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2 Samuel 12:1-14

Context
Nathan the Prophet Confronts David

12:1 So the Lord sent Nathan 1  to David. When he came to David, 2  Nathan 3  said, 4  “There were two men in a certain city, one rich and the other poor. 12:2 The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. 12:3 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. 5  It used to 6  eat his food, 7  drink from his cup, and sleep in his arms. 8  It was just like a daughter to him.

12:4 “When a traveler arrived at the rich man’s home, 9  he did not want to use one of his own sheep or cattle to feed 10  the traveler who had come to visit him. 11  Instead, he took the poor man’s lamb and cooked 12  it for the man who had come to visit him.”

12:5 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! 13  12:6 Because he committed this cold-hearted crime, he must pay for the lamb four times over!” 14 

12:7 Nathan said to David, “You are that man! This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I chose 15  you to be king over Israel and I rescued you from the hand of Saul. 12:8 I gave you your master’s house, and put your master’s wives into your arms. 16  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! 12:9 Why have you shown contempt for the word of the Lord by doing evil in my 17  sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and you have taken his wife as your own! 18  You have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 12:10 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!’ 12:11 This is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to bring disaster on you 19  from inside your own household! 20  Right before your eyes I will take your wives and hand them over to your companion. 21  He will have sexual relations with 22  your wives in broad daylight! 23  12:12 Although you have acted in secret, I will do this thing before all Israel, and in broad daylight.’” 24 

12:13 Then David exclaimed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord!” Nathan replied to David, “Yes, and the Lord has forgiven 25  your sin. You are not going to die. 12:14 Nonetheless, because you have treated the Lord with such contempt 26  in this matter, the son who has been born to you will certainly die.”

1 tc A few medieval Hebrew mss, the LXX, and the Syriac Peshitta add “the prophet.” The words are included in a few modern English version (e.g., TEV, CEV, NLT).

2 tn Heb “him”; the referent (David) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

3 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Nathan) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

4 tn The Hebrew text repeats “to him.”

5 tn Heb “his sons.”

6 tn The three Hebrew imperfect verbal forms in this sentence have a customary nuance; they describe past actions that were repeated or typical.

7 tn Heb “from his morsel.”

8 tn Heb “and on his chest [or perhaps, “lap”] it would lay.”

9 tn Heb “came to the rich man.” In the translation “arrived at the rich man’s home” has been used for stylistic reasons.

10 tn Heb “and he refused to take from his flock and from his herd to prepare [a meal] for.”

11 tn Heb “who had come to him” (also a second time later in this verse). The word “visit” has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons and for clarity.

12 tn Heb “and prepared.”

13 tn Heb “the man doing this [is] a son of death.” See 1 Sam 20:31 for another use of this expression, which must mean “he is as good as dead” or “he deserves to die,” as 1 Sam 20:32 makes clear.

14 tc With the exception of the Lucianic recension, the Old Greek translation has here “sevenfold” rather than “fourfold,” a reading that S. R. Driver thought probably to be the original reading (S. R. Driver, Notes on the Hebrew Text and the Topography of the Books of Samuel, 291). However, Exod 22:1 [21:37 HT] specifies fourfold repayment for a stolen sheep, which is consistent with 2 Sam 12:6. Some mss of the Targum and the Syriac Peshitta exaggerate the idea to “fortyfold.”

tn Heb “the lamb he must repay fourfold because he did this thing and because he did not have compassion.”

15 tn Heb “anointed.”

16 tn Heb “and the wives of your lord into your chest [or “lap”].” The words “I put” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons and for clarification.

17 tc So the Qere; the Kethib has “his.”

18 tn Heb “to you for a wife.” This expression also occurs at the end of v. 10.

19 tn Heb “raise up against you disaster.”

20 tn Heb “house” (so NAB, NRSV); NCV, TEV, CEV “family.”

21 tn Or “friend.”

22 tn Heb “will lie with” (so NIV, NRSV); TEV “will have intercourse with”; CEV, NLT “will go to bed with.”

23 tn Heb “in the eyes of this sun.”

24 tn Heb “and before the sun.”

25 tn Heb “removed.”

26 tc The MT has here “because you have caused the enemies of the Lord to treat the Lord with such contempt.” This is one of the so-called tiqqune sopherim, or “emendations of the scribes.” According to this ancient tradition, the scribes changed the text in order to soften somewhat the negative light in which David was presented. If that is the case, the MT reflects the altered text. The present translation departs from the MT here. Elsewhere the Piel stem of this verb means “treat with contempt,” but never “cause someone to treat with contempt.”



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