When you learn Biblical Hebrew with us in E-teacher, one of the first things that we do as Biblical Hebrew teachers is to write the students' name in Hebrew and then he can do it after the first two lessons with us. Today we shall see how a name can show us two different destinies of the same character.
One of the most important verbs in the Hebrew Bible is "to give"(Hebrew: natan).From the first chapter of The Scriptures we can find this verb as written:
" וַיַּעַשׂ אֱלֹהִים, אֶת-שְׁנֵי הַמְּאֹרֹת הַגְּדֹלִים: אֶת-הַמָּאוֹר הַגָּדֹל, לְמֶמְשֶׁלֶת הַיּוֹם, וְאֶת-הַמָּאוֹר הַקָּטֹן לְמֶמְשֶׁלֶת הַלַּיְלָה, וְאֵת הַכּוֹכָבִים. וַיִּתֵּן אֹתָם אֱלֹהִים, בִּרְקִיעַ הַשָּׁמָיִם, לְהָאִיר, עַל-הָאָרֶץ. וְלִמְשֹׁל, בַּיּוֹם וּבַלַּיְלָה, וּלְהַבְדִּיל, בֵּין הָאוֹר וּבֵין הַחֹשֶׁךְ; וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים, כִּי-טוֹב."
"God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good."(Genesis 1:16-18)
The character we shall encounter today is Nathan the prophet. Nathan appeared in three important stories in the days of King David. The meaning of his name is related to the verb that we discussed above; Nathan means "he gave".
After David decided that Jerusalem will be the capital of his kingdom he had a conversation with Nathan about building the First Temple for G-d, as we see in these verses:
" וַיְהִי, כִּי-יָשַׁב הַמֶּלֶךְ בְּבֵיתוֹ; וַיהוָה הֵנִיחַ-לוֹ מִסָּבִיב, מִכָּל-אֹיְבָיו. וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ, אֶל-נָתָן הַנָּבִיא, רְאֵה נָא, אָנֹכִי יוֹשֵׁב בְּבֵית אֲרָזִים; וַאֲרוֹן, הָאֱלֹהִים, יֹשֵׁב, בְּתוֹךְ הַיְרִיעָה. וַיֹּאמֶר נָתָן אֶל-הַמֶּלֶךְ, כֹּל אֲשֶׁר בִּלְבָבְךָ לֵךְ עֲשֵׂה: כִּי יְהוָה, עִמָּךְ. וַיְהִי, בַּלַּיְלָה הַהוּא; וַיְהִי, דְּבַר-יְהוָה, אֶל-נָתָן, לֵאמֹר. לֵךְ וְאָמַרְתָּ אֶל-עַבְדִּי אֶל-דָּוִד כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה: הַאַתָּה תִּבְנֶה-לִּי בַיִת, לְשִׁבְתִּי. כִּי לֹא יָשַׁבְתִּי, בְּבַיִת, לְמִיּוֹם הַעֲלֹתִי אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מִמִּצְרַיִם, וְעַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה; וָאֶהְיֶה, מִתְהַלֵּךְ, בְּאֹהֶל, וּבְמִשְׁכָּן"
"Now it came about when the king lived in his house, and the LORD had given him rest on every side from all his enemies, that the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells within tent curtains.” Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your mind, for the LORD is with you." But in the same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying, “Go and say to my servant David, ‘thus says the LORD, “Are you the one who should build Me a house to dwell in? For I have not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the sons of Israel from Egypt, even to this day; but I have been moving about in a tent, even in a tabernacle."(2 Samuel 7:1-6)
Nathan literally gave David the opportunity to build a house for G-d though we know that G-d decided at the end of this chapter that David's son will do it and David got the promise from G-d that his house will always be a house of royalty. In my opinion Nathan tried to be independent without asking The Lord what to do, as a prophet should do.
Maybe the second time that we meet him as a prophet Nathan acts as a mouth that speaks the words of G-d through a beautiful fable that came after the sin of David with Bathsheba, as written:
" וַיֹּאמֶר נָתָן אֶל-דָּוִד, אַתָּה הָאִישׁ; כֹּה-אָמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, אָנֹכִי מְשַׁחְתִּיךָ לְמֶלֶךְ עַל-יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאָנֹכִי הִצַּלְתִּיךָ, מִיַּד שָׁאוּל. וָאֶתְּנָה לְךָ אֶת-בֵּית אֲדֹנֶיךָ, וְאֶת-נְשֵׁי אֲדֹנֶיךָ בְּחֵיקֶךָ, וָאֶתְּנָה לְךָ, אֶת-בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל וִיהוּדָה; וְאִם-מְעָט--וְאֹסִפָה לְּךָ, כָּהֵנָּה וְכָהֵנָּה. מַדּוּעַ בָּזִיתָ אֶת-דְּבַר יְהוָה, לַעֲשׂוֹת הָרַע בְּעֵינַי, אֵת אוּרִיָּה הַחִתִּי הִכִּיתָ בַחֶרֶב, וְאֶת-אִשְׁתּוֹ לָקַחְתָּ לְּךָ לְאִשָּׁה; וְאֹתוֹ הָרַגְתָּ, בְּחֶרֶב בְּנֵי עַמּוֹן. וְעַתָּה, לֹא-תָסוּר חֶרֶב מִבֵּיתְךָ--עַד-עוֹלָם: עֵקֶב, כִּי בְזִתָנִי, וַתִּקַּח אֶת-אֵשֶׁת אוּרִיָּה הַחִתִּי, לִהְיוֹת לְךָ לְאִשָּׁה. כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה, הִנְנִי מֵקִים עָלֶיךָ רָעָה מִבֵּיתֶךָ, וְלָקַחְתִּי אֶת-נָשֶׁיךָ לְעֵינֶיךָ, וְנָתַתִּי לְרֵעֶיךָ; וְשָׁכַב עִם-נָשֶׁיךָ, לְעֵינֵי הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ הַזֹּאת. כִּי אַתָּה, עָשִׂיתָ בַסָּתֶר; וַאֲנִי, אֶעֱשֶׂה אֶת-הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה, נֶגֶד כָּל-יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְנֶגֶד הַשָּׁמֶשׁ. וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד אֶל-נָתָן, חָטָאתִי לַיהוָה; וַיֹּאמֶר נָתָן אֶל-דָּוִד, גַּם-יְהוָה הֶעֱבִיר חַטָּאתְךָ--לֹא תָמוּת. אֶפֶס, כִּי-נִאֵץ נִאַצְתָּ אֶת-אֹיְבֵי יְהוָה, בַּדָּבָר, הַזֶּה; גַּם, הַבֵּן הַיִּלּוֹד לְךָ--מוֹת יָמוּת. וַיֵּלֶךְ נָתָן, אֶל-בֵּיתוֹ.."
"Nathan then said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these! Why have you despised the word of the LORD by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon. Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.’” Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.” So Nathan went to his house…"(2 Samuel 12:7-15)
When you look at the outcome of this meeting the sin of David caused him to be punished in public in every way you can think of. The horrible thing in this chapter, I think, is that his son that was conceived the night with Bathsheba died due to his father's sins. In this meeting Nathan didn't give anything good to David, he just took from him his respect and his son.
Therefore, dear friends, maybe this is the reason why the third time that we see Nathan, he continued to disrespect David and caused him to be deceived in the last days of his life, due to his sins. However, Bathsheba's second son with David, Solomon, became king after Nathan manipulated his old father. Nathan here, one more time is the giver- He Gave Solomon the royalty after a beautiful manipulation that he had made with Bathsheba.
Click here and watch the webinar that will reveal to you how Nathan did it.
Have a great week, dear friends, and don’t forget to enjoy the beautiful language of Hebrew, Eli