Larry Hunt's Bible Commentary

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II Samuel 12

Chapter 12

v. 1:  I wonder if Nathan’s parable was designed to portray accurately the affection which Uriah had for Bath-Sheba or perhaps simply to make David understand the situation objectively, tricking the king into feeling in his own breast the same type of wrath that God felt against him.  Maybe it was designed to do both.

v. 4:  It is interesting to consider this “traveler” as Satan.  At least it could represent David’s desire since it was the rich man’s decision to “feed it” with unlawful food which led him into sin.

v. 13:  I think Barnes is wrong to assume that the death penalty would not have been carried out on David because he was king.  Even if nobody else would have been willing to carry the sentence out, God could have done it himself, as he did with the child.  So, why did God not condemn him to death?  And why did he allow David to remain king?  Saul was stripped of the crown because of his sin, and the sin of David seems at least as heinous as that of Saul.  I can think of two possible explanations.

1. David was “a man after God’s own heart” whereas Saul was not,    and God (who knows everyone’s heart) judged the two men accordingly.  Perhaps the response of the two kings upon being      confronted with their sin is also critical.  When Nathan confronts David   with his sin, the king admits his fault and is repentant.  However, when Samuel confronts Saul with his sin, the king argues about the matter and blames his own people for the transgression (1 Samuel 15:20-21).

2.  God made a promise to David concerning his dynasty (chapter seven), and he was not going to break that promise.  Perhaps I am wrong, but I do not believe God made such a promise to Saul.

vs. 16-17:  David must have appeared inconsolable here.  Perhaps he even struggled with or snapped at the elders as they tried to get him to rise or eat.  (Perhaps he prayed on the floor of this chamber all night.)  The elders, at any rate, thought him capable of something desperate.

I believe David’s conscience was stirred to life again in this episode, and along those lines, I think it is interesting to note that he thought it worthwhile to petition God concerning the child, even though Nathan had already told him the child would die.  I think people who truly understand the mind of God realize that his essential quality is mercy and love.  Hence, we see Abraham begging for Sodom, and Moses begging for the people of Israel.  In both cases, the prophets convinced God to be merciful to people whom he had condemned.  Jonah also understood this quality of God.  That is why he refused to go to Nineveh at first.  He knew that if the people repented, God would have mercy on them, and Jonah wanted the city to be destroyed.  I believe Christ was the embodiment of this quality of mercy and love when he came to earth.  It is the essential quality of God, and was the essential quality of Christ on earth.

The fact that David so completely accepts God’s final judgment in the matter is yet another mark of someone who understands the mind of God.  It is also another way in which he differed from Saul.

v. 28:  This is an interesting revelation about the character of Joab.  Despite his brutal and frank nature, he does maintain a steady and commendable degree of loyalty toward David.  He never seems to fear David, although David does, at times, seem a little leery of him (3:39).  Nevertheless, he always looks out for the king’s (worldly) interests and is quite blunt and honest in his advice or in his appraisal of situations such as this one here.  See also 11:21 and 19:5, which further illustrate the point.

v.31:  The OKJ and the American Standard translate this passage as a description of how David executed these people.  Barnes notes also that this phrase refers to the Ammonite practice of burning their own children to Molech.  If David actually did make these people “pass through the brick kiln” then perhaps he was mocking this Ammonite practice with grisly irony.

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One Response to “II Samuel 12”

  1. […] have updated my Bible commentary notes to include II Samuel 12, the chapter in which the prophet Nathan confronts David about sleeping with Bath-Sheba and […]

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