Why did God punish David’s children if the Torah says God doesn’t punish one’s children for the sins of the parents?

2 Samuel Chapter 12

  • Please cite your sources.
    – shmosel
    Dec 15, 2023 at 23:52
  • 1
    2 Samuel Chapter 12 Dec 16, 2023 at 0:56
  • And where does it say God doesn’t punish one’s children for the sins of the parents?
    – shmosel
    Dec 17, 2023 at 2:14

2 Answers 2


אֶ֗פֶס כִּֽי־נִאֵ֤ץ נִאַ֙צְתָּ֙ אֶת־אֹיְבֵ֣י יְהֹוָ֔ה בַּדָּבָ֖ר הַזֶּ֑ה גַּ֗ם הַבֵּ֛ן הַיִּלּ֥וֹד לְךָ֖ מ֥וֹת יָמֽוּת׃

However, since you have angered (the enemies of) the LORD by this deed, even the child about to be born to you shall die.”

The key is in the first part of the verse, as explained by Rashi:

Because you have angered the enemies of Adonoy. - This is a euphemism, a way [to be] respectable to on High.

David's act produced a situation in which G-d's enemies would be able to accuse the chosen nation and His anointed king, and thus bring shame upon G-d Himself. Even if the text literally says "you have greatly blasphemed the Lord," (KJB translation) the implication is that David provided an opportunity for the Lord's enemies to do so. This was a special case. The child of adultery could not be allowed to be recognized as a potential heir. He would not die because of David's sin per se, but because of the shame that his survival would bring.

  • I think Rashi also says the sin had consequences also in his other children who died Absalom etc Dec 16, 2023 at 23:48

God wasn't punishing David. He was protecting His own interests. That child was the product of adultery and therefore a Mamzer. He couldn't have the lineage of mashiach be a Mamzer so the kid had to go.

  • Didn’t tradition say Bathsheba was divorced Dec 17, 2023 at 18:17
  • I don't think this answer is wrong. Whether he was technically a mamzer or not is debatable; but he clearly provided an opportunity for God's enemies to open their mouths in blasphemy. Dec 17, 2023 at 18:41
  • Tradition invented that batsheva was retroactively divorced because Jews were embarrassed about David's conduct. It's a load of bull. Dec 17, 2023 at 21:23

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