David’s Punishment and Conquests

God often comforts us, not by changing the circumstances of our lives, but by changing our attitude toward them. (S.H.B. Masterman in Who said that by George Sweeting, p. 114).


In this section we find David’s response to his son’s sickness and death. After Nathan left David, God allowed sickness to come to the child born to he and Bathsheba (vv. 15-16). We do not know what the sickness was but we know that after seven days the child died (vv. 17-18). David had mourned when Saul and Jonathan died in battle (II Sam. 1), and when Abner was killed by Joab (II Sam. 3). David has done intense fasting and praying that the Child might live but when he found out it was dead he ceased his mourning. He washed up, worshiped and began to eat, which was contrary to customs and much to the amazement of his servants (vv. 19-20). David said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, but now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? Then David’s faith soared when he stated: “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” The statement suggests a belief in infant salvation and immortality (vv. 21-23). David felt certain that the little baby was saved. He said, “I will go to him someday.” He knew that when death came to him, he would be reunited with his son. That was not the case when his son Absalom died many years later. Absalom was a heartbreak to David because he was not sure he was saved.

David comforted Bathsheba over the loss of their son. Eventually she become pregnant a second time by David. The son who was born was named Solomon. Now God loved this child. He sent the prophet Nathan to bestow on the infant a special name: Jedidiah, “beloved of God.” (vv. 24-25).

This tragic episode began with David pampering himself at home, but it ends with him taking his rightful place on the battlefield and leading the nation to an important victory. It is encouraging to see that God was willing to use David again in spite of his sins. He had confessed his sins; God had forgiven him; now he could fight for the Lord again. It is bad for believers to sin; it is also bad for them to live in the past and think themselves useless even after they have confessed their sins. Satan loves to shackle God’s people with memories of sins that God has already forgiven and forgotten. Satan is the accuser (vv. 26-31).


In order to feel forgiven and experience comfort as David did I just need to admit my sins to God and turn to Him. Then I can move ahead with a new and fresh approach to life.

II Samuel 12:15-31 (English Standard Version)

Then Nathan went to his house. And the LORD afflicted the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and he became sick. David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him 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 were afraid 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 understood that 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 washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. 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 he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food." He said, "While the child was still 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." Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the LORD loved him and sent a message by Nathan the prophet. So he called his name Jedidiah, because of the LORD. Now Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites and took the royal city. And Joab sent messengers to David and said, "I have fought against Rabbah; moreover, I have taken the city of waters. Now then gather the rest of the people together and encamp against the city and take it, lest I take the city and it be called by my name." So David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah and fought against it and took it. And he took the crown of their king from his head. The weight of it was a talent of gold, and in it was a precious stone, and it was placed on David's head. And he brought out the spoil of the city, a very great amount. And he brought out the people who were in it and set them to labor with saws and iron picks and iron axes and made them toil at the brick kilns. And thus he did to all the cities of the Ammonites. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.

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