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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
God therefore sent word through Nathan that the child would also
be known as Jedidiah which simply means ‘beloved of
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.
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
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
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