II Samuel 12:1-15a Nathan’s Parable, The LORD’s Judgment, And David’s Confession.
Nathan’s parable, it should be noted, concerns a rich man who is David, and a poor man which is Uriah. We shouldn’t think of Bathsheba as being an innocent as a lamb. The mention of the lamb is seen from the perspective of Uriah and how he cherished his one and only wife (vv. 1-4). David is angry and said that the rich man deserved to die, and from his estate the poor man restored fourfold (vv. 5-6). Nathan then confronts him as the rich man. Nathan begins with the privilege which the LORD afforded to David in his being anointed as king, and the defeat of Saul (v. 7). Not only did the LORD give David everything of his master’s house, but this included all his wives. One could argue that David should have purged the nation of the practice of polygamy, which did happen over time, but instead, in the light of the incident with Bathsheba, the LORD highlights that David already had multiple wives. Furthermore the LORD gave him the leadership of a united kingdom of Israel and Judah. “And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more” (v. 8). Nathan makes clear to David that the LORD knew what David did, and that he was now delivering his verdict through Nathan.
Note well, it all began because David “despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight” (v. 9a). II Samuel 11 details just how many commands were broken, with the primary one being “You shall not commit adultery” (Ex. 20:14; Dt. 5:18). He is not charged with murder, but he is charged with killing Uriah by the sword of the Ammonites (v. 9b). Secondly, David did this evil in the LORD’s sight. This no doubt is part of what led him to write what he did in Psalm 51. Having used the sword of the enemies of the LORD, David would now suffer from the sword working in his own house (v. 10a). Again, there were two evils – despising the LORD, and the taking of Uriah’s wife (v. 10b). Part of his punishment would also include the taking of his wives by his neighbours, but out in the open, not in secret like David tried to do (vv. 11-12). Finally, David realizes that he has sinned against the LORD, but with true repentance comes forgiveness (v. 13). However, being forgiven does not mean that there would be no consequences. David’s deed gave the enemies of the LORD an excuse to blaspheme his great name (v. 14a). Therefore another consequence would be the death of his son (v. 13b). “Then Nathan departed to his house” (v. 15).