2 Samuel 12
Contemporary English Version
12 1 and he sent Nathan the prophet to tell this story to David:
A rich man and a poor man lived in the same town. 2 The rich man owned a lot of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had only one little lamb that he had bought and raised. The lamb became a pet for him and his children. He even let it eat from his plate and drink from his cup and sleep on his lap. The lamb was like one of his own children.
4 One day someone came to visit the rich man, but the rich man didn’t want to kill any of his own sheep or cattle and serve it to the visitor. So he stole the poor man’s little lamb and served it instead.
5 David was furious with the rich man and said to Nathan, “I swear by the living Lord that the man who did this deserves to die! 6 And because he didn’t have any pity on the poor man, he will have to pay four times what the lamb was worth.”
7 Then Nathan told David:
You are that rich man! Now listen to what the Lord God of Israel says to you: “I chose you to be the king of Israel. I kept you safe from Saul 8 and even gave you his house and his wives. I let you rule Israel and Judah, and if that had not been enough, I would have given you much more. 9 Why did you disobey me and do such a horrible thing? You murdered Uriah the Hittite by having the Ammonites kill him, so you could take his wife.
10 “Because you wouldn’t obey me and took Uriah’s wife for yourself, your family will never live in peace. 11 Someone from your own family will cause you a lot of trouble, and I will take your wives and give them to another man before your very eyes. He will go to bed with them while everyone looks on. 12 What you did was in secret, but I will do this in the open for everyone in Israel to see.”
13-14 David said, “I have disobeyed the Lord.”
“Yes, you have!” Nathan answered. “You showed you didn’t care what the Lord wanted.[a] He has forgiven you, and you won’t die. But your newborn son will.” 15 Then Nathan went back home.
David’s Young Son Dies
The Lord made David’s young son very sick.
16 So David went without eating to show his sorrow, and he begged God to make the boy well. David would not sleep on his bed, but spent each night lying on the floor. 17 His officials stood beside him and tried to talk him into getting up. But he would not get up or eat with them.
18 After the child had been sick for seven days, he died, but the officials were afraid to tell David. They said to each other, “Even when the boy was alive, David wouldn’t listen to us. How can we tell him his son is dead? He might do something terrible!”
19 David noticed his servants whispering, and he knew the boy was dead. “Did my son die?” he asked his servants.
“Yes, he did,” they answered.
20 David got up off the floor; he took a bath, combed his hair, and dressed. He went into the Lord’s tent and worshiped, then he went back home. David asked for something to eat, and when his servants brought him some food, he ate it.
21 His officials said, “What are you doing? You went without eating and cried for your son while he was alive! But now that he’s dead, you’re up and eating.”
22 David answered:
While he was still alive, I went without food and cried because there was still hope. I said to myself, “Who knows? Maybe the Lord will have pity on me and let the child live.” 23 But now that he’s dead, why should I go without eating? I can’t bring him back! Someday I will join him in death, but he can’t return to me.
Solomon Is Born
24 David comforted his wife Bathsheba and slept with her. Later on, she gave birth to another son and named him Solomon. The Lord loved Solomon 25 and sent Nathan the prophet to tell David, “The Lord will call him Jedidiah.”[b]
The End of the War with Ammon
26 Meanwhile, Joab had been in the country of Ammon, attacking the city of Rabbah. He captured the royal fortress 27 and sent a messenger to tell David:
I have attacked Rabbah and captured the fortress guarding the city water supply. 28 Call the rest of the army together. Then surround the city, and capture it yourself. If you don’t, everyone will remember that I captured the city.
29 David called the rest of the army together and attacked Rabbah. He captured the city 30 and took the crown from the statue of their god Milcom.[c] The crown was made of seventy-five pounds of gold, and there was a valuable jewel on it. David put the jewel on his own crown.[d] He also carried off everything else of value. 31 David made the people of Rabbah tear down the city walls[e] with iron picks and axes, and then he put them to work making bricks. He did the same thing with all the other Ammonite cities.
David went back to Jerusalem, and the people of Israel returned to their homes.
- 12.13,14 what. . . wanted: One manuscript of one ancient translation; one Hebrew manuscript “what the Lord had said”; most Hebrew manuscripts “what the enemies of the Lord would think.”
- 12.25 Jedidiah: In Hebrew this name means “Loved by the Lord.”
- 12.30 the statue of their god Milcom: Or “their king.”
- 12.30 David. . . crown: Or “and David wore the crown.”
- 12.31 tear. . . walls: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.