2 Samuel 12:8
And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.
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(8) Thy master’s wives.—In 2Samuel 12:7-8 the prophet enumerates the chief favours and blessings shown to David, and these are so brought out as to show not only his base ingratitude, but also the unreasonableness of this particular sin. We are told of only one wife of Saul (1Samuel 14:50) and of one concubine (2Samuel 3:7) who was taken by Abner. If he had others, David certainly could not have taken them until more than seven and a half years after Saul’s death. The prophet refers to the Oriental custom that the new king had a right to the harem of his predecessor.

2 Samuel 12:8. I gave thee thy master’s house — All that pertained to him as a king, which came, of course, to David, as his successor. Thy master’s wives into thy bosom — For the wives of a king went along with his lands and goods unto his successor, it being unlawful for the widow of a king to be wife to any but a king, as appears by the story of Adonijah. The expression in the text, however, does not necessarily signify that David married any of them; nor have we any proof that he did. Indeed, it is doubtful whether he could consistently with the law of God. See Leviticus 18:8; Leviticus 18:15. The meaning seems only to be, that God put them into David’s power, together with Saul’s house and other property. And gave thee the house of Israel — Dominion over the twelve tribes. And if that had been too little, &c. — He needed but have asked, and God would have given him all he could have reasonably desired.

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.And thy master's wives ... - According to Eastern custom, the royal harem was a part of the royal inheritance. The prophets spoke in such matters according to the received opinions of their day, and not always according to the abstract rule of right. (Compare Matthew 19:4-9.) 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. Thy master’s wives, or, women, as that word is elsewhere used; as Numbers 31:18. And though we read not a word of God’s giving, or of David’s taking, any of Saul’s wives into his bosom; or, which is all one, into his bed; yet (which I think to be aimed at here) it might be according to the manner of that time, that the wives and concubines of the precedent king belonged to the successor, to be at least at his dispose. And to pretend to them, was interpreted little less than pretending to the crown; which made it fatal to Adonijah to ask Abishag, 1 Kings 2:23; and to Abner to be suspected for Rizpah, 2 Samuel 3:8. And Absalom, usurping the crown, usurped the concubines also; which is looked on as a crime unpardonable, 2 Samuel 16:21. Nor would this have been reckoned amongst the mercies and blessings which God here is said to give him, and which are opposed to that which he sinfully took. But we do read, that Merab, Saul’s daughter, was given to him for his wife by Saul’s promise, and consequently by God’s grant; though afterwards Saul perfidiously gave her to another man; and that Michal, the other daughter, was actually given to him, 1Sa 18. And it is very possible that some other of David’s wives were nearly related to the house of Saul; whereby David might design to enlarge and strengthen his interest in the kingdom; although there is no absolute necessity of restraining this to Saul, seeing the word is plural, masters, and may belong to others also, who sometimes were owned by David as his masters, lords, or superiors, such as Nabal was, and some others not elsewhere named might be, whose houses and wives, or, at least, women, God might give to David. Such and such things; such other things as thou hadst wanted, or in reason desired.

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.

And I gave thee thy master's {b} house, and thy master's {c} wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee {d} such and such things.

(b) For David succeeded Saul in his kingdom.

(c) The Jews take this to be Eglah and Michal, or Rizpah and Michal.

(d) That is, greater things than these: for God's love and benefits increase toward his own, if they do not hinder him by their ingratitude.

8. thy master’s house] His household and property. Cp. ch. 2 Samuel 9:7. thy master’s wives] It was lawful for the King, and for him only, to marry his predecessor’s wives. See note on ch. 2 Samuel 3:7. That David actually married any of Saul’s wives does not appear. Only one wife (1 Samuel 14:50) and one concubine (2 Samuel 3:7) of Saul’s are mentioned.

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. 2 Samuel 12:8The parable was so selected that David could not suspect that it had reference to him and to his son. With all the greater shock therefore did the words of the prophet, "Thou art the man," come upon the king. Just as in the parable the sin is traced to its root - namely, insatiable covetousness - so now, in the words of Jehovah which follow, and in which the prophet charges the king directly with his crime, he brings out again in the most unsparing manner this hidden background of all sins, for the purpose of bringing thoroughly home to his heart the greatness of his iniquity, and the condemnation it deserved. "Jehovah the God of Israel hath said, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul, and I gave thee thy master's house and thy master's wives into thy bosom." These words refer to the fact that, according to the general custom in the East, when a king died, his successor upon the throne also succeeded to his harem, so that David was at liberty to take his predecessor's wives; though we cannot infer from this that he actually did so: in fact this is by no means probable, since, according to 1 Samuel 14:50, Saul had but one wife, and according to 2 Samuel 3:7 only one concubine, whom Abner appropriated to himself. "And gave thee the house of Israel and Judah;" i.e., I handed over the whole nation to thee as king, so that thou couldst have chosen young virgins as wives from all the daughters of Judah and Israel. מעט ואם, "and if (all this was) too little, I would have added to thee this and that."
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