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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Nathan (given), a prophet of the time of David. When that monarch conceived the idea of building a temple to Jehovah, the design and motives seemed to Nathan so good that he ventured to approve of it without the Divine authority, but the night following he received the Divine command, which prevented the king from executing this great work (, sq.; 1 Chronicles 17). Nathan does not again appear in the sacred history till he comes forward in the name of the Lord to reprove David, and to denounce dire punishment for his frightful crime in the matter of Uriah and Bathsheba. This he does by exciting the king's indignation, and leading him to condemn himself, by reciting to him the very striking parable of the traveler and the lamb. Then, changing the voice of a suppliant for that of a judge and a commissioned prophet, he exclaims, 'Thou art the man!' and proceeds to announce the evils which were to embitter the remainder of his reign (, sq.; comp. Psalms 51). The lamentations of the repentant king drew forth some mitigation of punishment; but the troubled history of the remainder of his reign shows how completely God's righteous doom was fulfilled. The child conceived in adultery died; but when Bathsheba's second son was born, the prophet gave him the name of Jedidiah (beloved of Jehovah), although he is better known by that of Solomon (). He recognized in this young prince the successor of David; and it was in a great measure through his interposition that the design of Adonijah to seize the crown was unsuccessful (, sq.). Nathan probably died soon after the accession of Solomon, for his name does not again historically occur. It is generally supposed that Solomon was brought up under his care. His sons occupied high places in this king's court (). He assisted David by his counsels when he reorganized the public worship (); and he composed annals of the times in which he lived (; ); but these have not been preserved to us. In Zechariah () the name of Nathan occurs as representing the great family of the prophets.





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Nathan'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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Thursday, October 29th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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