The Agora
Bible Commentary
2 Samuel

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2 Samuel 12

2Sa 12:1

2Sa 12: God condemns sinners out of own mouths: Deu 32:6; Job 15:6; Luk 19:22; Rom 3:4; cp 1Ki 20:39-42. "And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah" (Mat 1:16, RSV). Bathsheba should never have been the wife of David. At the resurrection, David will have to face Uriah and acknowledge this.

When I was growing up, "adultery" was a word one whispered. Today the word is "affair", and it is a subtle yet revealing change. "Affair" has an air of mystery about it, and romance, and excitement. Radio, television, movies, books -- all of the media -- assume or encourage the affair. It is easy to fall into the trap: everyone is doing it, so it must be okay. Unless, of course, you believe in keeping the laws of God.

For whatever reason, keeping the seventh commandment is becoming more difficult for more and more Christians. In fact, Allan Petersen begins his new book, "The Myth of the Greener Grass", with a question: "Is Anyone Faithful Anymore?" And it's a good question. He writes that in his 38 years of traveling ministry he has counseled pastors, pastors' wives, missionaries, Sunday school teachers, Christian counselors, and church members who reflect the increasing incidence of extramarital affairs among professing Christian people. There is a "tendency to find reasons to support this behavior, even though those reasons might be contrary to the moral and Biblical convictions we have long held."

Today we want to talk about relationships, not sin. Peterson points out the relationship of David and Bathsheba, and the results of their affair. The lessons we can learn from the story of David, a man of God who fell into sin, apply to all of us, men and women alike. Here are some of the, pointed out by Petersen: (1) No one, however chosen, blessed, and used of God, is immune to an extramarital affair. (2) Anyone, regardless of how many victories he has won, can fall disastrously. (3) The act of infidelity is the result of uncontrolled desires, thoughts, and fantasies. (4) Your body is your servant or it becomes your master. (5) A Christian who falls will excuse, rationalize, and conceal, the same as anyone else. (6) Sin can be enjoyable but it can never be successfully covered. (7) One night of passion can spark years of family pain. (8) Failure is neither fatal nor final.

THE LORD SENT NATHAN TO DAVID: "While we were yet sinners..." (Rom 5:8).

2Sa 12:3

ONE LITTLE EWE LAMB: Young, innocent -- while David was older, powerful, charismatic, and idolized. As to the respective guilt of each, we notice that the little ewe lamb did not eat the man! (BS 9:30).

LIKE A DAUGHTER TO HIM: Literally true? Uriah now an older man, who previously had wife and children. Then his wife died, and he married the much younger Bathsheba, who had grown up as a child in his house.

2Sa 12:5

Vv 5,13,14: "Die... not die... will die", reminiscent of Gen 3.

2Sa 12:6

FOUR TIMES OVER: David lost 4 sons: unnamed child, Amnon, Absalom, Adonijah.

2Sa 12:7

"It was the story of the slaughter of a lamb which exposed the immensity of David's sin. It is the story of the slaughter of the Lamb of God which exposes the immensity of our sins. Isn't it amazing that David was so blinded by his own sin that he could not see it? It was by means of the story of the slaughter of a poor man's pet lamb that David was gripped with the immensity of the sin which was his own. David could see his own sin when he heard the story of what appeared to be the sin of another.

"That is precisely what the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ does for us. We were dead in our trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1-3). We were blinded to the immensity of our sins (2Co 4:4). The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, his perfect life, his innocent and sacrificial death, his literal and physical resurrection are all historical events.

"But the gospel is also a story, a true story. When we read the New Testament, we read a story that is even more dramatic, more amazing, more disturbing than the story Nathan told David. When we see the way unbelieving men treated our Lord, we should be shocked, horrified, and angered. We should cry out, 'They deserve to die!' And that they do. But the Gospel is not written only to show us their sins -- those who actually heard Jesus and cried, 'Crucify him, crucify him" -- it is written so that the Spirit of God can cry out in our hearts, 'Thou art the man!' When we see the way men treated Jesus, we see the way we would have treated him, if we were there. We see how we treat him today. And that, my friend, reveals the immensity of our sin, and the immensity of our need for repentance and forgiveness" (Deff).

2Sa 12:9

WHY DID YOU DESPISE THE WORD OF THE LORD?: "A man will sometimes say to himself -- indeed we have heard it openly suggested -- that as David was forgiven his sin, and it is evident that God makes much allowance for human weakness, surely we in these days shall be excused for doing such and such things. These fleshly reasoners fail to perceive that by the very fact of their indulging such reflections they move the transgression of fleshly weakness into the category of deliberate despising of God's law. If David, previous to his transgression, had deliberately reasoned the matter out and concluded that since God had shown mercy in other cases, it might be worth while to undertake the risk of sinning, we should never have heard of him as an example of rectitude. In all probability he would have been treated with the severity shown to other despisers and wilful transgressors of the law" (ConCon 79).

2Sa 12:13

THEN DAVID SAID TO NATHAN: Quite poss, a gap of time between confrontation/rebuke and repentance. Written immediately after this time: Psa 32; 51.

I HAVE SINNED: "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time" (1Pe 5:6). No excuses, no "passing the buck", no "playing the blame game".

There is a radical distinction between natural regret and God-given repentance. The flesh can feel remorse, acknowledge its evil deeds, and be ashamed of itself. However, this sort of disgust with past actions can be quickly shrugged off, and the individual can soon go back to his old wicked ways. None of the marks of true repentance described in 2Co 7:11 are found in his behavior. Out of a list of 11 men in the Bible who said, "I have sinned," poss only five actually repented. They were David (2Sa 12:13; 24:10; 1Ch 21:8; Psa 41:4), Nehemiah (Neh 1:6), Job (Job 42:5,6), Micah (Mic 7:9), and the prodigal son (Luk 15:18). The other (poss less sincere) instances? Pharaoh in Exo 9:27; 10:16; Balaam in Num 22:34; Achan in Jos 7:20; Saul in 1Sa 15:24,30; 26:21; Shimei in 2Sa 19:20; Judas in Mat 27:4.

NATHAN REPLIED: Perhaps after going to the LORD and receiving a message in reply.

2Sa 12:14

THE SON BORN TO YOU WILL DIE: "When David slept with the woman and created new life, the woman did not belong to him but to Uriah. The child cannot belong to David. He cannot enrich himself through his sin, and in a sense, justice is done to Uriah" (EBC). It appears that Solomon was at least the fourth son born to David and Bathsheba (1Ch 3:5). Which would mean that the first (unnamed) child (poss Shammua?) might well have been 4 or 5 years old when stricken. This might explain even better the sorrow of David at his death. It would certainly demonstrate that true repentance is not a frivolous, simple, "quick and easy" thing -- as it might appear to be by a brief, straightforward reading of 2Sa 12.

2Sa 12:16

David sat as a worshiper (2Sa 7:18), lay as a penitent (2Sa 12:16), and stood as a servant (1Ch 28:2).

2Sa 12:18

THE SEVENTH DAY: The 7th day since the birth of the child, or the 7th day since the coming of Nathan? In view of v 14n, surely the second. And the child is simply unnamed in the narrative (for obvious emphasis), and not because it was not yet circumcised.

2Sa 12:23

Vv 23-25: "In an echo of the Day of Atonement [also cp the fasting of vv 16-22] we see two babies, one unnamed, destined to die, and the other, named 'Peace', and 'the delight of the LORD' [destined] to live. These babies surely represent [both aspects of] David: the old man of the flesh and the new redeemed child of the spirit" (TCN). For the renewal of David's spirit, see Psa 51:10-12.

2Sa 12:24

HIS WIFE BATHSHEBA: No longer Uriah's wife; now, David's wife.

2Sa 12:25

JEDIDIAH: "Beloved of Yahweh". By this name, typ Christ: cp Psa 45, title. Ref Song of Songs; Deu 33:12; Psa 60:5; 127:2; Jer 11:15 -- Christ is the true 'beloved' of God, the greater than Solomon (Mat 12:42).

2Sa 12:26

MEANWHILE: This prob happened earlier. "Of his being sent against it, and of his besieging it, we read in 2Sa 11:1; but it can hardly be thought that he had been so long besieging it, as that David had two [or more!: 1Ch 3:5] children by Bathsheba; but the account of the finishing of it is placed here, that the story concerning Bathsheba might lie together without any interruption" (Gill).

2Sa 12:27

Joab knows David's sin, and his consequent weakness, and he begins now to exploit it.

2Sa 12:31

Not torture, as implied in KJV, but slave labor. Note 1Ki 9:20,21: they did not perish.

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