ISSL Reflections February 6 2022 2 Samuel 12:1–9, 13–15 Post 1

What was it Hamlet said? “… the play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King.”

Stories can do more than entertain. They can instruct and they might even “convict.” They can give us insight into how we can live and how we have lived.

Here we see the prophet Nathan coming to David with a simple story about a rich man, a poor man, a traveler, a lamb and choices. Not a long story, not a lot of detail but enough that David is caught up in the narrative.

2 Samuel 12:1-9 (New Revised Standard Version)

… and the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his meager fare, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was loath to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared that for the guest who had come to him.” Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man. He said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”

Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from the hand of Saul; I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added as much more. Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.

2 Samuel 12:13-15 (New Revised Standard Version)

David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan said to David, “Now the Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child that is born to you shall die.” Then Nathan went to his house.

The Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became very ill.

“You are the man!”

Think about David. How did Nathan’s story strike him? What do you think David’s initial response to the story tells us about David? About his sense of right and wrong? About how he expects people should act toward one another?

It seems Nathan doesn’t want David to miss anything about the importance of the story so he points out how the story took place in David’s own life.

Do you think David would have caught on without that epilog to the story?

Think about David’s confession, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

Why might he say, “… against the Lord”? Why not against Bathsheba, against Uriah, or against the Torah?

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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