Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 12
Nathan had not yet told David the real subject of their conversation. David’s evil deeds had caused his own conscience to be weak. So, Nathan needed to see whether David still opposed wicked and cruel deeds. Nathan was testing whether David still cared enough to become angry about an evil use of power.
David did not know that he was declaring his judgment, as the king, against himself. Nathan had hidden the facts, so that David could not recognise the recent events in his own life. However, Nathan’s story matched the true facts well. The only real difference was that, in the story, the cruel behaviour was much less severe. The true facts of what David did, were much worse.
Still, David’s anger against the guilty man was fierce. This was not mere emotion. As the king, David was Israel’s chief judge. A judge should be angry against wicked behaviour.
The law did not permit a judge to punish a thief with death, unless that thief had also carried out a murder. So, David first declared God’s punishment against the man. God is alive, so he (God) would certainly act against such an evil man. God will not permit that man to live, David declared.
Then, David declared the legal punishment. By the law in Exodus 22:1, the thief had to pay back four times what he had stolen. David would order his officials to make sure that this happened.
Next part: Nathan declares David guilty (2 Samuel 12:7-8)
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