Thursday, February 7, 2013

CXI - II Samuel chapter 11 - David and Bathsheba

Chapter 11 is David's darkest hour.  I have studied the life of this dear man and have sooooo much respect for him as a man of God.  When I get to Heaven I will want to spend some time with David.  I'm in no hurry to get to Heaven, but I'm really looking forward to talking to David.  However, like us all, David yielded to the temptation of the flesh and committed sin on top of sin during this brief but sinful period in his life.

Chapter 11 opens with David's continued assault on the Ammonites.  In the last post David avenged the foolish actions of king Hanun.  That was in the Fall of the year.  {In Biblical days warring nations observed a cease-fire during winter and resumed hostilities after the fields had been planted and the Spring rains had ended, normally between April and June.}  So now (vs 1) it is Spring time.  David sent Joab, his military commander, to finish with the Ammonites while David stayed home in Jerusalem.  Vs 2 - Evidently David could not sleep and arose from his bed to stroll along on the roof-top of his palace.  From there he looked down and saw a very beautiful woman bathing.  {One must wonder what Bathsheba was doing bathing in such a place where she would be in plain view from another roof-top.}  Vs 3 - David sent a servant to find out who this beautiful woman was.  He was told that it was Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite, a soldier in David's army.  {Vs 4 indicates that the reason Bathsheba was bathing was for the ceremonial cleansing following menstruation.}  After David learned who she was (and that her husband was gone in battle) he sent for Bathsheba to be brought to him.  They slept together in an adulterous situation.  After that encounter, Bathsheba went back home but later sent word to David (probably about 8 weeks later) and informed him that she was pregnant.  {Just imagine what went through David's mind.}  David, being a problem-solver, devised a plan to deal with this difficult situation.  His plan was to immediately have her husband brought home so he can have sex with her, which would have everyone believe (everyone except David and Bathsheba) that the baby was Uriah's.  {Sounds like a good plan, huh?} 

{I find the following verses rather comical.  Try to imagine David's frustration through Uriah's actions.}  When Uriah came home to Jerusalem, he would not go home to Bathsheba because (being a loyal soldier) he could not enjoy being with his wife when Joab and all his fellow soldiers were in battle.  David tried to talk Uriah into going home to his wife, but Uriah gave compelling reasons why he would not, and continued to refuse to go home.  So, David went to plan B:  Get Uriah drunk by inviting him to dine with David in the king's palace.  After David thought Uriah was drunk enough, he sent him home and told him to sleep with his wife.  But Uriah was still sober enough to continue to deprive himself of such luxury when the other soldiers were sleeping out in the weather.  {I've always considered David to be a better man that any around him, but at this particular time Uriah is the better man.}  By verse 14 David realized his plan was not working and he got even more desparate.  He contacted Joab and instructed him to place Uriah in the battle and create a situation that would have Uriah killed by the Ammonites.  So Joab, being an obedient servant to the king, placed Uriah in a position where the Ammonite archers were bound to have killed Uriah as he was commissioned to lead the charge to the wall of Rabbah, the fortified Ammonite city.  And sure enough Uriah was struck dead by an Ammonite arrow.  Joab sent a messenger to David, telling him of Uriah's death.  David's response (vs 25) was disheartening to me:  To paraphrase what he told the messenger to tell Joab, "Don't let this upset you.  Soldiers get killed in battle."

The last verse of chapter 11 tells that after Bathsheba mourned the death of her husband Uriah, David sent for her to be his wife and she bore him a son.  The very last sentence in this chapter says:  But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.

We as God's children must remain vigilant.  Just a moment to recap how one sin leads to another, even with a man of God like David.  These are David's sins in succession:

1.  David looked with lust upon a beautiful lady and kept on looking
2   He coveted  (Remember what I said about this tenth Commandment?  First we covet.)
3.  He make inquiries about her (this was an action, not just a thought, but an action)
4.  He sent for her  (I know he knew better)
5.  He slept with her and got her pregnant  (Adultry)
6.  He tried to hide what he did by tricking her husband Uriah (Lies, Deception, and Cover-Up)
7.  He conspired to kill her husband (Murder.  No other way to say it)
8.  He denied wrong-doing (Rationalizing sin)
9.  He took his victim's widow as his own wife (Stealing)

Next post:  God has something to say about this


  1. My first question to this is why did David stay in Jerusalem? The first verse says "In the spring, when kings go off to war...". What made him stay? Is there some history I'm missing here? What's your opinion on this?

  2. I can't give a definite answer on this because the Scripture does not address it as a specific. Upon reading your comment, my thoughts immediately went to Joab and the immense size and power of the Israelite army. Joab was very capable and I gues David's leadership wasn't required. Also perhaps the demands in Jerusalem were such that David was needed there. Sorry. That's the best I can do.