2 Samuel 11 – 12
2 Samuel 11
1 In the spring when kings march out [to war], David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah, but David remained in Jerusalem. 2 One evening David got up from his bed and strolled around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing-a very beautiful woman. 3 So David sent someone to inquire about her, and he reported, "This is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah the Hittite." 4 David sent messengers to get her, and when she came to him, he slept with her. Now she had just been purifying herself from her uncleanness. Afterwards, she returned home. 5 The woman conceived and sent word to inform David: "I am pregnant." 6 David sent orders to Joab: "Send me Uriah the Hittite." So Joab sent Uriah to David. 7 When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the troops were doing and how the war was going. 8 Then he said to Uriah, "Go down to your house and wash your feet." So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king followed him. 9 But Uriah slept at the door of the palace with all his master's servants; he did not go down to his house. 10 When it was reported to David, "Uriah didn't go home," David questioned Uriah, "Haven't you just come from a journey? Why didn't you go home?" 11 Uriah answered David, "The ark, Israel, and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my master Joab and his soldiers are camping in the open field. How can I enter my house to eat and drink and sleep with my wife? As surely as you live and by your life, I will not do this!" 12 "Stay here today also," David said to Uriah, "and tomorrow I will send you back." So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 Then David invited Uriah to eat and drink with him, and David got him drunk. He went out in the evening to lie down on his cot with his master's servants, but he did not go home. 14 The next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 In the letter he wrote: Put Uriah at the front of the fiercest fighting, then withdraw from him so that he is struck down and dies. 16 When Joab was besieging the city, he put Uriah in the place where he knew the best [enemy] soldiers were. 17 Then the men of the city came out and attacked Joab, and some of the men from David's soldiers fell [in battle]; Uriah the Hittite also died. 18 Joab sent someone to report to David all the details of the battle. 19 He commanded the messenger, "When you've finished telling the king all the details of the battle- 20 if the king's anger gets stirred up and he asks you, 'Why did you get so close to the city to fight? Didn't you realize they would shoot from the top of the wall? 21 At Thebez, who struck Abimelech son of Jerubbesheth? Didn't a woman drop an upper millstone on him from the top of the wall so that he died? Why did you get so close to the wall?'-then say, 'Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.'" 22 Then the messenger left. When he arrived, he reported to David all that Joab had sent him [to tell]. 23 The messenger reported to David, "The men gained the advantage over us and came out against us in the field, but we counterattacked right up to the entrance of the gate. 24 However, the archers shot down on your soldiers from the top of the wall, and some of the king's soldiers died. Your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead." 25 David told the messenger, "Say this to Joab: 'Don't let this matter upset you because the sword devours all alike. Intensify your fight against the city and demolish it.' Encourage him." 26 When Uriah's wife heard that her husband Uriah had died, she mourned for him. 27 When the time of mourning ended, David had her brought to his house. She became his wife and bore him a son. However, the Lord considered what David had done to be evil.
2 Samuel 12
1 So the Lord sent Nathan to David. When he arrived, he said to him: There were two men in a certain city, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one small ewe lamb that he had bought. It lived and grew up with him and his children. It shared his meager food and drank from his cup; it slept in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. 4 Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man could not bring himself to take one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for his guest. 5 David was infuriated with the man and said to Nathan: "As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! 6 Because he has done this thing and shown no pity, he must pay four lambs for that lamb." 7 Nathan replied to David, "You are the man! This is what the Lord God of Israel says: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master's house to you and your master's wives into your arms, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah, and if that was not enough, I would have given you even more. 9 Why then have you despised the command of the Lord by doing what I consider evil? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife as your own wife-you murdered him with the Ammonite's sword. 10 Now therefore, the sword will never leave your house because you despised Me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own wife.' 11 "This is what the Lord says, 'I am going to bring disaster on you from your own family: I will take your wives and give them to another before your very eyes, and he will sleep with them publicly. 12 You acted in secret, but I will do this before all Israel and in broad daylight.'" 13 David responded to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." Then Nathan replied to David, "The Lord has taken away your sin; you will not die. 14 However, because you treated the Lord with such contempt in this matter, the son born to you will die." 15 Then Nathan went home. The Lord struck the baby that Uriah's wife had borne to David, and he became ill. 16 David pleaded with God for the boy. He fasted, went [home], and spent the night lying on the ground. 17 The elders of his house stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat anything with them. 18 On the seventh day the baby died. But David's servants were afraid to tell him the baby was dead. They said, "Look, while the baby was alive, we spoke to him, and he wouldn't listen to us. So how can we tell him the baby is dead? He may do something desperate." 19 When David saw that his servants were whispering to each other, he guessed that the baby was dead. So he asked his servants, "Is the baby dead?" "He is dead," they replied. 20 Then David got up from the ground. He washed, anointed himself, changed his clothes, went to the Lord's house, and worshiped. Then he went home and requested [something to eat]. So they served him food, and he ate. 21 His servants asked him, "What did you just do? While the baby was alive, you fasted and wept, but when he died, you got up and ate food." 22 He answered, "While the baby was alive, I fasted and wept because I thought, 'Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let him live.' 23 But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I'll go to him, but he will never return to me." 24 Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba; he went and slept with her. She gave birth to a son and named him Solomon. The Lord loved him, 25 and He sent [a message] through Nathan the prophet, who named him Jedidiah, because of the Lord. 26 Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites and captured the royal fortress. 27 Then Joab sent messengers to David to say, "I have fought against Rabbah and have also captured the water supply. 28 Now therefore, assemble the rest of the troops, lay siege to the city, and capture it. Otherwise I will be the one to capture the city, and it will be named after me. 29 So David assembled all the troops and went to Rabbah; he fought against it and captured it. 30 He took the crown from the head of their king, and it was [placed] on David's head. The crown weighed 75 pounds of gold, and it had a precious stone [in it]. In addition, David took away a large quantity of plunder from the city. 31 He removed the people who were in the city and put [them to work] with saws, iron picks, and iron axes, and to labor at brickmaking. He did the same to all the Ammonite cities. Then he and all his troops returned to Jerusalem. — 2 Samuel 11 – 12
David and Bathsheba
by Creely Wilson
King David was a man after God's own heart! People often leer and are surprised at this statement from the Psalms. However, God called what David did SIN, and David was punished for it.
David was the greatest of the Jewish kings. He did many positive things for his people. He was a successful warrior; he enlarged the territory of Israel; he was kind to Saul's remaining family; he brought peace and prosperity to the nation; he made many wise decisions on behalf of God's people. His sin might make us miss the greatness of the man. Sin was the exception in David's life, not the pattern of it.
Spring was the time for war. The crops were growing well, not needing the men, and the winter rains had stopped. David had often led in other battles, but not in this battle. He was a comfortable, prosperous, well-cared-for king, living in a palace of luxury. Such fine conditions can often trap us.
We know the story in chapter 11. David was on the roof of the palace, perhaps because he could not sleep in the hot night. His roof was probably the highest point in the city. David may have been walking back and forth with many problems on his mind.
Seeing beautiful Bathsheba, he sent for her and slept with her. She might have been more careful, but God puts the blame on David. She was the wife of Uriah, a foreign Hittite but also a worshipper of Yahweh and loyal to Israel.
The beautiful gift of sex that God gives to a man and his wife to be used in His way became an ugly story. When Bathsheba became pregnant, David had a real problem. He brought Uriah home from the battle, but he refused to even visit his wife while his fellow soldiers were in danger.
Adding sin to sin, David plotted the successful murder of Uriah. He probably then went on with his kingly business, thinking no one knew what had happened. But we see in verse 27 that this displeased the Lord.
Chapter 12 tells the story of God’s confrontation with David. Nathan the prophet had often brought good news to David, but this time was different. He gave David such a powerful illustration of injustice that David was ready to kill the offender—until he realized he was that man.
David immediately repented, and went to the house of the Lord to seek restoration. But the consequences of his sin lingered. He not only lost the son Bathsheba bore him, but eventually other family members as well.
However, God's grace began anew in the lives of David and Bathsheba. Their son Solomon would become Israel's next great king. The Lord loved Solomon—and we know the rest of the story!
Can a Christian sin? Yes. When we sin, we show contempt for God's way. And in case we consider David to be the worst of sinners, Galatians 5:19-20 lists twelve other sins along with sexual immorality. But God wants us to be brought back into fellowship with Him, through confession, repentance and forgiveness.
- What do you learn about God in this story?
- What do you like about this story? What bothers you about the story?
- Where do you see yourself in this story and what will you do about it?
- Where do you need to share this story?
(Hebrews 13:4; 1 John 1:9; Isaiah 1:16-18; John 8:11; 1 John 1:8-9)
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.