Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 12:15

So Nathan went to his house.

Loss of a Child

Then the Lord struck the child that Uriah's widow bore to David, so that he was very sick.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Afflictions and Adversities;   Bereavement;   Children;   David;   Disease;   Nathan;   Thompson Chain Reference - David;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Afflicted Saints;   Diseases;   Sickness;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Parable;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Bathsheba;   Nathan;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Bath-Sheba;   David;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Nathan;   Holman Bible Dictionary - David;   Diseases;   Intercession;   King, Kingship;   Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ammon, Ammonites;   Medicine;   Nathan;   Samuel, Books of;   Sin;   Uriah;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Nathan ;   Uriah ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Nathan;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - David;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Nathan (1);   Samuel, Books of;   Sick;   Uriah;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Bathsheba;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Ancestor Worship;   Judge;  

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

THE DEATH OF DAVID AND BATHSHEBA'S CHILD

"And the Lord struck the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and it became sick. David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted and went in and lay all night upon the ground. And the elders of his house stood before him, to raise him up from the ground; but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. On the seventh day 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 spoke to him, and he did not listen to us; how then can we say to him the child is dead? He may do himself some harm.' But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived the child was dead; and David said to his servants, `Is the child dead?' They said, `He is dead.' Then David arose from the earth, and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshipped; he then went to his own house; and when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, `What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while it was yet alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.' He said, `While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, `who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live'? But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.'"

This well-known passage, read at many funerals, is incapable of being misunderstood and, "Needs but little comment."[14]

To us, it seems strange that David was so touched by the death of this child. In the normal run of things, the death of some infant in the harem of an Oriental king would have rated little or no attention. Why the difference here? David knew that he deserved to die, according to God's law, and he identified himself, in some sense, with this child, and it was doubtless the acute realization of his gross wickedness and the inevitable consequences of it which God had revealed to him that sent David into this frenzy of fasting, praying, and hoping that God would spare the child.

David's response to the infant's death, considered strange by the servants, was exactly correct. All mortals should respond in a similar manner when death strikes a loved one. As DeHoff said:

"This is the attitude that all of us must take when our loved ones have died. We must get hold of ourselves emotionally, arrange for the funeral, and resume the normal activities of life. We are obligated to ourselves, to those who are still alive, especially to those who still love us and depend upon us; and above all we are obligated to God to dry our tears and to get on with the business of living. We should not act as if the whole world had ended when some precious loved one dies, regardless of our broken hearts."[15]

Many years ago, in my commentary on Matthew, I wrote that, "It is a marvel of the Providence of God that this guilty and unfortunate wife of Uriah the Hittite should have found a place in the ancestry of our Lord."[16] We were reminded of this error on our part when we ran across this comment by Tatum, "The overcoming grace of God in spite of the sin of man is seen in that God chose to use Solomon; and that Jesus was born of the line that came from David and Bathsheba."[17] (See my commentary on Luke 3, for the proof that the Virgin Mary descended not from Solomon but from Nathan, another one of David's sons.) As for God's using Solomon, there was a remarkably good reason for that, which we shall cite later.

"David lay on the ground" (2 Samuel 12:16-17); "... the earth" (2 Samuel 12:20). It amazes us that some very learned man would write, "The ground here means the floor of his chamber as opposed to his couch."[18] Is it not a dirty shame that the blessed Holy Spirit could not think of the word for "floor"?

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:15". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/2-samuel-12.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Nathan departed unto his house,.... His own house, which probably was in the city of Jerusalem, having delivered his message, and brought David to a sense of his sin, and declared to him from the Lord the forgiveness of it; yet for the honour of religion, and the stopping of the mouths of blasphemers, the death of the child is threatened and foretold, and then Nathan took his leave of him, having nothing more from the Lord to say to him:

and the Lord struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David; for so she was, and not David's wife, when this child was begotten of her; and, as a mark of God's displeasure at the sin of adultery, the child was struck with a sore disease by the immediate hand of God:

and it was very sick; even unto death, as the event showed.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-12.html. 1999.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

(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.

The Reader should observe how the conference broke off abruptly. Nathan had executed his commission; and now left the monarch to his own reflections, bitter indeed as they must have been. He stayed not to soften what he had said; nor to soothe David under his trouble. Probably, as a good man, he retired to his house to pray for David. Here let ministers learn, after that they have executed their commission, and dealt faithfully with sinners, to retire to seek a blessing on their ministry from him who alone can render their labours effectual. It is more than probable, that when Nathan went to his house, David retired to his chamber, and poured out his soul before the Lord in the devout and penitential expressions which we find penned in Ps 51: the title of it saith as much; that it was when Nathan the prophet came unto him after he had gone in unto Bath-sheba. It would swell the commentary to a length inadmissible, to point out the numberless breathings of a soul truly awakened to a sense of sin and deprecating the divine displeasure, which that Psalm contains. I must therefore suppress what otherwise I should delight to enlarge upon. But there is one circumstance in it which is not perhaps so generally noticed as it ought; and yet it is the very one which, of all others, testifies in the loudest strains the genuine repentance of David for his foul transactions; namely, that as the title of the Psalm also expresses it, it was directed To the chief Musician; perhaps David sent it to the singers in the temple service, that it might be set to music, and constantly sung when David attended the worship of the Lord, as a standing memorial of his unfeigned humiliation and sorrow for his crimes; and that he was constantly looking up to God for the pardon of them. Now, Reader, as oft as you think of David's scandalous fall, think also of his unequalled humility. Figure to yourself the king of Israel not only looking up to God in secret for pardon, but causing all the subjects in his kingdom to know what a sinner he had been, and calling upon the Lord in public to have mercy upon him. Surely! it affords the most complete view that any history ever afforded of real, true, and genuine repentance. See also Luke 22:61-62.

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Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:15". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/2-samuel-12.html. 1828.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 12:15 And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.

Ver. 15. 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.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-12.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The Lord struck the child with some sudden and dangerous distemper.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:15". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-12.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

15.The Lord struck the child — With some fatal disease which, on the seventh day, resulted in death.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:15". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-12.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Of. Hebrew, "it was sick" (Calmet) of a fever.

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:15". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-12.html. 1859.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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

The Lord struck the child ... and it was very sick. The first visible chastisement inflicted on David appeared on the person of that child which was the evidence and monument of his guilt. His domestics were surprised at his conduct, and in explanation of the singularity it is necessary to remark that the custom in the East is to leave the nearest relative of a decreased person to the full and undisturbed indulgence of his grief, until, on the third or fourth day at farthest (John 11:17), the other relatives and friends visit him, invite him to eat, lead him to a bath, and bring him a change of dress, which is necessary, from his having sat or lain on the ground. The surprise of David's servants, then, who had seen his bitter anguish while the child was sick, arose apparently from this, that when be found it was dead, he who had so deeply lamented, arose of himself from the earth, without waiting for their coming about him, immediately bathed and anointed himself with perfumes, as Orientals do when they go into society (Psalms 45:8; Proverbs 7:17; Amos 6:6), instead of appearing a mourner, and, after worshipping God with solemnity, returned to his accustomed repast, without any interposition of others.

In this short passage the divine names are used with greater variation than usual: 2 Samuel 12:15 has [ Yahweh (Hebrew #3069)], Jehovah (the Lord); 2 Samuel 12:16 has [ haa-'Elohiym (Hebrew #430)], God; and in 2 Samuel 12:22 the Hebrew text has [ Yahweh (Hebrew #3069)], Jehovah (the Lord), where in our version is God. Whether the sacred historian was guided in the employment of these names by some unknown principle, or he used them indiscriminately, it is difficult to decide. But certainly their application in this narrative is not explicable on any theory yet propounded at all events not by that of Hengstenberg ('Pentateuch on the Names of God,' 1:, pp. 213-231).

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-samuel-12.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.
struck the child
Deuteronomy 32:39; 1 Samuel 25:38; 26:10; 2 Kings 15:5; 2 Chronicles 13:20; Psalms 104:29; Acts 12:23
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 14:1 - the son;  Mark 5:23 - besought

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-12.html.