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NATHAN

A prophet sent by Yahweh to rebuke David for his shameful conduct in deliberately planning Uriah's death in battle so that he could marry Bath-Sheba,Uriah's wife. His plan succeeded; after a period of mourning, Bath-Sheba married David and bore him a son. But Nathan prophesied that the child would die within a week. The child died despite David;s sorrow and penance. Later, however, another child was born, destined to be the great King Solomon. Nathan gave this child the name Jedidiah, which meant "beloved of Yahweh," assurance that David would be punished no further (II Samuel 12:7-25). Years later Nathan played an important role in Israelite history. David, now an old man, wanted Solomon to succeed him as king. But a half-brother of Solomon, named Adonijah, attempted a coup to seize the kingship. It was Nathan who carried word of the conspiracy to David, who authorized Nathan to escort Solomon to Gihon, anoint him, and proclaim kin king to succeed David immediately. The strategy worked out perfectly and Adonijah's plot was frustrated (I Kings 1). This happened before David died (I Kings 2:10). Nathan evidently lived to an old age, for he is credited with compiling a History of Nathan, in which he recorded the history of Solomon "from first to last." This suggests that he outlived Solomon as well as David (II Chronicles 9:29).

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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