- For other biblical people with this name, see Nathan (given name).
Nathan (Hebrew: נָתַן Nāṯan; Syriac: ܢܬܢ fl. c. 1000 BC) is a prophet in the Hebrew Bible. His actions are described in the Books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles (especially 2 Samuel 7:2–17, 12:1–25).
Nathan was a court prophet who lived in the time of King David. He is introduced in 2 Samuel 7:2 and 1 Chronicles 17:1 as an advisor to David, with whom David reflects on the contrast between his own comfortable home and the tent in which the Ark of the Covenant is accommodated. Nathan then announced to David the covenant God was making with him (2 Samuel 7:4–17, a passage known as Nathan's Oracle), contrasting David's proposal to build a house (i.e. a building) for the Ark with God's plan to build a house (i.e. a dynasty) for David. Later, he came to David to reprimand him for committing adultery with Bathsheba while she was the wife of Uriah the Hittite, whose death the King had also arranged to hide his previous transgression (2 Samuel 12:7–14).
In 1 Kings 1:8–45 it is Nathan who tells the dying David of the plot of Adonijah to become king, resulting in Solomon being proclaimed king instead. Nathan presides at the anointing of King Solomon, and his name appears in Handel's coronation anthem "Zadok the Priest".
The feast day of Nathan the Prophet is on 24 October. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite, he is commemorated as a saint on the Sunday of the Holy Fathers (i.e., the Sunday before the Great Feast of the Nativity of the Lord).
As a name
Derived from this biblical character, "Nathan" is commonly used as a male first name in various countries.
- The Composition of Nathan's Oracle to David (2 Samuel 7:1-17) as a Reflection of Royal Judahite Ideology, Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 129, No. 2 (Summer 2010), pp. 261-279, accessed 15 July 2017