So the LORD sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: "There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor.
The rich man owned many sheep and cattle.
The poor man owned nothing but a little lamb he had worked hard to buy. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man's own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter.
One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing a lamb from his own flocks for food, he took the poor man's lamb and killed it and served it to his guest."
David was furious. "As surely as the LORD lives," he vowed, "any man who would do such a thing deserves to die!
He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity."
Then Nathan said to David, "You are that man! The LORD, the God of Israel, says, 'I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul.
I gave you his house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more.
Why, then, have you despised the word of the LORD and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah and stolen his wife.
From this time on, the sword will be a constant threat to your family, because you have despised me by taking Uriah's wife to be your own.
"'Because of what you have done, I, the LORD, will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man, and he will go to bed with them in public view.
You did it secretly, but I will do this to you openly in the sight of all Israel.'"
Then David confessed to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD. "Nathan replied, "Yes, but the LORD has forgiven you, and you won't die for this sin.
But you have given the enemies of the LORD great opportunity to despise and blaspheme him, so your child will die."
After Nathan returned to his home, the LORD made Bathsheba's baby deathly ill.
David begged God to spare the child. He went without food and lay all night on the bare ground.
The leaders of the nation pleaded with him to get up and eat with them, but he refused.
Then on the seventh day the baby died. David's advisers were afraid to tell him. "He was so broken up about the baby being sick," they said. "What will he do to himself when we tell him the child is dead?"
But when David saw them whispering, he realized what had happened. "Is the baby dead?" he asked. "Yes," they replied.
Then David got up from the ground, washed himself, put on lotions, and changed his clothes. Then he went to the Tabernacle and worshiped the LORD. After that, he returned to the palace and ate.
His advisers were amazed. "We don't understand you," they told him. "While the baby was still living, you wept and refused to eat. But now that the baby is dead, you have stopped your mourning and are eating again."
David replied, "I fasted and wept while the child was alive, for I said, 'Perhaps the LORD will be gracious to me and let the child live.'
But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me."
Then David comforted Bathsheba, his wife, and slept with her. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The LORD loved the child
and sent word through Nathan the prophet that his name should be Jedidiah -- "beloved of the LORD" -- because the LORD loved him.
Meanwhile, Joab and the Israelite army were successfully ending their siege of Rabbah, the capital of Ammon.
Joab sent messengers to tell David, "I have fought against Rabbah and captured its water supply.
Now bring the rest of the army and finish the job, so you will get credit for the victory instead of me."
So David led the rest of his army to Rabbah and captured it.
David removed the crown from the king's head, and it was placed on David's own head. The crown was made of gold and set with gems, and it weighed about seventy-five pounds. David took a vast amount of plunder from the city.
He also made slaves of the people of Rabbah and forced them to labor with saws, picks, and axes, and to work in the brick kilns. That is how he dealt with the people of all the Ammonite cities. Then David and his army returned to Jerusalem.
David's son Absalom had a beautiful sister named Tamar. And Amnon, her half brother, fell desperately in love with her.
Amnon became so obsessed with Tamar that he became ill. She was a virgin, and it seemed impossible that he could ever fulfill his love for her.
Now Amnon had a very crafty friend -- his cousin Jonadab. He was the son of David's brother Shimea.
One day Jonadab said to Amnon, "What's the trouble? Why should the son of a king look so dejected morning after morning?" So Amnon told him, "I am in love with Tamar, Absalom's sister."
"Well," Jonadab said, "I'll tell you what to do. Go back to bed and pretend you are sick. When your father comes to see you, ask him to let Tamar come and prepare some food for you. Tell him you'll feel better if she feeds you."
So Amnon pretended to be sick. And when the king came to see him, Amnon asked him, "Please let Tamar come to take care of me and cook something for me to eat."
So David agreed and sent Tamar to Amnon's house to prepare some food for him.
When Tamar arrived at Amnon's house, she went to the room where he was lying down so he could watch her mix some dough. Then she baked some special bread for him.
But when she set the serving tray before him, he refused to eat. "Everyone get out of here," Amnon told his servants. So they all left.
Then he said to Tamar, "Now bring the food into my bedroom and feed it to me here." So Tamar took it to him.
But as she was feeding him, he grabbed her and demanded, "Come to bed with me, my darling sister."
"No, my brother!" she cried. "Don't be foolish! Don't do this to me! You know what a serious crime it is to do such a thing in Israel.
Where could I go in my shame? And you would be called one of the greatest fools in Israel. Please, just speak to the king about it, and he will let you marry me."
But Amnon wouldn't listen to her, and since he was stronger than she was, he raped her.
Then suddenly Amnon's love turned to hate, and he hated her even more than he had loved her. "Get out of here!" he snarled at her.
"No, no!" Tamar cried. "To reject me now is a greater wrong than what you have already done to me." But Amnon wouldn't listen to her.
He shouted for his servant and demanded, "Throw this woman out, and lock the door behind her!"
So the servant put her out. She was wearing a long, beautiful robe, as was the custom in those days for the king's virgin daughters.
But now Tamar tore her robe and put ashes on her head. And then, with her face in her hands, she went away crying.
Her brother Absalom saw her and asked, "Is it true that Amnon has been with you? Well, don't be so upset. Since he's your brother anyway, don't worry about it." So Tamar lived as a desolate woman in Absalom's house.
When King David heard what had happened, he was very angry.
And though Absalom never spoke to Amnon about it, he hated Amnon deeply because of what he had done to his sister.
Two years later, when Absalom's sheep were being sheared at Baal-hazor near Ephraim, Absalom invited all the king's sons to come to a feast.
He went to the king and said, "My sheep-shearers are now at work. Would the king and his servants please come to celebrate the occasion with me?"
The king replied, "No, my son. If we all came, we would be too much of a burden on you." Absalom pressed him, but the king wouldn't come, though he sent his thanks.
"Well, then," Absalom said, "if you can't come, how about sending my brother Amnon instead?" "Why Amnon?" the king asked.
But Absalom kept on pressing the king until he finally agreed to let all his sons attend, including Amnon.
Absalom told his men, "Wait until Amnon gets drunk; then at my signal, kill him! Don't be afraid. I'm the one who has given the command. Take courage and do it!"
So at Absalom's signal they murdered Amnon. Then the other sons of the king jumped on their mules and fled.
As they were on the way back to Jerusalem, this report reached David: "Absalom has killed all your sons; not one is left alive!"
The king jumped up, tore his robe, and fell prostrate on the ground. His advisers also tore their clothes in horror and sorrow.
But just then Jonadab, the son of David's brother Shimea, arrived and said, "No, not all your sons have been killed! It was only Amnon! Absalom has been plotting this ever since Amnon raped his sister Tamar.
No, your sons aren't all dead! It was only Amnon."
Meanwhile Absalom escaped.Then the watchman on the Jerusalem wall saw a great crowd coming toward the city from the west. He ran to tell the king, "I see a crowd of people coming from the Horonaim road along the side of the hill."
"Look!" Jonadab told the king. "There they are now! Your sons are coming, just as I said."
They soon arrived, weeping and sobbing, and the king and his officials wept bitterly with them.
And David mourned many days for his son Amnon. Absalom fled to his grandfather, Talmai son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur.
He stayed there in Geshur for three years.
And David, now reconciled to Amnon's death, longed to be reunited with his son Absalom.
Jesus told this story to his disciples: "A rich man hired a manager to handle his affairs, but soon a rumor went around that the manager was thoroughly dishonest. 2So his employer called him in and said, 'What's this I hear about your stealing from me? Get your report in order, because you are going to be dismissed.'3"The manager thought to himself, 'Now what? I'm through here, and I don't have the strength to go out and dig ditches, and I'm too proud to beg. 4I know just the thing! And then I'll have plenty of friends to take care of me when I leave!'5"So he invited each person who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation. He asked the first one, 'How much do you owe him?' 6The man replied, 'I owe him eight hundred gallons of olive oil.' So the manager told him, 'Tear up that bill and write another one for four hundred gallons. '7"'And how much do you owe my employer?' he asked the next man. 'A thousand bushels of wheat,' was the reply. 'Here,' the manager said, 'take your bill and replace it with one for only eight hundred bushels. '8"The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd. And it is true that the citizens of this world are more shrewd than the godly are. 9I tell you, use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. In this way, your generosity stores up a reward for you in heaven. 10"Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won't be faithful in large ones. If you cheat even a little, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities. 11And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12And if you are not faithful with other people's money, why should you be trusted with money of your own?13"No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."14
The Pharisees, who dearly loved their money, naturally scoffed at all this.
Then he said to them, "You like to look good in public, but God knows your evil hearts. What this world honors is an abomination in the sight of God.16"Until John the Baptist began to preach, the laws of Moses and the messages of the prophets were your guides. But now the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and eager multitudes are forcing their way in. 17But that doesn't mean that the law has lost its force in even the smallest point. It is stronger and more permanent than heaven and earth.18"Anyone who divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery."19
Jesus said, "There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed and who lived each day in luxury. 20At his door lay a diseased beggar named Lazarus. 21As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man's table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores. 22Finally, the beggar died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, 23and his soul went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Lazarus in the far distance with Abraham.24"The rich man shouted, 'Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in anguish in these flames.'25"But Abraham said to him, 'Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. 26And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. Anyone who wanted to cross over to you from here is stopped at its edge, and no one there can cross over to us.'27"Then the rich man said, 'Please, Father Abraham, send him to my father's home. 28For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them about this place of torment so they won't have to come here when they die.'29"But Abraham said, 'Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read their writings anytime they want to.'30"The rich man replied, 'No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will turn from their sins.'31"But Abraham said, 'If they won't listen to Moses and the prophets, they won't listen even if someone rises from the dead.'"
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)