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but the poor man had nothing save one little ewe-lamb which he had bought and nourished up; and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.
And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flocks, and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him, but took the poor man's lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.
And David's anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing, shall surely die.
And he shall restore the lamb four-fold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity,
And-Nathan said to David, Thou art the man.
Thus saith the LORD GOD of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul: and I gave thee thy master's house, and I gave thee the house of Israel, and of Judah: and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.
Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.
Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.
Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil unto thee out of thine house, for thou didst it secretly, but I will do this thing before Israel, and before the sun. And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against
the LORD, And Nathan said unto David, the LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
It is shocking to read, that David, who was so well acquainted with his duty, should commit such enormous crimes. The sin of taking another man's wife, which is called adultery, was forbidden under the Jewish law on pain of death; yet David was not only guilty of it, but added treachery and murder to it! It is needless to enlarge on the nature of his offences, for our own reason tells us that they were very great. Nothing can be said in excuse for David; and it is to be feared, that prosperity had made him less attentive to the performance of his religious exercises, or they would have kept his mind from desiring what God's law forbad him to covet: as his crime was of a most heinous nature, the LORD sent Nathan to bring him to public confession. Nathan executed his commission with so much judgment and address, that the king, without knowing it, pronounced sentence on himself. Did he deserve to die who had taken his neighbour's lamb? How much more he who had taken his neighbour's wife, and caused him to be slain; who had abused God's bounty, and despised the commandment of the LORD.
David did not offer to extenuate his guilt, but, stung with shame, and oppressed with a dread of the Divine vengeance, so justly due, he acknowledged his sin; and the LORD, knowing that his penitence was sincere, to save him from despair, permitted Nathan to assure him, that he would spare his life, and save him from eternal death;
death; but the honour of GOD required that some exemplary punishment should fall on such a sinner; lest blasphemous men should say, the LORD was partial in his dealings, and a respecter of persons: and we shall find, that all the evils, which Nathan foretold, fell upon David afterwards.
As soon as the king found that his guilt was known to the world, he resolved to do all in his power to wipe off the reproach he had brought on that holy religion, which he had taken such pains to propagate; and make all possible reparation for his offence, both to God and man. Could the blood of thousands of burnt sacrifices have washed away the stain of guilt form his polluted mind, gladly would he have offered them; but for such crimes the only sacrifice that could be acceptable to the LORD was, repentance and public humiliation; David therefore resolved to make apublie confession before his people and for this purpose the composed the following psalmg commanding it to be sung in the tabernacle, in the presence of the congregation, himself attending, and pros trate before the throne of mercy.†
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy loving kindness, according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.§.
Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight: that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest.
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity: and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Delany's Life of David.
† Psalm li.
Behold, Thou desirest truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden part Thou shalt make me to know reisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness: that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice.
Hide Thy face from my sins: and blot out all mine iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Thy presence: and take not Thy holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free spirit.
Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.
Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O GOD, Thou GOD of my salvation and my tongue shall sing aloud of Thy righteousness.
O LORD, open Thou my lips, and my mouth shall shew forth Thy praise.
For Thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it : Thou delightest not in burnt-offering.
The sacrifices of GOD are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O GOD, Thou wilt not despise.
Do good in Thy good pleasure unto Zion: build Thou the walls of Jerusalem.
Then shalt Thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righte ousness, with burnt-offering, and whole burnt-offering; then shall they offer bullocks upon Thine altar.
Let us suppose that we behold the greatest monarch upon earth thus humbled for his sins before GOD, con fessing his crime with contrition and confusion of face,
calling out for mercy, and imploring pardon in the presence of his meanest subjects; and we cannot but feel the greatest abhorrence of guilt, which alone could reduce him to such a situation. Besides the displeasure of GOD, and the reproach he had brought on religion, David was scorned by his enemies, and insulted by his inferiors: surely no one will be encouraged to imitate him in his crimes; for supposing that they could even be certain of practising the same degree of penitence, what pleasure on earth can be worth so dear a purchase? But we shall be able to comprehend his accumulated distress better from his own words, than from any other description of it.
* I am weary of my crying, my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my GOD.
OGOD, Thou knowest my foolishness: and my sins are not hid from Thee.
Let not them that wait on Thee, O LORD GOD of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek Thee, be confounded for my sake, O GOD of Israel.
Because for Thy sake I have borne reproach: shame hath covered my face.
I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien mother's children.
For the zeal of Thine house hath eaten me up and the reproaches of them that reproached Thee, are fallen upon
When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.
I made sackcloth also my garment: and I became d proverb to them.
They that sit in the gate, speak against me: and I was the song of the drunkards.
But as for me, my prayer is unto Thee, O LORD, in an
* Psalm Ixix.