Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbor, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun. (2 Samuel 12:11-12)
These words were spoken to David by Nathan the prophet when he confronted David about his sin with Bath-sheba. The word translated raise, qûwm (koom) means to arise or stand up. “It is also used to denote the inevitable occurrence of something predicted or prearranged” (6965).
The prophecy was fulfilled after Absalom came into Jerusalem and took over as king. At the advice of Ahithophel, it says in 2 Samuel 16:22, “So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went in unto his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.”
Although it may seem as if the prophecy against David was harsh, David knew God was right to punish him and when David was ridiculed by Shimei, he did not doubt that he deserved to be cursed. What guided David through the experience was a belief that God still cared about him and would not bring on him more than David could handle.
David said regarding his punishment, “It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day” (2 Samuel 16:12). The word translated requite, shûwb (shoob) means to turn back. “The basic meaning of the verb is movement back to the point of departure” (7725). David’s hope was that he would regain his position of right standing with God, so that the LORD could bless him as he once had.
Two Hebrew words related to shuwb are nacham which means to repent (5162) and teshubah which is a recurrence or beginning (8666). Together these words convey the idea of starting over or beginning a new life. Because, in a sense, the penalty for David’s sin with Bath-sheba was paid when Absalom desecrated his wives in public, David was free to move on and was given a fresh start.
Note: Unlike David, we do not have to pay a penalty for the sins we commit. Jesus paid the penalty for all our sins when he died on the cross. He made it possible for the LORD to “requite us good” automatically at the moment of our conversion. The only thing we have to do from that point forward is confess our sins and the penalty is taken care of by Jesus’ death.