Lectionary Year B
August 3, 2003
II Samuel 11:26-12:13a

Step V: Distillation

A. Summary of Salient Features

(JFC) The theological hub around which this pericope circles might be David's realization that his misdeeds displease God and calls them sin. And, also, Nathan's statements are important in this context, re: God's blessing David up until this catharsis and the prediction that God's displeasure will issue in David's family's suffering from the "sword that David's descendants shall never be able to escape". The next most significant element here is the evil David committed and God's discontent as a result of it. Then, too, David's anger, confession and sentencing the rich/selfish man in Nathan's story to death are close to major matters in this text. These observations leave as secondarily noteworthy in this lection, Bathsheba, Uriah and his death and Nathan as well as his parable and even David himself pales before his confession and/of his evil deeds.
B. Smoother Translation

(JFC) 11:26 And the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband had died and she mourned for him. 27 And the mourning period passed and David sent away and received her unto his house and it happened that she brought forth unto him a child and that evil thing which David had done in the sight of Yahweh displeased God 12:1 And Yahweh sent Nathan to David and said to him, "Two men were in a city one, one (was) wealthy and one (was) poor. 2 The wealthy one had there many cattle and an exceedingly great herd. 3 And unto the one being poor (there was) nothing at all except one lonely ewe-lamb a little/young/small one which he had gotten/bought and had kept alive and it grew up with him and with his sons together and from his food it ate and from his cup it drank and in his bosom it lay down and it became for him like a daughter. 4 And a traveler came to the rich man and he did not want to take any sheep from his flocks and from his herd for the wanderer/traveler who came to him and he took the ewe-lamb of the poor man and he took it for the man having come to him." 5 And burned the anger of David upon the man exceedingly and he said unto Nathan, "As Yahweh lives to death (is) the man who does this thing 6 and for the ewe-lamb he shall repay fourfold as a consequence of which he has done this thing and upon which he had no compassion/pity/spare." 7 And Nathan said unto David, "You (are) the man." Thus has said Yahweh the God of Israel, 'I have anointed you King over Israel and I delivered you from the hand of Saul 8 and I gave to you the house of your lords and the women/wives of your lords into your bosom and I gave unto you the house of Israel and of Judah and if all that turned out to be too little/few I could add/cause to increase similarly in proportion of the same things. 9 Why have you despised/disdained the Word of Yahweh to do evil in His eyes unto Uriah the Hittite you have struck/beaten/scalped with a sword and the wife of his you took unto yourself to be a wife unto you and you murdered the son of Ammon. 10 And now will not turn a sword from your house until eternity because that you despised me and you took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be unto you a wife 11 thus has said Yahweh, "Behold, I am causing to arise evil from your house and have taken your wives in your eyesight and I have given them to your neighbors and they will have lain with them in the openness/openly. 12 For you have done in secret and I do the thing this before all Israel and before everyone openly. 13a And David said unto Nathan, "I have sinned against Yahweh."

C. Hermeneutical Bridge

(JFC) John Bright's AHI says, David "was involved in the disgraceful affair with Bathsheba (chs. 11:2 to 12:25) which forever blackened his name and brought down on his head the stinging rebuke of Nathan, the prophet." Brueggemann terms it a "ruthless act" which eventually he terms, "costly and risky". Hertzberg calls it "procuring a wife in such an underhanded way". Thomas Merton, in the first volume of his Run to the Mountain, quotes Pansees III. 194, "our evils are infinite;" and further he admits, "Evil seems positive and difficult to me; and how could I not go to evil? I constantly hear it speaking to me and shouting to me with a loud voice: Lazy! Leave your room and come to me; . ." Evidently, King David knew such a phenomenon as this Evil, Merton met.

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