“Unit 19: Day 2, 2 Samuel 12:10–24:25,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 19: Day 2,” Old Testament Study Guide
The prophet Nathan confronted King David about his adultery with Bathsheba and his arranging Uriah’s death on the battlefield. 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 of Israel.
What are some possible unforeseen consequences of making the following choices? (List some answers in the space provided.)
Cheating on a homework assignment:
Lying to parents:
Refusing to forgive someone:
Remember that David committed adultery with Bathsheba and arranged for her husband, Uriah, to be killed.
The prophet Nathan told David the consequences of his choices and actions. As you study the consequences of David’s sinful choices recorded in 2 Samuel 12–24, look for principles that can help you when you are tempted to sin.
Read 2 Samuel 12:10–14, looking for the consequences of King David’s sinful choices. You may want to mark these consequences in your scriptures.
The seriousness of David’s sins was increased because David was greatly loved of the Lord and had been greatly blessed. He was “a man after [the Lord’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14), and he would have been given any righteous desire that he requested from the Lord (see 2 Samuel 12:8). Read Doctrine and Covenants 132:39, looking for what the Lord said the eternal consequences of David’s sinful choices were.
What does this verse teach us about the consequences of David’s sinful choices?
Notice the phrase “the sword shall never depart from thine house” in 2 Samuel 12:10. 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 kingdom. As a result, who else would be affected by David’s sins?
One principle we can learn from these verses is that when we choose to sin, we may bring unforeseen and long-term consequences upon ourselves and others.
Some choices may have long-term consequences even after we repent and have been forgiven. Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “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).
The rest of 2 Samuel 12 explains that the child born to David and Bathsheba died, as Nathan prophesied. David and Bathsheba later had another son, whom they named Solomon.
In 2 Samuel 13–18 we read descriptions of tragic events involving two of King David’s sons, Amnon and Absalom. These chapters also show how Nathan’s prophesied consequences of David’s sins began to be fulfilled.
Read 2 Samuel 13:1–18, looking for the sin that Amnon committed against his half-sister Tamar.
Notice in verse 4 that Amnon described his feelings for Tamar as love. What word do you feel best describes Amnon’s behavior?
Tad R. Callister, Sunday School general president, while he was a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, explained the difference between love and lust: “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).
- In your scripture study journal, use your own words and summarize the difference between love and lust.
Notice in 2 Samuel 13:12 that Tamar tried to reason with Amnon. She pleaded, “Do not force me; for no such thing [rape] ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly.” The word folly in this context means something that is morally wrong. She begged him to refrain from such foolishness or madness. However, Amnon “would not hearken unto her voice” (2 Samuel 13:14). From Amnon’s wickedness we learn that if we lust, then we lose the Spirit and may dismiss or ignore the consequences of our actions.
Ponder the following question: How did yielding to lust affect Amnon’s attitude and actions toward Tamar?
Another principle we learn from this account is that if we lust, then we lose the Spirit and our love and concern for others may diminish.
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Why do you think continually yielding to lustful desires ultimately destroys our love and concern for others?
What are some things we can do to avoid and resist lustful desires?
Read 2 Samuel 13:21–22, 28–29, 38, looking for how Tamar’s brother Absalom responded to what Amnon did to Tamar.
What might have been some of the unforeseen or long-term consequences of Absalom’s decision to act in anger against Amnon?
Eventually Absalom returned to Jerusalem and was reconciled to his father, David. Then Absalom began seeking power. Read the following verses, looking for what Absalom planned to do and what his actions led to: 2 Samuel 15:4–6, 10, 13–14; 17:1–4.
In 2 Samuel 18 we learn that during a battle between Absalom’s supporters and King David’s men, Absalom was entangled in a tree. When Joab, the captain over King David’s army, found Absalom, he killed him.
In summary, Absalom acted in anger against Amnon and showed pride by attempting to take the kingdom from his father, David. From his choices we learn that if we yield to anger or pride, then we lose the Spirit and may dismiss or ignore the consequences of our actions. We also learn that if we yield to anger or pride, then we lose the Spirit and our love and concern for others may diminish.
- In your scripture study journal, write one or both of the bolded principles above and give an example of the principle.
Read 2 Samuel 18:33, looking for how David reacted to the death of his son.
Take a moment to ponder what effects the choices of King David, Amnon, and Absalom had on their family.
Consider both the positive and negative choices you are currently making and how those choices might affect those around you, especially your family. Select one or two choices that you feel could significantly affect you and your family. On a piece of paper, write answers to the following questions about the choices you selected. Then put the paper in a private place to help remind you that your choices have short- and long-term consequences.
What effects might these choices be having on you and your family now?
What might be some of the long-term consequences of these choices and behaviors?
As you think about these choices, what changes could you make that could bless you and your family both now and in the future?
As you strive to make changes, seek the Lord’s help through prayer. He can help you make right decisions. Also, as you strive to keep His commandments, the Spirit will bless you with an increased ability to discern between right and wrong and help guide your decisions.
In 2 Samuel 19–24 we learn that King David returned to Jerusalem after Absalom’s death. 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.
According to 2 Samuel 24, 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 trusting in the strength of his army rather than in the power of God.
Also in 2 Samuel 24 is a brief account of David purchasing the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. This action foreshadows the location of Solomon’s temple and is an important part of the preparation for building the temple. There were some righteous Jebusites who still lived and worked among the Israelites in Jerusalem, which David had conquered earlier (see 2 Samuel 5). This account shows that David had integrity and did not abuse his position as king by taking something without paying for it.
To save the people from a plague, David offered sacrifices to the Lord.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 2 Samuel 12:10–24:25 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: