David’s Repentance & The Mountain and the Deer: A Hurrian Parable

Wow!  Not only did David commit adultery, but murder as well just so the people wouldn’t know that he slept with Bathsheba. 

What are You going to do to him? 

What do you know about sowing seeds?
For a rural community that lived off the land, sowing was absolutely necessary for survival.

The mere act of sowing brought great hope in the anticipation of a fruitful harvest.

Jesus’ story, however, gives a warning.

A seed can’t mature into fruit without the proper conditions for growth.

Even the prophet Jeremiah gave similar advice several hundred years earlier:

“Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns” (Jer 4:3).

What’s the point of this story for Jesus’ audience and for us?

Jesus’ parable of the sower is aimed at the hearers of his word.

There are different ways of accepting God’s word and they produce different kinds of fruit accordingly.

There is the prejudiced hearer who has a shut mind. Such a person is unteachable and blind to the things of God.

Then there is the shallow hearer who fails to think things out or think them through; such a person lacks spiritual depth.

They may initially respond with an emotional fervor, but when it wears off their mind wanders to something else.

Another type of hearer is the person who has many interests or cares, but who lacks the ability to hear or comprehend what is truly important. Such a person is forever too busy to pray or too preoccupied to study and meditate on God’s word. They may work so hard that they are too tired to even think of anything else but their work.

Then there is the one whose mind is open. Such a person is at all times willing to listen and to learn. He or she is never too proud or too busy to learn. They listen in order to understand. God’s word has power to change and transform us into the likeness of Christ.

God gives grace to those who hunger for his word that they may understand his will and have the strength and freedom to live according to it.

“And the Lord sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.

The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:

But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.

The Rich Fool
“And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.

And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?

And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:

And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.

And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Lk 12:13-21).

And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.

And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:

And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.

And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;

And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.

Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.

Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.

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 neighbour, 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.

And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lordalso hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.

Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.

And Nathan departed unto his house. And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.

David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.

And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them.

And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?

But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.

Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the Lord, and worshiped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether Godwill be gracious to me, that the child may live?

Jesus spoke in parables:
The Sower and the Seeds

“And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him [Jesus] out of every city, He spake by a parable:

A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.

And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.

And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.

And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?

And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.

But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience” (Lk 8:4-15).

But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the Lord loved him.

And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name Jedidiah, because of theLord.

And Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and took the royal city.

And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, I have fought against Rabbah, and have taken the city of waters.

Now therefore gather the rest of the people together, and encamp against the city, and take it: lest I take the city, and it be called after my name.

And David gathered all the people together, and went to Rabbah, and fought against it, and took it.

And he took their king’s crown from off his head, the weight whereof was a talent of gold with the precious stones: and it was set on David’s head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city in great abundance.

And he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brick-kiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon. So David and all the people returned unto Jerusalem” (2 Sam 12:1-31).

Mountain and the Deer:
A Hurrian Parable

In antiquity, wisdom literature often took the form of parables.

The story of the mountain and the deer, found in a collection of Hurrian parables, illustrates a particular genre of wisdom literature in which animals depicted human subjects.

In this story, a deer left the mountain on which it had been born and went to graze upon another mountain.

Although the deer grew fat there, is was ungrateful and began to call down curses of lighting upon the summit of the new mountain.

In retaliation, the mountain summoned hunters to kill the deer.

At the conclusion of the parable the interpretation is spelled out:

The deer was a man who for some reason had fled his hometown and taken refuge in another. He was unappreciative, however, and began to do evil there, as a result being cursed by the gods of that town.

The prophet Nathan used a similar tech­nique to convict David of his sin against Uriah (2 Sam 12, below).

He told a story about two men, one wealthy and the other poor, rep­resenting David and Uriah, respectively. The poor man’s lamb depicted Bathsheba.

Unaware that Nathan’s account was a para­ble, the outraged King David instantly pronounced judgment against the unjust rich man.

Only then did Nathan reveal that David himself was that man!