Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 12:1
sa2 12:1The Lord sent - When the ordinary means did not awaken David to repentance, God takes an extraordinary course. Thus the merciful God pities and prevents him who had so horribly forsaken God. He said - He prudently ushers in his reproof with a parable, after the manner of the eastern nations, that so he might surprize David, and cause him unawares to give sentence against himself.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 12:2
sa2 12:2Many flocks - Noting David's many wives and concubines.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 12:3
sa2 12:3Bought - As men then used to buy their wives: or, had procured.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 12:5
sa2 12:5Is worthy to die - This seems to be more than the fact deserved, or than he had commission to inflict for it, Exo 22:1. But it is observable, that David now when he was most indulgent to himself, and to his own sin, was most severe and even unjust to others; as appears by this passage, and the following relation, Sa2 12:31, which was done in the time of David's impenitent continuance in his sin.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 12:7
sa2 12:7Thus saith the Lord God - Nathan now speaks, not as a petitioner for a poor man, but as an ambassador from the great God.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 12:9
sa2 12:9To be thy wife - To marry her whom he had defiled, and whose husband he had slain, was an affront upon the ordinance of marriage, making that not only to palliate, but in a manner to consecrate such villainies. In all this he despised the word of the Lord; (so it is in the Hebrew.) Not only his commandment in general, but the particular word of promise, which God had before sent him by Nathan, that he would build him an house: which sacred promise if he had had a due value for, he would not have polluted his house with lust and blood.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 12:10
sa2 12:10Never depart - During the residue of thy life.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 12:11
sa2 12:11Own house - From thy own children and family. Thine eyes - Openly, so that thou shalt know it as certainly as if thou didst see it, and yet not be able to hinder it. And give them - I shall by my providence, give him power over them. Neighbor - To one who is very near thee. But God expresseth this darkly, that the accomplishment of it might not be hindered.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 12:13
sa2 12:13I have sinned - How serious this confession was, we may see, Psa. 51:1-19. Put away thy sin - That is, so far as concerns thy own life. Not die - As by thy own sentence, Sa2 12:5, thou dost deserve, and may expect to be done by my immediate stroke.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 12:16
sa2 12:16Besought - Supposing the threatening might be conditional, and so the execution of it prevented by prayer. Went - Into his closet.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 12:17
sa2 12:17Elders - The chief officers of his kingdom and household. He would not - This excessive mourning did not proceed simply from the fear of the loss of the child; but from a deep sense of his sin, and the divine displeasure manifested herein.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 12:18
sa2 12:18Seventh day - From the beginning of the distemper.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 12:20
sa2 12:20And came - That is, to the tabernacle, to confess his sin before the Lord, to own his justice in this stroke, to deprecate his just displeasure, to acknowledge God's rich mercy, in sparing his own life; and to offer such sacrifices as were required in such cases.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 12:23
sa2 12:23I fast - Seeing fasting and prayer cannot now prevail with God for his life. I shall go to him - Into the state of the dead in which he is, and into heaven, where I doubt not I shall find him.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 12:24
sa2 12:24His wife - Who was now much dejected, both for her former sin, and for the loss of the child. Loved him - That is, the Lord declared to David, that he loved his son, notwithstanding the just cause David had given to God to alienate his affections from him.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 12:25
sa2 12:25Jedidiah - That is, beloved of the Lord. Because - Either, because of the Lord's love to him, or because the Lord commanded him to do so.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 12:26
sa2 12:26Royal city - That is, that part of the city where was the king's palace; though now it seems he was retired to a strong fort.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 12:27
sa2 12:27Of waters - Rabbah was so called because it was encompassed with water.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 12:28
sa2 12:28Take it - For having taken one part of the city, he concluded the remaining part of it could not long stand out. Lest - Lest I have the honour of taking it.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 12:30
sa2 12:30The weight - Or rather, the price whereof, &c. For the same words both in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, are used, to signify either weight, or price. And the addition of precious stones, which are never valued by the weight of gold, makes this signification most probable. Moreover, the weight might seem too great either for the king of Ammon, or for David to wear it upon his head.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 12:31
sa2 12:31The people - The words are indefinite, and therefore not necessarily to be understood of all the people; but of the men of war, and especially of those who had been the chief actors of that villainous action against David's ambassadors, and of the dreadful war ensuing upon it; for which, they deserved severe punishments. Altho' indeed there seems to have been too much rigour used; especially, because these deaths were inflicted not only upon those counsellors, who were the only authors of that vile usage of the ambassadors; but upon some number of the people. And therefore it is probable, David exercised this cruelty whilst his heart was hardened, and impenitent; and when he was bereaved of that good spirit of God, which would have taught him more mercy. Saws - He sawed them to death of which punishment, we have examples both in scripture, and in other authors. Brick - kiln - Or, made them to pass through the furnace of Malchen: that is, of Moloch; punishing them with their own sin, and with the same kind of punishment which they had inflicted upon their own children.