2 Samuel 12:16
David therefore sought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night on the earth.
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(16) Besought God for the child.—It can hardly be necessary to say that this does not imply any want of submissiveness to God’s will on David’s part, nor an inordinate love for the child of his guilt. “In the case of a man whose penitence was so earnest and so deep, the prayer for the preservation of his child must have sprung from some other source than excessive love of any created object. His great desire was to avert the stroke as a sign of the wrath of God, in the hope that he might be able to discern, in the preservation of the child, a proof of Divine favour consequent upon the restoration of his fellowship with God. But when the child was dead, he humbled himself under the mighty hand of God, and rested satisfied with His grace, without giving himself up to fruitless pain” (O. von Gerlach, quoted by Keil). Yet David’s deep love for the child is not to be overlooked altogether.

12:15-25 David now penned the 51st Psalm, in which, though he had been assured that his sin was pardoned, he prays earnestly for pardon, and greatly laments his sin. He was willing to bear the shame of it, to have it ever before him, to be continually upbraided with it. God gives us leave to be earnest with him in prayer for particular blessings, from trust in his power and general mercy, though we have no particular promise to build upon. David patiently submitted to the will of God in the death of one child, and God made up the loss to his advantage, in the birth of another. The way to have creature comforts continued or restored, or the loss made up some other way, is cheerfully to resign them to God. God, by his grace, particularly owned and favoured that son, and ordered him to be called Jedidiah, Beloved of the Lord. Our prayers for our children are graciously and as fully answered when some of them die in their infancy, for they are well taken care of, and when others live, beloved of the Lord.The death of the infant child of one of the numerous harem of an Oriental monarch would in general be a matter of little moment to the father. The deep feeling shown by David on this occasion is both an indication of his affectionate and tender nature, and also a proof of the strength of his passion for Bath-sheba. He went into his most private chamber, his closet Matthew 6:6, and "lay upon the earth" 2 Samuel 13:31, rather "the ground," meaning the floor of his chamber as opposed to his couch. 15-23. the Lord struck the child … and it was very sick—The first visible chastisement inflicted on David appeared on the person of that child which was the evidence and monument of his guilt. His domestics were surprised at his conduct, and in explanation of its singularity, it is necessary to remark that the custom in the East is to leave the nearest relative of a deceased person to the full and undisturbed indulgence of his grief, till on the third or fourth day at farthest (Joh 11:17). Then the other relatives and friends visit him, invite him to eat, lead him to a bath, and bring him a change of dress, which is necessary from his having sat or lain on the ground. The surprise of David's servants, then, who had seen his bitter anguish while the child was sick, arose apparently from this, that when he found it was dead, he who had so deeply lamented arose of himself from the earth, without waiting for their coming to him, immediately bathed and anointed himself, instead of appearing as a mourner, and after worshiping God with solemnity, returned to his wonted repast, without any interposition of others. David besought God for the child; supposing the threatening might be conditional, and so the execution of it prevented by prayer.

Went in, to wit, into his closet, as Matthew 6:6, to pray solitarily and earnestly, as he had done with others. Or this word may only note his progress and continuance in the actions here expressed. David therefore besought God for the child,.... Perhaps went into the tabernacle he had built for the ark, and prayed to the Lord to restore the child, and spare its life; for though the Lord had said it should die, he might hope that that was a conditional threatening, and that the Lord might be gracious and reverse it, 2 Samuel 12:22,

and David fasted: all that day:

and went in; to his own house from the house of God:

and lay all night upon the earth; would neither go into, nor lie upon a bed, but lay on the floor all night, weeping and praying for the child's life, and especially for its eternal welfare: he having through sin been the means of its coming into a sinful and afflicted state.

David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and {i} went in, and lay all night upon the earth.

(i) That is, to his private chamber.

16. besought God for the child] Such a prayer was not presumptuous, for God’s threatenings like his promises are conditional. See Isaiah 38:1 ff.; Jonah 3:7-10.

fasted] Cp. Nehemiah 1:4; Esther 4:16; Daniel 9:3; Acts 14:23.

went in] To his private chamber (Matthew 6:6), where he lay all night upon the floor, instead of sleeping on his bed. Cp. ch. 2 Samuel 13:31. The tense of the verbs went in and lay all night is frequentative, indicating that David did so repeatedly.Verse 16. - David... went in. He went, not into the sanctuary, which he did not enter until after the child's death, but into some private room in his own house. There he remained, passing his nights stretched on the ground, and fasting until the seventh day. His fasting does not imply that he took no food during this long interval, but that he abstained from the royal table, and ate so much only as was necessary to maintain life. Now, what was the meaning of this privacy and abstinence? Evidently it was David's acknowledgment, before all his subjects, of his iniquity, and of his sorrow for it. The sickness of the child followed immediately upon Nathan's visit, and we may feel sure that news of his rebuke, and of all that passed between him and the king, ran quickly throughout Jerusalem. And David at once takes the position of a condemned criminal, and humbles himself with that thoroughness which forms so noble a part of his character. Grieved as he was at the child's sickness, and at the mother's sorrow, yet his grief was mainly for his sin; and he was willing that all should know how intense was his shame and self-reproach. And even when the most honourable of the rulers of his household (Genesis 24:2), or, as Ewald thinks, his uncles and elder brethren, came to comfort him, he persists in maintaining an attitude of heart stricken penitence. The punishment answers to the sin. There is first of all (2 Samuel 12:10) the punishment for the murder of Uriah: "The sword shall not depart from thy house for ever, because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife," etc. "For ever" must not be toned down to the indefinite idea of a long period, but must be held firmly in its literal signification. the expression "thy house," however, does not refer to the house of David as continued in his descendants, but simply as existing under David himself until it was broken up by his death. The fulfilment of this threat commenced with the murder of Amnon by Absalom (2 Samuel 13:29); it was continued in the death of Absalom the rebel (2 Samuel 18:14), and was consummated in the execution of Adonijah (1 Kings 2:24-25).
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