DAVID DISPLEASES THE LORD
2 Samuel 11
The Bible is an honest book that does not tell the stories of sinless paragons that never fail and do all things well. Instead, the Bible relates the truth of man's depravity and shows the beauty of God's grace. David is God's chosen king, and he is a man after God's own heart, but he is a man. God has given David success in his many endeavors but as we will see David is not immune to temptation and sin. The kingdom is established, but there are always threats from rival nations and kings are not usually content with the boundaries of their realm. Spring was the season when kings would wage war because the colder months would endanger the soldiers and required more resources. David sent Joab to war against the Ammonites, and they besieged the capital city, but David chose to remain in Jerusalem. Israel was fighting against this foreign foe and enjoying great success, but their leader was losing the battle for purity at home. One afternoon, David awoke from his nap and took a walk on his roof. His home rose above the houses that were at a lower elevation, and from his vantage point, he saw a beautiful woman bathing. David's glance turned into an extended look until it transformed into lust. He acted on his lust, and he inquired about the identity of this woman. David is told that she is the wife of one of his soldiers, Uriah the Hittite. David is not deterred by this knowledge, and he sends messengers to bring Bathsheba to the palace. Scripture does not offer all of the sordid details but only states the two committed adultery, and she returned to her house. Their sin came with dreadful consequences because a short time later Bathsheba discovers that she is pregnant. She was distraught, and she sent word to David to convey the news. Bathsheba notifies David, and he begins to conspire how to conceal Bathsheba's infidelity.
David acts quickly and sends word for Joab to send Uriah home from battle. Uriah reported to David when he arrived in Jerusalem, and David spoke to him about the war as if nothing was out f the ordinary. David urges Uriah to go home and refresh himself. David must have thought that Uriah would go straight home and he sent a gift. The plot begins to thicken because Uriah does not go home, he spent the night at the king's house and probably stayed with the bodyguards. David was informed that Uriah did not go home and he cannot fathom why he behaved in such a way. David is confused, so he asks Uriah why he did not go home. Uriah explained that he could not go home in good conscience to relax while his brothers in arms were deprived of such comforts and were camping in booths out in the open field during this military campaign. Uriah swears that he will not go home to enjoy creature comforts while his men are deprived of such repose. David tells Uriah to stay for a couple of days and then he would send him back to the frontlines. David invited Uriah to dinner and got him drunk thinking that he would go home in his drunken stupor, but Uriah spent the night on a couch at the king's house instead.
David is desperate because Uriah has acted so honorably and he resorts to an unthinkable crime. He wrote a letter to Joab instructing him to assign Uriah at the forefront of the battle, and when the battle raged, he was to draw back and let this soldier die. Uriah carried his own death warrant to his commander, and Joab did as he was told. Uriah was placed in harm's way so that when the men of the city came out to fight, he fell along with some other soldiers. Joab sent word to David about the fighting, and he anticipated that David would be displeased with the report, so he instructed the messenger to respond to David's displeasure with the news about Uriah. The messenger reported the details as he had been instructed and David realized that it had been his orders that brought the troops so close to the wall. David instructs the messenger to tell Joab not to be troubled by what took place, and then he callously comments that the sword devours soldiers. David is responsible for Uriah's death even if the death blow came from an Ammonite archer. David orders Joab to be encouraged, continue the attack, and take the city. Bathsheba learns that her husband was dead and she lamented. It is not clear whether her mourning was sincere or merely a facade. One would like to believe that this betrayal troubled her and that it was hard to find any rest or peace. After Bathsheba had mourned Uriah, David brought her to his house, and she became his wife. This illicit union produced a son. The cover-up was complete, and it is possible that the people viewed David's actions as noble when he took Bathsheba into his home. Regardless of how it looked on the outside, David sinned against the Lord, and he was displeased.
Things To Consider:
- How can someone fight sin?
- How should temptation be handled?
- How does a look turn into lust and ultimately adultery and murder?
- What does Bathsheba teach us about external works of cleansing?
- Why does sin lead to more sin?
- How many relationships were affected by the sin of David and Bathsheba?
- How is Uriah more honorable than David?
- How does David justify his actions?
- Why can't sin cover sin?
- Are you in a relationship for your own selfish gain? How do you know?