12:16 Then David prayed to 1 God for the child and fasted. 2 He would even 3 go and spend the night lying on the ground. 12:17 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.
12:18 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 4 when we spoke to him. How can we tell him that the child is dead? He will do himself harm!” 5
12:19 When David saw that his servants were whispering to one another, he 6 realized that the child was dead. So David asked his servants, “Is the child dead?” They replied, “Yes, he’s dead.” 12:20 So David got up from the ground, bathed, put on oil, and changed his clothes. He went to the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then, when he entered his palace, he requested that food be brought to him, and he ate.
12:21 His servants said to him, “What is this that you have done? While 7 the child was still alive, you fasted and wept. Once the child was dead you got up and ate food!” 12:22 He replied, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept because I thought, 8 ‘Perhaps 9 the Lord will show pity and the child will live. 12:23 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!’”
1 tn Heb “sought” or “searched for.”
2 tn Heb “and David fasted.”
3 tn The three Hebrew verbs that follow in this verse are perfects with prefixed vav. They may describe repeated past actions or actions which accompanied David’s praying and fasting.
4 tn Heb “to our voice.”
5 tn Heb “he will do harm.” The object is not stated in the Hebrew text. The statement may be intentionally vague, meaning that he might harm himself or them!
6 tn Heb “David.” The name has been replaced in the translation by the pronoun (“he”) for stylistic reasons.
7 tc For the MT בַּעֲבוּר (ba’avur, “for the sake of”) we should probably read בְּעוֹד (bÿ’od, “while”). See the Lucianic Greek recension, the Syriac Peshitta, and the Targum.
8 tn Heb “said.”
9 tn Heb “Who knows?”