Bible Society of South Africa

Power in storytelling – Day 5

Bible text(s)

26When Bathsheba heard that her husband had been killed, she mourned for him. 27When the time of mourning was over, David sent for her to come to the palace; she became his wife and bore him a son. But the LORD was not pleased with what David had done.

Nathan's Message and David's Repentance

1The LORD sent the prophet Nathan to David. Nathan went to him and said, “There were two men who lived in the same town; one was rich and the other poor. 2The rich man had many cattle and sheep, 3while the poor man had only one lamb, which he had bought. He took care of it, and it grew up in his home with his children. He would feed it with some of his own food, let it drink from his cup, and hold it in his lap. The lamb was like a daughter to him. 4One day a visitor arrived at the rich man's home. The rich man didn't want to kill one of his own animals to prepare a meal for him; instead, he took the poor man's lamb and cooked a meal for his guest.”

5David was very angry with the rich man and said, “I swear by the living LORD that the man who did this ought to die! 6For having done such a cruel thing, he must pay back four times as much as he took.”

7“You are that man,” Nathan said to David. “And this is what the LORD God of Israel says: ‘I made you king of Israel and rescued you from Saul. 8I gave you his kingdom and his wives; I made you king over Israel and Judah. If this had not been enough, I would have given you twice as much. 9Why, then, have you disobeyed my commands? Why did you do this evil thing? You had Uriah killed in battle; you let the Ammonites kill him, and then you took his wife! 10Now, in every generation some of your descendants will die a violent death because you have disobeyed me and have taken Uriah's wife. 11I swear to you that I will cause someone from your own family to bring trouble on you. You will see it when I take your wives from you and give them to another man; and he will have intercourse with them in broad daylight. 12You sinned in secret, but I will make this happen in broad daylight for all Israel to see.’ ”

13“I have sinned against the LORD,” David said.

Nathan replied, “The LORD forgives you; you will not die.

2 Samuel 11:26-12:13GNBOpen in Bible reader

1. This is a lectionary reading and after the reading we will be prompted to say “Thanks be to God”. In your view, what is it we could or should be thankful for in this reading?

2. The lectionary reading ends rather abruptly in the middle of verse 13. When you include the rest of verse 13 and verse 14, what concerns might this text raise in your context today?

3. What do you know about the characters, named and unnamed, in this text?

4. David is to be punished because he had done something that “displeased the Lord” when he “took” Uriah’s wife and then had him killed (2 Sam 11:2-17). Part of God’s punishment is: “Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight (2 Sam 12:11-12). What are your thoughts about the way women are (ab)used in this text?

5. Notwithstanding the dis-ease that present-day readers might feel when reflecting on the way women are treated in the text, the lesson David learns from the story Nathan tells him is that, exploiting the poor and vulnerable and taking advantage of those whom you have power over and are expected to care for, are wrong and offensive (1 Sam 11:26-12:7). In what way can this lesson be extended in your context to bring men who abuse their positions of power to exploit and manipulate those who trust and ‘look up’ to them?

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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