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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 12

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

Verses 1-31

2. The Message of God and David’s Confession and the Beginning of the Chastisement


1. The Lord’s message through Nathan (2 Samuel 12:1-4 )

2. David’s anger (2 Samuel 12:5-6 )

3. Thou art the man! (2 Samuel 12:7-9 )

4. The chastisement (2 Samuel 12:10-12 )

5. David’s confession (2 Samuel 12:13 )

6. The death of the child announced (2 Samuel 12:14 )

7. The death of the child and David’s grief (2 Samuel 12:15-23 )

8. Solomon born (2 Samuel 12:24-25 )

9. Rabbah taken (2 Samuel 12:26-31 )

The Lord was displeased with what David had done. Nathan comes with his message in the form of a parable. His outburst of anger and condemnation of the injustice done to the poor man shows that he did not think of his own case. Yet sorrow and unrest were his portion; he tried to cover up his sin and as a result was in the deepest agony. Psalms like the sixth, the thirty-eighth, the thirty-second and others tell us of the deep soul exercise through which he passed. Then Nathan pointed at him with his soul piercing, “Thou art the man!” First the prophet tells him all the Lord had done for him; he reminds him of all God’s kindness. What had David done? He had despised the Lord’s commandment; had killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword and taken his wife. Then the chastisement is announced. He had slain Uriah with the sword of the children of Ammon--the sword should now never depart from his house. He had taken Uriah’s wife--others should take his wives. He had done it secretly--but, said Jehovah, I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. We shall find the sentence executed in 2 Samuel 13:28-39 ; 2 Samuel 16:21-22 ; 2 Samuel 18:14 .

Then the King’s heart broke. “I have sinned against the LORD.” It was at that time that, his soul filled with deepest sorrow, and yet illumined with the light from above, he uttered that wonderful penitential Psalm, the fifty-first. “Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight, that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest.” All the inward corruption now is revealed to him, as many a saint after him has found out by bitter experience that in our flesh there dwelleth no good thing. “Behold I was shapen in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalms 51:5 ). And when he prayed “take not Thy Holy Spirit from me”--he must have had a vision of Saul, the mad King, when the Spirit had left him and an evil one possessed his heart. But David knew God and God knew David. He is in the light and uncovers all in His presence. Then Nathan announced the divine mercy, “the LORD hath also taken away thy sin.” And Nathan added “because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.” That was the bitterness of it. Up to the present time infidels and rejectors of the Word of God point to David’s sin and blaspheme, though the very things they sneer at are the things which they practice. The child died and David’s grief was great. All his fasting and night long prayer did not change the divine sentence. But he also knew the comfort of hope and expresses it beautifully. “I shall go to him, but he shall not return unto me.”

And has it no meaning that Solomon’s birth is recorded immediately after these sad and solemn incidents? Solomon means “peaceful.” Peace had come to his heart; the divine favour was restored unto him, yet the chastisement grievous and sore would follow him in the future. And then the Lord named also Solomon. He called him “Jedediah.” This means “beloved of Jehovah.” He is the blessed type of God’s own Son. For us He is “peace”--He who hath made peace and our sin is covered by His precious blood. To God He is “the Beloved.” The record of the fall of Rabbah closes this chapter. What is recorded in verse 31 was cruel and barbarous. (However, there is a doubt about the translation. It has been rendered in the following way: “And he set them to saws and iron picks and iron axes and made them labor at the brick kiln.”) Ammon did horrible things to the women of Israel. (See Amos 1:13 .) A fearful retribution came upon them. How often it has been repeated in history, even down to the 20th century with all its boasted civilization, now collapsed in the greatest and most awful war the world has ever witnessed. And thus it will continue to the end, till the true King comes.

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/2-samuel-12.html. 1913-1922.
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