2 Samuel Chapter 12  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: 2 Samuel 12
2Sa 12:1(top)
2Sa 12:2(top)
2Sa 12:3(top)
2Sa 12:4(top)
2Sa 12:5

“deserves to die!” The Hebrew is literally, “is a son of death.” David said this in a flash of anger, even though the sin did not deserve the death penalty.

2Sa 12:6

“He must restore the lamb fourfold.” Repaying fourfold for stealing and slaughtering a sheep was demanded in the Mosaic Law (Exod. 22:1). There is little doubt that David knew the law, but being human he had a hard time keeping it and overcoming his personal weaknesses. Ironically, four of David’s sons are specifically said to have died. The baby of Bathsheba died. Then Absalom, David’s third son, killed his oldest son Amnon. Then Absalom revolted against David and was killed in the battle between the two sides. Then David’s fourth son, Adonijah, was killed by Solomon.

2Sa 12:7

“I myself anointed you king over Israel.” This is an example of the Jewish principle of agency with the Author-agent. Samuel actually anointed David as king over Israel, but Yahweh says He did it.

2Sa 12:8

“and your lord’s wives into your bosom.” David is never said to have slept with any of Saul’s wives, however, since Nathan made the statement it is possible that David did acquire Saul’s wives and had sex with them. That a conquering king would take the harem of the king he conquered was likely such a common occurrence that it simply was not mentioned in other contexts (cp. Jer. 6:12; 8:10). On the other hand, Nathan may have made the statement for effect, stating what David could have had if he wanted. There is no evidence in the Bible that Saul had more than two wives. Saul married the mother of Jonathan, Ishvi (also called Abinadab), Malchishua, and Esh-baal (1 Sam. 14:49; 1 Chron. 8:33), and Saul also had a concubine named Rizpeh (2 Sam. 3:7), and there is no evidence that David married either one of them. The point of God’s bringing up Saul’s wives in Nathan’s rebuke seems to be to make the point that if David had wanted more wives he could have built his harem without doing it in such an ungodly way.

“many more such things.” The Hebrew is idiomatic and hard to translate, some versions have “such and such” things. The idea is “whatever else.”

2Sa 12:9

“my eyes.” The Masoretic printed text reads “his eyes,” but the notations of the Masorites says it should be read as “my eyes,” which makes more sense in the context because Yahweh is speaking.

2Sa 12:10

“for years to come.” The Hebrew word translated “for years to come” is olam (#05769 עוֹלָם), and it has a range of meanings about the past or future. It can refer to a future or past period of long duration, indefinite duration, or it can mean forever, everlasting, or perpetual. In terms of the past, it can mean from eternity past or simply mean old or ancient. In the context of David’s house and the problems it would experience, the meaning is “for a long time, for years to come,” and does not mean “forever” because in Christ’s kingdom those troubles will come to an end. The sword will not be part of David’s “house,” his dynasty, when the Messiah reigns on earth as king. Many English versions simply leave it untranslated.

2Sa 12:11

“to another.” the Hebrew word is often translated “neighbor,” but it can also have the meaning of “another” person, which is the meaning it has here. In this case, the “other” person was David’s own son, Absalom.

“in the sight of this sun.” An idiom meaning in broad daylight; in public view. This prophecy was fulfilled when Absalom slept with some of David’s wives on the roof of the palace in full view of the people (2 Sam. 16:21-22).

2Sa 12:12(top)
2Sa 12:13

“transferred.” The Hebrew word translated “transferred” here in 2 Samuel 12:13 is `abar (#05674 עָבַר) and the lexicons show that its most common meaning is to “pass over, pass through, cross over, move through,” and in its causative sense (Hiphil form) it means to “pass on” or to “transfer.” The word `abar can have the meaning “put away,” and God certainly did put David’s sin away from him, but in a way we do not expect: He put it away by passing it on. That `abar means “transfer” or “pass on” in this context becomes clear when we see that God used `abar for David’s sin instead of using other common words for “forgive” that do not imply transferring the sin. For example, the Hebrew word salach (#05545 סָלַח), which means “forgive,” is often used for forgiving sins and does not imply passing the sin on (cp. 1 Kings 8:34; Jer. 31:34). Also, the Hebrew word nasa' (#05375 נָשָׂא), which means to “lift up” or “carry,” i.e., “carry away” (cp. Exod. 10:17; 32:32) is used for “forgive,” and so is the word kaphar (#03722 כָּפַר), which means “to cover, to purge, to make atonement” (cp. Deut. 21:8; Jer. 18:23). The point is that God had words for “forgive” that would have indicated that David’s sin would have been forgiven and covered at that time, but He did not use those words, instead, God used a word that indicated the sin—actually the consequences of the sin—would be passed on. Everett Fox (The Schocken Bible) translates the sentence, “As for Yahweh, he has transferred your sin—you will not die.”

That the sin of David was sometimes transferred to others is what we see when we read about the life of David. The immediate consequence of the sin of David being transferred was the death of his child, the “son of David.” Note that Nathan said to David, “You will not die,” but then added, “However…the child also who is born to you will die” (2 Sam. 12:13-14), and the child did indeed die. After David’s sin, a large number of terrible circumstances occurred in David’s house and kingdom. Four of his sons met untimely deaths (see commentary on 2 Sam. 12:6), one of his daughters was raped, his wives were raped by one of his sons while Israel watched, and there were other consequences as well. Nathan had said, “now the sword will not depart from your house” (2 Sam. 12:10), and that prophecy came to pass.

It would be wrong to think that the consequences of our sin are always passed on to others, especially now that believers are forgiven and cleansed in Christ. In both the Old and New Testaments we see sins being simply forgiven. However, there are times when the consequences of sins we commit are passed on to others, and that is uncomfortable and leaves some unanswered questions, but it does happen and even in the Ten Commandments God warns us that the sins people commit can affect others. God tells us that He is jealous, “visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, even on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me” (Exod. 20:5). Another record of someone’s sin being passed down is in 2 Samuel 21:1-14, and is the record of Saul sinning against the people of Gibeon, which then affected the weather and harvest in Israel many years later. Although we do not fully understand how it is that the sin of one person or generation can be passed on to another person or generation, we know that it happens and thus it should be one of the many things that motivate us to live a holy and obedient life.

Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death, and that a consequence of sin is death leads to another important point that begs to be made about David’s sin being “transferred” to someone else. What God did for David, He did for all of us, because we all sin and there are consequences for that sin that have to be paid for. Ultimately, the sin of every human was transferred to Jesus Christ, “the Son of David.” God laid on Jesus Christ the sin of us all (Isa. 53:6; 2 Cor. 5:21), and Jesus died as the payment for sin so that those who believe in him could have everlasting life.

2Sa 12:14

“contempt, yes, contempt…die, yes, die.” The Hebrew text uses a double polyptoton for emphasis. David’s utter contempt for Yahweh had dire consequences. For more on the figure of speech polyptoton and the way it is brought into English, see commentary on Genesis 2:16. In this case, “die, yes, die,” is the same phrase as God used when speaking to Adam, except there God used the second person while here in 2 Sam. 12:14 the second verb is in the third person.

“for Yahweh.” There is very good evidence that “Yahweh” was the reading of the original text and not “the enemies of Yahweh,” and so Yahweh (or “the LORD”) is the translation in a number of modern versions (BBE; CJB; HCSB; ESV; NAB; NET; NIV2011; NJB; NLT; NRSV; Rotherham; RSV). It occasionally happened that the ancient scribes desired to protect Yahweh or someone especially important, so they would alter the Hebrew text but make a notation they did so. E. W. Bullinger refers to these changes as “the emendations of the sopherim” and has an appendix in his Bible on the subject (Appendix 33 in The Companion Bible by E. W. Bullinger). P. Kyle McCarter, Jr. has a good explanation of the emendation (The Anchor Bible: 2 Samuel, p. 296). David showed utter contempt for Yahweh when he committed adultery and murder.

2Sa 12:15(top)
2Sa 12:16

“fasted.” The Hebrew is more literally, “fasted a fast,” but that is idiomatic and means “fasted.”

“would go in and lay all night.” David did this for the days the boy lived. David really did what he could at this point to save the child’s life.

“on the ground.” David would have been in some room in the palace.

2Sa 12:17(top)
2Sa 12:18

“He may do some harm.” Although most versions translate “himself” into the text, thus having, “He may do himself some harm,” the word “himself” is not in the text. It is likely that the people had in mind more than David just harming himself, but doing things that would harm others as well.

2Sa 12:19(top)
2Sa 12:20

“worshiped.” The Hebrew verb is shachah (#07812 שָׁחָה), and it is the same Hebrew word as “bow down.” The common biblical way of bowing down before people or God was to fall to one’s knees and bow the upper body to the earth. Shachah is translated as both “bow down” and “worship;” traditionally “worship” if God is involved and “bow down” if people are involved, but the verb and action are the same, the act of bowing down is the worship. [For more on bowing down, see commentary on 1 Chron. 29:20].

2Sa 12:21(top)
2Sa 12:22(top)
2Sa 12:23

“I will go to him.” David knows that he will die too one day.

2Sa 12:24

“he called.” There is a Qumran manuscript that reads “she called,” but the Massoretic text reads “he called.”

“And Yahweh loved him.” It is rare for the text to point out an individual and say that Yahweh loved him, and it is an interesting parallel that this “son of David” was loved, just as the greater Son of David, Jesus Christ, was loved, “This is my beloved son” (Matt. 3:17).

2Sa 12:25

“he sent a message.” That is, Yahweh sent a message to David via Nathan.

“by the hand of Nathan,” This is idiomatic and means that Yahweh used Nathan as His agent, Nathan’s “hand” was not involved, it was just part of the idiom.

“Jedidiah.” Jedidiah means “beloved of Yahweh.”

2Sa 12:26(top)
2Sa 12:27

“the city of waters.” Rabbah had water associated with it, so Joab is likely speaking of a precinct in the city such as the royal precinct or a precinct that controls the waters in the city.

2Sa 12:28

“and my name be called over it.” This is the literal translation of the Hebrew text. Although most English versions translate the phrase as if it said, “it will be called by my name,” that does not seem to be the meaning of the text; the city was not called “the city of David” when David captured it. What Joab is saying is that his name would be associated with the conquest of the city, not David’s name.

2Sa 12:29

“all the people.” In this context, the “people” are the fighters; the army and other able-bodied men.

2Sa 12:30

“a talent of gold.” Although the word “talent” was used in different cultures, the weight differed. An Israelite talent was 75 pounds, whereas a Babylonian talent was 66 pounds. Thus, this crown was 75 pounds. Although this seems too much for a head, there are actual statues from ancient Ammon that show men wearing huge crowns, although they would not have worn them very long.

2Sa 12:31(top)

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