Moses by John August Swanson. Image from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, Tenn. Original source © 1983 by John August Swanson.
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David and Bathsheba
2 Samuel 12:1-9; Psalm 51:1-9 Commentary
by Brent A. Strawn
The exchange between Nathan and David after the incidents with Bathsheba and Uriah (see 2 Samuel 11) are among the most well-known in 2 Samuel.
The narrative does not indicate what God knows, or how God knows, only that God sends Nathan to David (2 Samuel 12:1; cf. the superscription to Psalm 51), who tells the king a story. The parable is memorable and rhetorically shrewd: A rich man had everything, but a poor man had nothing -- save a little ewe lamb that he had raised as a member of his house, so much so that it would eat from his table and sleep in his arms. “It was like a daughter to him,” verse 3 says -- precious, that is, and irreplaceable. But one day when a traveler came to the rich man (the visitor isn’t even named, so we ought not think of an important personage, just some individual who happened along), the rich man wasn’t willing to take one of his own animals for the meal but took the poor man’s lamb as the dinner entrée for his guest.
Preachers and readers need to pause here because this turn of events is shocking. This isn’t just any old lamb for dinner. This is a daughter ...
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2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 145: David and Bathsheba
October 19, 2014
Join Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester and Kathryn Schifferdecker for "I Love to Tell the Story," a conversation on Year 1 of the narrative lectionary. This podcast covers the readings for Oct. 19, 2014: 2 Samuel 12:1-9; Psalm 51:1-9. Accompanying reading: Matthew 21:33-41.