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The Rebuke from Nathan the Prophet

II Samuel 12:1-14

Victor M. Eskew


1.      Outline:


i.                    NATHAN’S PARABLE (II Sam. 12:1-4)

ii.                  DAVID’S PASSION (II Sam. 12:5-6)

iii.                NATHAN’S POINT (II Sam. 12:7-9)

iv.                DAVID’S PUNISHMENT (II Sam. 12:10-12)

v.                  DAVID’S PROFESSION (II Sam. 12:13-14)


2.      Who did the Lord send to David? (II Sam. 12:1)


And the Lord sent Nathan unto David…


A.    Nathan

1.      Nathan is a prophet of God.

2.      It is the same Nathan that discussed David’s plans to build the house of God.


3.      How did Nathan describe the two men who lived in one city? (II Sam. 12:1)


And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.


A.    One was rich and the other was poor.


B.      There has always been a dichotomy between the rich and poor. 


4.      What did the rich man possess? (II Sam. 12:2)


The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds.


A.    Exceeding many flocks and herds

1.      Strong (3966):  exceeding

2.      BDB:  exceeding, much, many, abundance, to a great degree


B.      Wealth was often registered in terms of possessions, especially the number of flock that a person had (e.g., Job, Job 1:3).


His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the man of the east.


5.      What was the poor man’s only possession? (II Sam. 12:3)


But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb…


A.    One little ewe lamb

1.      This was a female sheep

2.      Since she was his only possession, she was very dear to him.  The rich man probably had someone caring for his flocks. 


6.      In what five ways did the poor man treat the little ewe lamb? (II Sam. 12:3)


…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…


A.    Nourished up


B.      Grew up together with him and his childen


C.     Ate of his own meat


D.    Drank of his own cup


E.      Lay in his bosom


F.      This little lamb was “part of the family.”  It sounds like she was an indoor pet.  It is said that the Arabs still keep some of their sheep indoors as we would a dog today.


7.      The ewe lamb “…was unto him as a daughter” (II Sam. 12:3)


A.    There was an intimate bond between them (father/daughter)


B.      There was a love between them.


8.      Who came to the rich man? (II Sam. 12:4)


And there came a traveler unto the rich man…


A.    A traveler


B.      This was common in those days.  Too, it was common to show hospitality to a stranger (See Gen. 18:1-5).


9.      T – F    The rich man took of his own flock to feed the wayfaring man. (II Sam. 12:4)


…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…


A.    False


B.      Actions like this spring from a greedy and ungrateful heart.  The rich want to keep what they have for themselves.


10.  Whose lamb did he take for the man that was come to him? (II Sam. 12:4)


…but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.


A.    He was ruthless enough to take the poor man’s lamb in order to fulfill his obligation of hospitality toward the traveler.


B.      This man cared not for the other man’s poverty nor for his close relationship to the ewe lamb. 


C.     The Bible has many warnings about oppressing the poor.

1.      Proverbs 14:31


He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker:  but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.


2.      James 2:6


But ye have despised the poor.  Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before judgment seats?


11.  “And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man…” (II Sam. 12:5)


A.    David was a man of justice (II Sam. 8:15).


And David reigned over all Israel; and David executed judgment and justice unto all his people.


B.      His sense of justice in this matter caused him to become extremely angry toward the rich man.


C.     Greatly kindled

1.      Kindled:  to glow or grow warm, to blaze up of anger

2.      Greatly:

a.   This is the same word used to describe the herds of the rich man.

b.   It was much kindled, abundantly kindled, kindled to a great degree


12.  What sentence did David pronounce on the rich man? (II Sam. 12:5)


…and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die.


A.    The man that hath done this thing shall surely die.


B.      The sentence that David pronounced was extremely severe. 

1.      Only one ewe lamb had perished in the incident.

2.      The Law stated that there was to be restitution (Exo. 22:1).


If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.


3.      It is interesting that David pronounces upon the man the same sentence that should be required of him.


13.  T- F     The man was to restore the lamb fourfold. (II Sam. 12:6)


And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.


A.    True (See Exo. 22:1)





14.  “…because he had shown no pity” (II Sam. 12:6)


A.    Pity:

1.      Strong (2550):  to commiserate; by implication to spare

2.      BDB:  to spare, pity, have compassion on


B.      The rich man was selfish.  He possessed a cold heart.  He had no feelings for others.


15.  How did Nathan respond to David? (II Sam. 12:7)


And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man.


A.    Thou art the man.


B.      David was the man who had killed another’s ewe lamb.

David was the man who showed no pity.

David was the man who was selfish, cold hearted, and having no compassion.

David was the man who deserved to die.


16.  What five things had God given David? (II Sam. 12:7-8)


…Thus said the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king of Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; and I gave thee thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah…


A.    I anointed thee king of Israel


B.      I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul


C.     I gave thee thy master’s wives (NOTE:  Saul only had one wife (I Sam. 14:50) and one concubine (II Sam. 3:7).  Abner took the concubine.  David did not take Saul’s wife into his harem.  However, it would have been acceptable for him to have taken both).


D.    I gave thee the house of Israel


E.      I gave thee the house of Judah


F.      NOTE:  These are the exceeding many flocks and herds possessed by the rich man in the story of Nathan.


17.  T- F     God was willing to give David even more than what was given. (II Sam. 12:8)


…and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.


A.    True


B.      K&D believe that this could be referring to the fact that David could have had any of the virgins of his choosing in the nation of Israel.


18.  What had David despised? (II Sam. 12:9)


Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord…


A.    David had despised the commandment of the Lord.


B.      The commandment was simple:  “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exo. 20:14).


C.     Despise:

1.      Strong (959):  to disesteem

2.      BDB:  to despise, hold in contempt, disdain


D.    If you had asked David:  “Do you despise the commandments of God?” he would have most likely answered:  “No!”  What a person “thinks” about the Law of God versus a person’s practice of the Law is totally different.  Words are not nearly important as actions.


19.  What had David done in the sight of the Lord? (II Sam. 12:9)


…to do evil in his sight?


A.    Evil


B.      All transgression of the will of God is evil.  NOTE:  Sometime it is not easy for humans to understand how evil sin really is (e.g., a white lie, a foul word, not using a talent, etc.).


20.  How did Nathan describe the evil that David had done? (II Sam. 12:9)


…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 Ammon.


A.    It is interesting that the Lord does not mention the fornication committed first by David.  That was bad enough. 


B.      The taking of an innocent life by the hands of an enemy in order to cover his sin brought out the anger of God.


21.  What would not depart from David’s house because of this sin? (II Sam. 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.


A.    The sword would not depart from David’s house.


B.      David would “restore fourfold” in the death of his sons.

1.      The child born to Bathsheba would die.

2.      Amnon would die (II Sam. 13:28-29).

3.      Absalom would die (II Sam. 18:14).

4.      Adonijah would die, but following his father’s death (I Kings 2:25).


22.  T – F    God would raise up evil against David out of his own house. (II Sam. 12:11)


Thus said the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house…


A.    True




B.      Instances of evil in David’s house.

1.      Amnon would rape Tamar.

2.      Absalom would kill Amnon.

3.      Absalom would attempt to take David’s throne.

4.      Adonijah would attempt to take the throne from Solomon.


23.  What was God going to do with David’s wives? (II Sam. 12:11)


…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.


A.    He would give them to David’s neighbor and he would lie with David’s wives in the light of the sun.


B.      This would transpire when Absalom attempted to take the kingdom from David (II Sam. 16:22).


24.  How had David done his sin? (II Sam. 12:12)


For thou didst it secretly…


A.    David committed his sin secretly.


B.      A secret affair with Bathsheba

A secret conception of a child by David.

A secret attempt to cover the sin by inviting Uriah to Jerusalem.

A secret letter to his commander.


25.  How was God going to punish David (II Sam. 12:12)


…but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.


A.    God would do it before all Israel and when the sun was shining.


B.      Every time something horrible happened to David and his family, all Israel would attribute the event to David’s sin.


26.  “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord.” (II Sam. 12:13)


A.    All sin is mainly committed against God since He is the giver of the Law.


B.      Psalm 51:3-4


For I acknowledge my transgressions:  and my sin is ever before me.  Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight…


C.     LESSON:  The confession of one’s sins does not lessen the consequences of one’s sins.


27.  T – F    David’s sin was forgiven and he would not die because of it. (II Sam. 12:13)


And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.


A.    God is a forgiving God (Exo. 34:6-7)

And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…


B.      The Lord “put away” David’s sin.

1.      Strong (5674):  to cross over, cover

2.      BDB:  to pass over, take away, to vanish


C.     David himself would not die.

1.      He, however, would experience much death in his family.

2.      The death of the innocent infant would be difficult to bear.

3.      Sometimes it would be easier to die than to have to face the consequences of the sin that we have committed.


28.  What had David given his enemies an occasion to do? (II Sam. 12:14)


Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme…


A.    To blaspheme

1.      Strong (5006):  to scorn

2.      BDB:  to spurn, contemn, despise, abhor


B.      Other nations were watching those who claimed to be “the kingdom of God.”  They claimed to be a “holy” nation.  When sin, especially from her leaders, was committed, the enemies of God would easily use the action to cry against Israel and her claims.


C.     LESSON:  Our sinful actions will have an impact upon how others view the church, the kingdom of God today.  Our sins give them the opportunity to ridicule and mock the precious bride of Christ.


29.  Who was going to have to die? (II Sam. 12:14)


…the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.


A.    The child that was born to Bathsheba and David would die.


B.      David was allowed to live.  In this, he experienced the grace of God.  The child, however, died.  In this, David experienced the wrath of God.  Too, the death of the son would cause the blasphemy of the enemies of God’s people to cease.  It was a severe punishment, even in the eyes of Israel’s enemies.


C.     Lessons:

1.      Sin must be punished and cannot be simply overlooked.

2.      God holds the power of life and death in His hands.

3.      The punishment of God is always just and accomplishes its purpose.









The Reverberations after David’s Sin

II Samuel 12:15-31


Victor M. Eskew


1.      Outline:


i.                    II SAMUEL 12:15-23

ii.                  II SAMUEL 12:24-25

iii.                II SAMUEL 12:26-31


2.      Where did Nathan go after his rebuke of David? (II Sam. 12:15)


3.      Who struck David’s child so that it was very sick? (II Sam. 12:15)


4.      T – F    David besought the Lord for the child. (II Sam. 12:16).


5.      “…and David ____________ and lay all __________ upon the __________.” (II Sam. 12:16)


6.      Who attempted to raise David up from the earth? (II Sam. 12:17)


7.      T – F    David listened to the elders and rose and ate bread. (II Sam. 12:17)


8.      How long much time passed before the child died?” (II Sam. 12:18)


9.      T – F    David’s servants feared to tell David about the child’s death.  (II Sam. 12:18).


10.  Why were they fearful? (II Sam. 12:18)


11.  What caused David to know the child had died? (II Sam. 12:19)


12.  T- F     David asked whether the child had died.  (II Sam. 12:19)


13.  T – F    David’s servants lied to David about the child. (II Sam. 12:19)


14.  What four things did David do when he learned about the death of the child? (II Sam. 12:20)










15.  T – F    David’s servants were confused by his actions.  (II Sam. 12:21).


16.  How did David explain his actions to his servants? (II Sam. 12:22-23a)


17.  “…I shall ________ to him, but he shall not __________ to me” (II Sam. 12:23b).


18.  After the child’s death, David _________________ Bathsheba his wife” (II Sam. 12:24)

19.  T – F    David and Bathsheba had another son. (II Sam. 12:24)


20.  What was the child named? (II Sam. 12:24)


21.  “…and the Lord ______________ him.” (II Sam. 12:24)


22.  Who sent Nathan to David again? (II Sam. 12:25)


23.  What did the Lord name the child? (II Sam. 12:25)


24.  Who took the city of Rabbah? (II Sam. 12:26).


25.  How is the city described? (II Sam. 12:26)


26.  Who did Joab inform about his taking the city? (II Sam. 12:27)


27.  How is the city described in II Sam. 12:27?


28.  If David did not come and encamp against the city, whose name would the city be called after? (II Sam. 12:28)


29.  T – F    David refused to go to Rabbah? (II Sam. 12:29)


30.  What did David put on his head? (II Sam. 12:30)


31.  What was the weight of the crown? (II Sam. 12:30)


32.  “…And he brought forth the _____________ of the city in great _____________.” (II Sam. 12:30)


33.  What four things did David do to the people of the city? (II Sam. 12:31)










34.  T – F    He did this to all the cities of the children of Ammon. (II Sam. 12:31).


35.  Where did David and all the people return to? (II Sam. 12:31)