2 Samuel 12:2
The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:
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(2) There were two men.—The parable is designed to bring out David’s indignation against the offender without being so clear as to awaken at first any suspicion of a personal application. It does not allude to the special crimes of David, but to the meanness and selfishness of the transaction—qualities which David was still in a condition to appreciate. For a similar use of parables see 2Samuel 14:2-11; 1Kings 20:35-41.

2 Samuel 12:2-3. Many flocks and herds — Denoting David’s many wives and concubines, with whom he might have been satisfied. One little ewe-lamb — It appears by this that Uriah had but one wife, with whom he was well contented. Which he had bought — Or, had procured. Men frequently purchased their wives in those days, giving to their parents a sum of money for them. It did eat of his meat, &c. — These words express the exceeding care which the poor man took of his one sheep, and the value he put upon it, as being, in some manner, his chief substance, furnishing him with milk for food, and wool for clothing; and they are intended to signify how dear his wife was to Uriah, and the high estimation in which he held her.

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.Nathan came to David as if to ask his judicial decision on the case about to be submitted to him (compare 2 Samuel 14:2-11; 1 Kings 20:35-41). The circumstances of the story are exquisitely contrived to heighten the pity of David for the oppressed, and his indignation against the oppressor 1 Samuel 25:13, 1 Samuel 25:22. CHAPTER 12

2Sa 12:1-6. Nathan's Parable.

1. the Lord sent Nathan unto David—The use of parables is a favorite style of speaking among Oriental people, especially in the conveyance of unwelcome truth. This exquisitely pathetic parable was founded on a common custom of pastoral people who have pet lambs, which they bring up with their children, and which they address in terms of endearment. The atrocity of the real, however, far exceeded that of the fictitious offense.

Noting David’s many wives and concubines.

The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds. In which the wealth of men lay in those times and countries; these in the parable signify David's wives and concubines, which were many; he had six wives in Hebron, and he took more wives and concubines out of Jerusalem, when he was come from Hebron, 2 Samuel 3:2; and besides his master's, or Saul's wives, given to him, 2 Samuel 12:8. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:
2. The rich man, &c.] Observe how the details of the parable are all arranged so as to bring the heartless selfishness of the rich man into the strongest relief.

2 Samuel 12:2Nathan's Reproof. - 2 Samuel 12:1. To ensure the success of his mission, viz., to charge the king with his crimes, Nathan resorted to a parable by which he led on the king to pronounce sentence of death upon himself. The parable is a very simple one, and drawn from life. Two men were living in a certain city: the one was rich, and had many sheep and oxen; the other was poor, and possessed nothing at all but one small lamb which he had bought and nourished (יחיּה, lit. kept alive), so that it grew up in his house along with his son, and was treated most tenderly and loved like a daughter. The custom of keeping pet-sheep in the house, as we keep lap-dogs, is still met with among the Arabs (vid., Bochart, Hieroz. i. p. 594). There came a traveller (הלך, a journey, for a traveller) to the rich man (לאישׁ without an article, the express definition being introduced afterwards in connection with the adjective העשׁיר; vid., Ewald, 293a, p. 741), and he grudged to take of his own sheep and oxen to prepare (sc., a meal) for the traveller who had come to his house; "and he took the poor man's lamb, and dressed it for the man that had come to him."
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