Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 12:22

He said, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, the Lord may be gracious to me, that the child may live.'
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Afflictions and Adversities;   Bereavement;   David;   Fasting;   Parents;   Prayer;   Seven;   Thompson Chain Reference - David;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Afflicted Saints;   Children;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Nathan;   Parable;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Ancestors;   Bathsheba;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Know, Knowledge;   Easton Bible Dictionary - David;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ammon, Ammonites;   Samuel, Books of;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Nathan ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Nathan;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - David;   Mourning;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Fast;   Nathan (1);   Samuel, Books of;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Who can tell - David, and indeed all others under the Mosaic dispensation, were so satisfied that all God's threatenings and promises were conditional, that even in the most positive assertions relative to judgments, etc., they sought for a change of purpose. And notwithstanding the positive declaration of Nathan, relative to the death of the child, David sought for its life, not knowing but that might depend on some unexpressed condition, such as earnest prayer, fasting, humiliation, etc., and in these he continued while there was hope. When the child died, he ceased to grieve, as he now saw that this must be fruitless. This appears to be the sole reason of David's importunity.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:22". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-12.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And he said, while the child was yet alive,.... And so there was hope it might be continued:

I fasted and wept; or sought the Lord by prayer, and fasting, and weeping, that the threatening might not take place, that the child's life might be spared:

for I said; within himself, thus he reasoned in his own mind:

who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live? and in hope of this he kept praying, fasting, and weeping; he could not tell but God might repent of the evil he had threatened, as in some cases he has done; see Joel 2:13. Abarbinel thinks that David fasted and wept to hide this matter from his wife, and his servants, and did not let them know that this was in his punishment, that the child should die.

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 12:22". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-12.html. 1999.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 12:22 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?

Ver. 22. 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.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:22". 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

For God’s threatening of the child’s death might be conditional, as that was of Nineveh’s destruction, Jonah 3:4.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:22". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-12.html. 1685.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Who can tell . . . ? Figure of speech Erotesis. App-6.

GOD = Jehovah. App-4.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:22". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-samuel-12.html. 1909-1922.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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?
I fasted
Isaiah 38:1-3,5; Joel 1:14; 2:14; Amos 5:15; Jonah 1:6; 3:9,10; James 4:9,10
Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 12:16 - besought;  2 Kings 20:3 - wept sore;  Isaiah 38:3 - wept;  Zephaniah 2:3 - it may

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:22". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-12.html.

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

"Handfuls of Purpose"

For All Gleaners

"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?"2 Samuel 12:22.

David had been afflicted because of the sin which he had committed.—The prophet had foretold that the child that was to be born unto him should surely die.—In fulfilment of this prophecy the Lord struck the child, and it was very sick.—David, though a guilty sinner, had a tender heart.—Above all the tumult of his wrongdoing there came the voice of prayer and intercession.—David besought God for the child, and fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.—" 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. And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died."—Now David shows another aspect of his character,—the strong, soldierly, royal aspect.—He had fought a battle, and lost it; he would not give up hope so long as life flickered in the pulse; he wrestled with death, and would have thrown the grim monster if he could; but death was not to be pacified by his tears or to be driven away by all his prayers.—A marvellous tribute is paid to God"s goodness in this very confession of David, "Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me?"—he had seen so many acts of graciousness on the part of God; God had so often turned away from wrath, and rejoiced in mercy; he had overlooked so much, delivered from so many dangers, interposed in so many crises, that David had a lingering hope that even yet, though the sword was lifted high, it would be turned aside, and the little child should be permitted to live.—We must accept the providences of heaven alike when they are blessings and when they are judgments.—In this case the providence was a judgment, and David accepted it, saying, "Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."—Thus we have to fall into the march of the divine providence; we have to note the rhythm of the heavenly movement and keep in step with it; and this being Song of Solomon, our resignation will be accepted as repentance, and our obedience accounted as prayer.—The man had sinned, sinned deeply, sinned all but unpardonably; yet, account for it as we may, there was something in him which God could not but look upon with complacency; the very seed of heaven was in him, and he had a great election to realise and justify.—So it may be with many of us.—We have great sins, but our love may be greater than our guilt.—After all we have done, enough indeed to darken all heaven as with a frown, it may be that the voice of God within us shall be stronger than the voice of temptation, and out of great sin and infinite danger, we may be brought to peace, restoration, and eternal blessedness.—Let no man trifle with these hopes, or these sacred promises; they were not meant to be trodden under foot, or to be made excuses for redoubling our sin; they were meant to deter us from the repetition of evil, and to encourage us in our upward way.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:22". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jpb/2-samuel-12.html. 1885-95.