2 Samuel 11

2 Samuel 11

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David and Bathsheba

11 In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.

It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”

So David sent word to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab was doing and how the people were doing and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” And Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king. But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. When they told David, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?” Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah dwell in booths, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.” Then David said to Uriah, “Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. And David invited him, and he ate in his presence and drank, so that he made him drunk. And in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.

In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die.” And as Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there were valiant men. And the men of the city came out and fought with Joab, and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uriah the Hittite also died. Then Joab sent and told David all the news about the fighting. And he instructed the messenger, “When you have finished telling all the news about the fighting to the king, then, if the king’s anger rises, and if he says to you, ‘Why did you go so near the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? Who killed Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Did not a woman cast an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?’ then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.’”

So the messenger went and came and told David all that Joab had sent him to tell. The messenger said to David, “The men gained an advantage over us and came out against us in the field, but we drove them back to the entrance of the gate. Then the archers shot at your servants from the wall. Some of the king’s servants are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.” David said to the messenger, “Thus shall you say to Joab, ‘Do not let this matter displease you, for the sword devours now one and now another. Strengthen your attack against the city and overthrow it.’ And encourage him.”

When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband. And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.


2 Samuel 11 Commentary

by Hank Workman

There has been much written about the failure of David’s act of adultery with Bathsheba, his botched cover up leading to the murder of her husband, and consequent moral downfall. It’s interesting though to consider just the opening sentence of the passage.

“Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.”

2 Samuel 11:1

There’s a reason this is the opening. David chose to neglect his duty as king by staying back home from war. Was it purposeful? Most think so. Had the plan been hatched months before of trying to capture Bathsheba? Again, many believe this to be the case as it wasn’t just a random ‘site line’ of her bathing, he had seen this event consistently in the build-up. As he should have been out conquering territory for Israel, as Matthew Henry writes, “David’s shame (was) in being himself conquered and led captive by his own lust.”

He was at the wrong place at the wrong time by choice.

Our own failures are much the same. Often we lay the groundwork in our heart toward doing something we know we shouldn’t way before it takes place. Our human sinful nature and desires tend to overrule our thought and we compartmentalize and sideline the prompting of God’s Spirit who is speaking to not do so. The alarm sounds and we turn down the volume because we become driven by what we want.

Paul wrote, “Walk in the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16) This principle rings true with every opportunity toward doing the wrong thing. Trapp states, “If David had his attention where God wanted it, he would never put it where God didn’t want it.”

We all know our weaknesses. We are so aware of where our natural leanings take us. I believe we even know when we’ve overstepped our boundaries. This scene of David’s life is recorded so bluntly to show a man after God’s own heart failed because he allowed his own wants and desires to rule. None of us are exempt from potential failure if we are not tuning into the Spirit of God and His voice and warning. The need for our continual meeting with Him, bringing our thoughts captive and being open to His voice is our only hope as we wage our own battles daily.

2 Samuel 11 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Most of us know the story of 2 Samuel 11. David’s sin and repentance are well-documented. The story is familiar to us because it’s real. The Bible doesn’t sugarcoat the sex, scandal, and murder that David engages in. However, we also must realize that even though the Bible describes it, that doesn’t necessarily mean it prescribes it.

There is no doubt that David’s actions were disgusting. What would David have done if Uriah would have come back and slept with his wife? Would David have kept that secret forever knowing that he was actually the child’s father? Furthermore, would Bathsheba have been able to keep this secret from both her child and her husband?

It seems like David got away with murder (no pun intended). Some have used David’s story to justify adultery, pointing to the fact that God allowed for David to marry Bathsheba and take her as his wife even after all of the compounding sins. We tend to examine these transgressions of David and wonder if the punishment fits the crime. Did God overlook the severity of what David did?

David’s Repentance Was Genuine

Being a pastor, people sometimes throw out names of people and question me as to whether or not I believe they are saved. My answer is always the same. I can’t judge whether a person is saved or not. That’s Jesus’ business. All I can do is form a human conclusion based on the fruit (or lack thereof). A sincere follower of Jesus will demonstrate consistency in what they say and what they do. In other words, true believers show fruit.

In the case of David, his repentance was proven sincere by his lifestyle. After this one incident with Uriah and Bathsheba, we don’t read of him stealing wives and murdering their husbands anywhere else in Scripture. David had a big lapse in judgment (like all of us) but he repented and showed evidence of change.

The Way of the Pharisee

Although David’s family would be at odds for the rest of his life, God did allow him to be restored. He allowed David to marry Bathsheba and continue to serve as king, however, he also paid a heavy price. If we try to use David’s story to justify the sin in our own lives, we will only become Pharisees. Twisting the text to try and validate the dysfunction of our own sin will only lead to a dark, calloused heart. The shining moment of this chapter is the fact that David owned up to his sin and changed his ways.

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