The Second Book of Samuel

Chapter 12

Nathan's parable of the ewe lamb causes David to be his own judge, 1-6. David, reproved by Nathan, confesses his sin and is pardoned, 7-14. David mourns and prays for the child while he lives, 15-23. Solomon is born and named Jedidiah, 24, 25. David takes Rabbah and tortures the people thereof, 26-31.

1 And the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him and said to him, "There were two men in one city: one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had very numerous flocks and herds, 3 But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe-lamb, which he had bought and nourished. And it grew up together with him and with his children. It fed of his own food, drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was to him as a daughter.

4 "And a traveler came to the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd to dress for the way-faring man who had come to him, but took the poor man's lamb and dressed it for the man who had come to him."

5 And David's anger was greatly kindled against the man. And he said to Nathan, "As the LORD lives, the man who has done this thing shall surely die. 6 And he shall restore the lamb four-fold because he did this thing and because he had no pity."

7 And Nathan said to David, "You are the man. Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'I anointed you king over Israel, I delivered you from the hand of Saul, 8 And 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 had been too little, I would moreover have given to you such and such things. 9 Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD to do evil in his sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, 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 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 out of your own house and 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. 12 For you did it secretly. But I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.'" 13 And David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has put away your sin. You shall not die. 14 But because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die." 15 And Nathan departed to his house. And the LORD struck the child whom Uriah's wife bore to David, and he was very sick. 16 David therefore implored God for the child. And David fasted, went in, and lay all night upon the earth. 17 And the elders of his house arose and went to him to raise him from the earth, but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them. 18 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, "Behold while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he would not listen to our voice. How will he then be grieved if we tell him that the child is dead?" 19 But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead. Therefore, David said to his servants, "Is the child dead?" And they said, "He is dead." 20 Then David arose from the earth, washed, anointed himself, changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he came to his own house. And when he required, they set bread before him, and he ate.

21 Then his servants said to him, "What thing is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive, but after the child was dead, you rose and ate bread." 22 And he said, "While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, 'Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me so that the child may live?' 23 But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me."

24 And David comforted Bath-sheba his wife and went in to her and lay with her. And she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the LORD loved him, 25 And sent [a message] by the hand of Nathan the prophet. And he called his name Jedidiah, because of the LORD.

26 And Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon and took the royal city. 27 And Joab sent messengers to David and said, "I have fought against Rabbah and have taken the city of waters. 28 Now therefore, collect the rest of the people, encamp against the city, and take it, lest I take the city and it be called after my name." 29 And David collected all the people, went to Rabbah, fought against it, and took it. 30 And he took their king's crown from off his head, the weight of which was a talent of gold with the precious stones, and it was set on David's head. And he brought forth the plunder of the city in great abundance. 31 And he brought forth the people who were in it and put them under saws, under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brick-kiln. And thus he did to all the cities of the children of Ammon. So David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 2nd Samuel, Chapter 12[➚]


[v.9a] - "You have killed Uriah" - Reference, 2nd Samuel 11:15, 17.

[v.9b] - "and have taken his wife" - Reference, 2nd Samuel 11:27.

[v.10] - See the note for 2nd Samuel 7:1-2.

[v.11-12] - Reference, 2nd Samuel 16:21-22.

[v.13] - "I have sinned against the LORD" - Here, David acknowledges his sin before God. In this book, the account is only told of David acknowledging his sin and receiving his punishment for it; however, the Psalms give an expanded account of this verse where David admits his wrongdoing. Take a look at Psalm 51 to read David's prayer of repentance for committing this transgression of the Lord's commandments.

[v.25] - Text in square brackets add for implied meaning. From the Pulpit Commentary: "Some commentators make David the subject of the sentence, and translate, 'And he, David, sent in the hand of Nathan, and called,' etc. They suppose that this means that Nathan was entrusted with Solomon's education; but 'in the hand' is the ordinary Hebrew preposition, meaning 'by,' and the sense plainly is that God sent a message by Nathan. David had already called the child Solomon, and now Jehovah, some years afterwards, gives him an indication of his special favour by naming him Yedidyah."