The Lord has decided that it is time to call David into account for his sin with Bathsheba, so He sends Nathan with the words to rebuke him. Nathan tells David a moving story about a poor man who had a single lamb that he had loved and raised as one of his own children. And there was a rich man who didn’t want to take any lamb’s from his own flock for food preparation, so he took the poor man’s beloved lamb to prepare a dinner.
English: Nathan Rebukes David, as in 2 Samuel 12; watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
David became very angry, saying that this rich man should die for what he has done, and declares that this man will repay “fourfold” for this act “with no pity.” In verse 7, Nathan tells David “You are the man!” He then proceeds to tell him all that the Lord has done for him, and how David has despised the word of God with this evil. He has taken Uriah’s wife and stuck him down “with the sword of the Ammonites.” This point from verse 9 is sometimes missed when we read about God’s anger with David over this. The Ammonites were some of the very people, God had brought the Israelites to the promised land to get rid of. Now David has used those people to help him with his evil deed.
The next words from God in verses 10-11 foretell the great anguish David will face – the sword will never leave his house, and God “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.”
And then in verse 12 – “For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.” David, in contrast to Saul, takes responsibility for his action and confesses that he has sinned against God. Here, we see David acting as the true leader and the man of God that he should be, but his sin will cost him. David wrote Psalm 51, as he repented for his sin. The child Bathsheba conceived from their adulterous affair dies (verse 23), but that is far from the end of David’s troubles, as we will see in chapters ahead.
We do not know how much time passed until verse 24 when Solomon was born, but 1 Chronicles 3:5 suggests that he was the fourth son of David by Bathsheba.
Verses 26-31 are important, not just for the military victory over the Ammonites, but for the gold and precious metals for Israel’s treasury – as well as the crown for David, taken from the Ammonite king.
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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