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II Samuel Chapter 12

Memory verses for this week: Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

Overview of II Samuel 12: Last week we covered one of the lowest points in King David's life. He fell for the sin of the flesh with Bathsheba, and then one sin led to another until ultimately David was guilty of murder in having Uriah killed in the heat of the battle. This week, we find God sending the prophet Nathan to David to confront him with his sin. To his credit, David repented thereof. Nathan then proceeded to inform David of the judgment he would face for his sin. The son of his adultery died. Solomon was born. The chapter then concludes with the victory over Rabbah with David finally leading the battle.

I.  David's Repentance

2 Sam 12:1 And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.

2 Sam 12:2 The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:

2 Sam 12:3 But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.

2 Sam 12:4 And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man's lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.

The chapter begins with the fact that ”the LORD sent Nathan unto David.”

God may have revealed to Nathan exactly what had happened. Nathan may have put two and two together and suspected what David had done. In any case, God sent him to confront the king face to face with his sin.

Nathan, at God’s direction, approached David with a pointed parable. He made it sound as if this event actually took place in David’s kingdom. The parable is all too clear. David was the powerful king who had stolen the wife of his poor, loyal neighbor. David as yet did not catch on.

2 Sam 12:5 And David's anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:

2 Sam 12:6 And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.

Not realizing it, David took Nathan’s bait. David was known as a fair and righteous king. His anger was greatly kindled against the man for the wrong he had done. In indignation, David ordered this reprobate to be executed and before that, he must repay fourfold the wrong he had done.

II.  David's Confrontation

2 Sam 12:7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;

2 Sam 12:8 And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.

2 Sam 12:9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.

2 Sam 12:10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.

Nathan likely pointed his finger at David and said, “Thou art the man.” David’s sin had suddenly found him out. Speaking on behalf of God, Nathan continued.

God rehearsed all that He had given to David.

*He had given him the crown over Israel.

*He delivered him from Saul.

*He had given him rule over the house of Saul.

There is no scriptural record that David took any of Saul’s wives after his death. (Rabbinical tradition does claim that Eglah, one of David’s wives, was originally the wife of Saul. See II Samuel 3:5. There is no scriptural record of that.

      2 Sam 3:5 And the sixth, Ithream, by Eglah David's wife. These were born to David in Hebron.

However, the word translated as wives (Myvn nashiym) can also mean ‘women’ and by extension, ‘daughters.’ David was given Merab and Michal, Saul’s daughters, though it does not appear that he ever consummated a marriage union with Merab. The greater point here is that God had richly blessed David, including allowing him to have just about anything he wanted.

God made it clear that He would have given him more if needed. David had gone beyond God's provision and stolen his neighbor’s wife. His sin far surpassed simple adultery. He had violated the trust God had given him and he then even murdered to cover it up.

In verse 9, Nathan continued, Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.”

David had flagrantly violated the sixth and seventh commandments. It is clear that Nathan by now was fully informed of what David had done. God may have informed him. He may have picked it up through talk over what had happened.

In any event, at God’s direction, Nathan confronted the king with his deed.

Nathan pronounced that violence and death would plague the house of David from hence onward. As events will unfold, that is exactly what would happen. David had ordered the guilty party in Nathan’s parable to pay fourfold.

David would pay at least that much. His infant son would soon die.

His daughter, Tamar, would soon be violated. Amnon, another son, would die for his crime. Absalom would eventually die in a civil war against his own father. David had sown to his flesh and he was about to reap a bitter harvest of corruption. That bitter harvest would extend throughout the rest of his life. David had reached the high point of his reign. It would all be downhill hereafter.

We know David was a saved man, the bible even says he was a man after God's own heart. What this tells us is that even though we are saved, we'd best guard our hearts are we might wind up on the ash heap. Paul warned about how he had to watch his own life that he might not be a castaway.

      1 Cor 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

      1 Cor 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

      1 Cor 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

      1 Cor 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Did these sins cost David his salvation? No they did not. When we are saved, Christ's blood covers all of our sins in regards to salvation. But look at what a price these sins cost him personally. Forever in David's earthly life the sword never departed from his house. We'd better all learn from this account that we'd best not dabble in sin. It has a price, and even saved people pay a dear price when they sin against a Holy and a Righteous God. God warns us by the Holy Spirit to not do evil things, but we must yield our members to God and walk circumspectly.

      Eph 5:14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

      Eph 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

      Eph 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

      Eph 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.


      Eph 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

      Eph 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

      Eph 4:27 Neither give place to the devil.

      Eph 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

      Eph 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

      Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

      Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

      Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.


2 Sam 12:11 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.

2 Sam 12:12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.

2 Sam 12:13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.

2 Sam 12:14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.

David’s bitter harvest would arise out of his own family. When God announces judgment, there is nothing we can do to stay His hand. Notwithstanding the evil of Amnon against his sister and then his death, Absalom would do the worst. In the course of his rebellion against his own father, he would in fact violate David’s concubines publicly. See II Samuel 16:21-22.

        2 Sam 16:21 And Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Go in unto thy father's concubines, which he hath left to keep the house; and all Israel shall hear that thou art abhorred of thy father: then shall the hands of all that are with thee be strong. 2 Sam 16:22 So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went in unto his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel.

David’s sin had been in private. His bitter harvest would be out in the open. It should not be assumed that God caused the bitter sins of Amnon or Absalom.

What they did was the corrupt harvest which followed after what David had sown. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. The harvest always comes later and it usually is more than was originally sown. That surely was true for David

In Verse 13, confronted with his sin and hearing of the impending judgment against him, “David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD.”

It would seem that it was at or near this time that David prayed the prayer of repentance recorded in the 51st Psalm. One would have a greater understanding of David’s personal state of being up to this point in his relationship with God by studying the 38th and 39th Psalms. We don't have time to read all of those Psalms today, but I picked out a few verses to give you and idea of the seriousness that David prayed with the Lord.

      Psa 38:1 A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance. O LORD, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

      Psa 38:2 For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore.

      Psa 38:3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.

      Psa 38:4 For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.

      Psa 39:4 LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.

      Psa 39:5 Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.

      Psa 39:6 Surely every man walketh in a vain show: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.

      Psa 39:7 And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.

In contrition, David begged for God’s mercy. The penalty for both adultery and murder under the Old Testament Law was death. David knew that and Nathan did as well.

Because David had confessed and evidently turned from his sin, God had mercy upon him. (See Proverbs 28:13.)

      Prov 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

Nathan warned, “ because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.” David’s sin would become the occasion for the world’s crowd to blaspheme by scoffing at what David had done. It would only enhance their evil ways. Nathan then informed David that the son born of his unholy union would die. The beginning of his chastening was about to take place.


In the King James Study Bible, Jerry Falwell made these comments.

David genuinely grieved and repented (cf. Ps. 32:5; 51:3, 4). However, the seed of sin was immediately to bear bitter fruit, for the child born of the adultery became grievously ill and died (vv. 15–18).

      Psa 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

      Psa 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

      Psa 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

David’s sin had brought the name of God into disrepute. Such knowledge ought to serve as a deterrent to willful sin on the part of believers (cf. 1 Tim. 5:14; 6:1)

      1 Tim 5:14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

      1 Tim 5:15 For some are already turned aside after Satan.

      1 Tim 6:1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.

III. Judgment Begins in David's Life

2 Sam 12:15 And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.

2 Sam 12:16 David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.

2 Sam 12:17 And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them.

2 Sam 12:18 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 spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?

2 Sam 12:19 But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.

Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.

It was God who so allowed the illness in David’s son. Notice also the pointed comment that Bathsheba was ‘Uriah’s wife.’ She still was when David impregnated her. That stigma has followed David to this very day.

Though God had condemned the infant to die, David hoped that he could perhaps by fasting and prayer persuade God otherwise. The reference to “elders of his house” likely refers to his chief servants.

We find in verse 18 that as a result of illness, the child died.

Knowing how grieved David was for his son, his servants feared how David would react upon receiving the news the baby was dead. It became apparent to David what had happened. His servants upon being asked confirmed it.

2 Sam 12:20 Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.

2 Sam 12:21 Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.

2 Sam 12:22 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, that the child may live?

2 Sam 12:23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

To the astonishment of his servants, David got up, cleaned up, and changed clothes. He then went to the Tabernacle to worship the God whom he had so offended. He then came home and sat down to eat.

His servants asked, “ What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.” They were puzzled. When the baby was alive, David fasted and wept before God for his son. However, once the little boy died, David got up and went about life.

Verses 12:22-23

In verse 23, the bible says 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, that the child may live?” David acknowledged his hope that he might prevail upon God mercy to change His mind. He did not. He then spoke these profound words, “But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” Now that the little boy was dead, there was nothing more that David could do.

He knew that he could not bring him back again. Furthermore, he knew that someday, he would die and in paradise see his son. Some have thought that David was referring to the grave when he said that he would go to him.

That is totally inconsistent with David’s actions of rising, cleaning up, worshiping, eating, and ceasing to mourn. Why would one essentially be encouraged, knowing only that he too would someday die, joining his son in the grave? The context clearly points to the fact that David knew he would someday see his son again. It greatly mitigated his sorrow. Herein is perhaps the only place in the Bible where there is a clear hint of what happens to small children should they die. The implication is great that David’s son went immediately to be with the Lord. There is no reason to assume anything different to this day.

Small children, though born with a sinful nature, are not held accountable for that until they reach some point when they are accountable for their actions. Their sinful nature is under the blood of Calvary and God takes them directly to heaven when they die.

IV. The Birth of Solomon

2 Sam 12:24 And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved him.

2 Sam 12:25 And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name Jedidiah, because of the LORD.

Further indication of David’s complete change of spirit from mourning to being encouraged is provided. Though the focus has been upon David, Bathsheba also had lost her son. It was a deep blow to her. David therefore sought to encourage his bereaved wife by being intimate with her. Bathsheba conceived and bore David another son. That son was named Solomon.

The literal Hebrew pronunciation of Solomon is ‘Shalomoh’. Modern Jews to this day still name their sons such. The name is based upon the more common word, ‘shalom’ which means ‘peace.’ I Chronicles 22:9-10 records how that God directed David before Solomon was born what his name would be.

      1 Chr 22:9 Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days.

      1 Chr 22:10 He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever.

That same context clearly indicates that Solomon was God’s choice as David’s successor. Some might question why God would choose the son of Bathsheba to be the next king of Israel and continue the lineage of Christ. In light of what she had done (she was as guilty as David), why would God place the lineage of Christ through her? The only conceivable answer to that question is that it illustrates the mercy and forgiveness of God. It shows that all of us, no matter how far we have fallen can be used in the work of the Lord. David was forgiven (and by extension, his wife as well). As far as God was concerned, that was the end of it. The sins were forgiven, but David would still reap his bitter harvest, but for God’s part, His forgiveness was complete.

Moreover, record is made how that “the LORD loved him”—that is, Solomon.

God therefore sent word through Nathan that the child would also be known as Jedidiah which simply means ‘beloved of Jehovah.’

V.   David and Joab Take Rabbath.

2 Sam 12:26 And Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and took the royal city.

2 Sam 12:27 And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, I have fought against Rabbah, and have taken the city of waters.

2 Sam 12:28 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 after my name.

a. Joab was still in Ammon at war. Rabbah was the chief remaining city of Ammon. Joab now captured the royal palace thereof also called the city of waters. However, the victory was not yet complete. He therefore sent word to David, “ Now therefore gather the rest of the people together, and encamp against the city, and take it.” Joab thus chided David to lead the rest of his army and come and finish off the battle—“lest I take the city, and it be called after my name.” He used the final words to get David moving.

David was so long over due to go forth into battle. (II Sam. 11:1.)

      2 Sam 11:1 And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.

There is no doubt that Joab had dealt with his redundancy long enough to precariously goad him to go forth into battle.

VI. David Goes Up to Battle

2 Sam 12:29 And David gathered all the people together, and went to Rabbah, and fought against it, and took it.

2 Sam 12:30 And he took their king's crown from off his head, the weight whereof was a talent of gold with the precious stones: and it was set on David's head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city in great abundance.

2 Sam 12:31 And he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brickkiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon. So David and all the people returned unto Jerusalem.

David personally led the final battle against Rabbah and captured it.

Record is made of him taking as the spoil of war the magnificent crown of the king of Rabbah. Moreover, David and his men captured a large spoil of war from Rabbah. It should be recalled that this war was started when the Ammonites humiliated David’s ambassadors as recorded in II Samuel 10.

The Bible says “he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brickkiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon. So David and all the people returned unto Jerusalem.”

Some have suggested the description above was of David torturing his captives after winning the victory over them. However, it rather likely refers to David forcing the Ammonites into servitude as common laborers who sawed lumber, did field work (harrows of iron), cut trees (axes of iron), and made bricks, etc.

That seems more in character with David than cruel torture of his enemies. He thus returned to Jerusalem victorious.

Conclusion: If the believer, brought face to face with his sins sincerely confesses and repents of them, he may be restored to full fellowship, although God will not interfere with the consequences of his actions.

Internet Bible Studies are prepared and distributed free of charge. The lessons may not be sold without consent. If you have questions or wish to discuss the lessons, or possibly need help in finding Jesus Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior, contact David Parham at 940-322-4343.

Prov 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

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