and sent Nathan to David. Nathan said to him, "There were two men in the same city - one rich, the other poor.
The rich man had huge flocks of sheep, herds of cattle.
The poor man had nothing but one little female lamb, which he had bought and raised. It grew up with him and his children as a member of the family. It ate off his plate and drank from his cup and slept on his bed. It was like a daughter to him.
"One day a traveler dropped in on the rich man. He was too stingy to take an animal from his own herds or flocks to make a meal for his visitor, so he took the poor man's lamb and prepared a meal to set before his guest."
David exploded in anger. "As surely as God lives," he said to Nathan, "the man who did this ought to be lynched!
He must repay for the lamb four times over for his crime and his stinginess!"
"You're the man!" said Nathan. "And here's what God, the God of Israel, has to say to you: I made you king over Israel. I freed you from the fist of Saul.
I gave you your master's daughter and other wives to have and to hold. I gave you both Israel and Judah. And if that hadn't been enough, I'd have gladly thrown in much more.
So why have you treated the word of God with brazen contempt, doing this great evil? You murdered Uriah the Hittite, then took his wife as your wife. Worse, you killed him with an Ammonite sword!
And now, because you treated God with such contempt and took Uriah the Hittite's wife as your wife, killing and murder will continually plague your family.
This is God speaking, remember! I'll make trouble for you out of your own family. I'll take your wives from right out in front of you. I'll give them to some neighbor, and he'll go to bed with them openly.
You did your deed in secret; I'm doing mine with the whole country watching!"
Then David confessed to Nathan, "I've sinned against God."
But because of your blasphemous behavior, the son born to you will die."
After Nathan went home, God afflicted the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and he came down sick.
David prayed desperately to God for the little boy. He fasted, wouldn't go out, and slept on the floor.
The elders in his family came in and tried to get him off the floor, but he wouldn't budge. Nor could they get him to eat anything.
On the seventh day the child died. David's servants were afraid to tell him. They said, "What do we do now? While the child was living he wouldn't listen to a word we said. Now, with the child dead, if we speak to him there's no telling what he'll do."
David noticed that the servants were whispering behind his back, and realized that the boy must have died. He asked the servants, "Is the boy dead?" "Yes," they answered. "He's dead."
David got up from the floor, washed his face and combed his hair, put on a fresh change of clothes, then went into the sanctuary and worshiped. Then he came home and asked for something to eat. They set it before him and he ate.
His servants asked him, "What's going on with you? While the child was alive you fasted and wept and stayed up all night. Now that he's dead, you get up and eat."
"While the child was alive," he said, "I fasted and wept, thinking God might have mercy on me and the child would live.
But now that he's dead, why fast? Can I bring him back now? I can go to him, but he can't come to me."
David went and comforted his wife Bathsheba. And when he slept with her, they conceived a son. When he was born they named him Solomon. God had a special love for him
and sent word by Nathan the prophet that God wanted him named Jedidiah (God's Beloved).
Joab, at war in Rabbah against the Ammonites, captured the royal city.
He sent messengers to David saying, "I'm fighting at Rabbah, and I've just captured the city's water supply.
Hurry and get the rest of the troops together and set up camp here at the city and complete the capture yourself. Otherwise, I'll capture it and get all the credit instead of you."
So David marshaled all the troops, went to Rabbah, and fought and captured it.
He took the crown from their king's head - very heavy with gold, and with a precious stone in it. It ended up on David's head. And they plundered the city, carrying off a great quantity of loot.
David emptied the city of its people and put them to slave labor using saws, picks, and axes, and making bricks. He did this to all the Ammonite cities. Then David and the whole army returned to Jerusalem.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)