|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:1-14 God will not suffer his people to lie still in sin. By this parable Nathan drew from David a sentence against himself. Great need there is of prudence in giving reproofs. In his application, he was faithful. He says in plain terms, Thou art the man. God shows how much he hates sin, even in his own people; and wherever he finds it, he will not let it go unpunished. David says not a word to excuse himself or make light of his sin, but freely owns it. When David said, I have sinned, and Nathan perceived that he was a true penitent, he assured him his sin was forgiven. Thou shalt not die: that is, not die eternally, nor be for ever put away from God, as thou wouldest have been, if thou hadst not put away the sin. Though thou shalt all thy days be chastened of the Lord, yet thou shalt not be condemned with the world. There is this great evil in the sins of those who profess religion and relation to God, that they furnish the enemies of God and religion with matter for reproach and blasphemy. And it appears from David's case, that even where pardon is obtained, the Lord will visit the transgression of his people with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. For one momentary gratification of a vile lust, David had to endure many days and years of extreme distress.
Verse 8. - I gave... thy master's wives into thy bosom. These words probably mean that, as the whole possessions of his predecessor belonged, by Oriental custom, to the next occupant of the throne, David might have claimed the entire household and the wives both of Saul and Ishbosbeth as his own, though apparently he had not done so. As far as we know, Saul had but one wife (1 Samuel 14:50) and one concubine, Rizpah (2 Samuel 3:7). Of Ishbosheth's family arrangements we know little, but his harem, if he had one, would become the property of David. But independently of this, the permission of polygamy had made it possible for him to take any of the daughters of Israel and Judah to wife, and he had freely availed himself of this licence. Yet, not content, he had lusted after a married woman, and had got rid of her husband by murder, meanly using the sword of the Ammonites to accomplish his own criminal purpose. The word used in this clause, and rendered "thou hast slain him," is a very strong one, and literally means "thou hast murdered him," though the sword was that of the enemy.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And I gave thee thy master's house,.... Not his palace at Gibeah, but rather his family, his wives, servants, wealth, and riches, all being confiscated through the rebellion of Ishbosheth; or rather his kingdom he succeeded him in:
and thy master's wives into thy bosom; though we read of no more than one that belonged to Saul, if he is meant by his master, excepting Rizpah his concubine, nor ever of David taking them into his bosom and bed; wherefore this can be understood only of his having them at his disposal, to give them to whom he pleased; the word may be rendered his "women", as well as his "wives", and may design his daughters, Merab and Michal, who were both given to David, though taken again and given to others: the Jews say, that Eglah, David's sixth wife, was the wife of Saul; see Gill on 2 Samuel 3:5,
and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; the kingdom of both; gave him to be king over all the tribes of Israel:
and if that had been too little; either his wives too few, as the Jews interpret it, or his kingdom too small:
I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things; more and greater favours; and indeed such he had promised him, as a firm or stable house or kingdom, and that the Messiah should spring from him.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives—The phraseology means nothing more than that God in His providence had given David, as king of Israel, everything that was Saul's. The history furnishes conclusive evidence that he never actually married any of the wives of Saul. But the harem of the preceding king belongs, according to Oriental notions, as a part of the regalia to his successor.
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