2 Samuel 12

Nathan tells a story to David

1 The Lord sent Nathan the prophet to David. Nathan came to him and said, ‘There were two men who lived in the same town. One man was rich, and the other man was poor,’ he said. 2 ‘The rich man had very many sheep and cows. 3 But the poor man had only one young, little female sheep. He had bought it and he had fed it. It had grown up with his children. It ate and it drank with him. It even slept with him. It was like a daughter to him.

4 Then the rich man had a visitor. But the rich man did not kill his own sheep or cow to make a meal for the visitor. Instead, he took the poor man's little sheep to feed his visitor.’

5 David became very angry with the rich man. ‘As truly as the Lord is the living God, that man should die,’ he said to Nathan. 6 ‘He did this cruel thing and he was not sorry for the poor man. So he must certainly pay the poor man for 4 sheep because he did that.’

The Lord will punish David

7 ‘You are the man!’ Nathan said to David. ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says, “I anointed you king over Israel. I saved you from Saul. 8 I gave your master's house and his wives to you. I gave the people in Israel and in Judah to you. And I would have given you even more than that, if you wanted more. 9 But you did not obey the word of the Lord. You did an evil thing. You caused the Ammonite soldiers to kill Uriah the Hittite in a battle. You killed him and you took his wife to be your own wife. 10 So now your family will always have wars and death. You thought that I was not important. And so you took Uriah's wife to be your own wife. So I will punish you because of that.”

11 This is what the Lord says, “I will cause your own family to give you trouble. I will take your wives. And I will give them to someone that you know very well. And he will lie with them in the day. 12 What you did was a secret. But I will cause this to happen in the light of the sun and in front of all Israel.” ’

13 Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’

Nathan replied, ‘The Lord has taken away your sin. You will not die. 14 But because of what you have done, the Lord's enemies do not honour him. So your son that has been born will certainly die.’

David asks God to save his son

15 Nathan went home. Uriah's wife had given a son to David but after this the child became ill. 16 David asked the Lord to make the child well again. He lay on the floor of his house all night and he ate no food. 17 His servants stood round him. And they tried to help him to get up. But he refused and he would not eat anything with them.

David's son dies

18 After 7 days, the child died. David's servants were afraid to tell him. They thought, ‘David did not seem to hear us when we spoke to him. That was when the child was alive. So we cannot tell him that the child is dead. He might do something really bad.’

19 But David saw that his servants were speaking to each other in a quiet way. Then he understood that the child was dead. ‘Is the child dead?’ he asked his servants.

‘Yes,’ they replied. ‘He is dead.’

20 Then David got up and he washed himself. He put on clean clothes and special oil that had a good smell. He went into the Lord's house to worship him. Then he returned to his own house and he asked for food. They gave it to him and he ate it.

21 His servants said to him, ‘Why are you doing these things? You ate nothing while the child was alive. And you wept. But now that he is dead you get up. And you eat!’

22 David replied, ‘While the child was alive I wept. And I did not eat anything. I thought that perhaps the Lord would be merciful to me. I thought that he might forgive me. Then he might let the child live. 23 But I do not need to do this now that the child is dead. I cannot bring him back to me. I will go to him but he cannot come to me.’

24 Then David went to help his wife, Bathsheba, to feel better. He slept with her and she had a son. They called him Solomon, and the Lord loved him. 25 The Lord sent Nathan the prophet to tell them that they should call him Jedidiah. That was because the Lord loved him.

12:25Jedidiah means, ‘The Lord loves him’.

David wins Rabbah

26 At this time, Joab was fighting against the Ammonite city called Rabbah. And he had beaten the soldiers in the king's part of the city. 27 So Joab sent men to David with a message. The message was, ‘I have fought against Rabbah. And I have got the river that gives water to it. 28 Now bring the army that is with you to stand round the city. And win the city. If you do not, then I will win the city. And so it will have my name.’

29 So David took all his army and he went to Rabbah. They attacked and they won it. 30 He took the crown of gold from its king's head and they put it on David's head. It weighed about 74 pounds (34 kilos). And there were valuable stones in it. And he took a lot of valuable things from the city. 31 And he brought out the people from the city. He caused them to cut wood. And they had to work with sharp iron tools and with iron axes. And he sent them into the place where people made bricks. He did the same things to the people from all the Ammonite cities. Then David and all the soldiers returned to Jerusalem.