› Forums › Religion › Who was Nathan in the bible › Reply To: Who was Nathan in the bible
Nathan was to David what Samuel was to Saul: a constant prophetic reminder that Israel’s king was answerable to God. The only difference was that David actually listened to Nathan.
Nathan was present in three episodes of David’s story. While his recorded appearances were few and far between, they suggested a closeness that existed between David and his trusted prophet.
On the first occasion, David confided in Nathan his desire to build a permanent house for God to replace the portable tabernacle that had been used since the Israelites left Egypt. Nathan delivered God’s answer—a refusal mixed with profound blessing. While God would not allow David to build Him a temple (that responsibility fell to his successor, Solomon), He promised to bless David with rest from his enemies and an everlasting dynasty ( 2 Samuel 7:1–17).
Sometime later, Nathan brought God’s word to David once again— though under very different circumstances. David had seduced Bathsheba and arranged her husband’s murder so he could take her as his own wife. Such behavior by the monarch would have been tolerated in almost any other kingdom—but not in Israel. Nathan confronted David, using the first parable recorded in the Bible to compare David to a rich man who stole a poor man’s only lamb. David acknowledged his sin, but the damage was done. Nathan foretold that David and Bathsheba’s first son would die—and that David and his heirs would forever be plagued by violence (2 Samuel 12).
In the final episode involving Nathan, the aging prophet worked to install one of David and Bathsheba’s surviving sons, Solomon, on Israel’s throne. God’s favor had been with Solomon from birth
David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went to her and lay with her; and she bore a son, and she called his name Solomon. And the Lord loved [the child];(2 Samuel 12:24),
so when another of David’s sons conspired to take the throne, Nathan acted quickly—demonstrating shrewd political skills to match his prophetic wisdom. Together with Bathsheba, he convinced the dying King David to name Solomon heir to the throne.
Nathan’s story proves that even prophets get it wrong sometimes— namely, when they don’t wait for God’s direction. After David shared his desire to build God’s temple, Nathan approved the idea without hesitation. However, when God spoke to Nathan, revealing a different plan, the prophet returned to his king—this time with the correct advice.