Summary: David, Pt. 11 of 15


A man who was caught stealing a horse couldn’t believe his ears after the arguments were made, the evidence was presented, and the trail was over - the presiding judge had sentenced him to hang. He was understandably miserable, upset, disgruntled, bitter and resentful that he was handed such a stiff sentence for a seemingly small theft; so the convicted felon appealed his sentence, hoping that the judge would reconsider his verdict, reopen the case, or reduce his sentence.

The man addressed the judge at the bar: “It is very hard, my lord, (wouldn’t you say,) to hang a poor man for stealing a horse.” The judge, who was not surprised at his appeal or his appearance and annoyance, but was unsympathetic to and unimpressed with his argument,) corrected the man, “Sir, you are not to be hanged for stealing a horse; but you are to be hanged that horses may not be stolen.”

It’s been said, “When someone gets something for nothing, someone else gets nothing for something.”

David, the man who is considered in the Bible as “A man after God’s own heart”

(1 Sam 13:14), the greatest king in Israel’s history, and the forefather of the Messiah, slipped and failed big time when he allowed success to get to his head. He was a pale semblance of his former self. The shepherd boy, the prayer warrior, and the fearless leader had given way to a monster, an oppressor, and a murderer. His moral courage, able leadership and godly principles were gone, and he paid dearly for failing to uphold truth, justice, and mercy.


12:1 The LORD sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. 4 “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”

A certain senator had a friend whose company he enjoyed because the man always argued with him. They would argue far into the night. The senator thoroughly enjoyed the intellectual simulation (of someone sparring with him, speaking one’s mind, and sharpening his thinking.)

One day the friend needed a loan and the senator gladly granted it. From that moment on, however, their relationship changed. The friend no longer argued. Instead, he began to agree with everything the senator said. (He was eager to please, quick to yield, and devoid of spirit.)

After several weeks the exasperated senator, now thoroughly bored with the man’s company, blurted out: “Look, either start arguing with me again, for heaven’s sake, or pay me (back) my money!” (Bits and Pieces 4/28/94)

The justice bells were silent, the truth was compromised, and the courts were muted. Tongues were wagging, heads were shaking, but for many months, no one dared to confront the king, pulled him aside, and questioned his defiance of God’s commandments, his decision to execute Uriah, or his determination to marry Bathsheba, until Nathan’s unexpected visit. Nathan turned the tables on David quick and early. David was the poor man who had become rich. In his early, hungry years, when David heard that Saul wanted him to be his son-in-law, he exclaimed the same Hebrew word for “poor” in verse 1: “I’m only a poor man and little known” (1 Sam 18:23). Now he was anything but poor or unknown; he was the richest and the most famous. He was the top dog and the big shot, and not the underdog or the long shot anymore or sympathetic to the poor man’s plight. David had long ceased walking in the poor man’s shoes or drinking froma poor man’s cup.

The contrast between the rich and the poor couldn’t be any greater. The rich man did not merely have sheep, but sheep and cattle. He did not merely have a large number of them, but a very large number, or lots and lots of them. The poor man, however, did not even possess a full-grown ewe lamb, but a pint-sized ewe or female lamb, which he bought with his hard-earned savings (v 3). The word “little” is significant. It was too small even for temple sacrifice. The Chinese say “Not enough to fill a plate.” The lamb was the poor man’s only major purchase, his most valued possession, his pride and all.

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