Nathan the Prophet Confronts David
So the Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to David, Nathan said, “There were two men in a certain city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing except for a little lamb he had acquired. He raised it, and it grew up alongside him and his children. It used to eat his food, drink from his cup, and sleep in his arms. It was just like a daughter to him.
“When a traveller arrived at the rich man’s home, he did not want to use one of his own sheep or cattle to feed the traveller who had come to visit him. Instead, he took the poor man’s lamb and cooked it for the man who had come to visit him.”
Then David became very angry at this man. He said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! Because he committed this cold-hearted crime, he must pay for the lamb four times over!”
Nathan said to David, “You are that man! This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I chose you to be king over Israel and I rescued you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house, and put your master’s wives into your arms. I also gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all that somehow seems insignificant, I would have given you so much more as well! Why have you shown contempt for the word of the Lord by doing evil in my sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and you have taken his wife as your own! You have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. So now the sword will never depart from your house. For you have despised me by taking the wife of Uriah the Hittite as your own!’ This is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to bring disaster on you from inside your own household! Right before your eyes I will take your wives and hand them over to your companion. He will have sexual relations with your wives in broad daylight! Although you have acted in secret, I will do this thing before all Israel, and in broad daylight.’”
Then David exclaimed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord!” Nathan replied to David, “Yes, and the Lord has forgiven your sin. You are not going to die. Nonetheless, because you have treated the Lord with such contempt in this matter, the son who has been born to you will certainly die.”
Then Nathan went to his home. The Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and the child became very ill.
Then David prayed to God for the child and fasted. He would even go and spend the night lying on the ground. The elders of his house stood over him and tried to lift him from the ground, but he was unwilling, and refused to eat food with them.
On the seventh day the child died. But the servants of David were afraid to inform him that the child had died, for they said, “While the child was still alive he would not listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we tell him that the child is dead? He will do himself harm!”
When David saw that his servants were whispering to one another, he realized that the child was dead. So David asked his servants, “Is the child dead?” They replied, “Yes, he’s dead.” So David got up from the ground, bathed, put on oil, and changed his clothes. He went to the house of the Lord and worshipped. Then, when he entered his palace, he requested that food be brought to him, and he ate.
His servants said to him, “What is this that you have done? While the child was still alive, you fasted and wept. Once the child was dead you got up and ate food!” He replied, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept because I thought, ‘Perhaps the Lord will show pity and the child will live. But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Am I able to bring him back? I will go to him, but he cannot return to me!’”
So David comforted his wife Bathsheba. He went to her and had marital relations with her. She gave birth to a son, and David named him Solomon. Now the Lord loved the child and sent word through Nathan the prophet that he should be named Jedidiah for the Lord’s sake.
David’s Forces Defeat the Ammonites
So Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites and captured the royal city. Joab then sent messengers to David, saying, “I have fought against Rabbah and have captured the water supply of the city. So now assemble the rest of the army and besiege the city and capture it. Otherwise I will capture the city and it will be named for me.”
So David assembled all the army and went to Rabbah and fought against it and captured it. He took the crown of their king from his head – it was gold, weighed about seventy-five pounds, and held a precious stone – and it was placed on David’s head. He also took from the city a great deal of plunder. He removed the people who were in it and made them do hard labour with saws, iron picks, and iron axes, putting them to work at the brick kiln. This was his policy with all the Ammonite cities. Then David and all the army returned to Jerusalem.