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Deuteronomy 24:16

Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin.

2 Samuel 12

13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.”

Nathan explicitly used the word "because" in the pronouncement.

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  • [1] Why would God tell Nathan that a debt for David's sins was demanded, if David's sins were forgiven? [2] Why does God demand a debt which contradicts His Torah? [3] Was Nathan wrong in his interpretation of the Law? – חִידָה Jan 28 at 15:42
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We are talking about two different matters here:

  • The laws in Deut 17-25 are discussing CIVIL jurisprudence as administered by earthly authorities.
  • The incident in 2 Sam 12:12, 13 involved as DIVINE judgement.

God is not bound by earthly civil law. Note the reason (NKJV) that God delivers this judgement (2 Sam 12:14),

However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.”

David's sin as king of God's chosen people, despite his sinful attempts at cover-up, were well known in the surrounding nations. This could not go un-noticed and had to dealt with swiftly and conspicuously. In His divine wisdom, God elected to deal with this David's heinous crimes in two ways:

  1. Show compassion and grace and spare David's life
  2. Deliver to David the punishment he had pronounced upon himself (2 Sam 12:6) and have four of his sons die, who were: Bathsheba's (unnamed) son, Amnon (2 Sam 13), Absalom (2 Sam 14-18), Adonijah (1 Kings 1, 2:13-25).
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Deuteronomy 24:16 is about what men on earth are permitted to do, regarding crime and its punishment.

2 Samuel 12:14 is about what God will do regarding the king he has installed over Israel and the satisfaction of his indignation concerning the sin committed. This he has the right to do as all souls belong to him, Ezekiel 18:4.

These are two entirely different subjects.

There is neither conflict nor contradiction to be resolved.

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How to reconcile Deuteronomy 24:16 and 2 Samuel 12:14? - Nathan misrepresented the Law in fear that David's life would not be spared by Uriah's avengers.

[1] Why would God tell Nathan that a debt for David's sins was demanded, if David's sins were forgiven in 2 Samuel 12:13?

13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “**The Lord has taken away your sin.** You are not going to die."

[2] Why does a prophet of God demand a debt which contradicts Torah in 2 Samuel 12:14?

14 "But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die." - [Nathan]

However - The Law in Deuteronomy 24:16 stated :

"Fathers shall not be put to death because of sons, nor shall sons be put to death because of fathers; each man shall be put to death for his own transgression."
  • David was not a brother of Uriah responsibile for redeeming Bathsheba, so perhaps Nathan misrepresented the Law in fear that David's life would not be spared by Uriah's avengers (who might seek to enforce Leviticus 20:10).

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