Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 1606 – 1669

Nathan Admonishes David

pen drawing (19 × 25 cm) — c. 1653 Museum Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn biography

This work is linked to 2 Samuel 12:13

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King David fancied Bathsheba, the fair wife of Uriah. The king made sure that Uriah would die on the battlefield, so that he could make Bathsheba his.

God disapproved of this behaviour and sent the prophet Nathan to David. The prophet told the king a parable of a rich man and a poor man, to make David realize he had made a serious mistake. That is the moment Rembrandt shows.

Nathan then told David that God would forgive him. But he would be punished: the son that Bathsheba had already given to David would die. And so it happened, after seven days.

David and Bathsheba would have more children. The first of them was Solomon.

David is dressed impressively, perhaps even decadent. The days in which he was a humble shepherd are long gone.

This is a drawing made with pen and brown ink.

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