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Nathan (God-given), the name of several Israelites mentioned in the Old Testament.
(1) Nathan, successor of Samuel and prophet in the times of David and Solomon
No indication is given as to his origin, and he appears in the narrative for the first time when David is contemplating the erection of a house to the Lord (II Kings, vii). He assures the monarch of the Lord's support and of the divinely ordained establishment of his kingdom for all time, but dissuades him from the idea of building the proposed temple, stating that this honour was reserved for his son and successor (II Kings, vii, 13; I Chron., xvii, 1-15). Nathan appears later to reproach David in the name of the Lord for his crime of adultery and murder narrated in II Kings, Xi, and, after skilfully proposing the allegory of the poor man's little ewe lamb, surprises the king with the words: "Thou art the man". He then declares the anger of the Lord and the punishments that are to fall upon David, although in view of the latter's repentance his sin is pronounced forgiven, for his crimes had given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme (II Kings, xii, 1-15). The prophet next appears on the scene when it is question of securing to Solomon the succession to the throne of his father. Adonias, abetted by Joab and the high priest Abiathar, made an attempt to have himself proclaimed king. The plan was frustrated by Nathan who, first through Bethsabee and later in a personal interview, informed David as to the doings of Adonias, and persuaded the aged monarch to confirm his promise in favour of Solomon and have him proclaimed king at the fountain of Gihon (III Kings, i, 8-45). In this instance Nathan served the interests of the country as well as those of David and Solomon by averting a civil war. He is credited by the Chronicler with having written a part of the history of David , together with Samuel the seer and Gad the seer (I Chron., xxix, 29; II Chron., xxix, 25). The time of Nathan's death is not given, but his name is mentioned in Ecclus., xlvii, 1.
(2) Nathan, son of David and Bethsabee (II Kings, v14; I Chron. 3:5, 14:4)
The name Nathan augmented by the theophorous prefix or suffix is borne by other members of the family of David. Thus one of his brothers was Nathanael (I Chron., ii, 14), and one of his nephews, Jonathan (II Kings, xxi, 21).
(3) Nathan, father of Azarias and Zabud, important functionaries of the court of Solomon (III Kings 4:5)
By some scholars he is identified with Nathan the prophet (1), and by others with Nathan the son of David (2). Both opinions are merely conjectural. His son Zabud is designated as "priest", this being an indication, among many others, that the functions of the priesthood were not at that period exercised exclusively by the descendants of Aaron.
(4) Nathan, son of Ethei and father of Zabad (I Chron. 2:36), of the tribe of Juda and of the branch of Caleb
His grandfather Jeraa was an Egyptian slave to whom Sesan gave one of his daughters in marriage (I Chron., ii, 34-35).
(5) Nathan, one of the prominent Jews of the time of the Captivity
Chosen by Esdras together with several others to find levites for the temple service when the Jews were camped on the banks of the Ahava preparing to return to Palestine (I Esdr., viii, 16).
(6) Nathan, one of the sons of Bani mentioned in I Esdras 10:39
He was among those who, at the command of Esdras, put away the foreign wives they had married.
James F. Driscoll.