The English word prophet in the Old Testament comes from the Hebrew word “nabiy” which means “spokesman” or “speaker”. The Greek word for prophet is “prophētēs”, which can mean “one who speaks forth” or “advocate.” Prophets are also called “seers,” because of their spiritual insight or their ability to “see” the future, as directed by God.
Nathan, whose name means "He gave", or "gift of God." prophesied during the reigns of Kings David and Solomon.
Nathan is best remembered as the prophet that confronted and rebuked David after his adulterous affair of Bathsheba the death of her husband Uriah. The story of the affair, which resulted in the pregnancy of Bathsheba, and David’s conspiracy in his death is recorded in eleventh chapter of 2 Samuel. Here is Nathan’s confrontation and rebuke of David;
2 Samuel 12:1-7 (NLT2)1 So the LORD sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor.2 The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle.3 The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter.4 One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.”5 David was furious. “As surely as the LORD lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die!6 He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.”7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man! The LORD, the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. (emphasis mine)
Nathan was a member of David’s royal court and one of his closest advisers. He is first mentioned when David tells him of his plans to build a temple in Jerusalem.
2 Samuel 7:1-3 (NLT2)1 When King David was settled in his palace and the LORD had given him rest from all the surrounding enemies,2 the king summoned Nathan the prophet. “Look,” David said, “I am living in a beautiful cedar palace, but the Ark of God is out there in a tent!”3 Nathan replied to the king, “Go ahead and do whatever you have in mind, for the LORD is with you.”
Later God told Nathan that he would not allow him to build a temple but that he would establish his dynasty as an everlasting one, and that one of his sons would be the one to build the temple.
2 Samuel 7:8-17 (NLT2)8 “Now go and say to my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies has declared: I took you from tending sheep in the pasture and selected you to be the leader of my people Israel.9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have destroyed all your enemies before your eyes. Now I will make your name as famous as anyone who has ever lived on the earth!
10 And I will provide a homeland for my people Israel, planting them in a secure place where they will never be disturbed. Evil nations won’t oppress them as they’ve done in the past,11 starting from the time I appointed judges to rule my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. “‘Furthermore, the LORD declares that he will make a house for you—a dynasty of kings!12 For when you die and are buried with your ancestors, I will raise up one of your descendants, your own offspring, and I will make his kingdom strong.13 He is the one who will build a house—a temple—for my name. And I will secure his royal throne forever.14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. If he sins, I will correct and discipline him with the rod, like any father would do.15 But my favor will not be taken from him as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from your sight.16 Your house and your kingdom will continue before me for all time, and your throne will be secure forever.’”17 So Nathan went back to David and told him everything the LORD had said in this vision.
The child conceived in adultery died.
2 Samuel 12:13-18 (NLT2)13 Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “Yes, but the LORD has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin.14 Nevertheless, because you have shown utter contempt for the LORD by doing this, your child will die.”15 After Nathan returned to his home, the LORD sent a deadly illness to the child of David and Uriah’s wife.16 David begged God to spare the child. He went without food and lay all night on the bare ground.17 The elders of his household pleaded with him to get up and eat with them, but he refused.18 Then on the seventh day the child died. David’s advisers were afraid to tell him. “He wouldn’t listen to reason while the child was ill,” they said. “What drastic thing will he do when we tell him the child is dead?”
Bathsheba became pregnant again and the Lord sent Nathan to David again.
2 Samuel 12:24-25 (NLT2)24 Then David comforted Bathsheba, his wife, and slept with her. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The LORD loved the child25 and sent word through Nathan the prophet that they should name him Jedidiah (which means “beloved of the LORD”), as the LORD had commanded.
Solomon was the one that later built God’s house, the temple, and became an ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ.
this time with a son whom they named Solomon who was the one to build the temple that David wanted to build as God’s house.
, this time to say that the Lord loved his son Solomon, and they called Solomon “Jedidiah,” a name that means “beloved of the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:24–25). Solomon
Nathan also apparently also knew Bathsheba well enough to talk to her about one of David’s other sons, Adonijah’s attempt to usurp David’s throne from her son, Solomon.
1 Kings 1:9-11 (NLT2)9 Adonijah went to the Stone of Zoheleth near the spring of En-rogel, where he sacrificed sheep, cattle, and fattened calves. He invited all his brothers—the other sons of King David—and all the royal officials of Judah.
10 But he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the king’s bodyguard or his brother Solomon.11 Then Nathan went to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, and asked her, “Haven’t you heard that Haggith’s son, Adonijah, has made himself king, and our lord David doesn’t even know about it?
Nathan’s friendship with David and Bathsheba is thought to have been a very close one. They even named one of their children Nathan.
1 Chronicles 3:5 (NLT2)5 The sons born to David in Jerusalem included Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, and Solomon. Their mother was Bathsheba, the daughter of Ammiel. (emphasis mine)
Nathan also wrote a history of King Solomon.
2 Chronicles 9:29 (NLT2)29 The rest of the events of Solomon’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in The Record of Nathan the Prophet, and The Prophecy of Ahijah from Shiloh, and also in The Visions of Iddo the Seer, concerning Jeroboam son of Nebat.