2 Samuel 12:16-23

16 David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth[a] on the ground.
17 The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.
18 On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.”
19 David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”
20 Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.
21 His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!”
22 He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.’
23 But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”

2 Samuel 12:16-23 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO SECOND SAMUEL 12

Nathan is sent to David to charge him with his sin, and convince him of it by a parable, 2Sa 12:1-6; which being accommodated and applied to David's case, brought him to a conviction and acknowledgment of it, and repentance for it, which was forgiven him, 2Sa 12:7-13; though he is told the child begotten in adultery should die, and it was quickly struck with sickness and died; and David's behaviour during its sickness and at its death is recorded, 2Sa 12:14-23; after which Solomon was born to him of the same woman, and had the name of Jedidiah given him by the Lord, which signifies the beloved of the Lord, and as a token of reconciliation, and a confirmation of his sin being forgiven him, 2Sa 12:24,25; and the chapter is concluded with the taking of the city of Rabbah, and the spoil in it, and the usage of the inhabitants of it, 2Sa 12:26-31.

2 Samuel 12:16-23 In-Context

14 But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the LORD, the son born to you will die.”
15 After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill.
16 David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground.
17 The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.
18 On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.”
19 David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”
20 Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.
21 His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!”
22 He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.’
23 But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”
24 Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The LORD loved him;
25 and because the LORD loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah.

Cross References 10

  • 1. 2 Samuel 13:31; Psalms 5:7; Psalms 95:6
  • 2. S Genesis 37:35; S 1 Samuel 1:7
  • 3. S 2 Samuel 3:35; Daniel 6:18
  • 4. Matthew 6:17
  • 5. S Genesis 41:14; Job 1:20
  • 6. Judges 20:26
  • 7. John 3:9
  • 8. Isaiah 38:1-5
  • 9. Genesis 37:35
  • 10. S 1 Samuel 31:13; 2 Samuel 13:39; Job 7:10; Job 10:21

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint; Masoretic Text does not have "in sackcloth" .