Lesson 92: 2 Samuel 12:10–24:25
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“Lesson 92: 2 Samuel 12:10–24:25,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)

“Lesson 92,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual

Lesson 92

2 Samuel 12:10–24:25


The prophet Nathan confronted King David about David’s adultery with Bathsheba and Uriah’s murder. Nathan explained that the consequences of David’s actions would affect David, his family, and the entire kingdom. In fulfillment of Nathan’s prophecies, the turmoil and strife in David’s household led to a civil war that threatened to destroy the kingdom.

Suggestions for Teaching

2 Samuel 12:10–31

Nathan prophesies of the consequences of David’s sins

Before class write the following phrases on the board:

Cheating on a homework assignment

Lying to parents

Refusing to forgive someone

Invite students to read the phrases on the board aloud.

  • What are some possible unforeseen consequences of making these choices?

Ask a student to recount the sinful choices King David made involving Bathsheba and Uriah. (David committed adultery with Bathsheba and arranged for her husband, Uriah, to be killed.)

Explain that after the prophet Nathan taught the parable of the ewe lamb, he told David the consequences of his choices and actions. Invite students to look for principles as they study 2 Samuel 12–24 that can help them when they are tempted to sin.

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from 2 Samuel 12:10–14. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the consequences of King David’s sinful choices. You may want to suggest that students mark these consequences in their scriptures.

  • What consequences would result from David’s sins?

  • What do you think the phrase “the sword shall never depart from thine house” means (verse 10)? (Explain that the sword is symbolic of violence and war. For the rest of David’s life and reign as king, conflict and war would plague his family and kingdom.)

  • Who else would be affected by David’s sins? (People in his kingdom, including his wives and children.)

  • What principle can we learn from these verses about the consequences of sin? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following principle: When we choose to sin, we may bring unforeseen and long-term consequences upon ourselves and others.)

To help students understand that some choices may have long-term consequences even after we repent and are forgiven, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Scott, Richard G.

“It is a fundamental truth that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can be cleansed. We can become virtuous and pure. However, sometimes our poor choices leave us with long-term consequences. One of the vital steps to complete repentance is to bear the short- and long-term consequences of our past sins” (“Personal Strength through the Atonement of Jesus Christ,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013, 82–83).

  • What are some examples of poor choices that might result in unforeseen and long-term consequences both for us and for others?

Summarize the rest of 2 Samuel 12 by explaining that the child born to David and Bathsheba died, as Nathan prophesied. David and Bathsheba had another son, whom they named Solomon.

2 Samuel 13–18

Turmoil and strife in David’s family lead to civil war

Explain that 2 Samuel 13–18 describes tragic events involving two of King David’s sons, Amnon and Absalom. These chapters also show the fulfillment of the prophesied consequences of David’s sins.

Divide the class into three groups. (If your class is large, you may want to divide students into more than three groups. If you do, you will need to give more than one group the same assignment.) Explain that each group will be assigned to study a scripture block and to prepare to do the following (write these instructions on the board):

  1. Summarize the events described in these verses.

  2. Explain the possible short-term consequences of Amnon’s or Absalom’s choices.

  3. Explain what you think might have been some of the unforeseen or long-term consequences of Amnon’s or Absalom’s choices.

Give each group one of the following assignments:

Group 1: Amnon

Read 2 Samuel 13:1–18 aloud in your group, and look for the sin that Amnon committed against his half-sister Tamar.

Group 2: Absalom

In 2 Samuel 13:1–20 we read that David’s son Amnon lusted after his half-sister Tamar. Using deception, Amnon raped her. Read 2 Samuel 13:21–39 aloud in your group, and look for how Tamar’s brother Absalom responded to what Amnon did to Tamar.

Group 3: Absalom

In 2 Samuel 13–14 we read that David’s son Absalom conspired to have his half-brother Amnon killed because Amnon had raped Tamar, Absalom’s sister. Absalom fled to the land Geshur for three years before he returned to Jerusalem. Read the following verses aloud in your group, and look for what Absalom planned to do and what his actions led to: 2 Samuel 15:1–6, 10–17; 2 Samuel 16:20–22.

Give students several minutes to read their assigned verses and discuss their responses to the instructions on the board. After sufficient time, invite the first group to report its responses to the class (the other two groups will report later).

Write the words love and lust on the board.

  • Which word best describes Amnon’s behavior?

Invite students to read 2 Samuel 13:4 silently, looking for how Amnon described his feelings toward Tamar. Ask students to report what they find.

  • Why might some people mistake lust for love?

To help students understand the difference between love and lust, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Brother Tad R. Callister, Sunday School general president, given while he was a member of the Presidency of the Seventy:

Callister, Tad R

“Satan is the great counterfeiter. He tries to [present] lust as love. There is a simple test to detect the difference. Love is motivated by self-control, obedience to God’s moral laws, respect for others, and unselfishness. On the other hand, lust is motivated by disobedience, self-gratification, and lack of discipline” (“The Lord’s Standard of Morality,” Ensign, Mar. 2014, 48).

  • How would you summarize the difference between love and lust?

To help students identify additional principles in this account, invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from 2 Samuel 13:10–15. Ask the class to follow along, looking for evidence that Amnon lusted after Tamar rather than loved her.

  • According to verses 12–13, how did Tamar respond to Amnon’s desire to lie with her?

  • How did she try to persuade him not to commit sin?

You might explain that the word folly in this context means something that is morally wrong.

  • Why do you think Amnon “would not hearken unto her voice” (verse 14)? What may have caused him to dismiss or ignore the consequences of his actions?

  • How did yielding to lust affect Amnon’s attitude and actions toward Tamar?

Write the following incomplete statement on the board: If we lust, then …

Ask students to complete the principle on the board. Write their responses on the board. If students do not identify principles similar to the following, write them on the board as well: If we lust, then we lose the Spirit and may dismiss or ignore the consequences of our actions, and if we lust, then we lose the Spirit and our love and concern for others may diminish.

  • Why do you think yielding to lust destroys our love and concern for others?

  • What are some things we can do to avoid and resist lust?

Invite the second group to report to the class. Ask students what caused Absalom to hate his brother Amnon (see 2 Samuel 13:22). Replace lust with are angry in the principles written on the board.

  • How can anger cause us to ignore or dismiss the consequences of our actions? How can anger cause our love and concern for others to diminish?

Invite the third group to report to the class. Replace angry with prideful in the principles written on the board.

  • How was Absalom’s conspiracy to become king a form of pride?

  • How can pride cause us to ignore or dismiss the consequences of our actions? How can pride cause our love and concern for others to diminish?

Summarize 2 Samuel 18 by explaining that during the battle between Absalom’s supporters and King David’s men, Absalom became entangled in a tree. When Joab, the captain of King David’s army, found Absalom, he killed him. Invite a student to read 2 Samuel 18:33 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how David reacted to the death of his son.

  • Despite Absalom’s rebellion, why do you think David wept over his son’s death?

  • What effects did the choices of King David, Amnon, and Absalom have on their family?

You might consider sharing your testimony of the short- and long-term effects your choices have had on you and your family. (Be careful not to share past transgressions or sins. You may want to focus on the effects of positive choices you have made.) Encourage students to make righteous choices that can bless them and their families both now and in the future.

Provide students with copies of the following instructions, as well as pieces of paper they can use to record their responses. Explain that they will not be asked to share their responses with anyone.

Consider both the positive and negative choices you are currently making and how those choices affect those around you, especially your family. Select one or two of your choices and answer the following questions:

  • What effects might these choices be having on you and your family?

  • What might be some of the long-term consequences of these choices and behaviors?

  • As you make these choices, what changes could you make that could bless you and your family both now and in the future?

2 Samuel 19–24

Insurrection, famine, and pestilence threaten David’s kingdom

Summarize 2 Samuel 19–24 by explaining that after Absalom’s death, David returned to Jerusalem. Another rebellion among the tribes of Israel was quickly put down by Joab, who led David’s army. Israel suffered a famine that lasted three years. King David displeased the Lord by counting the number of men in Judah and Israel who could serve in the military. The scriptures do not explain why this numbering of the people was offensive, but it might have been representative of David’s trust in the strength of his army rather than in the power of God. To save the people from a plague, David offered sacrifices to the Lord.

Commentary and Background Information

2 Samuel 12:14–18. “The child … born unto thee shall surely die”

“The child born of [David and Bathsheba’s] illicit union did not live, but there is no reason to look upon that as ‘punishment’ of the child for the sins of the parents. Removal from this earth by the hand of the Lord must come at one time or another and can be a blessing to an individual, brought about for his best interest at whatever time the Lord sees it to be optimum” (Ellis T. Rasmussen, An Introduction to the Old Testament and its Teachings, 2 vols., 2nd ed. [1972], 1:186).

2 Samuel 13:1–18. “Come lie with me, my sister”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught how we can avoid lustful desires:

“Let’s talk for a moment about how to guard against temptation. …

“Above all, start by separating yourself from people, materials, and circumstances that will harm you. … Like Joseph in the presence of Potiphar’s wife [see Genesis 39:1–13], just run—run as far away as you can get from whatever or whoever it is that beguiles you. …

“… Seek … help and welcome it. Talk to your bishop. Follow his counsel. Ask for a priesthood blessing. … Pray without ceasing. Ask for angels to help you.

“Along with filters on computers and a lock on affections, remember that the only real control in life is self-control. … If a TV show is indecent, turn it off. If a movie is crude, walk out. If an improper relationship is developing, sever it. Many of these influences, at least initially, may not technically be evil, but they can blunt our judgment, dull our spirituality, and lead to something that could be evil. …

“… Replace lewd thoughts with hopeful images and joyful memories. …

“Cultivate and be where the Spirit of the Lord is. Make sure that includes your own home or apartment, dictating the kind of art, music, and literature you keep there. … Go to the temple as often as your circumstances allow. Remember that the temple arms you ‘with [God’s] power, … [puts His] glory … round about [you], and [gives His] angels … charge over [you]’ [D&C 109:22]” (“Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 45, 46).

2 Samuel 13:11–14, 22–29. Learning to bridle our passions

Speaking of the need to bridle the passions and desires of the natural man, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

“The precise nature of the test of mortality … can be summarized in the following questions: Will my body rule over my spirit, or will my spirit rule over my body? Will I yield to the enticings of the natural man or to the eternal man? That, brothers and sisters, is the test. We are here on the earth to develop godlike qualities and to learn to bridle all of the passions of the flesh (see Alma 38:12)” (“Ye Are the Temple of God,” Ensign, Sept. 2001, 17).