Nathan’s Parable and David’s Repentance
1So the Lord sent Nathan to David.#Ps 51 When he arrived, he said to him:
There were two men in a certain city, one rich and the other poor. 2The rich man had very large flocks and herds, 3but the poor man had nothing except one small ewe lamb that he had bought. He raised her, and she grew up with him and with his children. From his meager food she would eat, from his cup she would drink, and in his arms she would sleep. She was like a daughter to him. 4Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man could not bring himself to take one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for his guest.#12:4 Lit for the man who had come to him
5David was infuriated with the man and said to Nathan: “As the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! 6Because he has done this thing and shown no pity, he must pay four lambs for that lamb.”#Ex 22:1; Lk 19:8
7Nathan replied to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel,#1Sm 16:13 and I rescued you from Saul. 8I gave your master’s house to you and your master’s wives into your arms,#12:8 Lit bosom and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah, and if that was not enough, I would have given you even more. 9Why then have you despised the Lord’s command by doing what I consider#12:9 Alt Hb tradition reads what he considers evil?#Nm 15:30-31; 1Sm 15:19 You struck down Uriah#Mt 1:6 the Hethite with the sword and took his wife as your own wife — you murdered him with the Ammonite’s sword.#2Sm 11:14-17 10Now therefore, the sword will never leave your house#2Sm 12:18; 13:28-29; 18:14-18; 1Kg 2:22-25; 2Kg 11:1 because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hethite to be your own wife.’
11“This is what the Lord says,#2Sm 16:21-22 ‘I am going to bring disaster on you from your own family: I will take your wives and give them to another#12:11 Or to your neighbor before your very eyes, and he will sleep with them in broad daylight.#12:11 Lit in the eyes of this sun 12You acted in secret, but I will do this before all Israel and in broad daylight.’”#12:12 Lit and before the sun
13David responded to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”#2Sm 24:10; Ps 32:5; 51:4
Then Nathan replied to David, “And the Lord has taken away your sin; you will not die.#Lv 20:10; 24:17; Ps 32:1-5; Pr 28:13 14However, because you treated#12:14 Alt Hb tradition, one LXX ms; MT reads treated the enemies of; DSS read treated the word of the Lord with such contempt in this matter, the son born to you will die.”#2Sm 12:18 15Then Nathan went home.
The Death of Bathsheba’s Son
The Lord struck the baby that Uriah’s#Mt 1:6 wife had borne to David, and he became deathly ill. 16David pleaded with God for the boy. He fasted, went home, and spent the night lying on the ground.#2Sm 13:31; Jb 1:20 17The elders of his house stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat anything with them.
18On the seventh day the baby died. But David’s servants were afraid to tell him the baby was dead. They said, “Look, while the baby was alive, we spoke to him, and he wouldn’t listen to us. So how can we tell him the baby is dead? He may do something desperate.”
19When David saw that his servants were whispering to each other, he guessed that the baby was dead. So he asked his servants, “Is the baby dead?”
“He is dead,” they replied.
20Then David got up from the ground. He washed, anointed himself, changed his clothes, went to the Lord’s house, and worshiped. Then he went home and requested something to eat. So they served him food, and he ate.
21His servants asked him, “Why have you done this? While the baby was alive, you fasted and wept, but when he died, you got up and ate food.”
22He answered, “While the baby was alive, I fasted and wept because I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let him live.’ 23But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I’ll go to him, but he will never return to me.”#Jb 7:8-10
The Birth of Solomon
24Then David comforted#Gn 37:35; Ps 23:4; 119:76,82 his wife Bathsheba; he went to her and slept with her. She gave birth to a son and named#12:24 Alt Hb tradition reads he named him Solomon.#12:24 In Hb, the name Solomon sounds like “peace.”#1Ch 22:9 The Lord loved him, 25and he sent a message through the prophet Nathan, who named#12:25 Or prophet to name him Jedidiah,#12:25 = Beloved of the Lord because of the Lord.
Capture of the City of Rabbah
26Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites#1Ch 20:1-3 and captured the royal fortress. 27Then Joab sent messengers to David to say, “I have fought against Rabbah and have also captured its water supply. 28Now therefore, assemble the rest of the troops, lay siege to the city, and capture it. Otherwise I will be the one to capture the city, and it will be named after me.” 29So David assembled all the troops and went to Rabbah; he fought against it and captured it. 30He took the crown from the head of their king,#12:30 LXX reads of Milcom; some emend to Molech; 1Kg 11:5,33 and it was placed on David’s head. The crown weighed seventy-five pounds#12:30 Lit a talent of gold, and it had a precious stone in it. In addition, David took away a large quantity of plunder from the city. 31He removed the people who were in the city and put them to work with saws, iron picks, and iron axes, and to labor at brickmaking.#Ex 1:13-14 He did the same to all the Ammonite cities. Then he and all his troops returned to Jerusalem.