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NATHAN (nā'thăn, Heb. nāthān, God has given)

1. The prophet at the royal court in Jerusalem during the reign of David and the early years of Solomon. David consulted him regarding the building of the temple (2Sam.7.1-2Sam.7.29; 1Chr.17.1-1Chr.17.27). Nathan at first approved, but that same night he had a vision directing him to advise David to leave the building of the temple to the son who would succeed him. David humbly obeyed, expressing gratitude to God for blessings bestowed and others promised. Later Nathan rebuked David for adultery with Bathsheba (2Sam.12.1-2Sam.12.25). David earnestly repented. The title of Ps.51.1-Ps.51.19 links it with this incident. When Adonijah sought to supplant his aged father David as king, Nathan intervened through Bathsheba to secure the succession for her son Solomon (1Kgs.1.8-1Kgs.1.53). Nathan wrote chronicles of the reign of David (1Chr.29.29) and shared in writing the history of the reign of Solomon (2Chr.9.29). He was associated with David and Gad the seer in arranging the musical services for the house of God (2Chr.29.25).

2. A son of David, born to him after he began to reign in Jerusalem (2Sam.5.14; 1Chr.14.4). His mother was Bathshua, daughter of Ammiel (1Chr.3.5). He is named in the genealogy of Jesus Christ as son of David and father of Mattatha (Luke.3.31).

3. Nathan of Zobah, father of Igal, one of David’s mighty men (2Sam.23.36). He may be the same as Nathan the brother of Joel (1Chr.11.38).

4. The two Nathans mentioned in 1Kgs.4.5 as fathers of Azariah and Zabud may be the same man, and identified with no. 1, the prophet. If Zabad (1Chr.2.36) is the same as Zabud, his father Nathan may also be the prophet. In that case we know that the prophet’s father was Attai, a descendant of Jerahmeel (1Chr.2.25).

5. One of the leading men among those who returned from exile, whom Ezra sent on a mission (Ezra.8.16)

6. One of the returning exiles who had married a foreign wife and who put her away (Ezra.10.39).

Zechariah 12:12 prophesies that the house of Nathan will join on the Day of the Lord in mourning “the one they have pierced.” It is probable that the descendants of the prophet (no. 1) are meant (12:10-Ezra.10.14); but it is possible that the descendants of David’s son (no. 2) are meant.

NATHAN nā’ thən (נָתָ֖ן, gift; LXX Ναθάν, G3719; NT Ναθάμ, G3718, Natham or Ναθάν, G3719). The name of several persons in the OT including one of David’s sons, and also a prophet from David’s time.

A son of David (2 Sam 5:14; 1 Chron 3:5; 14:4).

This Nathan was an older brother of Solomon and one of several of Bathsheba’s children born to David. In Luke 3:31 the Davidic kingly line is traced through this son. This Nathan is also pictured as having a part in Israel’s future eschatological events (Zech 12:12).

Nathan the prophet.

He figures in three important events in David’s life. In 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles Nathan, the prophet of David’s court is introduced as one who at first encourages the king in his desire to build a temple for the Lord (2 Sam 7:1-3; 1 Chron 17:1, 2), but then, following a message from God at night, the prophet counters with the Lord’s word that David is not to build the structure. The reasons given for this denial are that God has not before required nor asked for such a sanctuary (2 Sam 7:4-7; 1 Chron 22:6-16). Furthermore, the Lord, who has led David thus far and given him a kingdom, has His own plans for permanently establishing David’s kingdom through his seed, which includes Solomon who will have the responsibility for building the physical temple (2 Sam 7:8-16; 1 Chron 17:7-16).

When David repented of his sin, Nathan assured him that God had forgiven him (2 Sam 12:13). Psalm 51, which records David’s repentance, mentions Nathan in the title.

Again, when Adonijah tries to usurp the throne at the time when David is old and feeble, Nathan with Bathsheba reminds the king that he had promised the throne to Solomon and, at David’s command, helps in making it public that Solomon is successor to the throne (1 Kings 1:10-45).

Nathan is mentioned also as having aided in the establishment of music in the Temple worship (2 Chron 29:25) and as having recounted the acts of David (1 Chron 29:29) and Solomon (2 Chron 9:29) in the Book of Nathan, the prophet.

Nathan of Zobah

is the father of Igal, one of David’s warriors (2 Sam 23:36), or possibly a brother of Joel (1 Chron 11:38).

Nathan, a descendant of Judah,

in the clan of Jerahmeel, son of Attai and father of Zabad (1 Chron 2:36).

Nathan, a leading Jew of the company who helped Ezra

in the return to Jerusalem (Ezra 8:16, 17); who also may be the same Nathan who had taken a foreign wife (10:39).

The Nathan of 1 Kings 4:5,

the father of officers in Solomon’s court is prob. either Nathan the prophet or the son of David.


C. F. Keil, F. Delitzsch, The Books of Samuel (1956), 322ff.; J. M. Myers, 1 Chronicles, Anchor Bible (1965), 124-127.