2 Samuel 12

Nathan Rebukes David

1 Then the LORD sent 1Nathan to David. And 2he came to him and said, "There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor.
2 "The rich man had a great many flocks and herds.
3 "But the poor man had nothing * except * 3one little ewe lamb Which he bought and nourished; And it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, And was like a daughter to him.
4 "Now a traveler came to the rich man, And he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, To prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; Rather he took the poor man's ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him."
5 Then David's anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this 4deserves to die.
6 "He must make restitution for the lamb 5fourfold, because * he did this thing and had no compassion."
7 Nathan then said to David, "6You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel, '7It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul.
8 'I also gave you 8your master's house and your master's wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these!
9 'Why 9have you despised the word of the LORD by doing evil in His sight? 10You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, 11have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon.
10 'Now therefore, 12the 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 from your own household; 13I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight *.
12 'Indeed 14you did it secretly, but 15I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.' "
13 Then David said to Nathan, "16I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has 17taken away your sin; you shall not die.
14 "However, because by this deed you have 18given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die."
15 So Nathan went to his house.

Loss of a Child


Then the LORD struck the child that Uriah's widow bore to David, so that he was very sick.

16 David therefore inquired of God for the child; and David 19fasted * and went and 20lay all night on the ground.
17 21The elders of his household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling * and would not eat food with them.
18 Then it happened on the seventh day that 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 still alive, we spoke to him and he did not listen to our voice. How then can we tell him that the child is dead, since he might do himself harm!"
19 But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was dead; so David said to his servants, "Is the child dead?" And they said, "He is dead."
20 So David arose from the ground, 22washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he came into the house of the LORD and 23worshiped. Then he came to his own house, and when he requested, they set food before him and he ate.
21 Then his servants said to him, "What is this thing that you have done? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept; but when the child died, you arose and ate food."
22 He said, "While the child was still alive, 24I fasted and wept; for I said, '25Who knows, the LORD may be gracious to me, that the child may live.'
23 "But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? 26I will go to him, but 27he will not return to me."

Solomon Born

24 Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her; and she gave birth to a son, and 28he named * him Solomon. Now the LORD loved him
25 and sent word through Nathan the prophet, and he named * him Jedidiah for the LORD'S sake.

War Again

26 29Now Joab fought against 30Rabbah of the sons of Ammon and captured the royal city.
27 Joab sent messengers to David and said, "I have fought against Rabbah, I have even captured the city of waters.
28 "Now therefore, gather the rest of the people together and camp against the city and capture it, or I will capture the city myself and it will be named * after me."
29 So David gathered all the people and went to Rabbah, fought against it and captured it.
30 Then 31he took the crown of their king from his head; and its weight was a talent 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 in great amounts.
31 He also brought out the people who were in it, and 32set them under saws, sharp iron instruments, and iron axes, and made them pass through the brickkiln. And thus he did to all the cities of the sons of Ammon. 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 32

  • 1. 2 Sam 7:2, 4, 17
  • 2. Ps 51: title
  • 3. 2 Samuel 11:3
  • 4. 1 Samuel 26:16
  • 5. Exodus 22:1; Luke 19:8
  • 6. 1 Kings 20:42
  • 7. 1 Samuel 16:13
  • 8. 2 Samuel 9:7
  • 9. 1 Samuel 15:23, 26
  • 10. 2 Samuel 11:14-17
  • 11. 2 Samuel 11:27
  • 12. 2 Samuel 13:28; 2 Samuel 18:14; 1 Kings 2:25
  • 13. Deuteronomy 28:30; 2 Samuel 16:21, 22
  • 14. 2 Samuel 11:4-15
  • 15. 2 Samuel 16:22
  • 16. 1 Samuel 15:24, 30; 2 Samuel 24:10; Luke 18:13
  • 17. Leviticus 20:10; Leviticus 24:17; Proverbs 28:13; Micah 7:18
  • 18. Isaiah 52:5; Romans 2:24
  • 19. Nehemiah 1:4
  • 20. 2 Samuel 13:31
  • 21. Genesis 24:2
  • 22. Ruth 3:3; Matthew 6:17
  • 23. Psalms 95:6-8; Psalms 103:1, 8-17; Proverbs 3:7
  • 24. Isaiah 38:1-3
  • 25. Jonah 3:9
  • 26. Genesis 37:35
  • 27. Job 7:8-10
  • 28. 1 Chronicles 22:9; Matthew 1:6
  • 29. 1 Chronicles 20:1-3
  • 30. Deuteronomy 3:11
  • 31. 1 Chronicles 20:2
  • 32. 1 Chronicles 20:3; Hebrews 11:37

Footnotes 13

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

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