The Lord Afflicted David and Bathsheba’s Child?


“And the Lord afflicted the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and he became sick.” – 2 Samuel 12:15


Jesus says if you have seen him then you have seen the Father. Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature and character. Jesus is the image of of the invisible God. We cannot see God, but we can see Jesus. Therefore, we always need to look to Jesus so that we can know God.

Do we ever see Jesus afflict anyone with an illness, a sickness, a disease?


On the contrary, Jesus was continually healing everyone that was brought to him. Therefore, God’s character and nature is to heal illness, sickness, and disease, not afflict someone with it.

Further, people brought children to Jesus so that he could lay hands on them and pray for them. The disciples rebuked the people for this. But, Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus does not afflict with disease. Jesus does not deny little children coming to him.


It is very likely that the writer of Samuel believed that the Lord afflicted David’s child with sickness. But, the writer of Samuel had a veiled view of God. The veil that covered God’s true nature is only removed through Christ and his death, burial, and resurrection.

Therefore, with the veil removed, we clearly cannot read these words at face value. To read the literal letters as written would violate the character and nature of God. This is Paul’s argument in 2 Corinthians 3.

That leaves us with basically two options. First, we assign responsibility for the affliction of sickness on the child not to God but to the one, Satan, who has the power of death, since sickness leads to death. Instead of believing a lie about God, making him responsible for sickness, we need to know the truth and assign the blame correctly. I wrote about this in Who Says “I Destroy” – God or Satan?

Second, we allegorize the story with the help of the Holy Spirit to understand a spiritual truth contained within the story. In this case, we are seeking the inspiration of scripture that is profitable for teaching, correction, rebuke, and reproof.

It is this second option that I want to pursue in this post. And, the key New Testament scripture that will help us in this effort is James 1:13-15, which says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”


In 2 Samuel 10, we are told that is was the time for kings to go out to battle. But, instead of David, the king of Israel, going out to battle, he sent out his servants while he stayed behind. David was where he shouldn’t have been.

From his rooftop, David saw a beautiful woman bathing. David inquired about the woman was Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah. These names are instructive for what David came to learn about the woman his desires were enticed by.

Bathsheba means daughter of an oath.

Eliam means God of the people or God’s people.

Uriah means Yahweh is light or light of the Lord.

Having asked who this woman was, David found out she was the daughter of an oath, one of God’s people, married to the light of the Lord.

But, David was so tempted, so lured, so enticed by his own desires that he took this woman, another man’s wife, for himself.


Our desires do not produce sin on their own. A desire has to conceive with something to produce sin. That something is a lie.

David believe the lie that because he was king of Israel he could take this woman that was the wife of another man.

Ultimately, the lie that David believed was the same lie that Eve believed and the same lie that all of us have believed – God is not good. It this lie, always this lie, that conceives with our own desires to produce sin.

In 2 Samuel 12:7-8, Nathan, the prophet, said to David, “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 Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more.”

God had given David everything. He delivered him from his enemy, Saul, who was constantly trying to kill him. When Saul died, God gave David his whole kingdom, his house, and his wives. God had been very good to David. And, God said if that was not enough for David then he would have given David even more.

David believed the lie that God was not wholly good. So, 2 Samuel 11:5 says, “And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, ‘I am pregnant.'”

The lie that David believe conceived with his own desire.


In 2 Samuel 11:27, we are told that Bathsheba “became his wife and bore him a son.” The child that was born to David, conceived by the lie and his own desire, is a picture of sin we produce when our desires conceive with Satan’s lie that God is not good.

The child itself, in real life, was not sin. This is merely what the inspiration of scripture by the Holy Spirit is teaching us about ourselves. The Holy Spirit is using this story to teach, correct, rebuke, and reprove us from allowing Satan’s lie that God is not good to conceive with our desires.

I have always thought the child born to David died as baby. One reason I thought this is the continual use of the word child. Another reason I believe this is that David fasted and prayed for the child seven days. I assumed that the child died seven days after being born.

But, while we always read the English word child in 2 Samuel 11, there are different Hebrew words used. Several of the Hebrew words sued do not mean a baby. Rather, they mean a lad, a youth, or a young man.

So, this child that represented David’s sin was with David for many years. Just like James 1:15 says, David’s child had become fully grown. His sin come to complete fruition in him.


In 2 Samuel 12:14, Nathan prophesied to David, “The child who is born to you shall die.” The sin that had fully grown in David’s life would bring forth death.

Verse 16 says that David, “lay all night on the ground.” And, verse 17 says that “the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not.”

I believe this is a picture of sin producing death in David. David laying on the ground all night and refusing to rise from the ground is a picture of his mind set on the things of the earth. Romans 8:5-6 says, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh…For to set the mind on the flesh is death.”


When we see the child as the birthing of sin from David’s desire conceiving with the Satan’s lie that God is not good, then we can understand this as the Lord afflicting sin.

The Hebrew word for afflict here is nagaph. It means to strike, to injure by striking, to smite, to plague. It is most commonly translated defeated. It is most commonly used in the context of defeating an enemy.

Understood by the inspiration of the Spirit, the Lord is not afflicting David’s child but the sin in David’s life.

Romans 8:2-4 says, “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”


I already mentioned that David lay all night on the ground and refused to raise himself from the ground. But, at the same time, David fastest and refused to eat with the elders who were trying to get him off the ground.

We could think of David as in a battle with his sin. By fasting, he was denying his flesh. Romans 13:14 says, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” We could think of David facing the battle in his mind that Paul describes in Romans 7.

On the seventh day of David’s fasting, his sin was dead. The number seven symbolizes perfection, completion, and rest. Therefore, we see that David at last has rest from his sin.

David has reckoned himself dead to his sin. David’s time on the ground and fasting could be thought of his dying with Christ. Romans 6:7-11 says, “For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”


After David knew that the child had died, that his sin was dead, 2 Samuel 12:20 says, “Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped.”

David arose from the earth, which is to say his mind was no longer set on the flesh but the Spirit. David was cleansed (washed), filled with the Spirit (anointed), and made righteous (changed his clothes). Romans 6:12-13 says, “Let not sin reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.”


As the story is told in 2 Samuel 12, it appears that David and Bathsheba have another son, Solomon, immediately after the child dies, David’s sin is put away. Verse 24 says, “Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon.” But, in reality, I believe there was quite a bit time of time David and Bathsheba’s first child, its death, and the birth of Solomon.

Speaking of David’s children, 1 Chronicles 3:5 says, “These were born to him in Jerusalem: Shimea, Shobab, Nathan and Solomon, four by Bath-Shua, the daughter of Ammiel.” These seems to imply that Solomon was the fourth, not the second, of David and Bathsheba’s children. And, if we know the meanings of the names of the four sons David had with Bathsheba, then they tell the story of David dealing with his sin.

Shimea means he (God) has heard.

Shobab means backsliding or brought back, returning.

Nathan means he will give.

Solomon means peace, peaceable, recompense.

David heard from God about his sin. Therefore, it seems likely that Shimea was the young man that died. David was backsliding, but he was brought back when he heard from God. So, God gave David peace.

When we read David’s story in this way, we can understand that Lord didn’t afflict David’s child. Rather, it was about David’s sin. And that, of course, is really the story of how God deals with our own sin too.

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