David’s absolute power has corrupted him absolutely. He abuses his power, he commits adultery, and he orders a loyal soldier to be killed. UPDATED.
VERSE 1. At the return of the year, at the time when kings go out, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.
the time when kings go out. In the spring, after the rains were over, it was customary for kings to start wars.
David stayed at Jerusalem. David started a war. But he sent other people to fight it.
While his soldiers fought and died, David lived in luxury in his palace.
VERSE 2. At evening, David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. From the roof, he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to look at.
he saw a woman bathing. This was David’s first glimpse of Bathsheba.
In the fullness of time, she will be a direct ancestor of the One Messiah:
Matthew 1:6. Jesse became the father of King David. David became the father of Solomon by her who had been Uriah’s wife.
VERSE 3. David sent and inquired after the woman. One said, “Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, Uriah the Hittite’s wife?”
VERSE 4. David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in to him, and he lay with her (for she was purified from her uncleanness); and she returned to her house.
he lay with her. Bathsheba could not refuse the king. She did not have the freedom to say no. David had abused his power. Again.
she was purified from her uncleanness. That is, she was ritually purified after her period had ended.
The woman conceived. In due time Bathsheba discovered she was pregnant by the king.
VERSE 6. David sent to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” Joab sent Uriah to David.
VERSE 7. When Uriah had come to him, David asked him how Joab did, and how the people fared, and how the war prospered.
VERSE 8. David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” Uriah departed out of the king’s house, and a gift from the king was sent after him.
Go down to your house and wash your feet. This was a euphemism for “Go have sex with your wife.”
VERSE 9. But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and didn’t go down to his house.
with all the servants of his lord. Uriah remains loyal to his comrades. That kept him from falling into the trap David had set for him.
VERSE 10. When they had told David, saying, “Uriah didn’t go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Haven’t you come from a journey? Why didn’t you go down to your house?”
VERSE 11. Uriah said to David, “The ark, Israel, and Judah, are staying in tents; and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open field. Shall I then go into 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!”
VERSE 12. David said to Uriah, “Stay here today also, and tomorrow I will let you depart.” So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day, and the next day.
VERSE 13. When David had called him, he ate and drank before him; and he made him drunk. At evening, he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but didn’t go down to his house.
VERSE 14. In the morning, David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.
VERSE 15. He wrote in the letter, saying, “Send Uriah to the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck, and die.”
retreat from him, that he may be struck, and die. David has just ordered the killing of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah.
As their beloved king, people have great trust in David. Now he is abusing their trust to do a heinous act.
Sir John Dalberg-Acton described this scenario well:
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”
VERSE 16. When Joab kept watch on the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew that valiant men were.
VERSE 17. The men of the city went out, and fought with Joab. Some of the people fell, even of David’s servants; and Uriah the Hittite died also.
VERSE 18. Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war;
VERSE 19. and he commanded the messenger, saying, “When you have finished telling all the things concerning the war to the king,
VERSE 20. it shall be that, if the king’s wrath arise, and he asks you, ‘Why did you go so near to the city to fight? Didn’t you know that they would shoot from the wall?
VERSE 21. Who struck Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Didn’t 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 also dead.’ ”
VERSE 22. So the messenger went, and came and showed David all that Joab had sent him for.
VERSE 23. The messenger said to David, “The men prevailed against us, and came out to us into the field, and we were on them even to the entrance of the gate.
VERSE 24. The shooters shot at your servants from off the wall; and some of the king’s servants are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead.”
VERSE 25. Then David said to the messenger, “Tell Joab, ‘Don’t let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another. Make your battle stronger against the city, and overthrow it.’ Encourage him.”
VERSE 26. When Uriah’s wife heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.
VERSE 27. When the mourning was past, David sent and took her home to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.
the thing that David had done displeased the LORD. What David had done would set events in motion and cause trouble for David for the rest of his life.
There is a law of “sowing and reaping” throughout the Bible. We don’t know how to fully reconcile it with grace and mercy. Here are the verses we’ve found »
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