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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

2 Samuel 12

Verses 1-15

  1. INTRO:
    1. Sun morning Prayer: now mtg upstairs in our library.
    2. This Tues Night: Men/sons, if you are planning on going, thinking about going, to Mammoth June 23-26 on the Father-Son Outdoor Adventure. Please join us Tues night 7pm in the upper room. I want to share my heart on the changes this year & why I think its important ministry.
    3. This Wed Night: Please come out & meet David Eubank, from the FBR’s.
      1. A former US Army Ranger himself. Founded & directs the FBR’s.
      2. This is whom I met & worked with back in November hiking into Burma.
      3. He is a man who is truly is a warrior, a servant, humble, a terrific storyteller.
      4. He will be speaking & updating us on whats happening in war zones of Burma.
    4. Memorial Day: We’d like to commemorate & honor those having served, or are presently serving, in one of our branches of the armed forces.
      1. Please stand. Pray for:
        1. We 1st acknowledge those who have given their lives for our freedom, esp for their families. We are thankful for our brave & courageous men & women who serve.
    5. Outline: David’s Trial(1-6); Verdict(7-9); Pardon(10-15).
      1. As we focus again on David’s terrible sins, that led to terrible consequences, we must remember the big picture of this 50 year old king.
        1. David was a great man, who served a great nation, who loved a great God.
        2. 62 chapters of the OT are devoted to his biography.
        3. 59 references in the NT call our attention to this man...after his fall & restoration.
          1. These far exceed any biblical character!
      2. But here was that time in David’s life where when the red light went on, on his dashboard, saying, “Take notice! There’s trouble under the hood!”
        1. Instead of pulling over & checking under the hood; he just reached into the glove box, pulled out a hammer, & knocked out that pestering red light on the dash!
        2. But ignore the problem long enough & be guaranteed your internal motor IS heating up!
  2. 9 MONTHS OF SELAH!
    1. TRIAL! (1-6)
    2. For about a year David hid his sin & suffered under the chastening hand of God.
      1. Not only adultery, but hypocrisy, deception, murder, & a cowardly cover-up.
      2. What was evil 3000 years ago is evil today!
      3. Chastening proves God’s loves us; Our yielding proves our love to Him!
    3. Have you ever held onto sin for a time?
      1. David did, then later writes a song about its internal torture.
        1. Lest you think his life that year was enjoyable, sippin lemonade on his patio, taking long walks on the beach w/his new young bride, free of guilt!
        2. No way, it was sleepless nights, tossing & turning. (he had no joy Ps.51:12)
      2. See Ps 32:1-5(esp.3,4) Augustine fav Ps. Inscribed it on wall next to bed b4 died to meditate on it better.
        1. (3) God cannot & will not ignore sin…thus he brings pressure upon us! (Phys & Emot)
          1. Example: Like a festering sore, it needs either pressure or a lancing.
            1. God will lovingly apply pressure till you pop & get the gunk out!
        2. (4) High Fever? Or maybe the analogy of a sponge. Hand of pressure on it, then dried out
        3. (5) God’s forgiveness is so quick that it looks like he didn’t even have time to verbalize the words, I will confess, not, I did confess.
      3. David found himself in a straightjacket of guilt - his conscience.
        1. Greek Philosopher Polybius once said, There is no witness so dreadful, no accuser so terrible as the conscience that dwells in the heart of every man.
        2. David conscience did not leave him alone; but he did not return to God till the Good Shepherd sought His wandering sheep.
    4. Let’s note a couple of important things:
      1. 1st, Nathan didn’t burst in shouting accusations at the king. God wanted him restored, not shot down!
        1. God doesn’t settle His accounts at the end of the month or, for that matter, each year. But He does settle!
      2. 2nd, don’t miss the specifics of confrontation & repentance so we can keep sin from shattering the spirits of others & ourselves.
    5. Why did Nathan’s story work?
      1. We are all more proficient at judging others than ourselves!
      2. Beware: the sentence you pass on others will be passed on you.
        1. Mt.7:1,2 Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
    6. VERDICT! (7-9)
    7. (7-9) The application was as bold as the parable was skillful.
      1. He guided the king to condemn his own sinful actions.
      2. The prophet had to perform spiritual surgery. It wasn’t an easy task, but it’s obvious that he prepared carefully for his encounter.
        1. Prov.27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend. [Lit.in Heb] Trustworthy are the bruises caused by the wounding of one who loves you.
      3. As a former shepherd, David would pay close attention to a story about the theft of an innocent lamb; As a king, he was obligated to see that poor families were given justice.
      4. Compare eat, drink, lay (vs.3) to Uriah’s speech in 11:11 (eat, drink, lie).
      5. (4) But Nathan finally got a reaction when he mentioned the rich man stealing & killing the lamb, w/that David became unglued. (see took & prepared)
      6. Uriah was the poor man, Bathsheba was the little ewe lamb he had stolen.
      7. The traveler whom the rich man fed represents the temptation & lust that visited David on the roof & then controlled him.
        1. If we open the door, sin comes in as a guest; but soon becomes our master!
        2. Gen.4:7 NLT But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.
    8. (7) Then quickly, Nathan unsheathed the sharp-edged words of truth & with one quick thrust, Nathan said simply four 3-letter words, You are the man!
      1. David stuck his whole head in the noose. All Nathan had to do was give it a pull. And that is exactly what he did in 4 words, You are the man!
      2. Although pained by Nathan’s lancing words, David must have felt a gush of relief. Finally, the festering sins were in the open.
      3. Such relief when the blister is lanced. Infection leaves. Healing follows.
    9. PARDON! (10-15)
    10. (10-12) Since God’s mercies were so conspicuous, his sin was more aggravated, thus the chastisement/consequence so serious.
    11. (13,14) His confession was brief, but truly sincere. (It’s amplified in Ps.51)
      1. His words very few...but that’s a good sign of a broken spirit. Where there is no excuse, no rationalizing, no blameshifting, no calling the sin something else, no disguising its seriousness, no searching for a loophole, no human weakness pleaded.
      2. He came to himself, & instantly forgiven & restored.
      3. Note: there is no gap, no interval between 13a & 13b; between the broken sob & the divine response.
      4. “Many,” says Augustine, “are disposed to fall like David; but not, like David, to rise again. The fall of David has been recorded, that those who have not fallen may be kept from falling, & that those who have fallen may rise again.”
    12. (13b) Grace, Grace, Grace! - The law said both David & Bathsheba should die.
      1. Lev.20:10 The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.
      2. But in His grace, God forgave their sins; But in His government, He permitted them to reap what they had sown.
      3. 1Jn.1:9 is a great promise, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. But, its not an excuse for sin.
        1. Remember, there are sad consequences of forgiven sin!
    13. (14) The sword of violence he had used against Uriah, would now pierce his own family.
    14. David paid 4-fold for his sins: (from vs.6 & from Ex.22:1) So, the baby died, & his sons Absalom & Amnon & Adonijah were killed.
    15. (15) Nathan’s mission is complete. End of confrontation. Nathan turns around, walks to the door, opens it, steps through, closes it - & David is left alone. (maybe when he wrote Ps.51?)
    16. APPLICATION:
    17. 4 principles to remember from Nathan: (Charles Swindoll David, pg.140)
      1. Base the charges on absolute truth!
        1. Take time to get all the facts before you point your finger.
      2. Wait for God’s timing! [would you ever counsel someone to wait 9-12 months to confront?]
        1. See the first words...Then the Lord sent Nathan to David.
        2. Confronting a person too early, while emotions are turbulent, can do more harm than good. Wait for God’s go ahead.
        3. Prov.25:11 Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.
      3. Use wise wording!
        1. ​​​​​​​Nathan didn’t accuse David right away; he softened his heart w/a word picture.
        2. Plan your words carefully before you talk with them.
      4. Go with courage!
        1. ​​​​​​​No one like to be confronted. We always run the risk of straining a relationship or even losing a friend. But the risk is well worth the reward when the person is restored. Prov.27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend.
    18. This is such a beautiful story to learn about God’s forgiveness, of someone 3000 yrs ago, someone I don’t know. But now apply “The Lord has also put away your sin” to that person who has violated your families trust. Or, to someone who has cheated on a friend of yours. Not so easy...changes the whole story!

Verses 13-31

  1. INTRO:
    1. Story: The parable of the 2 boats in the harbor. It’s midnight. The harbor is quiet, except for the boats creaking decks & the water slapping up against the wooden & fiberglass hulls. Within minutes, though, the storm clouds begin to roll through the sky. Thunder rumbles; rain pelts. The tranquil little harbor is tossed by a whirlwind. (Taken & adapted from Charles Swindoll intro pg.152 David.)
      1. One boat, was tied loosely to its moorings, snaps the rope & is carried out by the violent currents only to crash upon the rocks.
      2. But another boat, secured by its nautical ropes to the 4 cleats on the dock, is able to ride out the storm. And, it is ready to sail when the sun comes out in the morning.
        1. Our last chapter dealt with David right in the midst of a whirlwind, reaping the results of sin. Let’s see how he weathered the storm. Whether he sank or survived, & why.
        2. We’ll see when the waves of sin’s consequences begin to slosh the decks of our lives. Our only hope for survival is to anchor ourselves to the Lord.
          1. Hos.8:7 They sow the wind, And reap the whirlwind.
          2. Hos.8:7 (msg) Planting wind-seeds, they’ll harvest tornadoes.
          3. Be sure that when you drop the seeds of the wind in the ground, you will reap the harvest of sin’s whirlwind.
    2. There are 2 kinds of suffering in the midst of the whirlwind:
      1. The kind of suffering we deserve, because we are the ones that disobeyed.
      2. The kind of suffering we don’t deserve, but experience in the backwash of someone else’s transgression.
        1. This of course is the most tragic...when an innocent bystander gets caught in your backwash. And they have to pay the consequence along with you.
        2. When a parent willfully & irresponsibly acts against God’s written Word, not only does the parent suffer, but the family suffers as well.
    3. OUTLINE: Confessing The Sowing; Responding to The Reaping; & Moving On.
  2. CONFESSING THE SOWING! (13)
    1. I have sinned against the Lord - the simple confession from David’s heart & forgiveness granted
      1. At once, God graciously released him from the death penalty the Law demanded.
      2. Now David stood clean before the Lord, forgiven & restored.
      3. He had escaped the penal judgment; however, he hadn’t escaped God’s paternal discipline. [consequence: if I sin, & in the process I break my arm, I can find forgiveness for my sin, but I still have to deal w/a broken bone!]
        1. God’s chastisement was meant to correct David, not punish him.
        2. It was designed to show him how serious sin is to a holy God, & to protect him from future moral failure. [Discipline is always forward-looking!]
          1. Chrysostom wrote, “God imposes a penalty upon us, not to punish us for past sins, but to correct us against future one’s.”
    2. I feel I need to say: If you’ve been through the trauma of the loss of a child, this situation in no way has anything to do with your child’s death (i.e. because of something you’ve done).
      1. Sometimes there is no explanation. SIDS(Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is the #1 cause of death among children from 1 week to 5 years of age.
        1. Often, parents blame themselves, the babysitter, other children in the family, when even the doctor does not know who or what is to blame.
      2. Carl Jung said,(when a young person dies) “is a period placed before the end of the sentence”.
  3. RESPONDING TO THE REAPING! (14-25)
    1. ​​​​​​​Job 1:20,21 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
      1. The first thing to be taken away, or the first gust of the whirlwind would be the death of David’s infant son. (promised in vs.14)
      2. Job.4:8 (Eliphaz) My experience shows that those who plant trouble and cultivate evil, will harvest the same.
      3. Now here, David had a choice how to react. Like the boat that was loosed from its moorings, his life could have ended up broken on the rocks of bitterness. But instead he dropped Four Anchors of Faith that helped him ride out the storm.
        1. He Prayed; He Faced the Consequences Realistically; He Claimed God’s Truths; He went on, refusing to give up.
    2. [1] HE PRAYED! (15b-17)
    3. God’s discipline was painful; but rather than running from God, David ran to Him.
      1. In his prayers, he quieted himself before the Lord, pleading for the life of his son.
      2. An innocent child was suffering because of him.
      3. Often, the innocent ones suffer the most for our selfish choices.
    4. What had this baby done to deserve death? Nothing! It’s not fair.
      1. And it wasn’t fair that Uriah had to die; & it wasn’t fair the other soldiers had to die; And it wasn’t fair innocent Jesus had to die for your sins!
        1. There are no easy answers to settle our minds, but there are plenty of dependable promises to heal our hearts, & faith is nurtured on promises, not explanations! (Warren Wiersbe; Be Restored; pg.74.)
    5. [2] HE FACED THE CONSEQUENCES REALISTICALLY! (18-20)
    6. After 7 days, the infant died. They were afraid he might take his own life(18).
      1. Yet David’s response was surprisingly calm. (19,20)
      2. In Scripture, washing oneself/changing clothes symbolizes making a new beginning.
        1. Because of God’s grace & mercy, we can always make a new beginning.
      3. Instead of blaming himself more he put himself back together & went to worship God.
      4. The baby was dead, & he couldn’t change that. He could, however, accept what he had received from God’s hand & humbly bow before Him, knowing that God was both merciful & just.
    7. [3] HE CLAIMED GOD’S TRUTHS! (21-23)
    8. He had secured his hope in the sovereignty of God. (22,23)
      1. He believed God was in control not only of his destiny but also his son’s.
      2. His son was gone, but one day he would see him again.
        1. Where was David going? Ps.23:6 and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
    9. Only those who have bent over their dying child can understand something of David’s anguish.
      1. Yet such may be comforted by the certainty that the Good Shepherd has gathered the lambs to His arms, & that parents shall go to them. (i.e. They will recognize & be recognized) [F.B.Meyer; Joshua-2 Kings; pg.131]
      2. One mother of a child who died said, “I thank God for loaning us the little fellow for a few years, & for the knowledge that we will see him again when we are united w/ Christ after death. What a joyous reunion. What a wonderful Savior, to provide the gift of eternal life!”
      3. When babies die, to they automatically go to heaven?
        1. Deut.1:39 Moreover your little ones and your children, who you say will be victims, who today have no knowledge of good and evil, they shall go in there(into the land); to them I will give it, and they shall possess it.
          1. We are all sinners by birth/conception(i.e. original sin); but there seems to be a distinction between sinner by birth(not responsible for sin past on to them) & sinner by practice(now responsible to God & others for knowledgable actions)
        2. Also, there is a big difference between how David mourns for Absalom, verses this child.
    10. [4] HE WENT ON, REFUSING TO GIVE UP! (24,25)
    11. Here is 9 months compressed into 2 verses.
    12. Bathsheba is finally called David’s wife here. Maybe inferring her new beginning also!
    13. After the funeral & after mourning his loss w/his wife, David found the grace to live again!
      1. ​​​​​​​It takes grace to endure the whirlwind, but it also takes God’s grace to move on once the storm has calmed.
    14. Remember what Moses taught why we go through wilderness wanderings.
      1. Deut.8:2a,3a Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character...Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry
    15. Are you riding out the stormy consequences of your sin?
      1. Violent waves crashing over you & the strain on your ropes are pulled so taut.
      2. Everything you hold dear is slipping from your hands, the trust of your family, your reputation, your self-respect.
      3. You’ve confessed your sin, but there are still consequences to endure.
      4. What do you do?
    16. Or, maybe you’re riding out someone else’s storm?
      1. A son, daughter, spouse, or friend has sowed the wind, & now you are suffering the consequences.
      2. They may not comprehend what their sin is doing to you, or worse, they don’t even care. But you’re drowning in the wake of their sinful lifestyle. What do you do?
    17. In both situations, David’s responses to God’s discipline provide some guidelines:
    18. Pray; Faced the Consequences Realistically; Claim God’s Truths; Move on & refuse to give up!
      1. Pray: Have you been pushing God away? Running from Him instead of to Him?
        1. If so, take the time now to draw near to Him, even if its to express your doubts & confusion.
      2. Faced the Consequences Realistically: When nothing can be changed, it’s time to let go. Are you still beating yourself up over past mistakes?
      3. Claim God’s Truths: Anchor yourself to God’s truths, such as God’s sovereignty, the hope of heaven, & God’s love for you even during times of discipline.
        1. What truths do you need to hang on to?
      4. Move on & refuse to give up: Sometimes we can focus so much on what we’ve lost that we forget about what we have.
        1. Bitterness & regret over yesterday’s pain can rob us of today’s joy!
        2. What has God given you today, to take part in or to love?
    19. Whether you’re riding out your own storm or someone else’s, remember that God is not punishing you. He wants to correct you, not condemn you; to strengthen you, not sink you.
      1. 1. Don’t be afraid to anchor yourself to Him!
    20. IV. MOVING ON! (26-31)
    21. There is still kingdom work to do! Including helping Joab finish the siege of Rabbah.
    22. (26,27) The siege had taken 2 years [1st the royal palace; then the water supply; now the final assault]
      1. It was the city of waters, as the Jabbok flowed around the lower town.
    23. (29) Joab told David, “get down here quick so you can take the credit for the victory.”
      1. Whatever Joab’s faults, at least he wanted to bring honor to his king.
    24. (30) A talent of gold - 50-75 pound crown.
    25. (31) The Ammonite slaves became the labor pool for Israelite public building projects.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/2-samuel-12.html. 2017.