, as prophesied in Isaiah 9:

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Jesus would built the church, Matthew 16:

18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Unlike some other religions, God was not going to use violence to start building his Church, Matthew 5:

9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Given that David was "a man after God's own heart," why would being a "man of war" matter?

In this case, it matters because by using Solomon to build the temple, it foreshadows God would use Jesus in his first coming to build the church. (In his 2nd coming, it would be more like David.)

OP: I understand that the name "Solomon" represents "peace" so perhaps this provides a clue?

Indeed, it foreshadows the Prince of Peace.

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  • Hi Tony, you've been generating a significant number of flags and complaints from the community about low quality answers for a very long time now. Please only provide answers if you have done some actual research or have something genuinely interesting or insightful to add.
    – Steve Taylor
    Oct 29, 2021 at 22:16
  • Sure. Let me know also in my future answers when you see a low-quality one. Thanks :)
    – Tony Chan
    Oct 29, 2021 at 22:22
  • 1
    I see. I'm going to elaborate. Thanks :)
    – Tony Chan
    Oct 29, 2021 at 22:35
  • 1
    No worries :) In fact, I'm glad that you chased after this one. I have just added. It clarified my previous thoughts much better. The answer is now in a much better shape. I tend to be a minimalist :)
    – Tony Chan
    Oct 29, 2021 at 22:50
  • 1
    Agree. I envision this forum to be improving over time and will last for many many years as it gets better and better :)
    – Tony Chan
    Oct 29, 2021 at 23:05
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I think there is more here that David simply being a "man of war". The text in 1 Chron 22:8 says "much (a huge amount of) blood". Further, there was alos much unnecessary cruelty associated with some of those campaigns where David appears to be cruel for its own sake. Note the comments of Ellicott:

Because thou hast shed much blood.—Better. for torrents of blood (plural) hast thou shed earthward before me. The author of this narrative may well have remembered Genesis 9:5-6, and the denunciations of the prophets against men of blood. (Comp. especially Amos 1:3; Amos 1:13; Amos 2:1, with David’s treatment of the conquered Ammonites, 1 Chronicles 20:3. And see also Hosea’s denunciation of vengeance upon the house of Jehu for the bloodshed of Jezreel: Hosea 1:4; Hosea 7:7). Or the verse may express the interpretation which David’s own conscience put upon the oracle forbidding him to build the Temple.

To this appalling list might be added the unnecessary cruelty displayed in 2 Sam 8:2 - the way he butchered the Moabites (since his great grandmother was a Moabite, this is especially difficult to understand.)

Barnes adds some further references to David's cruelty.

The word of the Lord came to me ... - Not by Nathan 1 Chronicles 17:4-15, but on some other occasion 1 Chronicles 28:3. On the bloody character of David's wars, see 2 Samuel 8:2, 2 Samuel 8:5; 2 Samuel 10:18; 2 Samuel 12:31; and 1 Kings 11:16.

However, Benson adds another dimension:

1 Chronicles 22:8. Thou hast shed blood, &c.; thou shalt not build a house unto my name — Not that wars are simply unlawful, but to teach us that the church (whereof the temple was an illustrious type) should be built by Christ, the Prince of peace, Isaiah 9:6, and that it should be gathered and built up, not by might or power, but by God’s Spirit, Zechariah 4:6, and by the preaching the gospel of peace. David therefore was less fit for that service, than one who had not been called to such bloody work. Likewise, by setting him aside for this reason, God showed how precious human life is to him.

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  • I have to wonder if David's adultery with Bathsheba and arranged murder of Uriah might also have been a factor. Yes, God forgave David because he repented, but God subsequently brought various types of judgment down on David nonetheless. Certainly David caused Uriah's blood to be shed. Nov 6, 2021 at 20:49

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