2 Samuel 12

Listen to 2 Samuel 12
1 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.
2 The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle.
3 The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. 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.
4 One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.”
5 David was furious. “As surely as the LORD lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die!
6 He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.”
7 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.
8 I gave you your master’s 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.
9 Why, then, have you despised the word of the LORD and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife.
10 From this time on, your family will live by the sword because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own.
11 “This is what the LORD says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your very eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view.
12 You did it secretly, but I will make this happen to you openly in the sight of all Israel.”
13 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.
14 Nevertheless, because you have shown utter contempt for the word of the LORD by doing this, your child will die.”
15 After Nathan returned to his home, the LORD sent a deadly illness to the child of David and Uriah’s wife.
16 David begged God to spare the child. He went without food and lay all night on the bare ground.
17 The elders of his household pleaded with him to get up and eat with them, but he refused.
18 Then on the seventh day the child died. David’s advisers were afraid to tell him. “He wouldn’t listen to reason while the child was ill,” they said. “What drastic thing will he do when we tell him the child is dead?”
19 When David saw them whispering, he realized what had happened. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”
20 Then David got up from the ground, washed himself, put on lotions, and changed his clothes. He went to the Tabernacle and worshiped the LORD . After that, he returned to the palace and was served food and ate.
21 His advisers were amazed. “We don’t understand you,” they told him. “While the child was still living, you wept and refused to eat. But now that the child is dead, you have stopped your mourning and are eating again.”
22 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.’
23 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.”
24 Then David comforted Bathsheba, his wife, and slept with her. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son, and David named him Solomon. The LORD loved the child
25 and sent word through Nathan the prophet that they should name him Jedidiah (which means “beloved of the LORD ”), as the LORD had commanded.
26 Meanwhile, Joab was fighting against Rabbah, the capital of Ammon, and he captured the royal fortifications.
27 Joab sent messengers to tell David, “I have fought against Rabbah and captured its water supply.
28 Now bring the rest of the army and capture the city. Otherwise, I will capture it and get credit for the victory.”
29 So David gathered the rest of the army and went to Rabbah, and he fought against it and captured it.
30 David removed the crown from the king’s head, and it was placed on his own head. The crown was made of gold and set with gems, and it weighed seventy-five pounds. David took a vast amount of plunder from the city.
31 He also made slaves of the people of Rabbah and forced them to labor with saws, iron picks, and iron axes, and to work in the brick kilns. That is how he dealt with the people of all the Ammonite towns. Then David and all the army 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.

Footnotes 10

  • [a]. As in Dead Sea Scrolls; Masoretic Text reads the enemies of the
  • [b]. Hebrew anointed himself.
  • [c]. Hebrew he; an alternate Hebrew reading and some Hebrew manuscripts read she.
  • [d]. As in Greek version; Hebrew reads because of the .
  • [e]. Or the royal city.
  • [f]. Or captured the city of water.
  • [g]. Or from the head of Milcom (as in Greek version). Milcom, also called Molech, was the god of the Ammonites.
  • [h]. Hebrew 1 talent [34 kilograms].
  • [i]. Hebrew He also brought out the people [of Rabbah] and put them under.
  • [j]. Hebrew and he made them pass through the brick kilns.

Chapter Summary

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 Commentaries