2 Samuel 12:13 MEANING

2 Samuel 12:13
(13) I have sinned.--The same words were used by Saul (1 Samuel 15:24; 1 Samuel 15:30), but in a totally different spirit. Saul's confession was a concession to the prophet for the purpose of securing his support, and with no real penitence; David, in these few words, pours out before God the confession of a broken heart.

Thou shalt not die.--David had committed two crimes for which the Law imposed the penalty of death--adultery (Leviticus 20:10) and murder (Leviticus 24:17). As an absolute monarch he had no reason to fear that the sentence would be put in force by any human authority; and the Divine word is to him of far more importance as an assurance of forgiveness than as a warding off of any possible earthly danger. The phrase is thus parallel to, and explanatory of, the previous clause, "The Lord also hath put away thy sin."

Verse 13. - I have sinned against Jehovah. Saul had used the same words, and had meant very little by them; nor had he added "against Jehovah," because his purpose was to appease Samuel, and prevail upon him not to disgrace him before the people. David's confession came from the heart. There is no excuse making, no attempt at lessening his fault, no desire to evade punishment. Psalm 51 is the lasting testimony, not only to the reality, but to the tenderness of his repentance, and we may even feel here that confession was to him a relief. The deep internal wound was at length disclosed, and healing had become possible. Up to this time he had shut God away from his heart, and so there had been no remedy for a soul diseased. It was because his sorrow was genuine that comfort was not delayed. Jehovah also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Now, death was the legal penalty for adultery (Leviticus 20:10), and though it might not be easy to exact it of a king, yet, until it was remitted, David would be in the eyes of all "a son of death" (see on ver. 5); and how could he administer justice to others while the death sentence for a capital crime was hanging over himself? Had not the prophet been authorized to use his dispensing power as the mouthpiece of Jehovah, David could not have remained king. And we can see no reason for supposing, with Ewald and others, that a substantial interval of time elapsed between David's confession and Nathan's absolution. The sole conceivable reason for such a view would be the supposition that David's repentance began and was completed with the one stab of shame which pierced through him when he heard Nathan's sudden reproach. Such a mere thrill, following upon such persistent callousness, would have merited little attention. But if months of brooding sorrow and secret shame had been humbling David, then his open confession was the proof that the Spirit's work had reached the goal, and was now complete. And we gather from Psalm 51:3 that such was the case. "My sin," he says, "is ever before me." It had long haunted him; had long occupied his thoughts by day, and broken his rest at night. Like a flood, his iniquities had gone over his head, and threatened to drown him; like a heavy burden, they had pressed upon him so as to break him down (Psalm 38:4). Both these psalms tell of long continued sorrow of heart; but with confession had come relief. He had offered to God the sacrifice of a broken spirit, and knew that it had not been despised. We shall see subsequently that his time and attention had been much occupied with the Ammonite war, and this had probably helped him in evading the secret pleadings of his own conscience.

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 David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord,.... Which confession, though short, was a full one, arising from a thorough conviction of the evil of the sin he had been guilty of, accompanied with real brokenness of heart, sincere humiliation, and a sorrow after a godly sort, as the fifty first psalm, that penitential psalm composed upon this occasion shows, Psalm 51:1,

and Nathan said unto David; being fully satisfied with the sincerity and genuineness of his repentance, of which he gave proof by words and deeds, and being under the direction and impulse of the Spirit of God:

the Lord hath put away thy sin; would not charge it upon him, impute it to him, or punish him for it, but freely and fully forgive it, cast it behind his back, and into the depth of the sea; cause it to pass from him and never more bring it against him, and which is the Lord's act, and his only, against whom sin is committed:

thou shall not die; though he should die a corporeal death, yet not by the immediate hand of God, or by the sword of justice as a malefactor, a murderer, and adulterer, as he, according to the law, deserved to die; nor should he die a spiritual death, though his grace had been so low, and his corruptions had risen so high; nor an eternal death, the second death, the lost wages of sin.

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