2 Samuel 12:1–9
Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”
So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.”
Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon.’ ”
Nathan’s parable is chock full of puns and analogies that David should catch. The lamb ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom. That’s notably similar to the things that Uriah did not do with Bathsheba when he was called back from war by David. In particular, the Hebrew word translated as lay (שְׁכָּ֔ב, sha-kav) also can mean sex. Even more pointed is the line like a daughter to him. The name Bathsheba is literally “daughter seven” in Hebrew. Nathan is punning on her name.
Of course, David didn’t yet realize that Nathan is telling him a parable. He was thinking that this is an incident that has actually happened in his kingdom. Nathan cleverly took David back to his roots. He was once a poor boy, guarding sheep. David can empathize with the poor man in the parable.
So, he passes a sentence of death on this rascal. Everything is set up perfectly.
Then Nathan springs the trap. “You are the man!” And he lays David bare.
The word “anointed” is also particularly significant here. David is far more blessed by the LORD than the rich man of Nathan’s parable. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!
But that’s only half the meaning of anointed. It also means that as God’s chosen king, David’s sin reflects on God. The shame isn’t confined to David.
And if Nathan knows the whole truth, maybe everyone knows, or will.
David’s cover-up has blown up in his face, and the shrapnel is everywhere.
These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Saturday ones are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe click here: https://www.ailbe.org/resources/community
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Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.