We see that the son conceived in sin and born to David and Bathsheba died because of their sin. I realize that there are scholars who disagree with what I’m going to say here (they have the right to be wrong!!), but I do not believe that this was a punishment for the child. I believe the child was ushered into the presence of God. So it was in many ways a blessing to the child. But this is the loss of a son for David. Notice too that Bathsheba is not here mentioned by her name, but is called “Uriah’s wife” (12:15b). Most of our translations have “widow,” but the word is actually “wife.” Yet another reminder of David’s sin. I find it typical of human nature that there are so many Christians who think of this sin in particular when they think of David and forget all about the good he did and the fact that God refers to him as “a man after Mine own heart [mind!]! All along the sin is reckoned as not against Bathsheba, but as against Uriah. She was his wife, he was the head of that family. Only he had a right to her.
David’s actions in regards to the child are very instructive for us as well: He fasted and prayed for the child in case God would relent and let him live. But when the child was dead he washed, ate, and worshipped God (12:16-20). When asked about it his answer in part was, “Now that he has died; why should I fast? I can’t bring him back again, can I? I shall go to him [eventually], but he will not return to me” (12:21-23).
After the birth of the son Bathsheba named Solomon (man of rest/peace), God again sent Nathan the prophet to David and informed him that God called this young man “Jedidiah,” “Beloved of the LORD” (12:24-25).
13:1-22 recounts a sad tale, and is a fulfillment of the punishment promised to David for his sin against Uriah (12:7-12). I count this as the loss of a child–his daughter Tamar. Amnon had to have known that he was sinning (Leviticus 18:9[-18]). The text informs us that David was angry, but we are never told that he disciplined his children. 13:23-39 recounts the ongoing punishment of David as his children hate one another and Absalom has Amnon killed.
Even though he corrected the false report that had been brought to David (13:30-33), I think that I would have had nephew Jonadab seriously disciplined: he not only gave the advice to Amnon that led to the rape and desolation of Tamar, but he knew what Absalom had planned and did not divulge it to anyone . . . Amnon should have been put to death by order of the king for his rape.
We are not told why Joab wanted Absalom to return, but he went to fairly great lengths to get David to bring him back (14:1-11). The image used by the woman (verse 7) of the relatives trying to extinguish her coal is an apt one, but also one that many today might miss the significance of. Fire was the only method for cooking in those days. Folks often preserved the coals in various ways so they could start a fire later. Also in the various methods used to start a fire “from scratch” a coal was produced, a very small coal I might add, and then it was nursed into flame. If this coal was extinguished before the fire could be built up one had to start all over and with more (often great) effort to try produce another. In many cases one would not have the energy or the resources to produce a second.
At verse eight Psalm 66 commands all people to bless God and to sound His praises abroad. It then begins to tell of the blessings that God Himself bestows on His people, and of how he “tries” His people like silver, to make it more pure. Verse twelve mentions both fire and water–the two methods of cleansing. The psalmist promises to serve God if only He will continue to bless. “Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, nor His lovingkindness from me” (verse 20).