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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 12

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-31

Chapter 12

David thought that things were just going great until the prophet Nathan came to him.

Nathan said to David, There is a man in your kingdom who is very wealthy, had many herds, many flocks many servants: And there lived next to him a very poor man whose only possession was one ewe lamb, and that lamb ate at his table, drank from his cup, slept next to him, it was like a daughter to him, part of the family. [And he loved that ewe lamb, all he had.] And this wealthy man had guests come to visit him, and he sent his servant to take by force, the one ewe lamb from his neighbor, and to kill it in order that he might feed his guests. David's anger was kindled hot against the man; and David said, That man shall surely be put to death, as the Lord lives. And he shall restore unto the man, fourfold ( 2 Samuel 12:1-6 ).

He went out ahead and he laid out a real judgment on this guy. When he was through,

Nathan said, David you are the man. [Then he went on to say] Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed you king over Israel, I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; I gave thee thy master's house, thy master's wives into thy bosom, I gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that wasn't enough, I would've given more to you. ["David, I've given you everything, I've given you the kingdom, I've given you wives, I've given both Israel and Judah, and if that weren't enough David, I'd still give you more!"] Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do this sin in his sight ( 2 Samuel 12:7-9 )?

"David, when God has given you so much, why would you despise His commandment, why would you do this when God has been so good?" Why is it that when God has been so good to us, that we just don't appreciate and be satisfied with what God has done? Why do we sometimes reach out for more, when we already have more than what we can possibly use or enjoy?

"David you've got all these wives, why would you take a wife of another man? Why would you despise the commandment of God?"

And now therefore the sword shall never depart from thy house; because you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite as your wife. Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of your own house, and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them unto thy neighbor, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of the sun. For you did it secretly: but I will do this before all of Israel, and before the sun. And David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said to David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die ( 2 Samuel 12:10-13 ).

Now David's judgment for this man was, "He shall surely be put to death." God's judgment for David was, "You will not die". However, David you're not gonna get off Scott-free, you cannot sin with impunity and expect God to just let you off the hook completely. There are always those people who are misinterpreting the grace of God.

Paul spoke about those who said, "Let us sin freely that grace may abound, for if where sin abounds, grace overflows, and let us sin freely in order that grace might just overflow. God has declared that all are sinners, so that if I just go out and sin, I'm only proving that God is true. Now why should God judge me because I'm proving that He's telling the truth, that all men are sinners? I'm just helping to prove God's truth."

Paul said, "Whose damnation is just those kind of philosophies!" Any philosophy that leads you into sin, presuming on the grace of God is a damnable philosophy. Peter speaks of the words of Paul, and of course Paul's preaching was that of the gospel of grace, and the forgiveness of sins by faith in Jesus Christ, which is a glorious gospel! But Peter tells how those people were subverting the gospel, using this gospel of grace as a cloak for their own lasciviousness. "Well, sure let's go ahead and do it, and then we'll pray and ask God to forgive us. Because surely God is merciful and He'll forgive us." Thus people are willfully transgressing the law of God with that anticipation of grace and forgiveness. That should never be! I should never knowingly, willfully go into sin, expecting to come back to God and say, "Oh God please forgive me!," and presuming on the grace of God.

The Bible says, "Keep thyself from sin. Flee the youthful lusts that damn men's souls and perdition." As it speaks of the work of the flesh in Galatians five, "Are manifest which are these, adultery, fornication," it goes on, "lust, lying, and envying, and stealing," and so forth, and it says, "and they that do such things shall have no part in the kingdom of God." I question concerning the true conversion of a person who deliberately, willfully, sins against God, with the idea, "Oh well, I'll just ask forgiveness, and receive the grace of God." God's grace was never intended to be presumed upon by us.

Sin, though forgiven, leaves its mark. There are certain aspects of sin that cannot be undone. There are certain marks that sin leaves upon the life of yourself, and the lives of others that remain. It remains a mar, a scar in your conscience. Even though you've received the forgiveness of God, still your conscience is telling you that you did wrong deliberately, willfully you did wrong in the eyes of the Lord, and you're conscience never lets you forget. Years may pass, but it remains there in your consciousness and someday when calamity befalls you down the line, you'll remember your sin.

Joseph's brothers sold him as a slave into Egypt, and Joseph went down into Egypt, his brothers betrayed him, sold him as a slave for twenty pieces of silver, they cared not that Joseph was crying, "Oh please guys don't do this! Oh!" He was weeping, and that was the last they saw him, the guy was just crying on the cart being carried down to Egypt, their brother. They were heartless; they were cruel, but it stuck in their minds. Almost twenty years later when they were in Egypt and having a bad time because of the Pharaoh's wrath, they turned to each other and they said, "We're getting what's coming to us, don't you remember Joseph and how he was crying. Man, it's coming back to us!" You don't get away from your conscience. It sticks, the scars are there; you don't escape them and the scars that are left upon those around you, the hurt that comes.

Though the Lord said to David, "Thou art forgiven, you will not die, yet these things are going to happen, David, because of your sin." One of the tragic things of the sin of David was brought to his mind by the prophet. He said, "You have caused the enemies of God to blaspheme."

I think that one of the tragic byproducts of sin in the life of a believer is the fact that the enemies of God look at it, and they blaspheme God. "That so and so, he's supposed to be a Christian? Look what he did to me!" They're blaspheming God because of your actions, because of what you have done. Maybe you've been guilty of ripping them off in a business deal. You know you ripped them off, and you come and say, "Oh God forgive me please," and you think it's all over. You go to rip off someone else, keeping the idea in mind "Well, I'll just come and ask God's forgiveness!" No, it doesn't work that way, but the effect of that is that there are many people who are going under the name of Christianity, that are doing such things. And that is why Christianity has such a bad name in the eyes of the world today is because the Christians haven't been living a life of purity and righteousness and holiness before God. No one picks on it, and picks up on it quicker than the worldly people who blaspheme the name of God, because of our actions, our inconsistencies.

So the punishment. The sword was never to depart from David's house. His own children were gonna rise up and rebel against him. His own wives were gonna be humiliated publicly. The child that was to be born, or the child that was born, was going to die.

This sort of marks a watershed in David's life. This experience sort of took the fire out of David. From this point on, calamities, rebellion, problems within his home began to arise. It is interesting that David rather than trying to deal with them, and fight with them, was just sort of, just sort of consigned to them. He didn't try to rise, he just sort of accepted it. "This is of God, this is God's judgment". He didn't try to, well, just the inner, you know that thing that drives you on, that push was gone. It sort of was just drained out of David from this experience onward. Sad and tragic when the fire is gone out of a person's life.

The words of God were gracious indeed, "Thy sin is forgiven you will not die." At this point, Psalms 32:1-11 . It was written by David upon hearing the words of the prophet, "Thy sins are forgiven, you will not die." David wrote, "Blessed is he," and the word blessed means, "oh, how happy," "Oh how happy is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered, happy is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile".

Now, you see while David was trying to cover this thing, there was all kinds of guile going on. Calling Uriah back, trying to get him to go home to be with his wife. It was all a part of a deceitful scheme of David, all this guile that was there. You know when you're a deceitful person you're always living in fear, and in worry that you're gonna get caught, someone's gonna catch up with you, someone's gonna find out the truth is gonna get out. You're going through all these deceptive things, and trying to cover, and say, "Well, who me? Well I don't know what you're talking about!" You're going through all this deception, but you know, and you're fearful constantly that it's gonna come out, "someone's gonna find out, someone's gonna see me, someone's gonna know, someone's gonna blow the whistle on me." Happy is the man who can be straight, who can be honest, who can be forthright, who doesn't have to deceive, and hide, and connive.

"When I kept silence," that is "when I wouldn't confess it to God, when I was trying to just cover the thing," "my bones waxed through the roaring all the day long, for night and day, day and night thy hand was heavy upon me, and my moisture is turned into the drought of summer." That's the first strophe of this psalm. A man who has just experienced the forgiveness of sin, but he also relates how heavy was the conviction upon his heart prior to the forgiveness. "Man, it was heavy duty. I was just all dried up within. God's hand day and night was heavy upon me."

Then he said, "I acknowledge my sin unto Thee and my iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord, and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin." The next strophe of the psalm as he expresses the confession and the resultant forgiveness. "Oh, how happy is the man who has that load of sin taken away, who has the guilt removed."

But there is still a price that must be paid. The sword is still gonna be upon his house. His children are still gonna rebel, his wives are still gonna be humiliated, and his child is still going to die.

And so it came to pass that the child took sick, and David laid on the ground grieving. The servants tried to get him to eat, but he refused any food. He'd just lie there groaning. [And for seven days he laid there on the ground groaning, not eating.] And on the seventh day, the child died. The servants were worried, they said, What shall we do? how are we gonna tell him? if he's grieved this much while the child was living, what's he gonna do when he finds out the child's dead? And he heard the servants whispering, and he said, Is the child dead? And they said, Yes. David got up, went in took a shower, dressed himself, fresh clothes, came out and he ordered dinner. They said, [Man, we don't understand you. While the child was sick you're lying there groaning, not eating, filthy, now that the child is dead, you've showered and you want to eat, you want a dinner, what's going on?] And he said, As long as the child was alive, I had hope that God might be gracious and spare the child's life, but now that the child is dead, I can't do anything more ( 2 Samuel 12:15-23 ).

I think that David really had a very healthy attitude towards death. What more can you do?

He said, I shall go to thee where he is, though he cannot return to me ( 2 Samuel 12:23 ).

David's showing his confidence in life after death. David showing confidence that his child was with the Lord. That his child was saved, and that he would go to be with his child, though his child would not be able to return to him. "I shall go to be where he is, though he cannot return to me." Our children who die before they are at an age of accountability, go to be with the Lord. Though they cannot return, we look forward to that day when we shall go to be with them.

Now after the death of the child,

David comforted Bathsheba, and she conceived: and she had another child, and she called his name Solomon. But Nathan the prophet came with God's name for Solomon, and God's name for him was Jedidiah, which means beloved of the Lord ( 2 Samuel 12:23-25 ).

Now there to me is real grace! Though God, for purposes that we do not fully understand, took the first child of David and Bathsheba. Yet the second child God named, "Beloved of the Lord". So there was God's grace in operation. Of course Solomon became David's favorite son, and took the throne after David.

But David has a rocky road ahead. The sword is not to depart from his house, there's going to be family problems developing. His wives are gonna be humiliated, and these things are gonna come to pass. David's sin is not going to go unpunished. The price must still be paid for the past misdeed, even though God's grace is offered through the whole thing, and God gives to David and Bathsheba another son, whom God calls "beloved of God". "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/2-samuel-12.html. 2014.
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