32 Does God Punish Women for Men's Wickedness?
Updated: Oct 14, 2021
Discover how to apply the lens Jesus gives us which enables us to understand the God He knew instead of the God so often portrayed in the Old Testament.
David’s Punishment for his Affair 12 So the LORD sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. 2 The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. 3 The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. 4 One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.”
David’s Punishment for his Affair
12 5 David was furious. “As surely as the LORD lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! 6 He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.” (Ex 22:1 states this penalty) David’s four “lambs”:
Bathsheba’s first child (12:18).
Amnon: Absalom killed him after he raped Absalom's full sister, Tamar (13:29).
Absalom: He was killed by Joab (18:14-15; 1 Chronicles 3:1-2) after he mounted a rebellion against his aging father David.
Adonijah: He attempted to usurp the throne during the life of David (1 Kings 1:11ff). Solomon had him executed (1 Kings 2:25)
David’s Punishment for his Affair 12 7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man! The LORD, the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. 8 I gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. 9 Why, then, have you despised the word of the LORD and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife. 10 From this time on, your family will live by the sword because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own. (Prophetic statement)
David’s Punishment for his Affair 12 11 “This is what the LORD says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your very eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view. 12 You did it secretly, but I will make this happen to you openly in the sight of all Israel.” Could a holy God imagine this kind of punishment? No! “They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal–something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.” (Jeremiah 19:5) Would you remain part of an organization that inflicted such a evil punishment on women for a man’s wrong doing? Most of the commentaries read: “Not that God did this but he permitted it.” This is not the impression one can take from the categorical statements in chapter 12.
David’s Punishment for his Affair If we say that an imperative statement like “The LORD will” only means “The LORD permits” shall we make this a generalized statement? How do we decide when God causes an event or when he permits an event? BTW This plan was Ahithophel’s, Bathsheba’s grandfather (11:3; 23:34)—it was revenge. The New Testament writer, who came to know God best, having changed from “a son of thunder,” to “the beloved,” describes God as follows: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5 NIV) Darkness, in this context, refers to evil. Is it really possible that God would stoop to immoral acts to punish David? Hardly. Consider this explanation: Not that God prompted these acts of wickedness, but because of David's sin He did not exercise His power to prevent them. (PP739)
How to bring consistency in understanding the Bible accounts?
1. The Old Testament writers were not aware of an evil, supernatural being who is the devil,
or the accuser, the deceiver, or satan, or the dragon (Rev 12:9). All supernatural events, good or bad, were attributed to God. Satan was the equivalent of a public prosecutor. There to bring out the truth. E.g. To show that Job worships God for the benefits of doing so.
2 . The only eyewitness we have of God is Jesus.
In his plenary sermon on the mount he teaches: “Do not resist an evil person.” (Matthew 5:39) Jesus life and teachings were in accord with this dictum. Jesus also claimed if we have seen him we have seen God (John 5:19; 14:9) Hebrews 1:1-3 Jesus is the truth about God.
David’s Punishment for his Affair When Absolom arrives in Jerusalem, he has sex with David’s concubines who were left to care for the palace. This was Ahithophel’s advice (16:20-23). It made the rebellion irreversible. It was also Ahithophel’s revenge for David’s affair with his grand daughter, Bathsheba. It is impossible that the LORD could have inspired such an act. It shows callus disregard for these women. It is unfair to disgrace these women as punishment for David’s wrong doing. They would be consigned to sexless lives even when David was reinstalled as king since they had been defiled.
David’s Punishment for his Affair 12 13 ‘Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “Yes, but the LORD has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin. 14 Nevertheless, because you have shown utter contempt for the word of the LORD by doing this, your child will die.” 15 After Nathan returned to his home, the LORD sent a deadly illness to the child of David and Uriah’s wife.’ Nathan prophesies the child will die—then attributes the death to “the LORD.” Perhaps the answer to this genre of writing is that since the prophecy came from “the LORD” Nathan understands “the LORD” is going to cause it. This is also the understanding of Daniel & Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:25, 35). The dream of successive world empires is God given and thus caused by God in their minds.
David’s Punishment for his Affair 12 16 David begged God to spare the child. He went without food and lay all night on the bare ground. 17 The elders of his household pleaded with him to get up and eat with them, but he refused. 18 Then on the seventh day the child died. David’s advisers were afraid to tell him. “He wouldn’t listen to reason while the child was ill,” they said. “What drastic thing will he do when we tell him the child is dead?” 19 When David saw them whispering, he realized what had happened. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”
David’s Punishment for his Affair 12 20 Then David got up from the ground, washed himself, put on lotions, and changed his clothes. He went to the Tabernacle and worshiped the LORD. After that, he returned to the palace and was served food and ate. 21 His advisers were amazed. “We don’t understand you,” they told him. “While the child was still living, you wept and refused to eat. But now that the child is dead, you have stopped your mourning and are eating again.” 22 David replied, “I fasted and wept while the child was alive, for I said, ‘Perhaps the LORD will be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23 But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me.”
David’s Punishment for his Affair 12 24 Then David comforted Bathsheba, his wife, and slept with her. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son, and David named him Solomon. The LORD loved the child 25 and sent word through Nathan the prophet that they should name him Jedidiah (which means “beloved of the LORD”), as the LORD had commanded.