2 Samuel Chapter 12
Verses 1-14: Psalm 51 records David’s words of repentance after being confronted by Nathan over his sin with Bath-sheba (Psalm Chapter 32), where David expresses his agony after Nathan’s confrontation.
In verses 1-4: When the prophet “Nathan” came to see David, it was not for encouragement or confirmation but for confrontation. Nathan used a parable to help David see his sin and call him to repentance. (Psalms 32 and 51), express David’s intense feelings of guilt and his repentance after Nathan’s prophecy.
“Rich … poor”: To understand this parable, it is necessary only to recognize that the rich man represented David, the poor man, Uriah, and the ewe lamb, Bath-sheba.
2 Samuel 12:1 “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.”
“The Lord sent Nathan”: The word “Lord” is conspicuously absent from the narrative of (chapter 11 until verse 27), but then the Lord became actively involved by confronting David with his sin. As Joab had sent a messenger to David (11:18-19), so the Lord now sent His messenger to David.
This is a continuation (of chapter 11). We know from that chapter, that David and Bath-sheba had committed adultery, and she had conceived a child. David had sent her husband to the front of the battle, and had him killed, so he and Bath-sheba could marry. At the end of the last lesson we learned that they had a son born from that affair. It appears that David has not repented before the LORD for these sins.
At least a year has passed, since the adulterous affair began. Nathan is a prophet of God. The LORD has sent Nathan to speak to David. The parable, he gives, will show David just how guilty he is of this sin. Of course, the rich man in this is speaking of David, and the poor man is Uriah.
2 Samuel 12:2 “The rich [man] had exceeding many flocks and herds:”
In which the wealth of men lay in those times and countries; these in the parable signify David’s wives and concubines, which were many; he had six wives in Hebron, and he took more wives and concubines out of Jerusalem, when he was come from Hebron, (2 Sam. 3:2); and besides his master’s, or Saul’s wives, given to him, (2 Sam. 12:8).
2 Samuel 12:3 “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.”
“All these circumstances are exquisitely contrived to heighten the pity of the hearer for the oppressed, and his indignation against the oppressor.”
2 Samuel 12:4 “And there came a traveler 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.”
By which some understand Satan, who came to David, and stirred up his lust by the temptations that offered; who is a walker, as the word used signifies that goes about seeking whom he may devour, and is with good men only as a wayfaring man, who does not abide with them. And whose temptations, when they succeed with such, are as meat and drink to him, very entertaining. But the Jews generally understand it of the evil imagination or concupiscence in man, the lustful appetite in David, which wandered after another man’s wife, and wanted to be satisfied with her.
“And he spared to take of his own flock, and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that came unto him”: When his heart was inflamed with lust at the sight of Bath-sheba. He did not go as he might, and take one of his wives and concubines, whereby he might have satisfied and repressed his lust.
“But took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that came to him”: Sent for Bath-sheba and lay with her, for the gratification of his lust, she being a young beautiful woman, and more agreeable to his lustful appetite. The Jews (in their Talmud), observe a gradation in these words that the evil imagination is represented first as a traveler that passes by a man, and lodges not with him. Then as a wayfaring man or host, that passes in and lodges with him. And at last as a man, as the master of the house that rules over him, and therefore called the man that came to him.
This is a parable about what David had done to Uriah. David was, indeed, rich, but he, also, had many wives and many concubines. Uriah had only one wife. This is telling how David took the only wife that Uriah had, instead of being satisfied with the wives he already had.
Verses 5-7: David’s sense of justice was still alive and well, but he had lost the ability to see his own sin. How easy it is to see the sins of others without applying the scriptural standards to ourselves (Matt. 7:3-5). David called for the full weight of the law to be applied (Exodus 22:1).
2 Samuel 12:5 “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:”
“Shall surely die”: According to (Exodus 22:1), the penalty for stealing and slaughtering an ox or a sheep was not death, but restitution. However, in the parable, the stealing and slaughtering of the lamb represented the adultery with Bath-sheba and the murder of Uriah by David. According to the Mosaic law, both adultery (Lev. 20:10), and murder (Lev. 24:17), required punishment by death. In pronouncing this judgment on the rich man in the story, David unwittingly condemned himself to death.
2 Samuel 12:6 “And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
“Fourfold”: Exodus 22:1 demanded a (4-fold restitution), for the stealing of sheep. There is an allusion here to the subsequent death of 4 of David’s sons: Bath-sheba’s first son (verse 18), Amnon (13:28-29), Absalom (16:14-15), and Adonijah (1 Kings 2:25).
David had a sense of fairness, even though he had not shown it in the case of Uriah. He had judged many things among his people, and he immediately knew the man in the parable was very wrong. David is saying that the man that would do such a thing should surely die. The last part of this really would be impossibility, if the man had been killed. He could not give 4 back for one if he is dead.
2 Samuel 12:7 “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;”
“Anointed”: Earlier, the prophet Samuel’s confrontation with the sinful Saul emphasized the same point (1 Sam. 15:17).
Suddenly, Nathan tells David the man in the parable is speaking of him. God had shown great confidence in David. God had trusted David with the whole kingdom when He anointed him. He had miraculously saved him from Saul. David has ruined God’s trust in him.
2 Samuel 12:8 “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.”
“Thy master’s wives”: This phraseology means nothing more than that God in His providence had given David, as king, everything that was Saul’s. There is no evidence that he ever married any of Saul’s wives, though the harem of eastern kings passed to their successors.
Ahinoam, the wife of David (2:2; 3:2; 1 Sam. 25:43; 27:3; 30:5), is always referred to as the Jezreelitess, whereas Ahinoam, the wife of Saul, is distinguished clearly from her by being called “the daughter of Ahimaaz” (1 Sam. 14:50).
The custom in the orient was that all possessions, including wives, belonged to the king who took over the throne from another. This is what is meant by houses and wives. David did not take the wives of Saul or Ish-bosheth, for his own. David had taken many wives however. He had everything he should have wanted. If there was a desire of his heart he did not have, he should have asked God and God would have given it to him.
2 Samuel 12:9 “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.”
“Despised”: To despise the word of the Lord was to break His commands and thus incur punishment (Num. 15:31). In summarizing David’s violations, his guilt is divinely affirmed.
David broke the tenth commandment (coveting; Exodus 20:17), the seventh commandment (adultery; Exodus 20:14), and the sixth commandment (murder; Exodus 20:13).
We can easily see that just because David had not pierced Uriah with his own sword, did not free him from the guilt of killing him. Truly, David killed Uriah and God holds him responsible.
Verses 10-11: The price of sin is often much higher than is realized (Psalm 32), even when a person has repented and been forgiven. The consequences of David’s sin toward Bath-sheba and Uriah continued for generations. From this time forward, David’s household experienced many violent deaths by the “sword”, including his sons Amnon (13:29), Absalom (18:15), and Adonijah (1 Kings 2:24-25). David’s son Absalom also took David’s “wives” (16:22).
These judgments came to pass literally in the sins of his own household (Chapter 13), the rebellion by his own son, Absalom (Chapter 15), and the civil war that followed (Chapters 16-20). David was never to fully know rest again.
2 Samuel 12:10 “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.”
“The sword shall never depart from thine house”: David’s tragic punishment was a lingering one. Since Uriah was killed by violence, the house of David would be continually plagued by violence. These words anticipated the violent deaths of Amnon (13:28-29), Absalom (18:14-15), and Adonijah (1 Kings 2:24-25).
The punishment for David killing Uriah will continue on until the death of David. God does not count this sin as an ordinary sin, but it is a sin against God, as well as against Uriah. We will see in David’s children the punishment of God through his children. Amnon was murdered. Absalom rebelled against David and died before David’s death. There were so many violent things that happened to David’s children, we will just mention these two here. In addition to the two mentioned, is a sentence that both David and Bath-sheba are punished by, when they lose the baby that was born from their adulterous affair.
2 Samuel 12:11 “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 neighbor, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.”
“Evil … out of thine own house”: David had done evil to another’s man’s family (11:27). Therefore, he would receive evil in his own family, such as Amnon’s rape of Tamar (13:1-14), Absalom’s murder of Amnon (13:28-29), and Absalom’s rebellion against David (15:1-12).
“Lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun”: This prediction was fulfilled by Absalom’s public appropriation of David’s royal concubines during his rebellion (16:21-22).
David had spoken of death, as part of the punishment on the man in the parable that Nathan brought. He also spoke of the lamb being replaced four times over. The punishment of David from the LORD came right out of his own mouth. Perhaps, this is speaking of Absalom trying to take David’s wives. He rebelled against his father and wanted to be king, which would have given him David’s wives.
2 Samuel 12:12 “For thou didst [it] secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.”
Committed adultery with Bath-sheba privately, and endeavored to conceal it, by getting her husband killed in battle, and then marrying her as soon as he could to hide the shame of it.
But one will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun”: As the above fact was; that is, he would suffer it for what he done, and so order it in his providence, that everything should concur to the doing of it; as David’s leaving his wives behind him. Ahithophel’s wicked counsel he was suffered to give, and the lustful inclination Absalom was left unto, and not any of the people of Israel having religion, spirit, and courage enough to complain against it.
What David thought was a secret sin, was something the LORD knew all about. David had not come forward and repented of this sin. The Lord punishes him in the open.
Verses 13-14: David repented and God forgave him (Psalms 32 and 51). However, because David had “given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme,” David lost his son (12:19).
2 Samuel 12:13 “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”: David did not attempt to rationalize or justify his sin. When confronted with the facts, David’s confession was immediate. The fuller confessions of David are found in Psalms 32:5; 51:3-4.
“The Lord also hath put away thy sin”: The Lord graciously forgave David’s sin, but the inevitable temporal consequences of sin were experienced by him. Forgiveness does not always remove the consequences of sin in this life, only in the life to come. “David” genuinely grieved and repented. However, the seed of sin was immediately to bear bitter fruit for the child born of the adultery which became grievously ill and died (verses 15-18).
“Thou shalt not die”: Although the sins of David legally demanded his death (see verse 5), the Lord graciously released David from the required death penalty. There are events in the Old Testament record where God required death and others where He showed grace and spared the sinner. This is consistent with justice and grace. Those who perished are illustrations of what all sinners deserve. Those who were spared are proofs and examples of God’s grace.
David is truly sorry and has repented in his heart. He was so in love with Bath-sheba, that he was blinded to his sin. David confesses his sin to Nathan. David knows he deserves to die. David knew the penalty for adultery and for murder was death. Both penalties would be very hard to carry out against a king. David was not as concerned of what man could do to him, as he was with his standing with God. Nathan assures David that the sin has been set aside by the LORD and He will not kill David for the sin. In the Psalms, we read of the great sorrow that David felt, because of his sins.
2 Samuel 12:14 “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.”
“Enemies of the Lord”: Because of God’s reputation among those who opposed Him, David’s sin had to be judged. The judgment would begin with the death of Bath-sheba’s baby son.
David’s sin had brought the name of God into disrepute. Such knowledge ought to serve as a deterrent to willful sin on the part of believers (1 Tim. 5:14; 6:1).
David represented the LORD, especially to the heathen world. They were aware that David was anointed of the Lord to carry out His wishes. The fact that David committed so terrible a sin would be a shame for David, and for God who chose David. It would actually make the heathens think less of the LORD, because He let David get away with such a sin. The death of the baby would be a visible sign of the LORD punishing David for his sin.
Verses 15-19: Sin sometimes has natural consequences, such as the rupture of a relationship that results from betrayal. Sometimes the consequences are a form of divine punishment, as was the case for David and Bath-sheba’s first “child” (although the loss of a child is not always divine punishment). David hoped God might change His mind, but He did not. When Christians seek forgiveness from God, the guilt goes away but the consequences remain.
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.”
His own house, which was 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 honor of religion, and the stopping of the mouths of blasphemers, the death of the child is threatened and foretold. 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.
Notice this punishment is from the LORD. This is not something Satan did to David. This is from the LORD. The death of the baby would prove to the heathen world that the LORD was just and was so powerful, that He could strike the king for sin. The baby is very sick.
2 Samuel 12:16 “David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.”
Perhaps went into the tabernacle he had built for the Ark, and prayed to the Lord to restore the child, and spare its life. For though the Lord had said it should die, he might hope that that was a conditional threatening, and that the Lord might be gracious and reverse it (2 Sam. 12:22).
“And David fasted”: All that day.
“And went in”: To his own house from the house of God.
“And lay all night upon the earth”: Would neither go into, nor lie upon a bed, but lay on the floor all night, weeping and praying for the child’s life, and especially for its eternal welfare. He, having through sin, been the means of its coming into a sinful and afflicted state.
David did all he knew to do. He fasted and lay on his face before the LORD. His prayer was sincere, but the LORD would not hear.
2 Samuel 12:17 “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.”
The death of the infant child of one of the numerous harem of an Oriental monarch would in general be a matter of little moment to the father. The deep feeling shown by David on this occasion is both an indication of his affectionate and tender nature, and also a proof of the strength of his passion for Bath-sheba. He went into his most private chamber, his closet (Matt. 6:6), and “lay upon the earth” (2 Sam. 13:31), rather “the ground,” meaning the floor of his chamber as opposed to his couch.
His grief was so overwhelming that the elders tried to get him up. He fasted while the baby was sick. His prayers were sincere and with deep grief, but the LORD would not hear.
2 Samuel 12:18 “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?”
Not the seventh day from its being taken ill, but from its birth.
“And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead”: Lest he should be overwhelmed with too much sorrow.
“For they said, behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him”: To rise from the ground, and eat food: And he would not hearken unto our voice; we could not prevail upon him to do the one nor the other.
“How will he then vex himself if we tell him that the child is dead?” Or should we acquaint him with it, “he will do mischief” to himself, to his body; he will tear his flesh to pieces, and cut and kill himself. This they were afraid of, observing the distress and agony he was in while it was living, and therefore they concluded these would increase upon hearing of its death.
David prayed and fasted the entire 7 days that the baby was sick. It was to no avail, because the baby died. They were afraid of the worst, when they told David the baby was dead. He knew it was his sin that brought this upon his baby. The elders had tried to talk to him, but he would not listen. Now, they were afraid of what he might do, on hearing of the baby’s death.
2 Samuel 12:19 “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.”
For they said the above to one another with a low voice, that he might not hear them, though in the same room with them.
“David perceived the child was dead”: He guessed it was, and that this was the thing they were whispering about among themselves.
“Therefore David said unto his servants, is the child dead?” And they said he is dead; for putting the question to them so closely, they could not avoid giving the answer they did, and which he was prepared to receive, by what he had observed in them.
The servants were afraid to tell David, for fear of what he might do. The whispering gave indication to David, that the baby was dead. David helped them by asking the question. Then they must answer. The baby is indeed dead.
2 Samuel 12:20 “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.”
From the floor on which he lay.
“And washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel. Neither of which he had done during his time of fasting.
“And came into the house of the Lord, and worshipped”: Went into the tabernacle he had built for the Ark of God, and then in prayer submitted himself to the will of God, and acknowledged his justice in what he had done. He gave thanks to God that he had brought him to a sense of his sin, and repentance for it, and had applied his pardoning grace to him, and given him satisfaction as to the eternal welfare and happiness of the child, as appears from (2 Sam. 12:23).
“Then he, came to his own house”: From the house of God, having finished his devotion there.
“And when he required”: He ordered food to be brought in.
“They set bread before him, and he did eat”: Whereas before, while the child was living, he refused to eat.
David had not been in the sanctuary before. He had been lying before the LORD somewhere in his own house. There is no need to weep for the baby any longer, the baby is dead. He went to the sanctuary after cleansing himself and worshipped the LORD. David knows he deserves the punishment the LORD brings upon him. He finally agrees to eat after the baby is dead.
2 Samuel 12:21 “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.”
Or what is the reason of such conduct and behavior? They knew what was done, but they did not know the meaning of it, which is what they inquired after.
Thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive”: Prayed with fasting and weeping for it, that it might live and not die.
“But when the child was dead thou didst rise and eat bread”: And appeared cheerful; this seemed strange to them, when they expected his sorrow would be increased.
The servants did not understand why David was weeping and fasting. He was fasting and weeping, as much for the sin he committed, as he did for the life of the child. He did grieve over the child, but his greatest grief was that he had done something that displeased God so greatly. David actually showed the people around him, that he accepted the punishment levied upon him by the LORD, when he went to the sanctuary to worship at the death of the baby.
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?”
This time for fasting was over. God’s will had been made known. It was time for David to learn the divine lesson and get on with a proper and productive life in the light of the inevitability of his own death.
David was very aware of the gracious forgiveness of the LORD; he had been shown so many times. He fasted and wept, hoping that the LORD would, one more time, be gracious and let the child live. There was still hope of receiving that forgiveness until the baby died. Now, it is too late.
2 Samuel 12:23 “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.”
Some scholars have seen in David’s words the added thought that David trusted God to graciously care for the soul of the dead infant, whom a believing David would join in the presence of God after his earthly life was over (see the note on 1 Kings 14:13).
“I shall go to him”: i.e., David would someday join his son after his own death (1 Sam. 28:19). Here is the confidence that there is a future reunion after death, which includes infants who have died being reunited with saints who die (see note on Matt. 19:14; Mark 10:13-16).
This is an encouraging verse for Christian parents who have lost children. Believers are assured that they will be reunited with them in heaven.
The answer is no, he cannot bring him back. David has done all that he can. We know that truly, it is appointed unto man once to die.
Verses 24-25: The grace of God is abundantly demonstrated in allowing “Bath-sheba” to give birth to the “son” through whom the promise in the Davidic covenant would continue. “Solomon” was blessed by “Nathan, the prophet,” with the name “Jedidiah,” “Beloved of the Lord.”
2 Samuel 12:24 “And David comforted Bath-sheba 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.”
“Solomon”: Either “(God is) peace” or “His replacement.” Both were true of this child.
It appears that David had great love for Bath-sheba. The fact that she conceived again, and God gave her a son, shows that God had forgiven them for their sins. Notice the statement, “the LORD loved him”. “Solomon” means peaceable. Solomon was known as a man of peace. The name David gave Solomon indicates that the wars of David’s early days are over.
2 Samuel 12:25 “And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name Jedidiah, because of the LORD.”
“Jedidiah” is the same as Solomon, and it means beloved of Jehovah. Remember, this name is the one God gave him, not his parents. Nathan was speaking as a representative of the LORD, when he gave the name. Solomon, who was loved in the sense of being chosen by the Lord to be the successor to David’s throne, a remarkable instance of God’s goodness and grace considering the sinful nature of the marriage.
2 Samuel 12:26 “And Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and took the royal city.”
The consequences of David’s sin would also surface in renewed warfare with the Ammonites (verse 10). David’s victory here brought stability to his eastern border.
2 Samuel 12:27 “And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, I have fought against Rabbah, and have taken the city of waters.”
Rabbah, like Aroer, was divided into two parts, one the lower town, insulated by the winding course of the Jabbok, which flowed almost round it, and the upper and stronger town, called the royal city. “The first was taken by Joab, but the honor of capturing so strongly a fortified place as the other was an honor reserved for the king himself.”
This is not in chronological order. This battle is the same one that Uriah was involved in. Even though it was a long siege, all of the above things did not happen during this time. The two Scriptures above happened a short time after the death of Uriah.
2 Samuel 12:28 “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.”
Gather the rest of the soldiers in the land of Israel and come to Rabbah.
“And encamp against the city”: invest it in form.
“And take it”: Upon surrender or by storm; for it could not hold out long.
“Lest I take the city, and it be called after my name”: So great a regard had Joab, though an ambitious man, to the fame and credit of David his king. Like Craterus at the siege of Artacacna, being prepared to take it, waited for the coming of Alexander, that he might have the honor of it.
Verses 29-31 (see 1 Chronicles 20:1-3).
2 Samuel 12:29 “And David gathered all the people together, and went to Rabbah, and fought against it, and took it.”
“David … took it”: The soldiers that were with him, or near him; which was done partly to recruit Joab’s troops, who, by the continuance of the siege, and attacks of the enemy on them, might be greatly diminished; and partly to make conquests of other cities of the Ammonites, and to carry off the spoil of them.
“And went to Rabbah”: Which must be after the death of Uriah, and very probably during the time of Bath-sheba’s mourning for him.
“And fought against it, and took it”: By assault. David completed what Joab had begun by capturing the city of Rabbah.
David needed to lead the actual final assault on the city. David took more men with him too. David needed the honor of the conquest very much at this point. Joab is also saying, if he takes the great risk of storming the wall, he would claim the city for himself. David will lead the assault. The men fight better, knowing their king is leading them.
2 Samuel 12:30 “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.”
This was the king’s part of the spoil. The weight thereof was a talent of gold, Or rather, the price or value of it, as the Hebrew frequently signifies, and not only weight; and so it is to be taken here; for who could be able to carry on his head such a weight as a talent; which is computed to be seventy-five pounds.
“With the precious stones”: which this made the value of it so great. Josephus says that there was a stone of great price in the middle of the crown, which he calls a sardonyx. And it was set on David’s head to show the inhabitants that they were to submit to him as their king.
This crown weighed about 7 pounds. This would be a terrible weight for a man to have on his head. This crown had to be taken off their king’s head and symbolically placed on David’s head to show his supreme rule. This was a proclamation of victory.
2 Samuel 12:31 “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.”
“Put them under”: David imposed hard labor on the Ammonites. But these verses can also be translated with the sense that the Ammonites were cut with saws, indicating that David imposed cruel death on the captives in accordance with Ammonite ways (1 Sam. 11:2; Amos 1:13).
A comparison with (1 Chronicles 20:3), has led to two views regarding David’s judgment against the Ammonites:
(1) David repaid the traditional Ammonite cruelty (1 Sam. 11:2; Amos 1:13) in kind; or
(2) David sentenced the Ammonites to hard labor.
Either view demands some harmonization between the two texts. On the whole, the second suggestion is to be preferred, perhaps by understanding the verb translated in (1 Chronicles 20:3), as “cut’ to mean “consigned to.”
This is a description of cruelty to the ultimate. This does not say whether this is all the people, or just the soldiers. We should hope it was just the soldiers. It appears, some of them died by being sawed. It seemed the Israelites dismembered the people with pieces of iron swung like a sickle. Some were beheaded with axes. The brickkiln is probably the cruelest. These kilns are heated to extreme heat to bake the bricks, as they pass through the heat. A person could not last long in there as they would burn to death. They returned to Jerusalem with the name of being a bloody king. The only answer we have for the cruelty that David showed here is the fact that had they lost, the enemy would have killed them in this same manner.
2 Samuel Chapter 12 Questions
1. Who did the LORD send to David with a message?
2. How was the message presented?
3. How much time had elapsed since the adulterous affair?
4. What is this parable truly about?
5. What reaction did David have to the parable?
6. What punishment did David speak on himself?
7. What did Nathan tell David about the man in the parable?
8. What did the LORD tell David, He had done for him?
9. What is the custom in the orient about wives and houses of kings?
10. David had despised the _________________ of the LORD.
11. Who really killed Uriah in the sight of God?
12. What judgment did the LORD speak on David?
13. What were some of the examples of this judgment?
14. What was meant by taking his wives?
15. David’s punishment will be _________, because his sin had been secret.
16. Who did David admit his sin to?
17. What reassurance did he give David?
18. What terrible news did Nathan give David about his baby with Bath-sheba?
19. Who did David’s sin hurt?
20. What would the death of the baby prove to the heathen world?
21. What did David do, to show his sincere wish for the baby to live?
22. When did the baby die?
23. Who told David the baby was dead?
24. What did David do, after the baby died?
25. What was another reason David was weeping and fasting, besides wanting the baby to live?
26. David _______________ Bath-sheba.
27. How do we know God forgave them?
28. What does “Solomon” mean?
29. What did God name Solomon?
30. What does that name mean?
31. What word did Joab send David from the war?
32. How much did the crown of gold weigh, that they captured?
33. What horrible ways did they kill the people they defeated?