NATHAN(nay' thuhn) Personal name meaning, “gift.” 1. Prophet in royal court during reign of David and early years of Solomon. David consulted Nathan about building a Temple. Nathan responded favorably. That night the Lord spoke to Nathan with instructions for David that his successor would build the Temple. Nathan included the words of the Lord that David would have a house, a great name, and a kingdom forever. David responded with gratitude to the Lord (2 Samuel 7:1; 1 Chronicles 17:1).
David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband, Uriah, slain in battle. The Lord was displeased and sent Nathan to rebuke the king. The prophet told a story in which a rich man took the only little ewe lamb that belonged to a poor man and prepared a meal for one of his guests. David said the rich man should die. Nathan responded, “Thou art the man.” David repented, but his first child born to Bathsheba died (2 Samuel 11-12).
Adonijah tried unsuccessfully to become king in the closing days of David's life. Nathan, along with Zadok, the priest, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, Shimei, Rei, and David's mighty men, opposed Adonijah. Bathsheba and Nathan spoke to David about an earlier decision to appoint Solomon as the next king. David declared Solomon to be king (1 Kings 1:5-53).
Later references indicate that Nathan wrote the chronicles for David (1 Chronicles 29:29) and a history of Solomon (2 Chronicles 9:29). Nathan advised David in arranging the musical instruments played by the Levites (2 Chronicles 29:25). See Books; David; Prophets. See David; Solomon; Bathsheba.
2. Son of David, born in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:14; 1 Chronicles 14:4). His mother was Bathsheba (Bath-shua) (1 Chronicles 3:5). He is in the genealogy of Jesus Christ (Luke 3:31). 3. Nathan of Zobah, father of Igal, one of David's mighty men (2 Samuel 23:36). He may be the same as Nathan the brother of Joel (1 Chronicles 11:38), within another list of David's mighty men. 4. The two Nathans mentioned as fathers of Azariah and Zabud may be same man and identified as the prophet Nathan (1 Kings 4:5) during Solomon's reign. If Zubad (1 Chronicles 2:36) is the same as Zabud, his father Nathan may be the prophet; thus, the prophet's father was Attai, a descendant of Jerahmeel (1 Chronicles 2:25).
5. A returning exile whom Ezra sent on a mission to secure ministers for God's house (Ezra 8:15-17). He may be the same exile who had married a foreign wife and put her away (Ezra 10:39).
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.