Easton's Bible Dictionary
(1) A prophet in the reigns of David and Solomon ( 2
Chronicles 9:29 ). He is first spoken of in connection with the arrangements
David made for the building of the temple ( 2
Samuel 7:2 , 7:3
), and next appears as the reprover of David on account of his sin with Bathsheba
( 12:1-14 ). He was charged with the education of Solomon ( 2
Samuel 12:25 ), at whose inauguration to the throne he took a prominent part
Kings 1:8 , 1:10
). His two sons, Zabad ( 1
Chronicles 2:36 ) and Azariah ( 1
Kings 4:5 ) occupied places of honour at the king's court. He last appears
in assisting David in reorganizing the public worship ( 2
Chronicles 29:25 ). He seems to have written a life of David, and also a life
of Solomon ( 1
Chronicles 29:29 ; 2
Chronicles 9:29 ).
(2) A son of David, by Bathsheba ( 2
Samuel 5:14 ), whose name appears in the genealogy of Mary, the mother of
our Lord ( Luke
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
given; giving; rewarded
Smith's Bible Dictionary
(1) An eminent Hebrew prophet in the reigns of David and Solomon. (B.C. 1015.)
He first appears in the consultation with David about the building of the temple.
( 2 Samuel 7:2 , 7:3 , 7:17 ) He next comes forward as the reprover of David for
the sin with Bathsheba; and his famous apologue on the rich man and the ewe lamb,
which is the only direct example of his prophetic power, shows it to have been
of a very high order. ( 2 Samuel 12:1 - 12 )
(2) A son of David; one of the four who were borne to him by Bathsheba. ( 1 Chronicles
3:5 ) comp, 1 Chronicles 14:4 and 2 Samuel 5:14
(3) Son or brother of one of the members of Davids guard. ( 2 Samuel 23:36 ; 1
Chronicles 11:38 )
(4) One of the head men who returned from Babylon with Ezra on his second expedition.
( Ezra 8:16 )
(5) 1 Esdr. 8:44. It is not impossible that he may be the same with the "son of
Bani." ( Ezra 10:39 )
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
na'-than (nathan, "gift"; Nathan):
(1) A court prophet in David's reign and a supporter of Solomon at his accession.
There are three main incidents in his career as depicted
in the Old Testament.
1. Nathan and David's Temple-Plans:
The two parallel narratives, 2 Samuel 7:1 - 17 equals 1 Chronicles 17:1 - 15,
of which the former is the original, relate how David confided to Nathan his intention
to build a house for Yahweh's ark. Nathan at first blesses the project, but that
same night is given a Divine message, and returns to tell the king that instead
of David building a house for Yahweh, Yahweh will build a house for David: "I
will set up thy seed after thee, .... and I will establish his kingdom. .... I
will be his father, and he shall be my son: if he commit iniquity, I will chasten
him with the rod of men" (2 Samuel 7:12 - 14). 2 Samuel 7:13 says that "He shall
build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for
ever," but this disturbs the one great thought of the passage,. which is that
God will build a house for David, and which is also the thought in David's prayer
(2 Samuel 7:18 - 29).
The word "seed" in 2 Samuel 7:12 is collective and so throughout the passage,
so that the prophecy does not refer to any individual, but, like Deuteronomy 17:14
- 20 ; 18:15 - 22, belongs to the group of generic prophecies. Nor is it Messianic,
for 2 Samuel 7:14 could not be reconciled with the sinlessness of Jesus. The message
is rather a promise of the ever-merciful providence of God in dealing with David's
family. (See, however, C.A. Briggs, Messianic Prophecy, 126.) Budde, who says
that the section belongs to the 7th century and is certainly pre-exilic in the
leading thought of the passage, sees in the prophecy something of the idealism
of Amos and Hosea, for the prophet teaches that Yahweh dwells, not in "a holy
place made with hands" (Hebrews 9:11 , 24), but rather in the life of the nation
as represented by the direct succession of Davidic kings. This presents an extension
of the teaching of Paul that the very body itself is a sanctuary unto God (1 Corinthians
2. Nathan and David's Sin:
2 Samuel 12:1 - 25 narrates Nathan's rebuke of David for his adultery, and for
causing the death of Uriah; and then comes an account of the death of Bathsheba's
child. In 2 Samuel 12:1 - 15a, we have Nathan's parable of the rich man and the
poor man's ewe lamb, and the application of it to David's conduct. But several
difficulties arise when we ask exactly what Nathan's message to David was: 2 Samuel
12:13 f represent the prophet as saying that God has forgiven David but that the
child will die, while 2 Samuel 12:10 - 12 speak of a heavy punishment that is
to come upon David and his family, and 12:16 does not show any indication of a
prophecy as to the child's death. Commentators regard 12:1 - 15a as later in origin
than 2 Samuel 11 ; 12 in the main, and hold 12:10 - 12 to be still later than
the rest of 12:1 - 15a. Budde omits 12:9a , 10ab , 11 , 12 , but regards even
the rest of the story as interrupting the connection between 11:27b and 12:15b,
and therefore of later date.
3. Nathan and Solomon's Accession:
1 Kings 1 is a part of "one of the best pieces of Hebrew narrative in our possession"
(H.P. Smith, Old Testament History, 153, note 2). It narrates the part that Nathan
played in the events that led to Solomon's accession. David was getting old and
feeble, and the succession had not been settled. When Adonijah, who was probably
the eldest son living, gave a banquet to some of his father's state officials,
Nathan, who was one of those that had not been invited, incited Bathsheba, Solomon's
mother, to remind David of his promise to her that Solomon should succeed to the
throne. This she did, and in the middle of her audience with David, Nathan appears
with the news of Adonijah's feast and proclamation as king. Solomon is then anointed
king by David's command, Nathan being one of his chief supporters. It has been
suggested that it is only Nathan who interprets Adonijah's feast as a claim to
the throne, but this contradicts 1 Kings 1:5. Yet, whereas in the two sections
treated above Nathan is the prophet of Yahweh , he is represented in 1 Kings as
an intriguing court politician, planning very cleverly an opportune entrance into
David's presence at the very time that Bathsheba has an audience with the king.
The parallel narrative of 1 Chronicles 28 makes no mention of Nathan, Solomon
being there represented as Divinely elected to succeed David.
1 Kings 4:5 mentions a Nathan as father of Azariah and Zabud, two of the chief
officers of Solomon. He is probably the prophet.
1 Chronicles 29:29 ; 2 Chronicles 9:29 refer to "the words" or rather "the acts
of Nathan the prophet" as well as those of Samuel and Gad. "There can be no doubt
that these are nothing more than references to the narratives in which Samuel,
Nathan and Gad are mentioned in our Books of Samuel" (Curtis on 1 Chronicles 29:29).
In 2 Chronicles 29:25, sanction is claimed for Levitical temple-music as being
commanded by God through Nathan and Gad.
Curtis (on 1 Chronicles 29:29) observes that Nathan is always called nabhi' ("prophet")
in Samuel and Kings and not ro'eh or chozeh, "seer."
(2) A prophet. (See preceding article).
(3) A son of King David ( 2 Samuel 5:14 ; 1 Chronicles 3:5 ; 14:4).
(4) Father of Igal, one of David's heroes (2 Samuel 23:36).
In 1 Chronicles 11:38, we have "Joe the brother of Nathan";
the Septuagint's Codex Vaticanus has "son" in this verse, but it is impossible
to say whether Igal or Joe is the correct name.
(5) A Jerahmeelite (1 Chronicles 2:36), whose son is called Zabad, whom some
suppose to be the same as Zabud (1 Kings 4:5).
On this view this Nathan is the same as the prophet (see
(6) A companion of Ezra from Babylon (Ezra 8:16 and 1 Esdras 8:44).
(7) Nathanias (1 Esdras 9:34), one of those who had married foreign wives
(8) Name of a family (Zechariah 12:12).
David Francis Roberts
bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, nathan, prophet, sin of bathsheba, rich man and the lamb, son of king david