2 Samuel 12:18
And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he would not listen to our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?
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2 Samuel 12:18. On the seventh day the child died — The seventh from the beginning of the distemper. “Thus was the first instance of the divine vengeance for David’s guilt speedily and rigidly executed; other instances of it were fulfilled in their order, before his own eyes, as will abundantly appear in the sequel of this history; and the most dreadful of all the rest, The sword shall never depart from thy house, sadly and successively fulfilled in his posterity; from the death of Amnon, by the order of his own brother, to the slaughter of the sons of Zedekiah before his own eyes, by the king of Babylon.” We may learn from hence, therefore, that God is no respecter of persons, for David’s guilt was as signally and dreadfully punished in his own person, and in his posterity, as perhaps any guilt in any other person since Adam. “The Jews are of opinion that his own decree of repaying the robbery four-fold was strictly executed upon him. The deflouring of Tamar by her own brother; the death of four sons, three of them before his own eyes, and one by the hand of his brother; the unnatural rebellion of one son, which brought him almost to the brink of ruin; the prostitution of ten wives in the sight of all his subjects; and the successive and signal massacre of his posterity; besides the distress of his own public shame and infamy, added to at least one cruel disease.” These are surely awful proofs that God did not connive at sin in David any more than in any other. Why then are the scoffers so fond of urging and dwelling on the heinous crimes of David? Do the Holy Scriptures deny them? No, they set them forth with all their aggravating circumstances, but at the same time they assure us they were followed by such a train of calamities as is enough to make every sinner tremble; since it affords an indubitable proof that the ALMIGHTY GOVERNOR of the world is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity without detestation, and that every species of vice and wickedness, in whomsoever it is found, will certainly be punished under his government. Let the reader consider these things, and then say, whether David’s example be an encouragement to sin? Who would incur his guilt to go through such a scene of sorrow and suffering? See Delaney.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. On the seventh day; either,

1. From the beginning of the distemper. Or rather,

2. From the day of his birth, which is the most usual way of computation of men’s days or years; for it is apparent that this happened during the time of David’s fasting and lying upon the earth, 2 Samuel 12:20, which it is not probable that it lasted for seven days.

They said, whispering among themselves, 2 Samuel 12:19. And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died,.... Not the seventh day from its being taken ill, but from its birth; for it cannot be thought that David should fast seven days:

and the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead; lest he should be overwhelmed with too much sorrow:

for they said, behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him; to rise from the ground, and eat food:

and he would not hearken unto our voice; we could not prevail upon him to do the one nor the other:

how will he then vex himself if we tell him that the child is dead? or should we acquaint him with it, "he will do mischief" (w) to himself, to his body; he will tear his flesh to pieces, and cut and kill himself; this they were afraid of, observing the distress and agony he was in while it was living, and therefore they concluded these would increase upon hearing of its death.

(w) , Sept. "faciat malum", Pagninus, Montanus; "malum sibi inferet", Syr. Ar.

And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?
But David had also sinned in committing adultery. It was therefore announced to him by Jehovah, "Behold, I raise up mischief over thee out of thine own house, and will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them to thy neighbour, that he may lie with thy wives before the eyes of this sun (for the fulfilment of this by Absalom, see 2 Samuel 16:21-22). "For thou hast done it in secret; but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before (in the face of) the sun." David's twofold sin was to be followed by a twofold punishment. For his murder he would have to witness the commission of murder in his own family, and for his adultery the violation of his wives, and both of them in an intensified form. As his sin began with adultery, and was consummated in murder, so the law of just retribution was also carried out in the punishment, in the fact that the judgments which fell upon his house commenced with Amnon's incest, whilst Absalom's rebellion culminated in the open violation of his father's concubines, and even Adonijah lost his life, simply because he asked for Abishag the Shunammite, who had lain in David's bosom to warm and cherish him in his old age (1 Kings 2:23-24).
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