Nathan Rebukes David

A pig ate his fill of acorns under an oak tree and then started to root around the tree. A crow remarked, “You should not do this. If you lay bare the roots, the tree will wither and die.” “Let it die,” said the pig. “Who cares as long as there are acorns … More


The critics who say that God allowed David to get by with his great sin apparently haven’t read the whole story. God’s man can get in sin, but he will not stay in sin. That is what distinguishes God’s man from the man of the world. God left David in his guilty state for almost a year. He then sent the prophet Nathan to rebuke the sinful king. He chose to use a parable in order to get David to see his sin. The parable was simple. A poor man and rich man lived beside one another. While the rich man had many flocks and herds, the poor man had only a little lamb which was a family pet. When a traveler came to the rich man he was unwilling to feed him from his own flock or herd. Rather he took the poor man’s pet lamb and made a meal of it for his guest (vv. 1-4).

David’s anger boiled as he heard the story which he took to be a real occurrence. He ordered that this man make a fourfold restitution for the stolen lamb (vv. 5-6). Nathan then made the devastating application."You, David, are the man!” You have pronounced judgment upon yourself. David was as guilty of murder as if he had struck Uriah with his own sword. He then had taken to himself the wife of the man whose death he had orchestrated. David had despised the Lord by taking Bathsheba and denied by his conduct the omniscience of his God (vv. 7-10).

The penalty for David’s sin is twofold. First, the sword would never depart from the house of David (v. 10). Second, God would raise up evil against David from within his own house. Third, one of David’s associates would take his wives from him and lie with them in full public view (vv. 11-12). David was moved deeply by the words of the prophet. He made no excuses for his conduct. He acknowledged his sin. Nathan accepted the confession. He announced that God would not take David’s life on account of the sin. However, God would punish him by taking the child which had recently been born (vv. 13-14).


I need to remember that the consequences of my actions will reach farther and deeper than I can ever imagine. It is true that God will forgive me and restore my relationship with Him but this will not eliminate the consequences of my wrongdoing.

II Samuel 12:1-14 (English Standard Version)

And the LORD sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, "There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him." Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity." Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. And I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.' Thus says the LORD, 'Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.'" David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child who is born to you shall die."

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