Nathan Rebukes David
12 And the Lord sent Nathan [the prophet] to David. He came and said to him,
“There were two men in a city, one rich and the other poor.
“The rich man had a very large number of flocks and herds,
But the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb
Which he had purchased and nourished;
And it grew up together with him and his children.
It ate his food, drank from his cup, it lay in his arms,
And was like a daughter to him.
“Now a traveler (visitor) came to the rich man,
And to avoid taking one from his own flock or herd
To prepare [a meal] for the traveler who had come to him,
He took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for [a]his guest.”
5 Then David’s anger burned intensely against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die. 6 He shall make restitution for the ewe lamb four times as much [as the lamb was worth], because he did this thing and had no compassion.”
7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you as king over Israel, and I spared you from the hand of Saul. 8 I also gave you your master’s house, and put your master’s wives into your [b]care and under your protection, and I gave you the house (royal dynasty) of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have given you much more! 9 Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife. You have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.(A) 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 stir up evil against you from your [c]own household; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in [d]broad daylight. 12 Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and [e]in broad daylight.’”(B) 13 David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has allowed your sin to pass [without further punishment]; you shall not die.(C) 14 Nevertheless, because by this deed you have given [a great] opportunity to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme [Him], the son that is born to you shall certainly die.” 15 Then Nathan went [back] to his home.
Loss of a Child
And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s widow bore to David, and he was very sick. 16 David therefore appealed to God for the child [to be healed]; and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. 17 The elders of his household stood by him [in the night] to lift him up from the ground, but he was unwilling [to get up] and would not eat food with them. 18 Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died. David’s servants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “While the child was still alive, we spoke to him and he would not listen to our voices. How then can we tell him the child is dead, since he might harm himself [or us]?” 19 But when David saw that his servants were whispering to one another, he realized that the child was dead. So David said to them, “Is the child dead?” And they said, “He is dead.” 20 Then David got up from the ground, washed, anointed himself [with olive oil], changed his clothes, and went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he came [back] 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? While the child was alive you fasted and wept, but when the child died, you got up and ate food.” 22 David said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I thought, ‘Who knows, the Lord may be gracious to me and the child may live.’ 23 But now he is dead; why should I [continue to] fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him [when I die], but he will not return to me.”
24 David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and went to her and lay with her; and she gave birth to a son, and David named him Solomon. And the Lord loved the child; 25 and He sent word through Nathan the prophet, and he named him Jedidiah (beloved of the Lord) for the sake of the Lord [who loved the child].
26 Now Joab fought against [f]Rabbah of the Ammonites and captured the royal city. 27 Joab sent messengers to David and said, “I have fought against Rabbah; I have even taken the city of waters. 28 So now, assemble the rest of the men, and camp against the city and capture it, or I will take the city myself, and it will be named after me.” 29 So David gathered all the men together and went to Rabbah, then fought against it and captured it. 30 And he took the crown of their king from his head; it weighed a [g]talent of gold, and [set in it was] a precious stone; and it was placed on David’s head. And he brought the spoil out of the city in great amounts. 31 He also brought out the people who were there, and put them to [work with] the saws and sharp iron instruments and iron axes, and made them work at the brickkiln. And he did this to all the Ammonite cities. Then David and all the men returned to Jerusalem.
- 2 Samuel 12:4 Lit the man who had come to him.
- 2 Samuel 12:8 Lit bosom.
- 2 Samuel 12:11 This prophesy was fulfilled by David’s lawless children: Amnon’s attack on his half-sister Tamar (13:14) and his subsequent murder by his half-brother Absalom (13:28, 29); Absalom’s escape to a foreign land (13:38) and his three years in exile, followed by his estrangement from David for two more years (14:28); Absalom’s deliberate, rebellious attempt to win the hearts of the people and supplant his father (15:6); David’s flight from Jerusalem, with the mass of the people against him (15:14), the terrible battle in the forest of Ephraim, won by David’s forces, with Absalom killed in flight (18:6). David’s heartbreak is echoed repeatedly in the history of these tragedies (2 Sam 13:1; 19:4) and in some of his psalms. Even when David was dying, his son Adonijah was attempting to usurp the throne, and was later executed as a traitor (1 Kin 1:5; 2:25).
- 2 Samuel 12:11 Lit the sight of this sun.
- 2 Samuel 12:12 Lit before the sun.
- 2 Samuel 12:26 The modern city of Amman, Jordan, is located approximately on the same site as Rabbah.
- 2 Samuel 12:30 I.e. about 75 lbs. If the crown actually weighed 75 lbs. it must have been used primarily as a decorative symbol of power.