2 Samuel 12

Listen to 2 Samuel 12

Nathan Rebukes David

1 And the LORD sent 1Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, 2"There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor.
2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds,
3 but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms,[a] and it was like a daughter to him.
4 Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him."
5 Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, 3"As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die,
6 and he shall restore the lamb 4fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity."
7 Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 5'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul.
8 And I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more.
9 6Why have you despised the word of the LORD, 7to do what is evil in his sight? 8You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and 9have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.
10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.'
11 Thus says the LORD, 'Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.
12 For you did it secretly, 10but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.'"
13 11David said to Nathan, 12"I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, 13"The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.
14 Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly 14scorned the LORD,[b] the child who is born to you shall die."
15 Then Nathan went to his house. And the LORD afflicted the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and he became sick.
16 David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David 15fasted and went in 16and lay all night on the ground.
17 And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them.
18 On the seventh day the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, "Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us. How then can we say to him the child is dead? He may do himself some harm."
19 But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, "Is the child dead?" They said, "He is dead."
20 Then David arose from the earth 17and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the LORD 18and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate.
21 Then his servants said to him, "What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food."
22 He said, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, 19'Who knows whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?'
23 But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, 20but he will not return to me."

Solomon's Birth

24 Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and 21she bore a son, and he called his name 22Solomon. And the LORD loved him
25 and sent a message by Nathan the prophet. So he called his name Jedidiah,[c] because of the LORD.

Rabbah Is Captured

26 23Now Joab 24fought against 25Rabbah of the Ammonites and took the royal city.
27 And Joab sent messengers to David and said, "I have fought against Rabbah; moreover, I have taken the city of waters.
28 Now then gather the rest of the people together and encamp against the city and take it, lest I take the city and it be called by my name."
29 So David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah and fought against it and took it.
30 And he took the crown of their king from his head. The weight of it was a talent[d] of gold, and in it was a precious stone, and it was placed on David's head. And he brought out the spoil of the city, a very great amount.
31 And he brought out the people who were in it and set them to labor with saws and iron picks and iron axes and made them toil at[e] the brick kilns. And thus he did to all the cities of the Ammonites. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.

2 Samuel 12 Commentary

Chapter 12

Nathan's parable-David confesses his sin. (1-14) The birth of Solomon. (15-25) David's severity to the Ammonites. (26-31)

Verses 1-14 God will not suffer his people to lie still in sin. By this parable Nathan drew from David a sentence against himself. Great need there is of prudence in giving reproofs. In his application, he was faithful. He says in plain terms, Thou art the man. God shows how much he hates sin, even in his own people; and wherever he finds it, he will not let it go unpunished. David says not a word to excuse himself or make light of his sin, but freely owns it. When David said, I have sinned, and Nathan perceived that he was a true penitent, he assured him his sin was forgiven. Thou shalt not die: that is, not die eternally, nor be for ever put away from God, as thou wouldest have been, if thou hadst not put away the sin. Though thou shalt all thy days be chastened of the Lord, yet thou shalt not be condemned with the world. There is this great evil in the sins of those who profess religion and relation to God, that they furnish the enemies of God and religion with matter for reproach and blasphemy. And it appears from David's case, that even where pardon is obtained, the Lord will visit the transgression of his people with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. For one momentary gratification of a vile lust, David had to endure many days and years of extreme distress.

Verses 15-25 David now penned the 51st Psalm, in which, though he had been assured that his sin was pardoned, he prays earnestly for pardon, and greatly laments his sin. He was willing to bear the shame of it, to have it ever before him, to be continually upbraided with it. God gives us leave to be earnest with him in prayer for particular blessings, from trust in his power and general mercy, though we have no particular promise to build upon. David patiently submitted to the will of God in the death of one child, and God made up the loss to his advantage, in the birth of another. The way to have creature comforts continued or restored, or the loss made up some other way, is cheerfully to resign them to God. God, by his grace, particularly owned and favoured that son, and ordered him to be called Jedidiah, Beloved of the Lord. Our prayers for our children are graciously and as fully answered when some of them die in their infancy, for they are well taken care of, and when others live, "beloved of the Lord."

Verses 26-31 To be thus severe in putting the children of Ammon to slavery was a sign that David's heart was not yet made soft by repentance, at the time when this took place. We shall be most compassionate, kind, and forgiving to others, when we most feel our need of the Lord's forgiving love, and taste the sweetness of it in our own souls.

Cross References 25

  • 1. ver. 7, 13, 15, 25; 2 Samuel 7:2, 4, 17; 1 Kings 1:10, 22, 34; 1 Kings 4:5; 1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29
  • 2. [2 Samuel 14:5-7; Judges 9:8-15]; 1 Kings 20:35-41
  • 3. See Ruth 3:13
  • 4. [Exodus 22:1; Luke 19:8]
  • 5. 1 Samuel 16:13
  • 6. Numbers 15:31
  • 7. 1 Samuel 15:19
  • 8. 2 Samuel 11:15, 17
  • 9. 2 Samuel 11:27
  • 10. 2 Samuel 16:22
  • 11. [1 Samuel 15:24]
  • 12. 2 Samuel 24:10; Psalms 32:5; Psalms 51:4
  • 13. Psalms 32:1; Micah 7:18; Zechariah 3:4
  • 14. Isaiah 52:5; [Ezekiel 36:20, 23; Romans 2:24]
  • 15. [1 Kings 21:27]
  • 16. 2 Samuel 13:31
  • 17. Ruth 3:3
  • 18. Job 1:20
  • 19. [Jonah 3:9]
  • 20. Job 7:8-10
  • 21. Matthew 1:6
  • 22. 1 Chronicles 22:9
  • 23. For ver. 26-31, see 1 Chronicles 20:1-3
  • 24. 2 Samuel 11:1
  • 25. Deuteronomy 3:11

Footnotes 5

  • [a]. Hebrew bosom; also verse 8
  • [b]. Masoretic Text the enemies of the Lord; Dead Sea Scroll the word of the Lord
  • [c]. Jedidiah means beloved of the Lord
  • [d]. A talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms
  • [e]. Hebrew pass through

Chapter Summary


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 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.