2 Samuel 11:26-12:16 (ESV)
When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband.  And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.
[12:1] And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, "There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor.  The rich man had very many flocks and herds,  but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him.  Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him."  Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die,  and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity."
 Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul.  And I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more.  Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.  Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.'  Thus says the Lord, 'Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.  For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.' "  David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." And Nathan said to David, "The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.  Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die."  Then Nathan went to his house.
And the Lord afflicted the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and he became sick.  David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground.
Questions for Reflection
- In what ways do you agree or disagree with the adage “Power corrupts”?
- To what extent do you believe public officials should be accountable for their private behavior?
- How did Nathan use the story to convict David? (12:7-9)
- According to Nathan, what would be the consequences of David’s sin? (12:13-14)
- Why was the parable Nathan told to David so effective?
- In what sense can a definite “no” from God in response to our request actually be a relief?
- Why is our sense of outrage easily sparked against strangers but difficult to muster in relation to our own actions?