2 Samuel 12

1 The LORD sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, “There were two men in one 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, except one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and raised. It grew up together with him, and with his children. It ate of his own food, drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was like a daughter to him. 4 A traveler came to the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to prepare for the wayfaring man who had come to him, but took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” 5 David’s anger burnt hot against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die! 6 He must restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity!” 7 Nathan said to David, “You are the man. This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. 8 I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that would have been too little, I would have added to you many more such things. 9 Why have you despised the LORD’s word, to do that which is evil in his sight? You have struck Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. 10 Now therefore the sword will never depart from your house, because you have despised me, and have taken Uriah the Hittite’s wife to be your wife.’ 11 “This is what the LORD says: ‘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 will lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did this secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.’” 13 David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin. You will not die. 14 However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the LORD’s enemies to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you will surely die.” 15 Nathan departed to his house. The LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it was very sick. 16 David therefore begged God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night on the ground. 17 The elders of his house arose beside him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, and he didn’t eat bread with them. 18 On the seventh day, the child died. David’s servants 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 didn’t listen to our voice. How will he then harm himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?” 19 But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived 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, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his clothing; and he came into the LORD’s house, and worshiped. Then he came to his own house; and when he requested, they set bread before him, and he ate. 21 Then his servants said to him, “What is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive, but when the child was dead, you rose up and ate bread.” 22 He said, “While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows whether the LORD will not 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 will go to him, but he will not return to me.” 24 David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in to her, and lay with her. She bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. The LORD loved him; 25 and he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet, and he named him Jedidiah, for the LORD’s sake. 26 Now Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and took the royal city. 27 Joab sent messengers to David, and said, “I have fought against Rabbah. Yes, I have taken the city of waters. 28 Now therefore 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 David gathered all the people together, and went to Rabbah, and fought against it, and took it. 30 He took the crown of their king from off his head; and its weight was a talent of gold, and in it were precious stones; and it was set on David’s head. He brought a great quantity of plunder out of the city. 31 He brought out the people who were in it, and put them under saws, under iron picks, under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brick kiln; and he did so to all the cities of the children of Ammon. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

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.

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