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Friday, July 12th, 2024
the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14
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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 12

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.

And the Lord sent Nathan unto David. — He must be of God’s sending, that shall effectually awaken conscience, and speak to the heart. Nathan the prophet 2 Samuel 7:2 - a man so highly esteemed by David, that he called one of his sons by his name (say some), made him tutor to his son Solomon, and had him of his Cabinet Council 1 Kings 1:1-53 - is here purposely sent to let good David feel the bruise of his fall; to be unto him as Paul’s sister’s son was to the chief captain; as the cock, or rather as Christ’s look, was to Peter; to arouse him out of that dead lethargy wherein he had lain for three quarters of a year together; and to convert him from the error of his way. If God’s best children have been sometimes suffered to sleep in sin, at last he hath awakened them in a fright. Now because men that are awakened hastily out of a deep and sweet sleep are apt to take it ill, and to brawl with their best friends, wise Nathan, non aperte, sed per ambages, beginneth his reproof, not in plain terms, but by fetching about a form of speech - as she saith, 2 Samuel 14:20 ; by an allegory or apologue, he first fisheth out of David what the law was, and then forceth him to pronounce sentence of death against himself. Velut prudens medicus ferrum tegebat. - Aug. Ut secantem gladium sentiret aeger antequam cerneret. - Greg. David was a prophet, yet needed he a prophet to be sent unto him; as one physician to another; but the sound to the sick, as Chrysostom saith. Tanquam medicus ad medicum, sed sanus ad aegrotum. - Chrys.

And he came unto himIn conclave Davidis, into David’s closet; for whereas some have thought that Nathan dealt now with David in the hearing of his courtiers and captains, it is more likely that he did it privately, that he might the more easily work and win upon him. Hitherto all the king’s care had been to conceal his sin from the world, - which yet he could not do with all his skill, for the enemies had got it by the end, 2 Samuel 14:1-33 - and although his conscience had galled him betwixt whiles, when he heard the lectures of the law, and groaned under a great fit of sickness, as some gather from Psalms 32:3-4 Psalms 6:1-10 Psalms 38:1-22 , yet he turned the deaf ear, and continued in the hardness of his heart till the prophet came home to him, and dealt plainly and privately with him. Great is the benefit of conference and private admonition. Luther was much helped this way by Staupicius; Galeacius by Peter Martyr; Junius by a countryman of his not far from Florence; Senarclaeus by John Diazins; Latimer by blessed St Bilney, as he styleth him; Dr Taylor by that angel of God, John Bradford, who counted that hour lost wherein he had not done some good with his hand, pen, or tongue. Private admonition, saith one, is the pastor’s privy purse, as princes have theirs, besides their public disbursements. It repented good Mr Hiron, and troubled him on his death bed, that he had been so backward to it, and barren of it.

There were two men in one city. — By this pretty parable, Nathan maketh David self-condemned, or ever he was aware; and useth his own tongue as a lance to rip up and heal his own heart. Aug., Hom. 21.

Verse 2

The rich [man] had exceeding many flocks and herds:

The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds. — The greater was his sin, since pressed with no necessity. What need had the angels to leave their first estate and habitation? Judges 1:6 What need had Adam to reach after a deity? What need had Ahab to covet Naboth’s vineyard? … It is no small aggravation of a man’s sin to fall into it without a strong temptation; to be led to it with a wet finger, as we say.

Verse 3

But the poor [man] had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.

But the poor man. — Poor Uriah; poor in comparison of David, who had all that heart could wish.

Save one little ewe lamb. — This was his Bathsheba, he had no more wives but her: as Isaac never had more than Rebecca, whom therefore he loved tenderly and entirely.

And it grew up together with him, and with his children. — Which he had by a former wife, as some think.

It did eat of his own meat. — Heb., Morsel; he spared it out of his own belly for his favoured lamb; neither was anything good to him, whereof his wife had not part.

And lay in his bosom. — Where he nourished and cherished her, Ephesians 5:29 as the hen doth her chickens, or as the cock pigeon doth the eggs.

And was unto him as a daughter. — Yea, much dearer. The greater was her disloyalty against so loving a husband, and so gallant a man: the more heinous also was David’s offence in wronging and robbing him of such an only jewel.

Verse 4

And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.

And there came a traveller. — This was the devil, say some, whom David feasted by abusing Bathsheba; and indeed he is a great traveller and trudge-over-the-world. Job 1:7 1 Peter 5:8 Others - and better - understand it of fleshly lust, which beareth the name of the mother, called in general concupiscence or corruption; this to good David was but a stranger, and not a home dweller: and it must be our care, that though corruption enter, it may not be entertained - "How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?" Jeremiah 4:14 - lest the traveller become the man of the house, lest the Lurdan (Lord-Dane) play rex in the soul.

And he spared to take of his own flock. — While Nathan was querulously discoursing of the cruel rich man, how he spared to take of his own flock, …, how willingly doth David listen to the story, and how sharply - even above law - doth he censure the fact!

But took the poor man’s lamb. — So sweet are stolen waters, and so pleasant is bread of secrecies, or eaten in hugger-mugger. Proverbs 9:17

Quod licet ingratum est, quod non licet acrius urit:

Sic interdietis imminet roger aquis. ” - Ovid.

And dressed it for the man that was come to him. — This was for lack of true charity, doubtless, which biddeth a man to make bold with his own, and not to meddle with others’ goods. Nevertheless that saying of Gul. Parisiensis hath a great deal of truth in it, Charitas est fur fidelissimus et innocentissimus: quia omnia bona proximoram sua facit, neque tamen illi adimit. Charity is a most faithful and most innocent thief: for why? it maketh all another man’s good its own, without taking anything away from him.

Verse 5

And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, [As] the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this [thing] shall surely die:

And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man. — Little dreaming that himself was the man, till afterwards, and then it was, - "Yea, what indignation!" 2 Corinthians 7:11 Men usually favour themselves too much when they are chancellors in their own cause, and measure all things by their own private interest; as David could allow himself another man’s wife, and judge another to death for taking away a poor man’s lamb. So Augustus caused Proclus to die for adultery, when himself was a great adulterer. Tiberius was the like: and yet he banished the adulteress two hundred miles out of the city, and expelled the adulterer out of Italy and Africa. How much better Zaleuchus the Locrensian, who made a law that the adulterer should loose both his eyes: and it so falling out that his son was taken in adultery, he, to satisfy the law, caused one of his son’s eyes to be put out, and one of his own! Aelian., lib. lii. And Saletus the Crotonian, who made a law that adulterers should be burned alive; and being himself detected of adultery, having by an oration in his own defence almost persuaded the people to have compassion toward him, he voluntarily leaped into the fire. Lucian. But self-love is partial, and teacheth men to turn the glass to see their own faults lesser than they are, and other men’s bigger; to hate and persecute that in others which they favour and foster in themselves: as it is noted of Crassus the Roman, that he hated the covetous, but not covetousness: Plutarch, in Crasso. and of Sulla - the like is storied of our Richard III - that he commanded others under great penalties to be virtuous and modest, when himself walked the clean contrary way. How easy is it to detest those evils in others, which we flatter in ourselves! Witness Judah in his dealing with his daughter-in-law Tamar. The Pope was angry with the French king for using moderation toward the Protestants, at the request of the Swiss, whose assistance he had used in his wars with Spain, A.D. 1557: he had forgotten that in the time of his own wars, the cardinals of the Inquisition, complaining that the Protestant Grisons, brought to his pay for the defence of Rome, used many scorns against the churches and images, his holiness did reprehend them, saying, they were angels sent by God for the custody of the city and of his person, and that he had a strong hope that God would convert them. This was Pope Paul IV. Hist. of Counc. of Trent, 407.

Shall surely die. — Our Henry I punished his courtiers’ thefts with death: and fornication with the loss of their eyes, and other parts peccant. Speed, 467. The King of Persia punisheth theft and manslaughter so severely, that in an age a man shall not hear of the one or the other. But by God’s law, the thief was to restore, and not to die for that offence. Exodus 22:1

Verse 6

And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.

And he shall restore the lamb fourfold. — Nay, twice fourfold, as some sense it; because the word is of the dual number. But what! Must he do all this, and die too? This was hard law, better beseeming a Draco to pronounce, than a David: but he was transported and biassed, as above said. Prompte et fervide sententiam pronunciat.

Verse 7

And Nathan said to David, Thou [art] the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;

And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man.Tu is es, de te narratur fabula. You are the one and about you is the story told. This was downright plain dealing indeed. See the like, 1 Kings 20:35 ; 1 Kings 20:41 Genesis 40:18-19 Daniel 5:22 Matthew 14:4 . Truth must be spoken, however it be taken: it is a treacherous flattery in divine errands to regard greatness. If prophets must be mannerly in the form, yet in the matter of reproof they must be resolute. What brave and bold preachers of old were Athanasius, Ambrose, Chrysostom! and since that, Ode Severus, Johannes Sarisburiensis - who reproved the Pope to his teeth, and then wrote his "Polycraticon," - Lambertus Trajectinus Episcopus - who stoutly reproved King Pipin for his adulteries, A.D. 798, and lost his life for so doing! Godw. Catal. Revius, De Vit. Pontif. Hist. Gal. Epit. To come nearer to our own times, what brave and undaunted spirits were Luther, Farell, Latimer, Lever, Gilpin, Deering, Perkins, Stock! of which last, Mr Gataker giveth this true testimony, that as he could speak his mind fitly, so he durst do it freely. I myself once heard him say to some that slept before him, If ye will not rouse up yourselves, I will pull you up by the poll.

Verse 8

And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if [that had been] too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.

And I gave thee thy master’s house. — What! to hire thee hereby to be thus wicked? Shouldst thou again, after such deliverances and benefices, break my commandments, Ezra 9:13-14 kick against my bowels, fight against me with mine own weapons, …

And thy master’s wives into thy bosom. — That is, Into thy subjection: for David could never have married the wives of Saul, since that had been incest: though some think that he might lawfully have married any of them save Michal’s mother; but yet never actually did, because they were too old.

And gave thee the house of Israel.Qui exprobat reposcit. If God upbraid any man, it is a sign of great anger, and of a danger that he will ere long take his own again and be gone. Hosea 2:2-3

Verse 9

Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife [to be] thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.

Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment? — Yea, not one, but many: especially the sixth and seventh commandment: although the truth is, the whole law is but one copulative, as the schools speak, Exodus 16:18 Ezekiel 18:10-13 and he that breaketh one commandment is guilty of all, James 2:10 since God will not be served with an exception, neither brooketh he a dispensatory conscience.

Thou hast killed Uriah. — A wretched reward for all his good service: a valiant man that ventured his life for thy sake, and would have laid it down for thy safeguard. Like as we read in our chronicles of one Hubert de St Clare, that at the siege of Bridgenorth, A.D. 1155, he cast himself between death and King Henry II, taking the arrow into his own bosom to preserve his sovereign’s life. Speed. Uriah likely would have done as much for David.

Verse 10

Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.

Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house. — Never, that is, so long as thou livest, as 1 Samuel 1:22 Genesis 43:9 . Or, which I like better, From one generation to another, even for many ages. And so this threatening was performed in the slaughter of Amnon, Absalom, Adonijah, the five sons of Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 21:17 all the sons of Joram except Ahaziah, afterwards killed also, 2 Chronicles 22:7 all the king’s seed killed by Athaliah but Joash, and he also afterwards by his servants, 2 Chronicles 24:1-27 his son Amaziah slain, 2 Chronicles 25:27 and Josiah, 2 Chronicles 35:24 and the sons of Zedekiah. 2 Kings 25:7 Weems.

Because thou hast despised me. — In thinking to sin secretly, not considering mine all-seeing eye, nor caring though I looked on.

And hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite. — To conceal your adultery, and to cover your shame, which you mainly minded in that marriage, whereunto you made way by the murder of that good man.

Verse 11

Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give [them] unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.

Behold, I will raise up evil against thee, … — God loveth to retaliate, as were easy to exemplify; take one instance for all. Valentinian the Emperor was slain in Mars’ field at Rome by the instigation of Maximus, whose wife he had defiled. This Maximus thereupon steppeth into the imperial throne, and first ravisheth and then marrieth Eudoxia, late wife to Valentinian. She, thus married, secretly sent for Genserieus, king of Vandals, who seized upon Italy, to the ruin of the Roman empire. Now God hath a holy hand in ordering all these disorders of the world to his own glory and the good of his people.

Verse 12

For thou didst [it] secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.

For thou didst it secretly. — As fearing men more than me; whereas an honest heathen could say, Although I were sure homines ignoraturos, et Deos ignoscituros, Seneca. that men knew it not, and that the gods would pardon it, yet for the filth that is in sin, I would not commit it. It is not for men to put their sins in a secret place, as Deuteronomy 27:15 , to pull down the bush with a vintner, for God will detect them and men shall detest them; at the last day howsoever, if not before, when every man’s faults shall be written in his forehead, and, it shall be said, Behold the man, and behold his works.

Before all Israel.Palam et publice: yea, thou shalt voluntarily shame and shent thyself, doing penance for thine offence, as it were, in a white sheet. Psalms 51:1 , title

And before the sun. — For Absalom abused his father’s concubines on the house top: and haply on that same terrace from whence he first looked, liked, and lusted after Bathsheba.

Verse 13

And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.

I have sinned against the Lord. — He saith not Perii, but Peccavi; not I am undone, but I have done amiss. A short word, but passionate. The greatest griefs are not always the most verbal. Saul confessed his sin more largely, but less effectually; because his confession of sin was not joined with confusion of sin, as Proverbs 28:13 . "I have sinned," said he; "yet honour me before the people": and he sped accordingly, Serm. of Rep., p. 54. as shall be showed.

And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin.Dominus transtulit, The Lord hath caused thy sin to pass over from thee to Christ. Isaiah 53:6 Romans 4:8 The Lord hath translated thy sin upon Christ’s back, as Mr Bradford translateth it; thou shalt not die. This was the voice of the gospel, awarding life to repentance for sin; and this was David’s comfort: like as David, He shall surely die, 2 Samuel 12:5 was the voice of the law, awarding death to sin; and this was Saul’s doom. It is wittily and pithily observed by Bernard, that Saul repented, and his word was Peccavi, I have sinned: David likewise repented, and his word is the same. The answer to Saul was Dominus transtulit, "the Lord hath taken away": the answer to David was the very same, "the Lord hath taken away." They were both kings and sinned, both were warned by prophets, both repented, both confessed, both were answered. Both their words were alike to the prophet, both their answers alike in part from the prophet, Dominus transtulit: yet never so much difference betwixt words as betwixt these two answers; for to David the answer was Transtulit peccatum, the Lord hath taken away thy sin: but to Saul a double Transtulit, but a curse with both. Dominus transtulit regnum, the Lord hath taken away thy kingdom. 1 Samuel 15:26 Again, Dominus transtulit Spiritum, God hath taken from thee his Spirit; 1 Samuel 16:14 and this latter was the greater.

Thou shalt not die. — As thou hast deserved to do, both temporally, by some sudden stroke of God’s hand, ex proprio iudicato, and externally, since hell is the just hire of the least sin; Romans 6:23 how much more of such heinous crimes as thou hast committed! But all is remitted, and thou art rectus in curia, acquitted, and accepted. God hath his pardons ready sealed for true penitentiaries. Homo agnoscit, Deus ignoscit.

Verse 14

Howbeit, 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.

Howbeit, because by this deed, … — Thus, though the Lord was a God that forgave David, yet took he vengeance of his scandalous and reproachful practices. Psalms 99:8 Such sins seldom go unpunished, because of the offence and the evil example that is in them. If sins committed be pardoned, yet sins may be punished: that is, sins committed by example from others: like as a father may be spared, and his children executed.

Occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme. — To lay reproach upon religion, and to rail against God, as if he were the author, or, at least, the abettor of such wickedness. See Isaiah 52:5 Ezekiel 36:20 ; Ezekiel 36:23 Romans 2:24 . This the Jews at this day all chillul hashem, a profaning of God’s name; and this they account one of the greatest sins that can be. Leo Modena.

The child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. — This, though in some respects it was a mercy to David, - for how could he ever have looked upon this child without grief and shame? - yet, considering the dear affection he bare to it, and the manifestation of the divine displeasure in the death of it, he took on exceedingly. So true is that of an ancient, Marulus. Etiam post veniam impetratam nunquam deerit nobis flendi materia, donec Deus eadem benignitate lacrymas nostras abstergat, qua et peccatum remisit: Even after sins pardoned, there will be continual cause of weeping, till such time as God, who hath remitted our sins, shall, by the same grace, have wiped away all tears from our eyes.

Verse 15

And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.

And the Lord struck the child. — As he might justly do, both for the corruption of nature wherein it was conceived Romans 5:14 - infants are no innocents - and for that children are a part of their parents, they are their goods.

And it was very sick. — The Vulgate hath it, He despaired: i.e., David despaired of the child’s recovery by any natural means, only he would try what he could do by fasting and prayer, that best lever at a dead lift.

Verse 16

David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.

David therefore besought God. — As knowing that God doth sometimes threaten, that he may not punish: with humble submission therefore to his goodwill and pleasure he supplicateth for the sick child: wherein also he showeth his good assurance of the pardon of his own sin, by taking the humble boldness to sue for his sick child.

And lay all night upon the earth. — By this χαμευνια , humi-cubatio, lying on the ground, joined with his fasting and prayer, David doth both evidence his affection and edge his devotion. It was in the time of this humiliation, it is thought by some, that David uttered the fifty-first Psalm: which he afterwards published.

Verse 17

And the elders of his house arose, [and went] to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them.

But he would not, neither did he eat bread with them. — It is easy to observe that good man, David, too passionately attached to his children: and that these strong affections brought strong afflictions.

Verse 18

And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?

And it came to pass on the seventh day, — viz., Of the child’s sickness, a critical day; or, After his birth, and then he died without circumcision, and yet was saved. 2 Samuel 12:23 Gratia non est alligata symbolis, God’s grace is not tied unto the signs.

That the child died. — Repentance may come too late in respect of temporal chastisements, 1 Corinthians 11:32 which yet are not penal but medicinal. Thus Moses and Aaron were kept out of Canaan for their disobedience at the waters of Meribah.

Verse 19

But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.

Is the child dead? — This he inquired, that if so, he might put an end to his prayers, which for the dead he knew was not only ineffectual but sinful. Note this against the Romanists’ Orate pro animabus, superstitious intercession for souls departed: as also against their Limbus infantium, whereof Pelagius was the first inventor, saith Peter Martyr.

Verse 20

Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed [himself], and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.

Then David arose from the earth. — When God hath signified his will, he patiently submitteth, and acquiesceth therein. Grief for losses that are past hope of recovery, is more sullen than useful. A godly man saith Amen to God’s Amen; and putteth his fiat and placet to God’s. Acts 21:14

And came into the house of the Lord. — Whose service he preferred before his necessary food, as Job 23:12 . See Trapp on " Job 23:12 "

Verse 21

Then said his servants unto him, What thing [is] this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, [while it was] alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.

What thing is this that thou hast done?Quam absurda et insolens? The saints are "for signs and for wonders in Israel"; Isaiah 8:18 their rations also - because they keep a constant counter notion to the corrupt customs of others - seem strange and unreasonable, 1 Peter 4:4 though they need not.

Verse 22

And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell [whether] GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?

Whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live? — God was gracious to him in that the child did not live. See on 2 Samuel 12:14 . How oft do God’s children find themselves crossed with a blessing! and on the contrary.

Verse 23

But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

I shall go to him, — viz, With my body I shall go to him into the grave, with my soul into heaven. For in answer to his prayers for the child’s life, David had a secret consideration dropped into his soul, that the child was saved.

Verse 24

And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved him.

And David comforted Bathsheba his wife. — Till now she was called the wife of Uriah: but now that God had pardoned their sin, ratified their marriage, and otherwise sealed up his love to them, she is called David’s wife: and he, as a kind husband, comforteth her with the comforts wherewith himself had been comforted of God, 2 Corinthians 1:4 which was doubtless the effect of his seven days fasting: as was also his so patient and peaceable bearing the child’s death, to the admiration of his counsellors, who knew not the power of prayer, nor "the peace of God passing all understanding," that followeth thereupon. Philippians 4:6-7 These are riddles to the unsanctified.

And she bare a son. — Yea, sons, and David’s best sons came of Bathsheba because they were the fruit of their humiliation. Nathan, of whom came Christ, Luke 3:23 ; Luke 3:31 is ranked before Solomon, 2 Samuel 5:14 1 Chronicles 3:5 ; 1 Chronicles 14:4 but Solomon was the elder brother by Bathsheba, and a notable type of Christ, both in his name and in his reign. This may be for comfort to such as have leaped rashly into marriage; yea, have entered into that holy ordinance of God, through the devil’s portal, if for that they be afterwards soundly humbled.

And he called his name Solomon,i.e., Peaceable: a type of Christ triumphant, as David had been of Christ militant, saith one. Diod. The child of adultery died soon, so did not Solomon. This, saith another, Borrh. shadowed forth the old man which must die in the members of Christ, and the new man which must live unto God.

And the Lord loved him. — This was a high privilege and portion enough: together with God’s love cometh a cornucopia of blessings.

Verse 25

And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name Jedidiah, because of the LORD.

And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet. — Who was Solomon’s educator et pedagogus, tutor and monitor to fit him for the kingdom, saith Lyra: and by whom God would comfort David, as before he had humbled him by the same Nathan.

And he called his name Jedidiah,i.e., Beloved of the Lord. This was more than to be called, as Scipio afterwards was, Corculum, the people’s sweet heart: or as Titus, Generis humani deliciae, the darling of mankind: or as Otho the emperor, Miraculum mundi, the world’s wonder. David signifieth beloved: but Jedidiah, the Lord’s beloved: and this,

Because of the Lord. — That is, For the Lord Christ’s sake, as Junius senseth it, in whom alone Solomon was, and all the elect are, beloved of God. Matthew 3:17 Ephesians 1:6 Psalms 127:3

Verse 26

And Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and took the royal city.

And took the royal city. — He had well nigh taken it after a twelve month’s siege. David’s sin at home had hindered Joab’s good success abroad, and retarded the conquest of this city of Rabbah, which now is ready to be taken, that David reconciled to God may have the honour of it: whom therefore Joab desireth to speed away with fresh forces.

Verse 27

And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, I have fought against Rabbah, and have taken the city of waters.

The city of waters,i.e., By Hypallage. The palace royal encompassed with waters, both for safeguard and delight. Or, The city of waters, that is, the waters of the city; Jun so that it cannot long hold out; praecisis aquae ductibus, saith Josephus.

Verse 28

Now therefore gather the rest of the people together, and encamp against the city, and take it: lest I take the city, and it be called after my name.

Lest I take the city, and it be called by my name.Mirare hic modestiam et fidelitatem dueis Ioab, saith one; the modesty and fidelity of General Joab herein is worthy of admiration; and that above all other his noble acts whatsoever; for in those, he overcame others; but in this, himself. And surely his sending for David in this sort, was more for his honour than if he had triumphed a hundred times over Rabbah and the Ammonites. Inter omnia eius praeclara facta hoc heroicum virtutis eius specimen praecipuum semper censui, quod victoriae suo Marte partae gloriam et coronam in Davidis caput transferre voluerit et valuerit, Magnetis Reductor, per Sam. Ward, p. 85. Do we the like by Jesus Christ, when we get any victory over our spiritual enemies, let him have the whole glory; say we as those two disciples in Acts 3:12-16 .

Verse 29

And David gathered all the people together, and went to Rabbah, and fought against it, and took it.

And David gathered all the people together. — He had made his peace with God, for else he durst not have looked the enemy in the face: howbeit, that he had not yet recovered his former tenderness and sweet temper, some have gathered from his rigid, if not cruel dealing with the Ammonites, whom he put under saws and harrows of iron, … Cruelty hath the name a cruore, from blood inhumanly spilt.

Verse 30

And he took their king’s crown from off his head, the weight whereof [was] a talent of gold with the precious stones: and it was [set] on David’s head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city in great abundance.

And he took their king’s crown from off his head. — After that it had been first put on by others, to show that he was now degraded of his royal dignity. So our Richard II, when to be deposed, was brought forth in a royal robe, with a crown upon his head, … Never, saith the historian, was prince so gorgeous with less glory and more grief.

The weight whereof was a talent of gold. — Too heavy and weighty to be worn ordinarily; held it was perhaps, or hung at solemn times, over the king’s head as he sat in a chair of state. The crown of glory is much more weighty; so that if the body were not upheld by the power of God, it were impossible it should bear it. It is "an exceeding excessive eternal weight of glory." 2 Corinthians 4:17

With the precious stones. — It is said of our Queen Mary, that at her coronation, her head was so laden with pearls and precious stones, that she could not look up.

And it was set on David’s head. — So our Edward III was crowned in Paris, and set there a viceroy; like as David here did Shobi the son of Nahash, who therefore helped David when he fled from Absalom. 2 Samuel 17:27-28 Let us set the crown on Christ’s head, by whom we are more than conquerors. See Song of Solomon 3:11 Revelation 4:10 . Canutus set his crown upon the crucifix, according to the course of those dark times, and proclaimed, saying, Let all the inhabitants of the world know that there is no mortal man worthy the name of a king, but he to whose beck heaven, earth, and sea by his laws eternal are obedient. Hen. Bunting.

Verse 31

And he brought forth the people that [were] therein, and put [them] under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brickkiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon. So David and all the people returned unto Jerusalem.

And he brought forth the people that were therein. — The ring leaders especially, who had been chief in abusing David’s messengers. The Corinthians abused certain Roman ambassadors, and were therefore burnt to the ground by L. Mummius: Cic. pro lege Manil. for irasci populo Romano nemo sapienter possit, saith Livy. No wise man will wrong the people of Rome: much less the people of God: and least of all the ambassadors of Christ. Hath any one ever waxed fierce against him and prospered? Job 9:4 I think not.

And put them under saws, and under harrows of iron. — This was a kind of most terrible torture, Amos 1:3 Hebrews 11:37 when

saws, harrows, axes were used in this sort, for punishment of offenders. Whether David did not herein overdo, the doctors are divided. Certain it is, that what miseries soever impenitent sinners suffer here, they are but a typical hell, a praeludium to the wrath to come, a beginning of sorrows, a foretaste of torments without end and past imagination.

And made them pass through the brickkiln.Per fornacem Moleci, through Molech’s furnace; where they made their children to pass through the fire, as Junius judgeth.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/2-samuel-12.html. 1865-1868.
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