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II Samuel 11 Commentary

II Samuel 11 Commentary

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
This has become one of the best known chapters in the Bible, and movies, books and plays have been made to portray it for public entertainment. It is a chapter of lust, murder and coverup to match any soap opera. "In the whole of the Old Testament literature there is no chapter more tragic or full of solemn and searching warning than this." (G. Campbell Morgan) This is the chapter where the best of the godly men becomes the worst sinner, for David in this chapter commits adultery, deceives a friend, murders that friend, and lies to himself, God and the world by trying to cover up his dastardly deeds.
This has become one of the best known chapters in the Bible, and movies, books and plays have been made to portray it for public entertainment. It is a chapter of lust, murder and coverup to match any soap opera. "In the whole of the Old Testament literature there is no chapter more tragic or full of solemn and searching warning than this." (G. Campbell Morgan) This is the chapter where the best of the godly men becomes the worst sinner, for David in this chapter commits adultery, deceives a friend, murders that friend, and lies to himself, God and the world by trying to cover up his dastardly deeds.

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II SAMUEL 11 COMMETARY

Written and edited by Glenn Pease
PREFACE
I quote many authors in this commentary because I feel they have stated the true
understanding of the text in ways that make their comments valuable for grasping
what God is saying to us in this chapter. If any of these authors does not wish his
wisdom to be shared in this way, I will remove it at their request. If I do not give
credit to an author who is recognized, I will do so if it is pointed out to me. My e-
mail is gdpease1@gmail.com
ITRODUCTIO
This has become one of the best known chapters in the Bible, and movies, books
and plays have been made to portray it for public entertainment. It is a chapter of
lust, murder and coverup to match any soap opera. "In the whole of the Old
Testament literature there is no chapter more tragic or full of solemn and searching
warning than this." (G. Campbell Morgan) This is the chapter where the best of the
godly men becomes the worst sinner, for David in this chapter commits adultery,
deceives a friend, murders that friend, and lies to himself, God and the world by
trying to cover up his dastardly deeds.
Constable wrote, “This is perhaps the second most notorious sin in the Bible, after
the Fall. It has probably received the most attention from unbelievers in movies and
other forms of entertainment. Unbelievers love to gloat over the sins of godly
people.”
David and Bathsheba
1 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to
war, David sent Joab out with the king's men and
the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the
Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David
remained in Jerusalem.
1. It is hard for us to grasp the life of warfare in the ancient world. Life was a
constant battle with enemies for Israel. They were always surrounded by enemies,
and so every Spring when it was possible to get about in the hills and valleys, and
the weather was more pleasant for warfare, they would round up the fighting men
and go out to defend their land and people from enemy forces coming to take it, and
to enrich their own bank accounts by taking booty from the army of the enemy. It
was equivalent to what sports events are in our day. It was competition to see who
could defeat the other army and take away the prize. This was practically a
tradition throughout the history of David as king, and only ceased for a time when
Solomon became the king and ruled in peace. David was a man of war his whole life.
2. We are about to witness the second most infamous and notorious sin in all the
Bible, for this sin of David has received the attention of Bible scholars, preachers,
authors, movie makers and artists of all kinds of media more than any other sin
other than that of Adam and Eve in their disobedience to God that led to the fall of
man. This chapter is is one of the most read and studied chapters in the Bible, for
even godless people love to read of the fall of godly men. David made the common
mistake of life in thinking that he did not need to keep his guard up because he was
not in the midst of warfare. We are never off the battle field, for we have an enemy
that is always seeking to lure us into disobedience to God just as he did in the
Garden of Eden, and has been doing ever since. It is easy to come to the conclusion
that when we are successful enough to have others fight our battles leaving us free to
enjoy our leisure, that we do not need to live with a spirit of alertness and
skepticism. We think that all is going so well that we are free from attack. we are on
top of the world and have it made. This is when we have our guard down, for we let
pride lead us to think we are superior to any force that would rob us of our present
glory.” author unknown
3. He is getting up in age at this point, and so he decides to sit this one out and let his
men do the fighting. He did not realize it, but he was going to have the biggest battle
of his life by staying home and not going to war. David faced a bigger enemy of his
life at home that he ever did on the battlefield. He was facing the giant that makes
Goliath look like a pygmy in comparison, for he was brought face to face with
sexual lust. This giant has brought down to defeat more kings, heroes and men of all
types than any other weapon you can imagine. His army went out to great victory
over the Ammonites, but he stayed home and went down in defeat.
4. This was a turning point in the life of David, for up until this time his life has been
glorious as the king of God’s people. He was the ultimate in success, and he never
lost a battle. He was rich and happy, and lived in a marvelous mansion with a
harem of beautiful wives and loving children. o man could ask for more. But now
we come to this turning point where his life starts to unravel and become more of a
nightmare than a dream come true, and the cause of it all is an uncontrolled sex
drive.
5. Arthur Pink, one of the greatest writers on the life of David, and one who wrote
two large volumes on his life, approaches this passage with these words, "A difficult
and most unwelcome task now confronts us: to contemplate and comment upon the
darkest blot of all in the fair character of David. But who are we, so full of sin in
ourselves, unworthy to unloose his shoes, to take it upon us to sit in judgment upon
the sweet Psalmist of Israel. Certainly we would not select this subject from personal
choice, for it affords us no pleasure to gaze upon an eminent saint of God befouling
himself in the mire of evil. O that we may be enabled to approach it with true
humility, in tear and trembling..." "This inspired record is to be regarded as a
divine beacon, warning us of the rocks upon which David’s life was wrecked; as a
danger signal, bidding us be on our guard, lest we, through un-watchfulness,
experience a similar calamity." "here we behold the lusts of the flesh allowed full
sway not by a man of the world, but by a member of the household of faith; here we
behold a saint, eminent in holiness, in a unguarded moment, surprised, seduced and
led captive by the devil. The "flesh" in the believer is no different and no better
than the flesh in an unbeliever!"
6. Pink goes on, "Yes, the sweet Psalmist of Israel, who had enjoyed such long and
close communion with God, still had the "flesh" within him, and because he failed
to mortify its lusts, he now flung away the joys of divine fellowship, defiled his
conscience, ruined his soul’s prosperity, brought down upon himself (for all his
remaining years) a storm of calamities, and made his name and religion a target for
the arrows of sarcasm and blasphemy of each succeeding generation. Every claim
that God had upon him, every obligation of his high office, all the fences which
divine mercy had provided, were ruthlessly trampled under foot by the fiery lust
now burning in him. He who in the day of his distress cried, "My soul thirsteth for
God, for the living God" (Ps. 42:2) now lusted after a forbidden object. Alas, what is
man? Truly "man at his best estate is altogether vanity" (Ps. 39:5).
7. It is almost universally accepted that the most dangerous time in life is when you
have achieved your dreams and goals. This is when you are most vulnerable to acts
of folly. Your success in achieving your goals makes you proud and this kind of
pride gives you a sense of security that nothing can stop you or hinder you from
having anything that you want. David is on top of the world, living in the highest
building where he can look out over all the city. They are secure because he and his
forces have secured their borders by defeating all their enemies. His soldiers are just
involved in a mop-up operation against the Ammonites where he is not even needed
because the victory is a sure thing. He lives in great honor and luxury, and can nap
in the afternoon because he is so secure. It is in this state that he makes the biggest
mistake of his life and blots forever a near spotless record.
8. HERY, "Here is, I. David's glory, in pursuing the war against the Ammonites,
2Sa_11:1. We cannot take that pleasure in viewing this great action which hitherto
we have taken in observing David's achievements, because the beauty of it was
stained and sullied by sin; otherwise we might take notice of David's wisdom and
bravery in following his blow. Having routed the army of the Ammonites in the
field, as soon as ever the season of the year permitted he sent more forces to waste
the country and further to avenge the quarrel of his ambassadors. Rabbah, their
metropolis, made a stand, and held out a great while. To this city Joab laid close
siege, and it was at the time of this siege that David fell into this sin.
II. David's shame, in being himself conquered, and led captive by his own lust.
The sin he was guilty of was adultery, against the letter of the seventh
commandment, and (in the judgment of the patriarchal age) a heinous crime, and an
iniquity to be punished by the judges (Job_31:11), a sin which takes away the heart,
and gets a man a wound and dishonour, more than any other, and the reproach of
which is not wiped away.
1. Observe the occasions which led to this sin. (1.) eglect of his business. When
he should have been abroad with his army in the field, fighting the battles of the
Lord, he devolved the care upon others, and he himself tarried still at Jerusalem,
2Sa_11:1. To the war with the Syrians David went in person, 2Sa_10:17. Had he
been now at his post at the head of his forces, he would have been out of the way of
this temptation. When we are out of the way of our duty we are in the way of
temptation. (2.) Love of ease, and the indulgence of a slothful temper: He came off
his bed at evening-tide, 2Sa_11:2. There he had dozed away the afternoon in idleness,
which he should have spent in some exercise for his own improvement or the good of
others. He used to pray, not only morning and evening, but at noon, in the day of his
trouble: it is to be feared he had, this noon, omitted to do so. Idleness gives great
advantage to the tempter. Standing waters gather filth. The bed of sloth often
proves the bed of lust. (3.) A wandering eye: He saw a woman washing herself,
probably from some ceremonial pollution, according to the law. The sin came in at
the eye, as Eve's did. Perhaps he sought to see her, at least he did not practise
according to his own prayer, Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity, and his son's
caution in a like case, Look not thou on the wine it is red. Either he had not, like Job,
made a covenant with his eyes, or, at this time, he had forgotten it."
2 One evening David got up from his bed and
walked around on the roof of the palace. From the
roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was
very beautiful,
1. Every normal man alive can identify with David at this point, for the sight of a
beautiful naked women is quite likely the most exciting and entrancing beauty that a
man can see. It is not wrong to find such a sight to be beautiful and attractive, for
that is why God made the female so appealing to the eyes of the male. David could
have uttered a prayer of thanks for the gift of such beauty, and then called for one
of his many wives to join him in bed to satisfy the sexual arousal in his loins. This is
the way a man is to deal with the lust that may be aroused by the beauty of other
women. It is God’s will and plan for a man to have a resource to satisfy the lust that
can be stimulated by the culture, or by unusual situations like David is experiencing
here, and that resource is a wife. Paul wrote and said every man should have his
own wife to meet his sexual needs so that he can maintain self-control. David had at
least 7 wives at this point, and they were all available to meet his sexual need, but he
chose to satisfy himself with the wife of another man. It was this fatal and foolish
choice that changed the entire history of a man who could have had a near perfect
record as a godly man. Admiring beauty is valid, but coveting the beauty that
belongs to another is crossing the line. obody can have everything without sinning
to get it, for the world is filled with beautiful people and beautiful things that belong
to others. We need to accept that reality and be grateful for the beauty that we do
possess. David had plenty of beauty in terms of his wives, and beautiful material
things in his palace.
2. It is unbelievable, but true, that one sexual arousal not wisely controlled can lead
to consequences that stain a life forever, and there is no greater example of this than
the life of David, and how he handles this moment of erotic vision. This bathing
beauty was not just a nice looking female. She was a stunning and gorgeous work of
art that captivated the mind of David. He could not stop watching her, and the
image of her was burned into his mind so that he could not erase her image when
she was through bathing. Richard Strauss wrote, "If he had used his head, he would
have gotten off of that rooftop patio pronto. But he lingered, and let his eyes feast on
every inch of Bathsheba’s fleshly charms, until he could think of nothing but having
her for himself." Strauss is also convinced that Bathsheba was a willing partner in
this scandalous affair. He wrote, “David found out who the beautiful bather was,
sent for her, and the thought became the deed. There is no evidence that this was a
forcible rape. Bathsheba seems to have been a willing partner. Her husband was off
to war and she was lonely. The glamour of being desired by the attractive king
meant more to her than her commitment to her husband and her dedication to God.
They probably cherished those moments together; maybe they even assured
themselves that it was a tender and beautiful experience.” Of course, this is only his
speculation, and, of course, it is one that God does not confirm by his judgment.
3. Satan had just the foothold he needed to get into David’s heart and cause him to
forget the law and will of God. He was overwhelmed with the desire to possess this
beauty, and immediately made plans to act on his lust for her. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
said these words, "When lust takes control, at that moment God loses all reality.
Satan does not fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God."
4. F. B. MEYER, "This was not an isolated sin. For some time, backsliding had been
eating out David’s heart. The cankerworm takes its toll before the noble tree crashes
to the ground. See Psa_51:8. Joab and his brave soldiers were in the thick of a great
conflict. Rabbah was being besieged and had not fallen. It was a time when kings
went out to battle, but David tarried at home. It was a fatal lethargy. If the king had
been in his place, this sin would never have besmirched his character.
A look, as in Eve’s case, opened the door to the devil. “Turn away mine eyes from
beholding vanity.” However great our attainments and however high our standing,
we are all liable to attack and failure; but when we abide in Christ, no weapon that
hell can forge can hurt us. When we have sinned, our only safety is in instant
confession. This David delayed for a year and till forced to it. He was more eager to
evade the consequences than to deal with his transgression. Sober David was far
worse, here, than drunken Uriah. The singular self-restraint of the soldier threw the
sin of the king into terrible and disgraceful prominence."
5. Every man in David's position would be tempted to take advantage of the
situation, but many would control their lust, and not cast caution to the wind and
defy the law of God for the sake of a thrill that he could just as easily experience by
the legitimate sleeping with one of his many wives. Joseph did not even have a wife
to flee to, but he fled anyway, when he was confronted by an aggressive woman
offering her body for his sexual satisfaction. Men are not compelled to give in to
every sexual urge that life brings to them, and David had no excuse to even consider
adultery, when he had a harem nearby. It was one of those senseless sins that are
hard to understand, for they are so unnecessary. It is not stealing because your
children need food, or lying because the truth could hurt someone terribly for no
good reason, which we could understand, but it is deliberately taking another man's
wife to bed when your palace is filled with beautiful women ready to meet your
every need. It is a matter of the mind being cut loose to drift away from the ship,
and letting the passion of lust take over the controls. When this is allowed to happen
there is almost always a shipwreck in the near future.
6. There is much effort to figure out why David would fall like this, and one of the
most common reasons given is that he fell because he neglected his duty to be off
with his men in the battle. It is implied that he never would have fallen into sin had
he been where he should have been. It is true that he may not have fallen at this
time, for he may then have never seen Bathsheba taking her bath, but at some point
he would have to leave off leading his troops, and for all we know it was time for
him to give this duty to others. He may have been doing his duty by choosing a good
commander to take his place. There is no need to come up with a preceding sin to
account for this sin by saying that his failure of doing his duty was the cause of this
fall. The fact is, he sinned for the simple reason he was tempted and yielded to it. He
let a moment of lust overwhelm him and lead him to actions that dishonored God,
his kingship, his nation, his family, and the family he abused. You need look no
further than pure lust to explain why David fell into the sin of adultery. Many godly
men have done the same thing, and they were not neglecting their duties, for some
were actively engaged in large ministries that kept them busy. Busy men, lazy men,
bored men, happy men, men of every description commit adultery for the simple
reason they are not prepared to deal with this giant temptation when it strikes. It is
coming to all men at some point, and the only way to deal with it is to have
awareness of this foreknowledge, and be committed to a prearranged plan for
dealing with it.
7. I cannot follow Pink in his idea that David was out of God's will by not following
his duty to lead his troops into battle. Meyer, another great author on David has the
same idea and wrote, "In this fatal lethargy he betrays the deterioration of his
soul.....Beware of hours of ease! Rest is necessary; times of recruiting and renewal
must come to us all; nature positively demands re-creation; but there must be no
neglect of known duty, no handing over to others of what we might and could do
ourselves, no tarrying behind the march of the troops when we should go forth with
them to the battle." Pink and Meyer are sure that David is sinning by not being with
his soldiers, and many others agree with them and make a major issue of it as a
leading cause of his fall. I think this is reading into the text a speculation that is
unnecessary. The soldiers did just fine under his appointed General Joab, and they
gained the victory. David had every right to stay home for a change and get some
R&R. Some judge him as being lazy and guilty of neglect of duty, but the fact is, we
have no idea of what duties he had as the king at home. We do not know his motive
for staying home, and, therefore, have no basis for the common slander on him. He
is guilty enough for his vile sins without trying to add to the list any others we can
conceive of that are not bothering God, for His Word does not mention them. God
does not anywhere scold him for not being in battle. Almost everyone else does, but
that is the kind of judging that Jesus forbids us to do, for it is based on human
feelings and not the Word of God.
8. Pink does have a valid idea, however, for all of us to give heed to when he writes
about spiritual warfare in contrast to physical warfare. He wrote, "The important
principle here for the Christian to lay to heart is, David had taken off his armor,
and therefore he was without protection when the enemy assailed him. Ah, my
reader, this world is no place to rest in; rather is it the arena where faith has to
wage its fight, and that fight is certain to be a losing one if we disregard that
exhortation "Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against
the wiles of the devil" (Eph. 6:11). My comment is-It was no problem that David
was not out fighting with his sword, but it was a problem that he was not ready to
protect himself from spiritual warfare that overwhelmed him.
9. I remember Dr. Lundquist the President of Bethel College and Seminary telling of
how pastor's and evangelists on the road are often tempted by prostitutes and
foolish women, and sometimes they would get into their motel room and be laying
there naked when they came back from a night of preaching the Gospel. It
happened to him, and he was able to escape the temptation because he had already
thought about how he would handle such a temptation. He was making it clear that
every Christian man must have a plan of escape before such a thing ever happens,
for if one is not prepared the lust can hit so fast and hard that it takes over control
before the person can think through the implications of his actions. Assume that lust
will at some point attack you in force, and know beforehand just how you are going
to react. This kind of forethought is the key to outwitting the cleverness of the
Tempter. This is a test that every man will face at some point in life, and it is folly to
neglect the duty of preparing for it. David was not neglecting his duty by being at
leisure, but by not being prepared to deal with lust in a valid and righteous way,
when a forbidden way was thrust upon him. Many a godly man has fallen like
David because they have not established in their minds how they will respond to
sudden sexual arousal. They just let nature take its course as David did, and, like
him, they also pay the price.
10. Bob Deffinbaugh points out that the good times can be more dangerous than the
bad times. He wrote, “...prosperity is as dangerous -- and sometimes more
dangerous -- than poverty and adversity. We all get weary of the adversities of life.
We all yearn for the time when we can kick back and put up our feet and relax a bit.
We all tire of agonizing over the bills and not having quite enough money to go
around. David certainly looked forward to the time when he could stop fleeing from
Saul and begin to reign as king. But let me point out that from a spiritual point of
view, David never did better than he did in adversity and weakness. Conversely, David
never did worse than he did in prosperity and power. How many psalms do you think
David wrote from his palatial bed and from his penthouse? How much meditation
on the law took place while David was in Jerusalem, rather than on the battlefield?
We are not to be masochists, wanting more and more suffering, but on the other
hand we should recognize that success is often a greater test than adversity. Often
when it appears “everything's goin' my way” we are in the greatest danger.”
11. I see her everywhere
Tempting with her sideways glances.
Her heart is another’s
Who is somewhere faraway.
A battle is being fought
Against good and evil;
Between man’s thoughts and what is decent.
But she must know
That she lives under the King’s glance
So she bathes singing her siren’s song.
I try to look away
Think of what is pure
But I can’t escape her beauty.
When she calls with the internet and emails.
And walks with those jeans.
God grant me a moment’s peace!
Then I turn on the TV and there she is before me.
Her seductive song I hear on the radio.
She was freed in the 60’s
Where love’s perverted cousin covered him with a condom.
Innocence defiled, I can taste the bile
In God’s stomach as He thinks upon us the lukewarm.
Sex is not GOD!
God is love!
Bathsheba please cover up your beauty.
William R. King
12. Bob Roe describes the battle of the male: “David is a male. God made him with
certain drives, certain hormones, and they are God given. He is walking around on
the roof of his palace, which is the highest point in the city, and he is looking down
and sees Bathsheba taking a bath. She is pretty enough with clothes on; without
them she is devastating. ow, nothing is wrong yet. As a male he is made sensuous
by God. What he does with the sensuality is what counts. You men, I am a male.
What do you do when you see a pretty woman? You can either glorify God or you
can gratify the lust of the flesh, and just like that [a snap of the fingers]! I
discovered a very interesting principle in my life. I see a beautiful woman, and I
automatically look if she is pretty. There is nothing wrong with that. But what do I
do when I look? Do I thank God for beautiful women and turn my eyes away, or do
I take an inventory? One is God's created order and the other is the fallenness and
flawedness of God's order. Each of us has to make that decision [especially if you
work where I used to work] a dozen times a day. Each Tuesday, in order to eat with
some "unbelieving" friends, I had to go into a part of town that was given over to
license and vice. I discovered I had to walk up those streets looking up at the sky,
down at the ground or at the Mercedes Benzs going by. I couldn't look at the
billboards which were life-sized and nude or the women who were life-sized and
nude or even at the hawkers on the street who were life-sized and not quite nude. It
had to be eyes front, eyes up or eyes down. It is a wonder I didn't get killed crossing
the street. I discovered I could get through there if I just kept looking up or down or
at the cars and thanking the Lord for beautiful women, and thanking the Lord for
beautiful women, and thanking the Lord for beautiful women and not doing what I
wanted to do which was look. I was making choices not to violate God's created
order. I couldn't stop the hormones. They were there. He put them there, but I could
stop what I did with them.”
13. HERY, "The steps of the sin. When he saw her, lust immediately conceived,
and, (1.) He enquired who she was (2Sa_11:3), perhaps intending only, if she were
unmarried, to take her to wife, as he had taken several; but, if she were a wife,
having no design upon her. (2.) The corrupt desire growing more violent, though he
was told she was a wife, and whose wife she was, yet he sent messengers for her, and
then, it may be, intended only to please himself with her company and conversation.
But, (3.) When she came he lay with her, she too easily consenting, because he was a
great man, and famed for his goodness too. Surely (thinks she) that can be no sin
which such a man as David is the mover of. See how the way of sin is down-hill;
when men begin to do evil they cannot soon stop themselves. The beginning of lust,
as of strife, is like the letting forth of water; it is therefore wisdom to leave it off
before it be meddled with. The foolish fly fires her wings, and fools away her life at
last, by playing about the candle.
3. The aggravations of the sin. (1.) He was now in years, fifty at least, some think
more, when those lusts which are more properly youthful, one would think, should
not have been violent in him, (2.) He had many wives and concubines of his own;
this is insisted on, 2Sa_12:8. (3.) Uriah, whom he wronged, was one of his own
worthies, a person of honour and virtue, one that was now abroad in his service,
hazarding his life in the high places of the field for the honour and safety of him and
his kingdom, where he himself should have been. (4.) Bath-sheba, whom he
debauched, was a lady of good reputation, and, till she was drawn by him and his
influence into this wickedness, had no doubt preserved her purity. Little did she
think that ever she could have done so bad a thing as to forsake the guide of her
youth, and forget the covenant of her God; nor perhaps could any one in the world
but David have prevailed against her. The adulterer not only wrongs and ruins his
own soul, but, as much as he can, another's soul too. (5.) David was a king, whom
God had entrusted with the sword of justice and the execution of the law upon other
criminals, particularly upon adulterers, who were, by the law, to be put to death;
for him therefore to be guilty of those crimes himself was to make himself a pattern,
when he should have been a terror, to evil doers. With what face could he rebuke or
punish that in others which he was conscious to himself of being guilty of? See
Rom_2:22. Much more might be said to aggravate the sin; and I can think but of
one excuse for it, which is that it was done but once; it was far from being his
practice; it was by the surprise of a temptation that he was drawn into it. He was
not one of those of whom the prophet complains that they were as fed horses,
neighing every one after his neighbour's wife (Jer_5:8); but this once God left him to
himself, as he did Hezekiah, that he might know what was in his heart, 2Ch_32:31.
Had he been told of it before, he would have said, as Hazael, What! is thy servant a
dog? But by this instance we are taught what need we have to pray every day,
Father, in heaven, lead us not into temptation, and to watch, that we enter not into it.
14. QUOTES ABOUT LUST FROM MAY SOURCES
Lusts occur in our mind and are not physical actions per se although they may (and
frequently do) lead to physical actions. Thus James warns us of the evil character of
"lusts" writing that
each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when
lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth
death. (Js 1:14-15)
Lusts denote the varied cravings of fallen human nature pursued in the interest of
self in self-sufficient independence of God. Oswald Chambers wrote that "Love can
wait and worship endlessly; lust says, "I must have it at once.""
In his sermon entitled Battling the Unbelief of Lust John Piper defines lust as
a sexual desire that dishonors its object and disregards God. It's the corruption of a
good thing by the absence of honorable commitment and by the absence of a
supreme regard for God. If your sexual desire is not guided by respect for the honor
of others and regard for the holiness of God, it is lust." (As an aside if you are in the
grips of "lusts", click here to read John Piper's sobering words on a subject that is
too easily avoided from the pulpit lest the "comfortable be afflicted"!)
Lust is like rot in the bones. - Jewish proverb
A little will satisfy nature; less will satisfy grace; nothing will satisfy men's lusts. -
Thomas Brooks
Our eyes, when gazing on sinful objects, are out of their calling and God's keeping. -
Thomas Fuller
A man may be said to be given to covetousness when he takes more pains for getting
earth than for getting heaven. - Thomas Watson
Covetous men, though they have enough to sink them yet have they never enough to
satisfy them. - John Trapp
What lust is so sweet or profitable that is worth burning in hell for? - William
Gurnall
Love can wait and worship endlessly; lust says, “I must have it at once.” - Oswald
Chambers
Beware... of the beginnings of covetousness, for you know not where it will end. -
Thomas Manton
Lust is appetite run wild. - F. B. Meyer
Covetousness is not only in getting riches unjustly, but in loving them inordinately,
which is a key that opens the door to all sin. - Thomas Watson
atural desires are at rest when that which is desired is obtained, but corrupt
desires are insatiable. ature is content with little, grace with less, but lust with
nothing. - Matthew Henry
Covetousness is commonly a master-sin and has the command of other lusts. -
Matthew Henry
There is no better antidote against coveting that which is another's than being
content with that which is our own. - Thomas Watson
One can be covetous when he has little, much, or anything between, for covetousness
comes from the heart, not from the circumstances of life. - C H Ryrie
Covetousness is spiritual idolatry; it is the giving of that love and regard to worldly
wealth which are due to God only. - Matthew Henry (see note Colossians 3:5)
Vine adds that lust
describes the inner motions of the soul, the natural tendency of men in their fallen
estate toward things evil and toward things forbidden." Vine adds that the phrase
"The lust of the flesh” stands, therefore, for the temptation which proceeds from
our corrupt nature, a nature which, owing to sin, stands opposed to the will and
commandments of God. (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. ashville:
Thomas elson )
Warren Wiersbe writes that
these fundamental desires of life are the steam in the boiler that makes the
machinery go. Turn off the steam and you have no power. Let the steam go its own
way and you have destruction. The secret is in constant control. These desires must
be our servants and not our masters; and this we can do through Jesus Christ.
(Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)
Paul instructs the Ephesians that
in reference to (their) former manner of life (as unbelievers), (they were to) lay aside
the old self, which (was) being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit. (see
note Ephesians 4:22)
In other words, lusts deceive us and lead us astray, promising more than they
deliver and producing (spiritual, soul) rottenness when "conceived".
Peter reiterates the detrimental effect of lust, writing about
"the corruption (moral decay - corruption is much deeper than defilement on the
outside - it is decay on the inside) that is in the world by lust." (see note 2 Peter 1:4)
John adds that
"all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh (temptations originating from our
corrupt SI nature which is opposed to the Will and Word of God) and the lust of
the eyes (lusts that arise from what we see in the world system ruled by Satan) and
the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world (defined as
society apart from God!). And the world is passing away, and also its lusts..." (1Jn
2:16-17)
John says lusts are temporary, in a continual process of disintegration and
ultimately headed for destruction.
Matthew Henry remarks that
Carnal people think they enjoy their pleasures; the Word (of God) calls it servitude
and vassalage: they are very drudges (those who labor hard in servile employment)
and bond slaves under them; so far are they from freedom and felicity (happiness,
blissfulness, blessedness) in them that they are captivated by them, and serve them
as taskmasters and tyrants. Observe further, It is the misery of the servants of sin
that they have many masters, one lust hurrying them one way, and another; pride
commands one thing, covetousness another, and often a contrary. What vile slaves
are sinners, while they conceit themselves free! the lusts that tempt them promise
them liberty, but in yielding they become the servants of corruption; for of whom a
man is overcome of the same is he brought into bondage.
Believers unfortunately are still continually assailed by lusts.
Paul exhorts believers not to
let Sin (continually) reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts (see
note Romans 6:12)
He is implying that SI will try to take over the "throne" of our body by lobbing
fiery missiles of lustful thoughts (which are not restricted to sexual lusts -- they are
variegated or multi-colored!)
In a similar warning, Peter urges us
as aliens and strangers to abstain from (continually hold yourself away from) fleshly
lusts, which (continually) wage war (describing not just a battle but a veritable
military campaign) against the soul. (see note 1 Peter 2:11)
Believers are called to
flee from youthful lusts (a warning against contamination from one’s own evil
propensities -- It is not sufficient to guard against evil in others, we must be
watchful against evil within) and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with
those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (see note 2 Timothy 2:22)
In this letter Paul writes the wonderful truth that the
grace of God has appeared (one important effect of this grace is that believers need
not try to "fight" lusts in their own strength but in dependence of God's grace or
enabling power)" and is continually "instructing us to deny (once and for all refuse
to follow or agree with evil strong desires coming from the evil world system ruled
by Satan and opposed to God) ungodliness and worldly desires (lusts) and to live
sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age. (see note Titus 2:12)
In Romans Paul commands believers to
Put on (urgent command to do this now and first) the Lord Jesus Christ and make
no provision (act of making prior preparation) for the flesh (here it means the seat
of SI in man) in regard to its lusts. (see note Romans 13:14)
The Jewish historian Josephus, speaking of Cleopatra, says
She was an expensive woman, enslaved to lusts.
Lusts acted upon are indeed costly!
Barclay has an illustrative note on epithumia as it related to the downfall of one of
the great minds of the nineteenth century writing that
The word for desire is epithumia which characteristically means desire for the
wrong and the forbidden thing. To succumb to that is inevitably to come to disaster.
One of the tragedies of the nineteenth century was the career of Oscar Wilde. He
had a brilliant mind, and won the highest academic honours; he was a scintillating
writer, and won the highest rewards in literature; he had all the charm in the world
and was a man whose instinct it was to be kind; yet he fell to temptation and came to
prison and disgrace. When he was suffering for his fall, he wrote his book De
Profundis and in it he said: “ The gods had given me almost everything. But I let
myself be lured into long spells of senseless and sensual ease. … Tired of being on
the heights I deliberately went to the depths in search for new sensation. What the
paradox was to me in the sphere of thought, perversity became to me in the sphere
of passion. I grew careless of the lives of others. I took pleasure where it pleased me,
and passed on. I forgot that every little action of the common day makes or unmakes
character, and that therefore what one has done in the secret chamber, one has some
day to cry aloud from the house-top. I ceased to be lord over myself. I was no longer
the captain of my soul, and did not know it (Ed note: he was deceived for the only
man who is truly captain of his soul is the man who has surrendered his will to
Christ). I allowed pleasure to dominate me. I ended in horrible disgrace. ” (Barclay
concludes that ) Desire is a bad master, and to be at the mercy of desire is to be a
slave. And desire is not simply a fleshly thing; it is the craving for any forbidden
thing. (Bolding added) (Barclay, W: The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster
Press or Logos)
Illustration - here is no slave like the man free to do as he pleases because what he
pleases is self-destructive. A California psychiatrist recently complained that four
out of every ten teenagers and young adults who visited his medical center have a
psychological sickness he can do nothing about. According to the Los Angeles Times
it is simply this
Each of them demands that his world conform to his uncontrolled desires. Society
has provided him with so many escape routes that he never has to stand his ground
against disappointment, postponement of pleasure and the weight of
responsibility—all forces which shape character. If the personality disorder persists
far into adulthood there will be a society of pleasure-driven people hopelessly
insecure and dependent
Pleasures (2237) (hedone from hedos = delight, enjoyment > hedomai = have sensual
pleasure) describes the state or condition of experiencing pleasure for any reason
and thus speaks of gratification and enjoyment. Hedone is the root of our English
hedonism, which is the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good
in life, and is manifest as an insatiable pursuit of self-satisfaction that so
characterizes our modern society.
Hedone is used 5 times in the T - Lk. 8:14; Titus 3:3; James. 4:1, 3; 2Pet 2:13).
There are two uses in the Septuagint - um. 11:8; Prov. 17:1
Ancient hedonism expressed itself in two ways: the cruder form was that proposed
by Aristippus and the early Cyrenaics, who believed that pleasure was achieved by
the complete gratification of all one’s sensual desires. In contrast, Epicurus' school,
though accepting the primacy of pleasure, tended to equate it with the absence of
pain and taught that it could best be attained through the rational control of one’s
desires. In either case it was focused on self.
In the T hedone is used only in a bad sense, referring to indulgence and lack of
control of natural appetites (sensual) pleasure. James asks
"What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your
pleasures that wage war in your members?" (Js 4:1)
He goes on to explain
"You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may
spend it on your pleasures." (Js 4:3)
Jesus describing nominal, non-saving belief teaches that hedone can contribute to a
fruitless life --
"the seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as
they go on their way they are choked (throttled so as to suffocate) with worries and
riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity." (Lk 8:14)
Peter uses hedone to describe false teachers as those who
"count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling
in their deceptions.... (see note 2 Peter 2:13)
Mark it well that if we give ourselves up to the endeavor to satisfy ourselves merely
by natural gratification, we are sure to meet with disappointment and disaster. And
this applies to all men, sinners and saints.
Regarding pleasures Hiebert quotes Brown who writes
With a sort of grim humor St Paul here flashes a sudden light on what is called a
'life of pleasure,' and shows what a slavery it really is.
Clarke remarks that in regard to sensual pleasures the unsaved persons are
intent only on the gratification of sense, living like the brutes, having no rational or
spiritual object worthy the pursuit of an immortal being.
Whether the particular lusts and pleasures involve misuse of good things that the
Lord provides or are intrinsically evil, the natural man desires and enjoys them for
purely selfish and sinful reasons.
Spurgeon writes that...
We were also the bond slaves of pleasure. Alas! alas! that we were so far infatuated
as to call it pleasure! Looking back at our former lives, we may well be amazed that
we could once take pleasure in things whereof we are now ashamed. The Lord has
taken the very name of our former idols out of our mouths. A holy man was wont to
carry with him a book which had three leaves in it, but never a word. The first leaf
was black, and this showed his sin; the second was red, and this reminded him of the
way of cleansing by blood; while the third was white, to show how clean the Lord
can make us. I beg you just now to study that first black page. It is all black; and as
you look at it it shows blacker and blacker. What seemed at one time to be a little
white darkens down as it is gazed upon, till it wears the deepest shade of all. Ye
were sometimes erring in your minds and in your pursuits. Is not this enough to
bring the water into your eyes, O ye that now follow the Lamb whithersoever He
goeth?
3 and David sent someone to find out about her.
The man said, "Isn't this Bathsheba, the daughter
of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?"
1. David as the king had government servants who could get him information about
this gorgeous girl, and he authorized them to find out all they could about her. The
man in charge of this task reported back to David that this bathing beauty was
named Bathsheba, and that she was the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the
Hittite. This information should have caused David to flee to the bed of one of his
wives, for only a fool would proceed to get entangled sexually with a woman with
these relationships. That should be the first part of any man's plan to deal with lust,
that when he learns a woman is married he is committed to have no more intimate
relationship with her. Christian men get too close and involved with wives of other
men, and this is equivalent to smoking while filling your gas tank. You are asking
for trouble. Men do it all the time anyway and toy with lust as if it were a harmless
kitten, and they end up facing the wrath of a lion when they go too far. David should
have stopped his intention of knowing this woman as soon as he knew she was
married, and that she was related to important people in his life. Lust makes even
wise men turn stupid because their brain is no longer running the show. James 1:14-
15says, " ...Each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own
lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is
accomplished, it brings forth death." This is the very path that David is following.
2. Eliam was one of the 37 great warriors in Israel, and he was the father of this
woman he found so enticing. He learned also that she was a married woman, and
that alone should have made him turn away from any consideration of contacting
her, for Uriah, her husband, was also one of his great warriors. These men were out
on the battlefield risking their lives in fighting for his country. How could he even
imagine taking the daughter and wife of these two men who were his friends and
comrades in battle? It was insane that he would pursue his course after learning her
identity. Had she been single he had the right to take her into his harem, but she was
married, and even pagan kings forsook their course when they discovered that
Sarah was a married woman. They took her into their harem thinking she was
single, but they then learned she was married. They had the good sense to avoid
adultery when it was such an unnecessary sin, for they had many wives. David was
in that same situation, but he plowed ahead with his plan of getting her into his bed.
Bathsheba’s beauty blinded him to all that was good. He cared not for the will of
God, or for the happiness of his wives, or for the good of his nation. All that
mattered was that he could have this beautiful body to ravish. Everything and
everyone else could go to kingdom come as far as he was concerned, for this was his
heaven, and it was worth any price.
3. Here we have a case of demon possession, for David had to be possessed by the
demon of lust to count all else in life as of no value in order to have this woman in
his bed. He was about to reject the law of God and cast off loyalty to his friends and
comrades. Bathsheba’s grandfather was also David’s counselor. Ahithophel was
considered one of the wisest men in Israel, and was also a good friend of David. Yet
David was ready to betray one and all for the sake of sex with this captivating
beauty. That is what we mean by the demon of lust. It is to have such a strong and
excessive desire to possess something or someone that nothing else matters. Such a
strong desire become an idol at that point, for it takes God off the throne, and it
becomes the highest value in your life. You will obey this desire rather than any
other in your value system. It is so dangerous just because it overrides all other
values and loyalties, and it becomes your god. It may be only for a short time, but at
that moment when it reigns in your life as lord it can cause you to betray every other
loyalty in your value system. Lust, therefore, is your most dangerous enemy, just as
it is here in the life of David. Such a force is demonic or satanic because it overrides
your loyalty to God.
4. The demon of lust is almost always associated with sexual lust, but it can also be a
force that makes us fixate on food to the point of driving us to gluttony, or on greed
so that we cannot stop driving ourselves to make more money to the detriment of
those we love. Any desire that is so strong that it dominates out lives and drives us
by hook or by crook to possess it is a demon of lust, and it makes us guilty of
idolatry. It seems like only a myth to sell your soul to the devil, but to be enslaved by
the demon of lust in any form is a kind of selling your soul to the devil, for you allow
that lust to dominate your life, and make it superior to all other influences,
including that of God. Idolatry was the curse of Israel, and it led to so much
judgment time and time again, and now David is being led astray by the same
demon, for almost all of the idolatry of the Old Testament was based on sexual
indulgence with temple prostitutes.
5. All too often we think that demon possession is something that cannot happen to a
believer, but Scripture and history will not support this optimism about being free
from demonic forces. Saul was possessed by the demon of jealousy and his whole life
revolved around his efforts to kill David. That was his primary goal in his latter
years, and it made him one of the biggest fools in the Bible, for he was driven to do
what was out of God’s will. He repented over and over, but he went right back to his
obsession to kill this man God had chosen. When God’s will means nothing, and
disobeying it means everything, you are demon possessed. This does not mean there
is some living spiritual creature inside you manipulating you like a puppet. It just
means that you have allowed a lust, an emotion, or an idea contrary to the will of
God to obsess you to the point that it is all that matters.
6. A high percentage of Christian men are obsesses with pornography, and it
dominates their lives as they continually seek it on the internet and in magazines.
obody needs this much sexual stimulation, but they crave it like a drug. Any
addiction like this can be called demonic in the sense that it is not from God and his
Holy Spirit. It’s source is from the kingdom of evil. It may just be from fallen
human nature or from the influence of evil forces outside of human nature, but it is
not of God, and that is what I mean by demonic. God never tempts us to evil or to
folly, and so all such temptations come from the realm of the demonic, and this
means all of us are influenced on a regular basis by the demonic. It is a part of life,
just like our fight with bacteria and viruses. When we let these things into our body
we get sick, and when we let negative ideas captivate our minds we are spiritually
sick, and we do not function as healthy believers. We are prone then to folly and sin
just as David is here in this context.
7.When we feel a cold coming on we try to overcome it and avoid it, and this is the
same strategy that is needed when we feel a lust coming on that will take us out of
God’s will. As soon as we feel any such lust we need to flee to the Pharmacy of God’s
Word. Psalm 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin
against you.” The quickest way to get rid of a demon is by going to the Word of
God. A focus on God and his Word will quench the power of lust. David knew this,
but we do not always practice what we know, and the result is the best of believers
can and do fall into sinful behavior. If you don’t use the medicine, you can’t expect a
cure.
Jude 24 says, "To him who is able to keep us from stumbling." God is able to
prevent what happened to David, but he did not call upon God to deliver him. When
you leave God out and face the giant of lust on your own, prepare for defeat. Every
Christian faces the challenge to stay pure in a sex saturated society where we are
bombarded with erotic images daily. You have the choice to face it with your flesh
and fail, or face it with the Word of God by which the Holy Spirit will give you the
strength and wisdom to avoid failure. You decide your sexual destiny by the weapon
you choose.
8. David Legge has an interesting way of illustrating the importance of taking the
Word of God into our lives to avoid the dangers of lust. He writes, "We need to read
the word of God, we need to heed the word of God, and we need to hide the word of
God..........How do you get oxygen out of a bottle? You can get a hoover if you want
and you can try and suck it out. You can try and suck it out with your mouth if you
want, but the best way to get oxygen out of a bottle is to pour water into it. And the
way we cleanse our minds, this morning, the way we get the filth of this world out of
our heads, is when we pour in the word of God and then all the dross will come
out." Legge goes on to quote some shocking statistics about how unsuccessful
Christians are in pouring the water of God's word into their lives. "Leadership
Magazine, which is a pastoral magazine for ministers, commissioned a poll of 1000
Pastors. It indicated that 12% had committed adultery while in the ministry - that's
one out of eight of those thousand! It indicated that 23% did something that they
considered inappropriate whilst in the ministry. Christianity Today, which is a more
broad magazine that is read by Christians of every sort, they surveyed Christians
who weren't Pastors and the figures - those figures - doubled! 23% admitted that
they had committed adultery. 45% said that they had committed something that
they felt was inappropriate for a child of God. These statistics are shocking, aren't
they? They're almost unbelievable - and when we think that most of the people that
read this literature, they are people who have been well-educated, college educated,
church leaders, elders, deacons, Sunday School superintendents and teachers - and
it's left up to our minds this morning to think what the ordinary church member
could get up to."
7. These statistics could lead us to believe that we need to return to a puritanical
fear and rejection of all that is erotic, but this extreme is no better than the extreme
we have gone to in making the erotic the goal of life. Lust in itself is not demonic or
wrong. It is a God given blessing to have a strong desire to possess the body of one
we love and have committed ourselves to as our mate. It is lust and sexual energy
that motivates us to look for a mate, and then enjoy loving that mate, and it is a part
of God’s plan. It is a wonderful motivation to express love in a physical and
pleasurable way. Passion is a precious ingredient in any marriage, and so the
problem is not with lust itself, but with the excessive desire that cares not for the will
of God, but is willing to run over his commandment against adultery as if it is a
meaningless document with no authority in our lives. This is the state of mind that
David is in at this point, and it is far more dangerous for his future than being out
with his men in the battlefield. We need a balanced view where sex is good and
worthy to be promoted as a valuable asset to be enjoyed within the marriage bond.
Yet view sex as a dangerous force that can take us astray from the revealed will of
God, and, therefore, to be always kept under control so that it is never allowed to
take us where God forbids us to go. This balance means we can be fully alive
sexually and enjoy it to the fullest, and yet always deny ourselves forbidden
pleasure. This means we are all under the same blessings and constraints that God
put Adam and Eve under. We can enjoy 90 percent of all he has given us in sex, but
we are denied 10 percent that is forbidden. If we cannot be thankful for this
generous arrangement, we are rebels against the plan of God.
4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She
came to him, and he slept with her. (She had
purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then [a]
she went back home.
1. This is the final step in his walk of folly. He could have backed off and pursued
one of his wives, but he went forward with his plan to have this forbidden fruit. He
is now in the same position of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They were
forbidden to eat of the fruit of one tree, just as all believers are forbidden to taste of
the sexual fruit of other married people. They did not heed God in the Garden, for
they saw with the lust of their eyes that it was good, and the lust of their flesh
desired to eat of it, and the pride of life said it is their right to possess what they
want and desire greatly even if God forbids it. That was the very spirit, or demon,
than now possesses David, and come hell or high water he is not going to turn back
until forbidden fruit is tasted to the full.
2. Rich Cathers, “ ““ “Under the Mosaic Law, a man was not supposed to be intimate
with a woman during her period. It was considered “ ““ “unclean” ”” ” (Lev. 15:19; 18:19).If
I’ ’’ ’m not mistaken, I think things went like this – –– –
David: Are you at that time of month?
Bathsheba: ope.
David: Great, let’ ’’ ’s go to bed.” ”” ”
3. Eugene H. Merrill implies that Bathsheba was a slut out to seduce David like a
common prostitute. He wrote, "The bathing itself may have been for the purpose of
ritual purification and would therefore not only advertise Bathsheba's charms but
would serve as a notice to the king that she was available to him." Others also see
Bathsheba as the guilty one who caused the whole tragic downfall of David, but the
Scripture will not support such a false judgment. All condemnation falls on David,
and none on her. Men tend to throw guilt on the female for alluring them to sin, but
this escape will not work in David's affair.
4. Gill, “ ““ “for she was purified from her uncleanness;
this clause is added in a parenthesis, partly to show the reason of her washing
herself, which was not for health and pleasure, and to cool herself in a hot day, but
to purify herself from her menstruous pollution, according to the law in (Leviticus
15:19 ) ; the term of her separation being expired; and partly to give a reason why
she the more easily consented, and he was the more eager to enjoy her; and in this
he sinned, not that he did not lie with an unclean person; but, then, as some observe,
he did that which was much worse, he committed adultery; also this may be added
to observe, that she was the more apt for conception, as Ben Gersom notes, and to
account for the quickness of it, with which the philosopher agrees:
5. An unknown author gives us this information: “Three well-known biblical
women bear mentioning on the subject of menstruation. Bathsheba is either
irresistible or else doesn't let on to King David, who makes love to her before she's
through purifying (2 Sam. 11:4). In the apocryphal Additions to Esther, Queen
Esther abhors her crown "like a menstrual rag" (14:16). And when Rachel in
Genesis (31:19-35) steals her father Laban's household gods (teraphim), she comes
up with a sure way of not getting caught: in her tent she hides the gods under a
camel saddle and sits on it. When Laban comes hunting for the figurines, Rachel
apologizes for not getting up, saying, "The custom of women is upon me." Laban
doesn't dare touch either her or the saddle, and thus doesn't find his gods.”
6. Pink, “or is it easy to say how low a real child of God may fall, nor how deeply
he may sink into the mire, once he allows the lusts of the flesh their free play. Sin is
insatiable: it is never satisfied. Its nature is to drag us lower and lower, getting more
and more daring in its opposition to God: and but for His recovering grace it would
carry us down to hell itself. Took at Israel: unbelieving at the Red Sea, murmuring
in the wilderness, setting up the idolatrous calf at Sinai. Look at the course of
Christendom as outlined in Revelation 2 and 3: beginning by leaving her first love,
ending by becoming so mixed up with the world that Christ threatened to spew her
out of His mouth. Thus it was with David: from laying on his bed to allowing his
eves to wander, from gazing on Bathsheba to committing adultery with her, from
adultery to murder, and then sinking into such spiritual deadness that for a whole
year he remained impenitent, till an express messenger from God was needed to
arouse him from his torpor.”
7. There are no juicy details given of his folly. She is brought to his castle and he
slept with her, and then she went back home. Hardly enough detail for a romantic
novel or a movie, but there have been plenty of both, for this was a momentous
event in the history of Israel. For all we know this whole affair might have lasted
only a couple of minutes as David exploded his sexual energy and was released from
his bondage to the demon of lust. However long it lasted, it was nothing compared to
how long the consequences lasted, for both of these two people. It led to Bathsheba
becoming a very famous person in the history of God’s people, and it led to David,
who was already a very famous person in that history, to become a man of sorrow
and acquainted with grief.
8. Alan Carr has a message he titled The Giant That Slew David. In in he says, “ ““ “Up
until this moment, David had never lost a battle. Every time he stepped onto a field
of combat, David won the battle and walked off the field a victor. However, when
David entered the arena of combat within his own heart, he was soundly defeated by
a giant far more powerful than Goliath could have ever hoped to have been.....You
see, it isn’ ’’ ’t the giant of sickness, suffering, sorrow, poverty, pain or any other
external giant that you might can name, that is going to give you the greatest trouble
in your life. The giant who is going to cause you the most trouble dwells within your
own heart right now. Many people fear the giants of life. Things like health
problems, death, financial crisis, etc. seem to leave us quaking in fear. Yet, we
never stop to think that it is the giants that we carry around with us day by day that
we need to fear the most.” ”” ” “ ““ “All David can think about is Bathsheba. He wants to
know who she is and everything about her. o doubt his mind is filled with
fantasies of what it would be like to be with her physically. The giant has ensnared
his mind and he has forgotten who he is, who he serves and how he is supposed to be
living. The giant has taken control of David’ ’’ ’s mind!” ”” ”
9. Jessica Feinstein wrote, “David, the first king of a united Israel, conqueror of an
empire running from the edge of Egypt to the Euphrates River in modern-day Iraq,
is one of the Bible's greatest heroes. His life and his character are documented in the
Old Testament's books of Samuel and the first of the books of Chronicles. In many
ways, David is the Old Testament's golden child: a charismatic shepherd boy who
manages to slay Goliath with a slingshot, a successful warrior, and later a pious
ruler. As author Jonathan Kirsch wrote in his biography of David, David is "the
original alpha male," the "first superstar." But every hero must have a fatal flaw,
and David's unchecked lust for Bathsheba becomes his.
In contrast to David, Bathsheba's thoughts and her character are in most
circumstances mute, well cloaked in the sparse lines of the Hebrew text. Some
biblical scholars describe Bathsheba as articulate and willful, while others say those
accounts consist of unsubstantiated speculation. But one thing about Bathsheba is
clear: It is she alone who sparks a sudden transition in David's life. The implications
of their affair will dominate his remaining years. Through the life of David and into
the life of her son King Solomon, Bathsheba plays many roles: object of lust, wife,
mother, and influential queen.”
10. In the light of those comments one might say that Bathsheba slept her way to the
top, and this has been the conclusion that many read into this account. They suggest
that Bathsheba knew that David was not out in battle but was in his castle, and that
she arranged to be taking her bath just to entice him when he came onto his roof.
She knew he had an eye for beautiful women, and that was the card she was going to
play in the game of life. She exposed herself purposely to arouse him. She was not
happy with her husband Uriah, and had a hunger for a richer life, and so she came
up with this plot to move on up to the life of royalty. Many Christian commentators
imply that she was a conniving slut using her sexuality to seduce David for her
personal gain and advancement. They base their judgment on the fact that there is
no word indicating her refusal or resistance to David.
11. This is a matter of much speculation and Jessica Feinstein wrote this of it,
“Debate over Bathsheba's character begins the moment she first appears on the
roof. Was she simply an innocent bather, unaware of the stir she caused at the
palace? Or was she something else entirely—a coy exhibitionist with a desire for a
more powerful husband? Scholars also disagree over the nature of her bath. Danna
olan Fewell, professor of Hebrew Bible at Drew University in ew Jersey, says
some scholars claim that modern notions of bathing—total nudity in a tub of
water—do not translate to the historical reign of David. Others say that, because the
Bible indicates that Bathsheba was cleansing herself after her menstruation, her
bath was of a rather explicit nature. "When you look at the history of art, it's
interesting to see that you have both the completely nude Bathsheba composed for
the male gaze, and others show her just washing her feet," Fewell says. "You can't
nail down whether Bathsheba was a victim or whether she was an agent."
12. “Ryrie: Oriental homes had an enclosed courtyard that was considered part of
the house. Bathsheba, bathing herself by lamplight, was not immodest for she was in
her house. However, the interior of the courtyard could be seen from the roof of
David’s house, situated as it was on the higher elevation of Mt. Zion.”
13. Because the Bible does not give us enough detail, my own judgment is that
Bathsheba was not a temptress looking for a way out of an unhappy marriage by
using sex to entice David to take her to his bed. The judgment of God is laid on
David and not Bathsheba. She is never asked, nor is she expected, to confess her sin
to God. She is treated as the victim of David’s lust as an innocent person who had no
choice but to obey the orders of the king. She is not labeled as an adulteress, and
God never asks her to repent of the sin she was forced to engage in by David. There
is no blot on her name in all the Bible. Preachers and commentators add that blot by
their baseless speculation. To speculate about her sinfulness in this whole affair is
reading in what cannot be substantiated by the text. It is pretty much a male
attempt to justify David’s lust by the male psychology that says it is not my fault for
she enticed and seduced me so I could not help myself. It is a common argument in
rape cases where the rapist’s defense is that it was the woman’s fault, and she was
asking for it, and deserved what she got. I choose to go by the advice of my Lord
and judge not lest I also be judged. If God does not judge Bathsheba to be guilty but
uses her to be the mother of the wisest king of Israel, and makes her a part of the
blood line to the Messiah, who am I to cast stones at her? Bathsheba is best honored
by the 31st Proverb, which some traditions hold that she recited to Solomon on the
day of his marriage: "Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that
feareth the Lord, she shall be praised."
14. I agree with the defense of Bob Deffinbaugh, “The inference is often drawn that
Bathsheba should not have been exposing herself as she did, and that it was her
indiscretion which started this whole sequence of events. Some think her actions
may have been deliberate (She knew David was there and could see. . . .), while
others would be more gracious and assume it was simply poor judgment. Let me
point out several things from the text. First and foremost, when athan pronounces
divine judgment upon David for his sin, Bathsheba and Uriah are depicted as the
victims, not the villains. When Adam and Eve sinned, God specifically indicted
Adam, Eve, and the serpent, and each received their just curse. This is simply not
the case with Bathsheba. owhere in the Bible is she indicted for this sin. It may be
that the author did not choose to focus upon Bathsheba, but even in this case, the
Law would clearly require us to consider her innocent until proven guilty.”
15. It is not as if Bathsheba is acting in an unbecoming manner, knowing that men
are around. She has every right to assume they are not. David is around, but he
should not be. On top of this, she is not bathing herself at high noon; she is bathing
in the evening. This is when the law prescribed (for ceremonial cleansing), and it is
when the sun is setting. In other words, it is nearly dark when Bathsheba sets out to
wash herself. David has to work to see what he does. I believe Bathsheba makes
every effort to assure her modesty, but the king's vantage point is too high, and he is
looking with too much zeal. I am suggesting that David is much more of a peeping
Tom than Bathsheba is an exhibitionist. I believe the text bears me out on this.”
16. One of the common arguments to explain why David did this terrible thing that
caused so much suffering for himself and many others is that David defied the will
of God in taking so many wives. In other words, it is because he was a polygamist
with many wives that he chose to sleep with the wife of a man, who had only one
wife. It is because he had the opportunity for sex every night of the week that he had
to satisfy his lust with someone who was not one of his bed partners. I fail to see the
logic of this, but many preachers expound this theory even though the Scripture
gives no hint that there is any connection between his polygamy and his adultery.
Here is how one preacher expounds this theory: "The roots for David’s falling into
the sin of committing adultery with Bathsheba really go back 20 years at this point.
We have already seen how 20 years earlier that David had begun to multiply wives
to himself as he was brought into power. With each new conquest or position of
power and influence David added more wives to himself. We have mentioned many
times that he did this in knowing disobedience to Deut. 17:17 which forbid kings
from multiplying wives to themselves." Many hold to this view and make such a big
issue of it that I felt compelled to challenge it as baseless because it will not stand the
test.
17. My own theory is that this argument is irrelevant to this account of David's
adultery because the polygamy of David was acceptable to God at that time in
history, and David was never condemned for it, and, in fact, he was supported by
God in the matter, for God actually enlarged his harem. I will share with you what I
have learned about polygamy, and especially David's multiple wives. God used
polygamy to produce 4 of the 12 tribes of Israel who became his chosen people. It is
sheer folly to say God did not approve of polygamy in the Old Testament, for it was
a major part of his plan to have twelve tribes, and he achieved this goal by means of
polygamy. So all of the arguments that say David was out of God’s will because of
his many wives and that was what led him to commit adultery is pure nonsense. It is
a theory that is full of holes and will sink like the Titanic when submerged into the
ocean of God’s Word. I am a Baptist and not a Mormon, and I have no reason
whatever to promote polygamy, for I have been very happy to have had just one
wife for 52 years, but I believe the highest authority on any subject that it deals with
is the Word of God, and it makes clear that polygamy was a part of God’s plan in
the Old Testament. Hopefully it will be an educational journey for you to see what
the Bible actually reveals about polygamy. It is a fairly long study, and so if you
have no interest just skip to the next verse.
18. Probably the majority of those who deal with the issue of polygamy would say
amen to the word of the great preacher Spurgeon when he said, "Polygamy, though
tolerated under the Old Testament, was never approved; it was only endured
because of the hardness of men's hearts. It is evil, only evil, and that continually. In
the family relationship there can be opened no more abundant and fruitful source of
misery to the sons of men than want of chastity to the marriage-bond made with one
wife."
The most typical remark of preachers is this one: "God never condoned polygamy
but like divorce he allowed it to occur. In other words he did not bring an
immediate punishment for this disobedience." This is saying it was a sin worthy of
punishment, but God in mercy delayed it.
Because polygamy is so contrary to ew Testament teaching Christians tend to be
dishonest about its reality in the Old Testament, and they say things like,
"Yes, but God never condoned polygamy."
"Yes, God allowed it, but He was against polygamy."
"Polygamy was only man's idea, not God's".
"Yes, but God never approved of polygamy."
My problem with this popular view is, if God considered it a sin to have more than
one wife why did he not do what he did with all other sins and say thou shalt not. He
states clearly that all of the things that were sins in the Old Testament that they
were not to be done, and if they were there was judgment to pay. But he let all of the
great men of the Old Testament take multiple wives and never said they were bad
men for doing so.
Why are Christian authors so determined to say that God never approved of
polygamy but just tolerated it? It is because of the early Mormon teaching and
practice that promoted polygamy. This need to prove them wrong made them ignore
the reality that it was approved by God in the Old Testament. Fear that this would
justify the Mormon practice led to ignoring Scripture and just condemning the
Mormon practice as unfounded. All of this is unnecessary when we recognize that
just because something is okay in the Old Testament does not make it okay for all
time. The ew Testament changes many things.
There is no question that polygamy was forbidden in the ew Testament and it is
clearly labeled a sin, but this is not the case in the Old Testament where it was just a
part of the way of life even for God's chosen people. The fact that it is so in this part
of God's revelation is no basis for it being accepted by anyone as God's will in ew
Testament times. It was just valid then and it is not now. When I say it was valid I
mean that God clearly accepted it as a way of life for people in that age. The laws he
gave to regulate the lives of his people included laws dealing with men who take
more than one wife. One of the common problems of more than one wife is that one
would be loved more than the other, and this would lead to the man treating the one
less loved unfairly. In order to protect the unloved wives, God gave specific laws.
When we see the cumulative impact of the following verses in God's Word we will
have to acknowledge that polygamy was not just permitted by God but approved,
and this in spite of the many problems that it created, and they were many, but that
is true also of monogamy.
Ex. 21:10-11says this to the man who takes a second wife, "If he marries another
woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. 11
If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any
payment of money." In other words, if a man does not treat his first wife right
because he now has more affection for his new wife, she is free to leave him and not
have to pay a cent to do so. He loses a slave, for now he has no wife to do all the
chores, which is what she would be doing since he has taken a new wife.
Deuteronomy 21:15-17 "If a man has two wives, and he loves one but not the other,
and both bear him sons but the firstborn is the son of the wife he does not love, 16
when he wills his property to his sons, he must not give the rights of the firstborn to
the son of the wife he loves in preference to his actual firstborn, the son of the wife
he does not love. 17 He must acknowledge the son of his unloved wife as the
firstborn by giving him a double share of all he has. That son is the first sign of his
father's strength. The right of the firstborn belongs to him." In other words you
cannot play favorites with your wives on this issue. If you have fallen out of love
with the wife who gave you your first son, that does not change your obligation to
her and her son.
How can you have laws about polygamy if polygamy is itself unlawful. Why not say,
"If a man has two wives he is a rebel and is to be cast out of the tribe." That is not
said because it was an acceptable way of life, and not forbidden. You do not have
laws to regulate what is unlawful, you only have penalties. Imagine laws like the
above dealing with stealing. If a man steals let it be kept under a thousand dollars at
the most. If a man commits adultery make sure that it is with someone from a
different state. You can see that is insane, for to make laws regulating something
means that that something is valid and legitimate.
Deuteronomy 17:16-17 says of the king, "The king, moreover, must not acquire
great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more
of them, for the LORD has told you, "You are not to go back that way again." 17 He
must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate
large amounts of silver and gold." ot many wives it says, but it does not say he is to
have only one. Several were acceptable to God, but not the great harem of Solomon
and others who had up in the teens and more. Gideon had 70 sons and so we know
he had a harem of considerable size.
In Ezek. 23 God even portrays himself as married to two women. It is an xxx rated
chapter to be read only in private, and it deals with his two wives becoming
prostitutes. They are really two groups of people from Samaria and Jerusalem. In
other words Jews who go after other gods like prostitutes go after men. It is a
violently sexual chapter that illustrates that God is not embarrassed to portray
himself as the husband of two whoring wives.
In Jeremiah 3 God has two wives and they are Israel and Judah, and they are
unfaithful to him. It is less violent in its sexual images, but still not fit for mixed
audiences. God even gets a divorce from Israel in this chapter. You will never hear
sermons from these two chapters, for no pastor would want to read them in church.
Deut. 25:5-10 In this unusual case polygamy is not just approved but demanded. It
was a disgrace not to take an extra wife. It was against the law of God not to be a
polygamist in this case. "If brothers are living together and one of them dies without
a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband's brother shall
take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her. 6 The first
son she bears shall carry on the name of the dead brother so that his name will not
be blotted out from Israel. 7 However, if a man does not want to marry his
brother's wife, she shall go to the elders at the town gate and say, "My husband's
brother refuses to carry on his brother's name in Israel. He will not fulfill the duty
of a brother-in-law to me." 8 Then the elders of his town shall summon him and talk
to him. If he persists in saying, "I do not want to marry her," 9 his brother's widow
shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, take off one of his sandals, spit in his
face and say, "This is what is done to the man who will not build up his brother's
family line." 10 That man's line shall be known in Israel as The Family of the
Unsandaled." This man is labeled as a disgraceful brother who will not be a
polygamist for the sake of his brother that his name might live.
In Judaism, levirate marriage, known as yibbum, is a marital union mandated by
the Torah in Deuteronomy 25:5-10, obliging a brother to marry the widow of his
childless deceased brother. There is a provision known as chalitza by which one or
both of the parties may choose to become free of this duty. According to some
variants of modern Jewish law, yibbum is strongly discouraged, and chalitza is
preferred.
2 Samuel 5:11-16, ow Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with
cedar logs and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built a palace for David. 12
And David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel and had
exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.
13 After he left Hebron, David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and
more sons and daughters were born to him. 14 These are the names of the children
born to him there: Shammua, Shobab, athan, Solomon, 15 Ibhar, Elishua, epheg,
Japhia, 16 Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet."
God was blessing David as the king, and he felt free to take a number of wives and
concubines. He became one with all of these women and bore sons through them.
David is never condemned for his many wives and concubines. His only
condemnation for any female relationship is his adultery with Bathsheba.
In I Kings 11:1-6 we read of how Solomon failed greatly because of his many wives,
and it is shown to be in contrast with David who also had many wives and
concubines, though not as many, but who was able to still remain faithful to God
and not be led astray by them. "King Solomon, however, loved many foreign
women besides Pharaoh's daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians
and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the LORD had told the
Israelites, "You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your
hearts after their gods." evertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had
seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led
him astray. 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and
his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his
father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech
[a] the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the
LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done."
David was able to handle polygamy fine and not let it damage his spiritual life.
ever is his taking multiple wives called a sin or anything that displeased the Lord.
This man after God's own heart had at least 18 wives, 8 of whom are named -
Michal, Abigail, Ahinoam of Jezreel, Eglah, Maacah, Abital, Haggith, and
Bathsheba, and "10 women/concubines"
ot only did God not condemn David for his many wives, he actually gave him a
number of them himself. In II Sam. 12:7- we read, "Then athan said to David,
"You are the man! This is what the LORD, the 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. I gave you the house of Israel
and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. 9
Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You
struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You
killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 ow, therefore, the sword will never
depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the
Hittite to be your own." God was so angry at David for his taking the wife of Uriah,
but not a word about all his other wives, for they were given to him by God and
were legitimate wives. God is saying clearly, polygamy is fine, but adultery is wicked
and will be severely punished. If polygamy was wrong, he should have been
punished even if he had not committed adultery, but it was not wrong in the eyes of
God. He would not have given David the wives of Saul had he not approved of
polygamy.
"Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not
aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the
matter of Uriah the Hittite. " 1 Kings 15:5.
Even the evil kings who led the people astray and who suffered judgment were not
condemned for their taking many wives.
Rehoboam had eighteen wives and sixty concubines (2Chro. 11:21). This line in
Judah may have been the origin of the Talmudic limitation of the eighteen wives to
the king.
If polygamy is approved by God in the Old Testament, but not in the ew, the
question is why? Here are some of the answers.
Many say it was a necessary evil due to the fact that survival demanded many
children, and one wife could not provide that many children to a tribe that had to go
to war often and lose sons to the enemy. To use the classic example, lying is wrong
unless you have Jews in your cellar. Then lying becomes a moral imperative.
Elmer Towns wrote, “Why did God allow polygamy in the Old Testament? The
Bible does not specifically say why God allowed polygamy. The best anyone can do
is “informed” speculation. There are a few key items to consider. First, there has
always been more women in the world than men. Current statistics show that
approximately 50.5% of the world population are women, with men being 49.5%.
Assuming the same percentages in ancient times, and multiplied by millions of
people, there would be tens of thousands more women than men. Second, warfare in
ancient times was especially brutal, with an incredibly high rate of fatality. This
would have resulted in an even greater percentage of women to men. Third, due to
the patriarchal societies, it was nearly impossible for a woman to provide for
herself. Women were often uneducated and untrained. Women relied on their
fathers, brothers, and husbands for provision and protection. Unmarried women
were often subjected to prostitution and slavery. Fourth, the significant difference
between the number of women and men would have left many, many women in an
undesirable situation (to say the least).
So, it seems that God allowed polygamy to protect and provide for the women who
could not find a husband otherwise. A man would take multiple wives, and serve as
the provider and protector of all of them. While definitely not ideal, living in a
polygamist household was far better than the alternatives: prostitution, slavery,
starvation, etc. In addition to the protection / provision factor, polygamy enabled a
much faster expansion of humanity, fulfilling God’s command to “be fruitful and
multiply, fill the earth” (Genesis 9:7). Men are capable of impregnating multiple
women in the same time period…causing humanity to grow much faster than if each
man was only able to produce one child each year. Again, these are only “informed”
speculations.”
19. The above study should make it clear that David was not out of God's will by
having multiple wives, for God blest him by giving him even more than what he took
by his own choice. God's judgment on David was based only on his lust that
compelled him to defile the wife of another man. David could have sex after every
meal three times a day and that was not an issue with God, but one time in life with
another man's wife was a major issue with God. There is no need for theories as to
why David did what he did. He got horny and filled with lust and chose not to
control it, but let it control him. He fell because he chose selfwill over God's will.
There is no complexity here, for he had a choice on how to deal with his lust, and he
made the wrong choice. Why did he fall? Because he had free will, and he made that
his god rather than the God of the Bible. That choice will burn you every time.
Galatians 6:7-8 says, "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps
what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will
reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap
eternal life." What could be more simple to understand? David chose to please his
sinful nature rather than to please God. Why did he do it? Because he could, and all
of us can, and we reap as we sow just as David did.
20. K&D, "David's Adultery. - David's deep fall forms a turning-point not only in
the inner life of the great king, but also in the history of his reign. Hitherto David
had kept free from the grosser sins, and had only exhibited such infirmities and
failings as simulation, prevarication, etc., which clung to all the saints of the Old
Covenant, and were hardly regarded as sins in the existing stage of religious culture
at that time, although God never left them unpunished, but invariably visited them
upon His servants with humiliations and chastisements of various kinds. Among the
unacknowledged sins which God tolerated because of the hardness of Israel's heart
was polygamy, which encouraged licentiousness and the tendency to sensual
excesses, and to which but a weak barrier had been presented by the warning that
had been given for the Israelitish kings against taking many wives (Deu_17:17),
opposed as such a warning was to the notion so prevalent in the East both in ancient
and modern times, that a well-filled harem is essential to the splendour of a princely
court. The custom to which this notion gave rise opened a dangerous precipice in
David's way, and led to a most grievous fall, that can only be explained, as O. v.
Gerlach has said, from the intoxication consequent upon undisturbed prosperity
and power, which grew with every year of his reign, and occasioned a long series of
most severe humiliations and divine chastisements that marred the splendour of his
reign, notwithstanding the fact that the great sin was followed by deep and sincere
repentance.
5 The woman conceived and sent word to David,
saying, "I am pregnant."
1. Don't let anyone tell you that one time cannot make a woman pregnant.
Sometimes you hear of girls who believe this myth circulated by guys, and they
think there is no risk in a one time affair. Bathsheba learned quickly that once is
enough, and she was frightened, for the law said she was to be stoned to death. She
was innocent, but what was she to do, for as soon as people saw her pregnant, and
her husband was away to war, she would be stoned as an adulteress. She could not
go running back to the castle, for that would look conspicuous, and so she sent a
messenger to tell David that she was pregnant. Without his help in this matter she
was sunk. David got her into this mess, and it was up to him to get her out. It had to
be a couple of months after their one night stand before she knew she was pregnant.
David obviously had no contact and was through with the affair. It was forgotten
and he had no intention of pursuing her. But now he has no choice but to be
involved with her again.
2. Gill, “ ““ “this message she sent to David, that he might think of some ways and means
to prevent the scandal that would fall both upon him and her, and the danger she
was exposed unto; fearing the outcries of the people against her, in acting so
unfaithful a part to her husband, so brave a man, who was now fighting for his king
and country; and the rage and jealousy of her husband when he should come to the
knowledge of it, and the death which by the law she was guilty of, even to be stoned
with stones, see (John 8:5 ).
3. ow David is forced into a coverup mode. He has made a major mistake and has
to figure out how to keep this blunder from becoming public knowledge. He is a
great hero of his people, and he is greatly loved and respected. It will not look good
on his record to have gotten a married woman pregnant. He is in a panic to get this
mess cleaned up. All had been peace and tranquility for him, but now all is anxiety
and worry, for he has to prevent this news from getting out. It would make
headlines in a modern paper, but it would also stir up the entire nation of Israel if it
got out in that day. David is saying to himself, "Please Bathsheba, don't speak to
any reporters." He is determined that this whole scandelous situation can be
resolved without anybody being the wiser. Such is the foolish thinking of the guilty,
but it cannot be swept under the rug, for God is not blind to things swept anywhere,
and David will have to pay for his sin. I felt compelled to express his folly in poetry
to make clear that one mistake can change your life for the rest of your life even if
God is gracious enough to forgive you.
4. MY POEM
He sowed his wild seed in sexual greed
And gave no thought God's law to heed.
God and his nation in this man had great trust
But he let them all down to serve his lust.
To be stimulated by a naked body was not wrong,
But his gaze continued as a stare too long.
Who would ever dream that this lustful look,
Would stain for ever his history in God's book
This whole scandal could have been stalled
Had one of his wives to his bed been called.
That's why God ordained that we have a mate
When someone our sex drive does stimulate.
It is wonderful to have feelings erotic,
But what David did was almost psychotic.
He chose to abuse this God given treasure,
For a one night stand of forbidden pleasure.
He could never have imagined the ultimate cost,
or begin to conceive of what he had lost.
He lost the favor of God and friend,
And would go on losing to the very end.
David would be fully forgiven,
And we will see this man in heaven,
But his life on earth was never the same,
Because of this one night of shame.
5. It is truly the best news that God is able to forgive and restore us to fellowship
when we fall into the worst of sins. There is hope for every sinner to be restored, and
nobody need despair. Listen to the Prophet Isaiah: “Seek the Lord while He may be
found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the
unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have
compassion on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (). Listen to
the Apostle John: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us
our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (). It matters not how grievous
your sin may have been. God stands ready to blot it out. Acknowledge it to him,
then accept his gracious forgiveness. This good news, however, needs to be
accompanied by the reminder that forgiveness does not eliminate negative
consequences. David still had to pay a heavy price for his lustful act.
6. The consequences for David's sin lasted the rest of his life, and brought him a
great deal of misery. The first judgment of God on him was that the child he
fathered by his adultery died in spite of his urgent prayer on its behalf. Then came
years of negative things in his life that he never experienced before. Woodrow Kroll
sums up these negatives like this: "The first half of David's life was a life of great
victory. The second half of his life was a life of great defeat. The dividing point is his
lust and his sin with Bathsheba. Subsequent to David's sin, David's house is the
scene of horrible crimes and feuds and scandals, every kind of disgrace imaginable.
In chapter 13, his daughter Tamar is raped by his son Amnon. In chapter 15, his son
Absalom incites a rebellion, which drove David out of Jerusalem and away from his
throne. In chapter 16, David is cursed by Shimei, a nobody. Although David was
returned to the throne, in chapter 20 another nobody, Sheba, incites another
rebellion against David. In chapter 21 there is a threeyear famine striking the land.
In chapter 24 David brings a plague upon his own people because of his pride. You
see, you can easily divide success and failure in David's life by his lust and his sin
with Bathsheba."
7. EBC, "HOW ardently would most, if not all readers, of the life of David have
wished that it had ended before this chapter! Its golden era has passed away, and
what remains is little else than a chequered tale of crime and punishment. On
former occasions, under the influence of strong and long-continued temptations, we
have seen his faith give way and a spirit of dissimulation appear; but these were like
spots on the sun, not greatly obscuring his general radiance. What we now
encounter is not like a spot, but a horrid eclipse; it is not like a mere swelling of the
face, but a bloated tumour that distorts the countenance and drains the body of its
life-blood. To human wisdom it would have seemed far better had David’s life ended
now, so that no cause might have been given for the everlasting current of jeer and
joke with which his fall has supplied the infidel. Often, when a great and good man
is cut off in the midst of his days and of his usefulness, we are disposed to question
the wisdom of the dispensation; but when we find ourselves disposed to wonder
whether this might not have been better in the case of David, we may surely
acquiesce in the ways of God.
If the composition of the Bible had been in human hands it would never have
contained such a chapter as this. There is something quite remarkable in the fearless
way in which it unveils the guilt of David; it is set forth in its nakedness, without the
slightest attempt either to palliate or to excuse it; and the only statement in the
whole record designed to characterize it is the quiet but terrible words with which
the chapter ends - "But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord." In the
fearless march of providence we see many a proof of the courage of God. It is God
alone that could have the fortitude to place in the Holy Book this foul story of sin
and shame. He only could deliberately encounter the scorn which it has drawn down
from every generation of ungodly men, the only wise God, who sees the end from the
beginning, who can rise high above all the fears and objections of short-sighted men,
and who can quiet every feeling of uneasiness on the part of His children with the
sublime words, "Be still, and know that I am God."
The truth is, that though David’s reputation would have been brighter had he died
at this point of his career, the moral of his life, so to speak, would have been less
complete. There was evidently a sensual element in his nature, as there is in so many
men of warm, emotional temperament; and he does not appear to have been alive to
the danger involved in it. It led him the more readily to avail himself of the
toleration of polygamy, and to increase from time to time the number of his wives.
Thus provision was made for the gratification of a disorderly lust, which, if he had
lived like Abraham or Isaac, would have been kept back from all lawless excesses.
And when evil desire has large scope for its exercise, instead of being satisfied it
becomes more greedy and more lawless. ow, this painful chapter of David’s history
is designed to show us what the final effect of this was in his case - what came
ultimately of this habit of pampering the lust of the flesh. And verily, if any have
ever been inclined to envy David’s liberty, and think it hard that such a law of
restraint binds them while he was permitted to do as he pleased, let them study in
the latter part of his history the effects of this unhallowed indulgence; let them see
his home robbed of its peace and joy, his heart lacerated by the misconduct of his
children, his throne seized by his son, while he has to fly from his own Jerusalem; let
them see him obliged to take the field against Absalom, and hear the air rent by his
cries of anguish when Absalom is slain; let them think how even his deathbed was
disturbed by the noise of revolt, and how legacies of blood had to be bequeathed to
his successor almost with his dying breath, - and surely it will be seen that the
license which bore such wretched fruits is not to be envied, and that, after all, the
way even of royal transgressors is hard.
But a fall so violent as that of David does not occur all at once. It is generally
preceded by a period of spiritual declension, and in all likelihood there was such an
experience on his part. or is it very difficult to find the cause. For many years back
David had enjoyed a most remarkable run of prosperity. His army had been
victorious in every encounter; his power was recognized by many neighbouring
states; immense riches flowed from every quarter to his capital; it seemed as if
nothing could go wrong with him. When everything prospers to a man’s hand, it is a
short step to the conclusion that he can do nothing wrong. How many great men in
the world have been spoiled by success, and by unlimited, or even very great power!
In how many hearts has the fallacy obtained a footing, that ordinary laws were not
made for them, and that they did not need to regard them I David was no exception;
he came to think of his will as the great directing force within his kingdom, the
earthly consideration that should regulate all.
Then there was the absence of that very powerful stimulus, the pressure of distress
around him, which had driven him formerly so close to God. His enemies had been
defeated in every quarter, with the single exception of the Ammonites, a foe that
could give him no anxiety; and he ceased to have a vivid sense of his reliance on God
as his Shield. The pressure of trouble and anxiety that had made his prayers so
earnest was now removed, and probably he had become somewhat remiss and
formal in prayer. We little know how much influence our surroundings have on our
spiritual life till some great change takes place in them; and then, perhaps, we come
to see that the atmosphere of trial and difficulty which oppressed us so greatly was
really the occasion to us of our highest strength and our greatest blessings.
And further, there was the fact that David was idle, at least without active
occupation. Though it was the time for kings to go forth to battle, and though his
presence with his army at Rabbah would have been a great help and encouragement
to his soldiers, he was not there. He seems to have thought it not worth his while.
ow that the Syrians had been defeated, there could be no difficulty with the
Ammonites. At evening- tide he arose from off his bed and walked on the roof of his
house. He was in that idle, listless mood in which one is most readily attracted by
temptation, and in which the lust of the flesh has its greatest power. And, as it has
been remarked, "oft the sight of means to do ill makes ill deeds done." If any
scruples arose in his conscience they were not regarded. To brush aside objections to
anything on which he had set his heart was a process to which, in his great
undertakings, he had been well accustomed; unhappily, he applies this rule when it
is not applicable, and with the whole force of his nature rushes into temptation.
ever was there a case which showed more emphatically the dreadful chain of guilt
to which a first act, apparently insignificant, may give rise. His first sin was allowing
himself to be arrested to sinful intents by the beauty of Bathsheba. Had he, like Job,
made a covenant with his eyes; had he resolved that when the idea of sin sought
entrance into the imagination it should be sternly refused admission; had he, in a
word, nipped the temptation in the bud, he would have been saved a world of agony
and sin. But instead of repelling the idea he cherishes it. He makes inquiry
concerning the woman. He brings her to his house. He uses his royal position and
influence to break down the objections which she would have raised. He forgets
what is due to the faithful soldier, who, employed in his service, is unable to guard
the purity of his home. He forgets the solemn testimony of the law, which denounces
death to both parties as the penalty of the sin. This is the first act of the tragedy.
Then follow his vain endeavours to conceal his crime, frustrated by the high self-
control of Uriah. Yes, though David gets him intoxicated he cannot make a tool of
him. Strange that this Hittite, this member of one of the seven nations of Canaan,
whose inheritance was not a blessing but a curse, shows himself a paragon in that
self-command, the utter absence of which, in the favoured king of Israel, has
plunged him so deeply in the mire. Thus ends the second act of the tragedy.
But the next is far the most awful. Uriah must be got rid of, not, however, openly,
but by a cunning stratagem that shall make it seem as if his death were the result of
the ordinary fortune of war. And to compass this David must take Joab into his
confidence. To Joab, therefore, he writes a letter, indicating what is to be done to get
rid of Uriah. Could David have descended to a lower depth? It was bad enough to
compass the death of Uriah; it was mean enough to make him the bearer of the
letter that gave directions for his death; but surely the climax of meanness and guilt
was the writing of that letter. Do you remember, David, how shocked you were
when Joab slew Abner? Do you remember your consternation at the thought that
you might be held to approve of the murder? Do you remember how often you have
wished that Joab were not so rough a man, that he had more gentleness, more piety,
more concern for blood-shedding? And here are you making this Joab your
confidant in sin, and your partner in murder, justifying all the wild work his sword
has ever done, and causing him to believe that, in spite of all his holy pretensions
David is just such a man as himself.
Surely it was a horrible sin - aggravated, too, in many ways. It was committed by
the head of the nation, who was bound not only to discountenance sin in every form,
but especially to protect the families and preserve the rights of the brave men who
were exposing their lives in his service. And that head of the nation had been
signally favoured by God, and had been exalted in room of one whose selfishness
and godlessness had caused him to be deposed from his dignity. Then there was the
profession made by David of zeal for God’s service and His law, his great
enthusiasm in bringing up the ark to Jerusalem, his desire to build a temple, the
character he had gained as a writer of sacred songs, and indeed as the great
champion of religion in the nation. Further, there was the mature age at which he
had now arrived, a period of life at which sobriety in the indulgence of the appetites
is so justly and reasonably expected. And finally, there was the excellent character
and the faithful services of Uriah, entitling him to the high rewards of his sovereign,
rather than the cruel fate which David measured out to him - his home rifled and his
life taken away.
How then, it may be asked, can the conduct of David be accounted for? The answer
is simple enough - on the ground of original sin. Like the rest of us, he was born
with proclivities to evil - to irregular desires craving unlawful indulgence. When
divine grace takes possession of the heart it does not annihilate sinful tendencies, but
overcomes them. It brings considerations to bear on the understanding, the
conscience, and the heart, that incline and enable one to resist the solicitations of
evil, and to yield one’s self to the law of God. It turns this into a habit of the life. It
gives one a sense of great peace and happiness in resisting the motions of sin, and
doing the will of God. It makes it the deliberate purpose and desire of one’s heart to
be holy; it inspires one with the prayer, ’’Oh that my ways were directed to keep
Thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all Thy
commandments."
But, meanwhile, the cravings of the old nature are not wholly destroyed. "The flesh
lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit lusteth against the flesh." It is as if two
armies were in collision. The Christian who naturally has a tendency to sensuality
may feel the craving for sinful gratification even when the general bent of his nature
is in favour of full compliance with the will of God. In some natures, especially
strong natures, both the old man and the new possess unusual vehemence; the
rebellious energizing of the old are held in check by the still more resolute vigour of
the new; but if it so happen that the opposition of the new man to the old is relaxed
or abated, then the outbreak of corruption will probably be on a fearful scale. Thus
it was in David’s nature. The sensual craving, the law of sin in his members, was
strong; but the law of grace, inclining him to give himself up to the will of God, was
stronger, and usually kept him right. There was an extraordinary activity and
energy of character about him; he never did things slowly, tremblingly, timidly; the
wellsprings of life were full, and gushed out in copious currents; in whatever
direction they might flow, they were sure to flow with power. But at this time the
energy of the new nature was suffering a sad abatement; the considerations that
should have led him to conform to God’s law had lost much of their usual power.
Fellowship with the Fountain of life was interrupted; the old nature found itself free
from its habitual restraint, and its stream came out with the vehemence of a
liberated torrent. It would be quite unfair to judge David on this occasion as if he
had been one of those feeble creatures who, as they seldom rise to the heights of
excellence, seldom sink to the depths of daring sin.
We make these remarks simply to account for a fact, and by no means to excuse a
crime. Men are liable to ask, when they read of such sins done by good men, were
they really good men? Can that be genuine goodness which leaves a man liable to do
such deeds of wickedness? If so, wherein are your so-called good men better than
other men? We reply, They are better than other men in this, - and David was better
than other men in this, - that the deepest and most deliberate desire of their hearts is
to do as God requires, and to be holy as God is holy. This is their habitual aim and
desire; and in this they are in the main successful. If this be not one’s habitual aim,
and if in this he do not habitually succeed, he can have no real claim to be counted a
good man. Such is the doctrine of the Apostle in the seventh chapter of the Romans.
Anyone who reads that chapter in connection with the narrative of David’s fall can
have little doubt that it is the experience of the new man that the Apostle is
describing. The habitual attitude of the heart is given in the striking words, "I
delight in the law of God after the inward man." I see how good God’s law is; how
excellent is the stringent restraint it lays on all that is loose and irregular, how
beautiful the life which is cast in its mould. But for all that, I feel in me the motions
of desire for unlawful gratifications, I feel a craving for the pleasures of sin. "I see
another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me
into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." But how does the Apostle
treat this feeling? Does he say, "I am a human creature, and, having these desires, I
may and I must gratify them"? Far from it I He deplores the fact, and he cries for
deliverance. "wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this
death?" And his only hope of deliverance is in Him whom he calls his Saviour. "I
thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." In the case of David, the law of sin in
his members prevailed for the time over the new law, the law of his mind, and it
plunged him into a state which might well have led him too to say, ’’O wretched
man that I am! who shall deliver me?"
And now we begin to understand why this supremely horrible transaction should be
given in the Bible, and given at such length. It bears the character of a beacon,
warning the mariner against some of the most deceitful and perilous rocks that are
to be found in all the sea of life. First of all, it shows the danger of interrupting,
however briefly, the duty of watching and praying, lest you enter into temptation. It
is at your peril to discontinue earnest daily communion with God, especially when
the evils are removed that first drove you to seek His aid. An hour’s sleep may leave
Samson at the mercy of Delilah, and when he awakes his strength is gone. Further, it
affords a sad proof of the danger of dallying with sin even in thought. Admit sin
within the precincts of the imagination, and there is the utmost danger of its
ultimately mastering the soul. The outposts of the spiritual garrison should be so
placed as to protect even the thoughts, and the moment the enemy is discovered
there the alarm should be given and the fight begun. It is a serious moment when
the young man admits a polluted thought to his heart, and pursues it even in reverie.
The door is opened to a dangerous brood. And everything that excites sensual
feeling, be it songs, jests, pictures, books of a lascivious character, all tends to
enslave and pollute the soul, till at length it is saturated with impurity, and cannot
escape the wretched thraldom. And further, this narrative shows us what moral
havoc and ruin may be wrought by the toleration and gratification of a single sinful
desire. You may contend vigorously against ninety-and-nine forms of sin, but if you
yield to the hundredth the consequences will be deadly. You may fling away a whole
box of matches, but if you retain one it is quite sufficient to set fire to your house. A
single soldier finding his way into a garrison may open the gates to the whole
besieging army. One sin leads on to another and another, especially if the first be a
sin which it is desirable to conceal. Falsehood and cunning, and even treachery, are
employed to promote concealment; unprincipled accomplices are called in; the
failure of one contrivance leads to other contrivances more sinful and more
desperate. If there is a being on earth more to be pitied than another it is the man
who has got into this labyrinth. What a contrast his perplexed feverish agitation to
the calm peace of the straightforward Christian! "He that walketh uprightly
walketh surely; but he that perverteth his way shall be known."
ever let anyone read this chapter of 2 Samuel without paying the profoundest
regard to its closing words - "But the thing that David had done displeased the
Lord." In that "but" lies a whole world of meaning.
6 So David sent this word to Joab: "Send me
Uriah the Hittite." And Joab sent him to David.
1. At least David was willing to admit his responsibility for her situation, and he
immediately came up with a plan to fix everything so she would be in the clear, and
he would be as well. It was a clever plan that should have worked like a charm, but
we all know how well laid plans can turn out, or not turn out, as was the case with
this one of David. It was a logical assumption that if Uriah came back to Jerusalem
for a day or two that he would lay with his wife and solve their problem, for then it
would appear that he was the father of the child that was to be born. As we shall see,
however, Uriah screwed the whole plan up by refusing to enjoy the pleasure of his
home bed when the other soldiers were denied such pleasure.
2. HAWKER, "Observe the progress of iniquity. This calling home Uriah was to
hide David’s infamy, as well as Bath-sheba’s; contriving that Uriah’s sleeping at
home should conceal his crime by leading everyone to believe that Uriah was the
father of the child. And observe, with what a plausible pretence, under colour of a
regard for the success of his arms, David called the poor husband to answer this
object. And to accomplish it yet more, as well as to show the high regard he had for
Uriah, be sent after him a feast for his refreshment."
3. HERY, "Uriah, we may suppose, had now been absent from his wife some
weeks, making the campaign in the country of the Ammonites, and not intending to
return till the end of it. The situation of his wife would bring to light the hidden
works of darkness; and when Uriah, at his return, should find how he had been
abused, and by whom, it might well be expected, 1. That he would prosecute his
wife, according to law, and have her stoned to death; for jealousy is the rage of a
man, especially a man of honour, and he that is thus injured will not spare in the day
of vengeance, Pro_6:34. This Bath-sheba was apprehensive of when she sent to let
David know she was with child, intimating that he was concerned to protect her,
and, it is likely, if he had not promised her so to do (so wretchedly abusing his royal
power), she would not have consented to him. Hope of impunity is a great
encouragement to iniquity. 2. It might also be expected that since he could not
prosecute David by law for an offence of this nature he would take his revenge
another way, and raise a rebellion against him. There have been instances of kings
who by provocations of this nature, given to some of their powerful subjects, have
lost their crowns. To prevent this double mischief, David endeavours to father the
child which should be born upon Uriah himself, and therefore sends for him home
to stay a night or two with his wife. Observe,
I. How the plot was laid. Uriah must come home from the army under pretence of
bringing David an account how the war prospered, and how they went on with the
siege of Rabbah, 2Sa_11:7. Thus does he pretend a more than ordinary concern for
his army when that was the least thing in his thoughts; if he had not had another
turn to serve, an express of much less figure than Uriah might have sufficed to bring
him a report of the state of the war. David, having had as much conference with
Uriah as he thought requisite to cover the design, sent him to his house, and, that he
might be the more pleasant there with the wife of his youth, sent a dish of meat after
him for their supper, 2Sa_11:8. When that project failed the first night, and Uriah,
being weary of his journey and more desirous of sleep than meat, lay all night in the
guard-chamber, the next night he made him drunk (2Sa_11:13), or made him merry,
tempted him to drink more than was fit, that he might forget his vow (2Sa_11:11),
and might be disposed to go home to his own bed, to which perhaps, if David could
have made him dead drunk, he would have ordered him to be carried. It is a very
wicked thing, upon any design whatsoever, to make a person drunk. Woe to him that
does so, Hab_2:15, Hab_2:16. God will put a cup of trembling into the hands of
those who put into the hands of others the cup of drunkenness. Robbing a man of
his reason is worse than robbing him of his money, and drawing him into sin worse
than drawing him into any trouble whatsoever. Every good man, especially every
magistrate, should endeavour to prevent this sin, by admonishing, restraining, and
denying the glass to those whom they see falling into excess; but to further it is to do
the devil's work, to officiate as factor for him."
7 When Uriah came to him, David asked him how
Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war
was going.
1. David pretended that Uriah was there to give him a report on how things were
going in the war. He made small talk for awhile and then suggested he might want
to go home and see the wife. The whole scene is one of deception.
2. Gill, “ ““ “He asked of the welfare of Joab the general, and of the common soldiers,
and of the warriors, as the Targum, the mighty men that went along with Joab,
(2 Samuel 10:7 ) (11:1 ) . David seems to have been at a loss what to say to him.
These questions were so mean and trivial, that it might justly give Uriah some
suspicion that it could never he on this account, that he was sent for; since David
could not want intelligence of such things, expresses being daily sending him.
3. Pink, “Having been summoned back from the scene of fighting, Uriah was given
an audience with David under the pretense of supplying his royal master with
an accurate account of how the hostilities were proceeding. In reality, those
inquiries of the king were merely a blind to cover his real desire in having sent
for Bathsheba’s husband. Seemingly, David wished to convey to Uriah the
impression that he had more confidence in his word concerning the progress of
the war than that of any one else in Israel. But it is quite clear from what follows
that David had called Uriah home for a very different purpose. How little we
know the motives of those who ask us questions, and how it behooves us to heed
that exhortation "put not your confidence in princes" (Ps. 146:3).”
4. Bob Roe, “When Uriah arrived David talked to him as two old warriors might
talk; warriors who have been through a lot of bloodshed together, who have fought
together and are "good ole buddies." He gives him the treatment, "How's the war
going? How are the men doing? O.K., you are back, go on home and have a little
R&R." Well, Uriah is no dummy. He gets the message. You don't send for one of
your chief commanders to bring back a message. You have messengers to do that.
He can smell a phony a mile off. Even with the present which David sends with him,
he doesn't go down to his house but sleeps with the servants of the lord which gives
him all kinds of witnesses that he never went near his wife. Things are not quite so
simple now, but you can see David's rationalization. He just figures, "Well, it really
isn't that bad. After all I am getting Uriah a child, and it might even be a son [In
fact it was a son, as we know.] So he will have the joy of another child. o one will
know. o one will get hurt. Besides Uriah will have another child." Offspring were
welcome in those days, particularly sons. Of course, David didn't know at the time
that it was going to be a son. He could rationalize, though, "We really aren't hurting
anybody. Uriah's going to have the joy of another offspring, and he'll never know.
So, it's not that bad."
8 Then David said to Uriah, "Go down to your
house and wash your feet." So Uriah left the
palace, and a gift from the king was sent after
him.
1. It is so obvious that David is urging Uriah to go home and have sex with his wife.
He all but drags him into her bed. Because it is so conspicuous that he wants Uriah
to have sex with Bathsheba many speculate that Uriah knew what was going on, and
that is why he refused to do it and let David off the hook. There is no way to know if
this is the case, for we have no record to substantiate it. The other view is that Uriah
is so patriotic and loyal to his comrades that he refused to enjoy pleasure when they
are denied it. In other words, he did not put sex at the top of his value list like David
had done. Had he been as horney as David the plan would have been foolproof, but
Uriah was a man of war, and would rather make war than love at this point. We do
not know what gift David sent after Uriah, but we can be sure it was something that
would motivate him to think of sex. Someone thought it might be a night for two at
the Jerusalem Hilton. We don't know what it was, but we know it did not work.
2. “David's suggestion that Uriah go home and "wash his feet" (v. 8) may have been
an encouragement to enjoy his wife sexually since "feet" is sometimes a euphemistic
reference to the genitals (cf. Exod. 4:25; Deut. 28:57; Isa. 7:20).”
3. Gill on the gift wrote, “ ““ “no doubt a delicious dish, to eat with his wife before he
went to bed, to excite him the more to desire the enjoyment of her this mess
consisted, according to Abarbinel, of bread, wine, and flesh; and who also observes,
after Ben Gersom, that the word may be interpreted of a torch to light him home to
his house, being night.” ”” ”
4. Pink, “ ““ “The penalty for adultery was death: "And the man that committeth
adultery with another man’ ’’ ’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his
neighbour’ ’’ ’s wife, the adulterer and adulteress shall surely be put to death" (Lev.
20:10). Bathsheba now had good cause to fear the righteous wrath of her husband,
and the enforcing of the dread sentence of the law. David, too, was faced with
serious trouble: the one with whom he had had illicit intercourse was pregnant, and
her own husband had been away from home for some time. The hidden works of
darkness must soon be forced into the light for when Uriah returned the
unfaithfulness of his wife would be discovered. This would give him the right to
have her stoned, and though David, by virtue of his high position as king, might
escape a similar fate, yet it was likely that his guilt would be proclaimed abroad and
a general revolt be stirred up against him. But sad as was the predicament in which
David now found himself, still sadder was the measure he resorted to in seeking to
extricate himself.” ”” ”
9 But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace
with all his master's servants and did not go down
to his house.
1. Here was a foreign soldier fighting for the forces of Israel, and he is more loyal to
the cause than the king of Israel himself. He has every right to enjoy his wife this
night, but he chooses to give it up. He does not want to go back to his troops and be
teased as a sissy, of as a wimp who has to have a break while the rest of them must
maintain constant alert. He should be given a medal for his loyalty to his troops, but
instead he is given a death sentence.
2. Gill suspects that Uriah may have gotten a hint of what was going on, or that God
directed his behavior to make sure David did not get by with hiding his sin. He
wrote, “ ““ “The bodyguards, which were placed there to watch the palace in the night
season; Uriah first fell into a conversation with these as is highly probable, to whom
he was well known, and who might inquire of one and another of their friends in the
army; and he being weary, laid himself down among there, and slept:
and went not down to his house; whether the trifling questions David asked him, or
the information the guards might give him of his wife being sent for to court; made
him suspect something, and so had no inclination to go to this own house; or
however so it was ordered by the providence of God, which directed him to act in
this manner, that the sin of David and Bathsheba they studied to hide might be
discovered.” ”” ”
3. HERY, "How this plot was defeated by Uriah's firm resolution not to lie in his
own bed. Both nights he slept with the life-guard, and went not down to his house,
though, it is probable, his wife pressed him to do it as much as David, 2Sa_11:9,
2Sa_11:12. ow, 1. Some think he suspected what was done, being informed of his
wife's attendance at court, and therefore he would not go near her. But if he had
had any suspicion of that kind, surely he would have opened the letter that David
sent by him to Joab. 2. Whether he suspected any thing or no, Providence put this
resolution into his heart, and kept him to it, for the discovering of David's sin, and
that the baffling of his design to conceal it might awaken David's conscience to
confess it and repent of it. 3. The reason he gave to David for this strange instance of
self-denial and mortification was very noble, 2Sa_11:11. While the army was
encamped in the field, he would not lie at ease in his own house. “The ark is in a
tent,” whether at home, in the tent David had pitched for it, or abroad, with Joab in
the camp, is not certain. “Joab, and all the mighty men of Israel, lie hard and
uneasy, and much exposed to the weather and to the enemy; and shall I go and take
my ease and pleasure at my own house?” o, he protests he will not do it. ow, (1.)
This was in itself a generous resolution, and showed Uriah to be a man of a public
spirit, bold and hardy, and mortified to the delights of sense. In times of public
difficulty and danger it does not become us to repose ourselves in security, or roll
ourselves in pleasure, or, with the king and Haman, to sit down to drink when the
city Shushan was perplexed, Est_3:15. We should voluntarily endure hardness when
the church of God is constrained to endure it. (2.) It might have been of use to
awaken David's conscience, and make his heart to smite him for what he had done.
[1.] That he had basely abused so brave a man as Uriah was, a man so heartily
concerned for him and his kingdom, and that acted for him and it with so much
vigour. [2.] That he was himself so unlike him. The consideration of the public
hardships and hazards kept Uriah from lawful pleasures, yet could not keep David,
though more nearly interested, from unlawful ones. Uriah's severity to himself
should have shamed David for his indulgence of himself. The law was, When the
host goeth forth against the enemy then, in a special manner, keep thyself from every
wicked thing, Deu_23:9. Uriah outdid that law, but David violated it."
10 When David was told, "Uriah did not go
home," he asked him, "Haven't you just come
from a distance? Why didn't you go home?"
1. David persists in getting Uriah to go home and enjoy the pleasure of his wife. His
plan would work on most men, but he is dealing with an unusual man here. He is all
soldier, and all that matters to him is the pleasing of his commander in the field.
David could learn something about loyalty from this man.
2. HAWKER, "By the servants telling David of Uriah’s not going to his house, it
seems they were in the plot; and, no doubt, someone, at least, must have been privy
to David’s vileness with Bath-sheba. But David, still going on in a progression of
evil, now reasons with Uriah on the subject. And, had not sin exceedingly, for the
time, hardened his heart, the speech of Uriah was enough to have stung him to the
soul. Still, however, bent on this dreadful business, David contrives a more effectual
method, as he thought. For this purpose he brings him to his table, makes him
drunk, that he might be the more unconscious what he did, hoping that this would
effectually answer the design. But here again, no doubt the Lord’s hand overruling,
Uriah went not down to his house."
11 Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and
Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab
and my lord's men are camped in the open fields.
How could I go to my house to eat and drink and
lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not
do such a thing!"
1. Here was a truly disciplined soldier who could say no to positive and legitimate
things, even sex with his own wife. David, on the other hand, could not say no to sex
with his wife. At this point Uriah is the better man and worthy of honor. David is in
the process of dishonoring his name by trying to cover up his sin and folly by
deceiving another man into thinking he is the father of David's illegitimate child.
This is clearly soap opera material. One man who refused to forsake sex with
Bathsheba, and another man refusing to have sex with her, and he is the one who
has the right to do so. Such is the stupid mess people create by ignoring God's plan
for sex and marriage.
2. “ ““ “He told David he would not break the rules of soldiers on active service - ancient
people believed that sexual intercourse robbed a man of some of his physical
strength, so during active service soldiers were required to abstain from sexual
intercourse. Uriah would not visit his wife and have intercourse with her, since he
was still technically on active service.” ”” ” author unknown
3. Baldwin, “"Astonishingly, this Hittite mentions the covenant symbol before
everything else that has influenced his behavior. He is aware also of his solidarity
with the fighting men at the front, over whom he will not steal an advantage. Both of
these considerations applied even more forcibly to the king, who had final
responsibility for the war, and had laid much stress on covenant loyalty himself, but
now a foreigner is showing him to be despicably lax."
4. Bob Deffinbaugh wrote, "The truth is that Uriah has been called from the field of
battle. He is not a traveling salesman, home from a road trip; he is a soldier, away
from his post. In heart and soul, Uriah is still with his fellow-soldiers. He really
wants to be back in the field of battle, and not in Jerusalem. He will return as soon
as David releases him (see verse 12). Until that time, he will think and act like the
soldier he is. As much as possible, he will live the way his fellow-soldiers are living
on the field of battle. There, surrounding the city of Rabbah, are the Israelite
soldiers, led by Joab. They, along with the ark of the Lord, are camping in tents in
the open field. Uriah cannot, Uriah will not, live in luxury while they live
sacrificially. He will not sleep with his wife until they can all sleep with their wives.
With all due respect, Uriah declines -- indeed Uriah refuses -- to do that which
would be conduct unbefitting a soldier, let alone a war hero"
Deffinbaugh goes on to point out that it was a requirement for soldiers on a mission
to refrain from sex with their wives. He refers to I Sam. 21:1-5 where we read, "
Then came David to ob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the
meeting of David, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee?
2 And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king hath commanded me a
business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know any thing of the business
whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed my
servants to such and such a place. 3 ow therefore what is under thine hand? give
me five loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present. 4 And the priest
answered David, and said, There is no common bread under mine hand, but there is
hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women.
5 And David answered the priest, and said unto him, Of a truth women have been
kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young
men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified
this day in the vessel." David says his men have kept themselves from sex for three
days while on this mission, and they thus qualify to eat of the holy bread. ow
David is trying to get this seasoned warrior to break the rules he once lived by and
urge him to have sex while on a mission from himself. He was asking Uriah to break
the code that all his soldiers were to live by, and he would not to it. He is now the
man that David once was, but is no longer.
5. Gill, “ ““ “And Uriah said unto David… …… …
As an apology for this conduct:
the ark, and Israel and Judah, abide in tents;
meaning not the people of Israel and Judah in the land of Canaan; for they did not
now dwell in tents, though indeed the ark of the Lord did, (2 Samuel 7:2 ) , which
some think is here referred to; but the armies of Israel and Judah besieging
Rabbah, with whom it seems the ark was, which sometimes was carried with them
when they went out to war, (1 Samuel 4:4 ) (14:18 ) , though Abarbinel thinks this
was not the ark in which were the two tables of stone, and therefore is not called the
ark of the covenant, but an ark which was made to put the ephod, and Urim and
Thummim in that they might upon occasion inquire of the Lord by them:
and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open
fields:
around Rabbah they were besieging; he calls Joab his lord, because he was the chief
general under whom he served and the rest of the commanding officers he calls the
servants of his lord as distinguished from the common soldiers. The Jews, who are
for excusing David from blame in the case of Uriah, observe
F12 , that he was guilty
of rebellion against David, and so worthy of death not only because he disobeyed his
command, in not going to his house when he ordered him but by calling "Joab my
lord" in his presence: but this was only a respectable character of his general and no
overt act of treason to his king; nor did David so understand it, nor in the least
resent it: now seeing such great men, who were far superior to him in rank and
office were obliged to lie on the bare ground, he argues:
shall I then go into mine house to eat and to drink, and to lie with my
wife?
if he had any suspicion of David's crime, he might purposely add the last clause; and
if not, it was enough to awaken the conscience of David, and cut him to the quick
had he not been greatly hardened through the deceitfulness of sin to observe, that a
faithful subject and a soldier of his would not allow himself the enjoyment of lawful
pleasures, when his fellow soldiers were exposing their lives to danger for their
country; and yet he under such circumstances indulged to sinful lusts and criminal
pleasures:
[as] thou livest and [as] thy soul liveth I will not do this thing;
he swears to it for the confirmation of it; this he did to prevent any further
solicitations from the king, or his wife unto it, who were both anxiously desirous of
it; for though no mention is made of his wife, yet no doubt she did all she could to
prevail upon him to come to his house but all to no purpose; his mind was so bent to
the contrary through the overruling providence of God to which it must be
ascribed.” ”” ”
12 Then David said to him, "Stay here one more
day, and tomorrow I will send you back." So
Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the
next.
1. This is one of the most desperate plots in all of history to get a man to have sex
with his wife. David is not going to give up until he gets this man into bed. He is
going to have sex, or he is going to die, and David prefers that he have sex and live.
He does everything possible to entice Uriah to get home and get in bed with his
lovely wife.
13 At David's invitation, he ate and drank with
him, and David made him drunk. But in the
evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among
his master's servants; he did not go home.
1. David cannot afford to give up on a plan to cover up his sin, and so he tries the
trick Uriah into sex plot again, but like the first attempt it is a dud. He even got
Uriah drunk in the hopes that he would forget his loyalty to the code of warrior
ethics. David hoped he would be so out of it that he would stumble home and give
Bathsheba a chance to loosen up his stubborn commitment to be a soldier rather
than a husband for a night. He was locked into that code just as David had been
locked into his lust, and nothing could cause him to violate it. He could have saved
his life by going home to bed, but his stubborn commitment to his comrades led to
his becoming another victim of David's sinful journey out of God's will. One night
of sex could have saved him from a brutal murder, but he chose to go and die rather
than be unfaithful to his code. If only David could have learned this kind of loyalty
the entire affair never would have happened. David would have looked at
Bathsheba and been filled with lust, but would have gone back into his bedroom and
called for his beautiful wife Abigail, or any of the others and had his lust dissipated
by legitimate means. Thinking like Uriah or Joseph of old he would have said, "How
can I sin against my God and my fellow comrades and do this thing I am being
compelled to do by my lust. I will turn away and follow the plan of God that is
readily available to me." Such is the way the record should have gone, and by this
simple wise choice the entire blotted record of David would have never been.
2. Even drunk Uriah was faithful to his commitment to not do what his fellow
soldiers could not do. He gave up what could be his pleasure rather than be disloyal
to his comrades in battle. Sometime a drunk man can forget all of his obligations,
but at other times they can remain aware of what is the right thing to do, and this
was the case with Uriah. He could be drunk and still be dedicated. He could be
drunk and still devoted to his country and men.
3. Henry, “...the next night he made him drunk (2 Samuel 11:13 ), or made him
merry, tempted him to drink more than was fit, that he might forget his vow
(2 Samuel 11:11 ), and might be disposed to go home to his own bed, to which
perhaps, if David could have made him dead drunk, he would have ordered him to
be carried. It is a very wicked thing, upon any design whatsoever, to make a person
drunk. Woe to him that does so, Habakkuk 2:15,16 . God will put a cup of trembling
into the hands of those who put into the hands of others the cup of drunkenness.
Robbing a man of his reason is worse than robbing him of his money, and drawing
him into sin worse than drawing him into any trouble whatsoever.”
That he had basely abused so brave a man as Uriah was, a man so heartily
concerned for him and his kingdom, and that acted for him and it with so much
vigour. [2.] That he was himself so unlike him. The consideration of the public
hardships and hazards kept Uriah from lawful pleasures, yet could not keep David,
though more nearly interested, from unlawful ones. Uriah's severity to himself
should have shamed David for his indulgence of himself. The law was, When the
host goeth forth against the enemy then, in a special manner, keep thyself from every
wicked thing, Deuteronomy 23:9 . Uriah outdid that law, but David violated it.”
4. Gordon, “"The despicableness of the king's behavior contrasts with the noble
figure of the wronged Uriah, several times referred to as 'the Hittite' (vv. 3, 6, 17,
24), as if to emphasize that, whereas the king of Israel was so obviously lacking in
principle, the same could not be said of this foreigner."
14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab
and sent it with Uriah.
1. David knew Uriah well enough to know he would never peak at a letter he was
sending to Joab. It did concern him and his fate, but he would not know it was his
death warrant, and so David sends him back to the war camp with a letter telling
the commander of the troops to see that he is assigned to a place where he will be
killed. All David cared about is getting rid of the problem and the threat, and that
was Uriah. Get him buried and life will go on fine for all concerned. It was the
perfect crime, for nobody would know it was a planned move rather than the
normal risk of warfare.
2. CLARKE, "David wrote a letter - This was the sum of treachery and villany. He
made this most noble man the carrier of letters which prescribed the mode in which
he was to be murdered. This case some have likened to that of Bellerophon, son of
Glaucus, king of Ephyra, who being in the court of Proetus, king of the Argives, his
queen Antia, or as others Sthenoboea, fell violently in love with him; but he,
refusing to gratify her criminal passions, was in revenge accused by her to Proetus
her husband, as having attempted to corrupt her. Proetus not willing to violate the
laws of hospitality by slaying him in his own house, wrote letters to Jobates, king of
Lycia, the father of Sthenoboea, and sent them by the hand of Bellerophon, stating
his crime, and desiring Jobates to put him to death. To meet the wishes of his son-in-
law, and keep his own hands innocent of blood, he sent him with a small force
against a very warlike people called the Solymi; but, contrary to all expectation, he
not only escaped with his life, but gained a complete victory over them. He was
afterwards sent upon several equally dangerous and hopeless expeditions, but still
came off with success; and to reward him Jobates gave him one of his daughters to
wife, and a part of his kingdom. Sthenoboea, hearing this, through rage and despair
killed herself.
I have given this history at large, because many have thought it not only to be
parallel to that of Uriah, but to be a fabulous formation from the Scripture fact: for
my own part, I scarcely see in them any correspondence, but in the simple
circumstance that both carried those letters which contained their own
condemnation. From the fable of Bellerophon came the proverb, Bellerophontis
literas portare, “to carry one’s own condemnation”.
3. GILL, "And it came to pass in the morning,.... When David was informed that
Uriah did not go to his own house, but slept with his servants, Satan put it into his
head and heart to take the following wicked and cruel method:
that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah; to have him cut
off by the sword of the enemy. If Uriah suspected David's criminal conversation
with his wife, he was so true and trusted a servant to him, that he would not open
his letter to Joab, which had he, it would have betrayed the base design. o one that
knows the story of Bellerophon can read this without thinking of that, they are so
much alike; and indeed that seems to be founded upon this, and taken from it with a
little alteration. Bellerophon rejecting the solicitations of Sthenobaea, who was in
love with him, she prevailed upon her husband Praetus to send letters by him to
Jobates (a name similar to Joab), the general of his army, which contained
instructions to take care that he was killed; who sent him upon an expedition for
that purpose."
4. HAWKER, "Baffled in both attempts, David now proceeds to an act, at the very
mention of which, nature shudders. To conceal his shame for adultery, he ventures
on murder. And, that the world might know nothing of his sin with Bath-sheba, nor
Uriah ever reproach him for it, he determines to have his brave and faithful servant
murdered in the battle. Alas! alas! how desperately wicked is the heart of man by
nature. Reader, do not fail to remember, that all men by nature are the same. Grace
alone maketh us to differ. And even grace, though it renews the soul, renews not the
body. Unless, indeed, it restrains the workings of corruption, what one man
commits, another is as liable to perpetrate. Oh! Lord! help both him that writes, and
him that reads, ever to keep in view that striking question; Who maketh thee to
differ from another?
5. HERY, "When David's project of fathering the child upon Uriah himself failed,
so that, in process of time, Uriah would certainly know the wrong that had been
done him, to prevent the fruits of his revenge, the devil put it into David's heart to
take him off, and then neither he nor Bath-sheba would be in any danger (what
prosecution could there be when there was no prosecutor?), suggesting further that,
when Uriah was out of the way, Bath-sheba might, if he pleased, be his own for ever.
Adulteries have often occasioned murders, and one wickedness must be covered and
secured with another. The beginnings of sin are therefore to be dreaded; for who
knows where they will end? It is resolved in David's breast (which one would think
could never possibly have harboured so vile a thought) that Uriah must die. That
innocent, valiant, gallant man, who was ready to die for his prince's honour, must
die by his prince's hand. David has sinned, and Bath-sheba has sinned, and both
against him, and therefore he must die; David determines he must. Is this the man
whose heart smote him because he had cut off Saul's skirt? Quantum mutatus ab
illo! - But ah, how changed! Is this he that executed judgment and justice to all his
people? How can he now do so unjust a thing? See how fleshly lusts war against the
soul, and what devastations they make in that war; how they blink the eyes, harden
the heart, sear the conscience, and deprive men of all sense of honour and justice.
Whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding and quite loses it; he
that doth it destroys his own soul, Pro_6:32. But, as the eye of the adulterer, so the
hand of the murderer seeks concealment, Job_24:14, Job_24:15. Works of darkness
hate the light. When David bravely slew Goliath it was done publicly, and he gloried
in it; but, when he basely slew Uriah, it must be done clandestinely, for he is
ashamed of it, and well he may. Who would do a thing that he dare not own? The
devil, having as a poisonous serpent, put it into David's heart to murder Uriah, as a
subtle serpent he puts it into his head how to do it. ot as Absalom slew Amnon, by
commanding his servants to assassinate him, nor as Ahab slew aboth by suborning
witnesses to accuse him, but by exposing him to the enemy, a way of doing it which,
perhaps, would not seem so odious to conscience and the world, because soldiers
expose themselves of course. If Uriah had not been in that dangerous post, another
must; he has (as we say) a chance for his life; if he fight stoutly, he may perhaps
come off; and, if he die, it is in the field of honour, where a soldier would choose to
die; and yet all this will not save it from being a wilful murder, of malice prepense.
I. Orders are sent to Joab to set Uriah in the front of the hottest battle, and then to
desert him, and abandon him to the enemy, 2Sa_11:14, 2Sa_11:15. This was David's
project to take off Uriah, and it succeeded, as he designed. Many were the
aggravations of this murder. 1. It was deliberate. He took time to consider of it; and
though he had time to consider of it, for he wrote a letter about it, and though he
had time to have countermanded the order afterwards before it could be put in
execution, yet he persisted in it. 2. He sent the letter by Uriah himself, than which
nothing could be more base and barbarous, to make him accessory to his own death.
And what a paradox was it that he could bear such a malice against him in whom
yet he could repose such a confidence as that he would carry letters which he must
not know the purport of. 3. Advantage must be taken of Uriah's own courage and
zeal for his king and country, which deserve the greatest praise and recompence, to
betray him the more easily to his fate. If he had not been forward to expose himself,
perhaps he was a man of such importance that Joab could not have exposed him;
and that this noble fire should be designedly turned upon himself was a most
detestable instance of ingratitude. 4. Many must be involved in the guilt. Joab, the
general, to whom the blood of his soldiers, especially the worthies, ought to be
precious, must do it; he, and all that retire from Uriah when they ought in
conscience to support and second him, become guilty of his death. 5. Uriah cannot
thus die alone: the party he commands is in danger of being cut off with him; and it
proved so: some of the people, even the servants of David (so they are called, to
aggravate David's sin in being so prodigal of their lives), fell with him, 2Sa_11:17.
ay, this wilful misconduct by which Uriah must be betrayed might be of fatal
consequence to the whole army, and might oblige them to raise the siege. 6. It will be
the triumph and joy of the Ammonites, the sworn enemies of God and Israel; it will
gratify them exceedingly. David prayed for himself, that he might not fall into the
hands of man, nor flee from his enemies (2Sa_24:13, 2Sa_24:14); yet he sells his
servant Uriah to the Ammonites, and not for any iniquity in his hand.
6. JAMISO, "David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah ... Set
ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle — The various arts and stratagems by
which the king tried to cajole Uriah, till at last he resorted to the horrid crime of
murder - the cold-blooded cruelty of dispatching the letter by the hands of the
gallant but much-wronged soldier himself, the enlistment of Joab to be a partaker of
his sin, the heartless affectation of mourning, and the indecent haste of his marriage
with Bath-sheba - have left an indelible stain upon the character of David, and
exhibit a painfully humiliating proof of the awful lengths to which the best of men
may go when they forfeit the restraining grace of God."
7. K&D, "(ote: “We may see from this how deep a soul may fall when it turns
away from God, and from the guidance of His grace. This David, who in the days of
his persecution would not even resort to means that were really plausible in order to
defend himself, was now not ashamed to resort to the greatest crimes in order to
cover his sin. O God! how great is our strength when we lay firm hold of Thee! And
how weak we become as soon as we turn away from Thee! The greatest saints would
be ready for the worst of deeds, if Thou shouldst but leave them for a single moment
without Thy protection. Whoever reflects upon this, will give up all thought of self-
security and spiritual pride.” - Berleburg Bible.)
David was so sure that his orders would be executed, that he did not think it
necessary to specify any particular crime of which Uriah had been guilty.
15 In it he wrote, "Put Uriah in the front line
where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from
him so he will be struck down and die."
1. David is authorizing a military murder by having one of his own loyal heroes
deliberately killed. This is such an ungodly order that it makes David a disgrace as
the head of the nations military forces.
2. Henry, “It is resolved in David's breast (which one would think could never
possibly have harbored so vile a thought) that Uriah must die. That innocent,
valiant, gallant man, who was ready to die for his prince's honor, must die by his
prince's hand. David has sinned, and Bath-sheba has sinned, and both against him,
and therefore he must die; David determines he must. Is this the man whose heart
smote him because he had cut off Saul's skirt? Quantum mutatus ab illo!--But ah,
how changed! Is this he that executed judgment and justice to all his people? How
can he now do so unjust a thing? See how fleshly lusts war against the soul, and
what devastations they make in that war; how they blink the eyes, harden the heart,
sear the conscience, and deprive men of all sense of honor and justice. Whoso
committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding and quite loses it; he that
doth it destroys his own soul, Proverbs 6:32 . But, as the eye of the adulterer, so the
hand of the murderer seeks concealment, Job 24:14,15 . Works of darkness hate the
light. When David bravely slew Goliath it was done publicly, and he gloried in it;
but, when he basely slew Uriah, it must be done clandestinely, for he is ashamed of
it, and well he may. Who would do a thing that he dare not own? The devil, having
as a poisonous serpent, put it into David's heart to murder Uriah, as a subtle serpent
he puts it into his head how to do it. ot as Absalom slew Amnon, by commanding
his servants to assassinate him, nor as Ahab slew aboth by suborning witnesses to
accuse him, but by exposing him to the enemy, a way of doing it which, perhaps,
would not seem so odious to conscience and the world, because soldiers expose
themselves of course. If Uriah had not been in that dangerous post, another must; he
has (as we say) a chance for his life; if he fight stoutly, he may perhaps come off;
and, if he die, it is in the field of honor, where a soldier would choose to die; and yet
all this will not save it from being a willful murder, of malice prepense.”
3. Pink, “"When a man has so far given place to the devil as not only to commit
scandalous sins, but to use disingenuous and base means of concealing them, and
with sure prospect of having the whole exposed to public view; what would prevent
his being pushed forward, by the same influence and from the same motives, to
treachery, malice and murder, till crimes are multiplied and magnified beyond
computation, and till every nobler consideration is extinguished?" (Thomas Scott).
Thus it was here: no matter what happened, David was resolved to maintain his own
reputation. Sure proof was this that, at the time, he was completely dominated by
Satan, as is shown by those words "lest being lifted up with pride, he fall into the
condemnation of the devil" (1 Tim. 3:6). How we need to pray that God would
mercifully hide pride from" us (Job 33:17)!
Further proof that David was then thoroughly in the toils of Satan, may be seen in
the subtle and vile tactics to which he now resorted. Thoroughly determined to
cover his awful sin of adultery by committing still greater wickedness, he resolved to
have poor Uriah put out of the way. "That innocent, valiant, and gallant man, who
was ready to die for his prince’s honor must die by his prince’s hand" (Matthew
Henry). Yes, but not directly; David was too cunning for that, and too anxious to
preserve his own good name before men. He would not kill Uriah by his own hand,
nor even bid his servants assassinate him, for his reputation had been destroyed by
such a step. He therefore resorted to a more serpentine measure, which, though it
concealed his own hand, was none the less heinous. The bravery of Uriah and his
zeal for this country, suggested to the king the method of dispatching him.”
4. Bob Roe, “David figured, "All I want is to get Uriah killed, and he is forcing me
to do it. I really don't want to do that, but he is forcing my hand. What kind of a
scandal will rock the government when they find out what has happened. Isn't it
expedient that the life of one man should be sacrificed lest the whole nation perish?"
as Caiaphas said a thousand years later. So he writes this letter and then has the
unmitigated gall to send that death warrant by the very man who is going to be
killed. He says, "Throw him out in front and when he's out there, withdraw from
him." Well, Joab is no dummy either. David is no dummy. Uriah is no dummy and
Joab is sure no dummy. If he pulls back like that, he is obviously implicated in the
plot. Though Joab cares little for human life, he does care about Joab and his
power. You can imagine the thoughts going through his mind. Joab is a vicious
killer. He is unscrupulous and unprincipled. He killed Abner in a city of refuge just
to get even with him and also to remove him as a possible contender for the key
generalship. But David is a very religious man, a very godly man, he is the writer of
the Psalms. You can imagine what Joab is thinking, "David writes beautiful psalms
on Sunday, but on Monday when he wants his dirty work done, while he may not
like me, he always comes to Joab." David, as we know, is frightened of Joab and his
hold over the army. So now what has David done? He has put himself completely in
the power of this man he knows to be evil, unscrupulous and power hungry.
16 So while Joab had the city under siege, he put
Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest
defenders were.
1. Joab is now forced by David to be a part of the conspiracy to commit murder.
David's sin has now spread to others so that innocent people are going to die for his
folly. It will all look like Uriah is a battlefield casualty and he will be honored as a
war hero, and David will come off as a noble king by taking his widow into his
harem. It is finally looking like the perfect crime that will end the coverup planning.
2. Joab did not know all the details, but he likely suspected that David was having
him do his dirty work, and he did not mind doing it. David did not like him for the
dirty work he did in killing Abner, but now he could do some dirty work for David,
and he would never have reason again to be down on him. It was mutually beneficial
to them to have Uriah killed. This would give Joab power over David, for he could
spill the whole wicked plot if David did not respect his role as commander of the
forces. Joab would be happy that David has sunk to his level.
17 When the men of the city came out and fought
against Joab, some of the men in David's army
fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.
1. ow we see other soldiers are caught up in the effects of David's sin and the effort
to cover it up. Bob Deffinbaugh wrote, "ot only is Uriah put to death, but a
number of other Israelite warriors die with him. They have to be sacrificed to
conceal the murder of Uriah. Uriah's death has to be viewed as one of a group of
men, rather than merely one man. Without a doubt, this is the moral and spiritual
low-water mark of David's life." David has betrayed his God, his family, and his
comrades in battle who were heroes of his nation. If this is not hitting bottom I don't
know what is. David is the one who should have died for his sin, but instead it was a
number of innocent soldiers who had to die to cover up his sin.
2. Bob Deffinbaugh asks and then answers an important question: "“Can a
Christian fall?” Yes. Some folks in the Bible may cause us to question whether they
really ever came to faith in God, folks like Balaam or Samson or Saul. But we have
no such questions regarding David. He is not only a believer, he is a model believer.
In the Bible, David sets the standard because he is a man after God's heart.
evertheless, this man David, in spite of his trust in God, in spite of his marvelous
times of worship and his beautiful psalms, falls deeply into sin. If David can fall, so
can we, which is precisely what Paul warns us about: "ow these things happened
to them as an example were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the
ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does
not fall." (I Cor. 10:11-12). He points out that we can fall, and it can be far and very
quickly as it was with David.
3. Jamison, Faucett and Brown in their commentary add this note, "The various
arts and stratagems by which the king tried to cajole Uriah, till at last he resorted to
the horrid crime of murder--the cold-blooded cruelty of dispatching the letter by the
hands of the gallant but much-wronged soldier himself, the enlistment of Joab to be
a partaker of his sin, the heartless affectation of mourning, and the indecent haste of
his marriage with Bathsheba--have left an indelible stain upon the character of
David, and exhibit a painfully humiliating proof of the awful lengths to which the
best of men may go when they forfeit the restraining grace of God."
4. God did not will this death of a hero who was faithful to his commander and king.
It was an evil thing designed and carried out by men to coverup a sinful act. God
allowed it, but it he did not will it, and so good people can die as a result of the sins
of others, and this can mean drunk drivers, drive by shooters and crooks of all
kinds who use weapons in their crimes, or even in warfare as here, for sometimes it
is a reality that soldiers kill their own men in times of warfare.
5. HERY, "Joab executes these orders. In the next assault that is made upon the
city Uriah has the most dangerous post assigned him, is encouraged to hope that if
he be repulsed by the besieged he shall be relieved by Joab, in dependence on which
he marches on with resolution, but, succours not coming on, the service proves too
hot, and he is slain in it, 2Sa_11:16, 2Sa_11:17. It was strange that Joab would do
such a thing merely upon a letter, without knowing the reason. But, 1. Perhaps he
supposed Uriah had been guilty of some great crime, to enquire into which David
had sent for him, and that, because he would not punish him openly, he took this
course with him to put him to death. 2. Joab had been guilty of blood, and we may
suppose it pleased him very well to see David himself falling into the same guilt, and
he was willing enough to serve him in it, that he might continue to be favourable to
him. It is common for those who have done ill themselves to desire to be
countenanced therein by others doing ill likewise, especially by the sins of those that
are eminent in the profession of religion. Or, perhaps, David knew that Joab had a
pique against Uriah, and would gladly be avenged on him; otherwise Joab, when he
saw cause, knew how to dispute the king's orders, as 2Sa_19:5; 2Sa_24:3.
18 Joab sent David a full account of the battle.
19 He instructed the messenger: "When you have
finished giving the king this account of the battle,
20 the king's anger may flare up, and he may ask
you, 'Why did you get so close to the city to fight?
Didn't you know they would shoot arrows from
the wall?
1. Joab knows he is sending David a report of very bad news, for he has lost a
number of soldiers in the conflict. He has to inform the messengers that it will not be
a pleasant task at first, but if they keep a certain part of the message at the end, all
will be okay.
2. David as a great commander of troops will know that they made a major blunder
when he gets this report. It was pure folly unworthy of his commander whom he has
put in change of the battle. Joab knows he will complain in anger at such stupidity
as to get too close to the archers on the wall.
3. HERY, "He sends an account of it to David. An express is despatched away
immediately with a report of this last disgrace and loss which they had sustained,
2Sa_11:18. And, to disguise the affair, 1. He supposes that David would appear to be
angry at his bad conduct, would ask why they came so near the wall (2Sa_11:20),
did they not know that Abimelech lost his life by doing do? 2Sa_11:21. We had the
story (Jdg_9:53), which book, it is likely, was published as a part of the sacred
history in Samuel's time; and (be it noted to their praise, and for imitation) even the
soldiers were conversant with their bibles, and could readily quote the scripture-
story, and make use of it for admonition to themselves not to run upon the same
attempts which they found had been fatal. 2. He slyly orders the messenger to soothe
it with telling him that Uriah the Hittite was dead also, which gave too broad an
intimation to the messenger, and by him to others, that David would be secretly
pleased to hear that; for murder will out. And, when men do such base things, they
must expect to be bantered and upbraided with them, even by their inferiors.
4. K&D, "Joab immediately despatched a messenger to the king, to give him a
report of the events of the war, and with these instructions: “When thou hast told all
the things of the war to the king to the end, in case the anger of the king should be
excited (הֶ לֲ עַ תּ, ascend), and he should say to thee, Why did ye advance so near to the
city to fight? knew ye not that they would shoot from the wall? Who smote
Abimelech the son of Jerubbosheth (i.e., Gideon, see at Jdg_6:32)? did not a woman
throw down a millstone from the wall, that he died in Thebez (Jdg_9:53)? why went
ye so nigh to the wall? then only say, Thy servant Uriah the Hethite has perished.”
Joab assumed that David might possibly be angry at what had occurred, or at any
rate that he might express his displeasure at the fact that Joab had sacrificed a
number of warriors by imprudently approaching close to the wall: he therefore
instructed the messenger, if such should be the case, to announce Uriah's death to
the king, for the purpose of mitigating his wrath. The messenger seems to have
known that Uriah was in disgrace with the king. At the same time, the words “thy
servant Uriah is dead also” might be understood or interpreted as meaning that it
was without, or even in opposition to, Joab's command, that Uriah went so far with
his men, and that he was therefore chargeable with his own death and that of the
other warriors who had fallen."
21 Who killed Abimelech son of Jerub-Besheth [b]
? Didn't a woman throw an upper millstone on
him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez?
Why did you get so close to the wall?' If he asks
you this, then say to him, 'Also, your servant
Uriah the Hittite is dead.' "
1. David is not going to like what he hears, for it was a stupid act of warfare to lose
men by such a foolish strategy as getting too close to the wall. History proved it to be
folly of the highest sort, and so when he hears that his own commander sent men
into such a death trap he will be angry at such incompetent orders. But, if they
conclude their report with the news that Uriah was also among the casualties, it will
calm his anger, and he will accept that it was inevitable.
2. HAWKER, "It should seem, from the apprehension Joab expressed of the king’s
displeasure, that he had no knowledge of David’s adultery, and the motive for which
he had wished the death of Uriah. From the king’s letter, indeed, he saw that
Uriah’s death would be pleasing to him, and that the intelligence of this would
soften his displeasure at the success of the Ammonites. The story of Abimelech,
which Joab thought the king would consider a similar case to this of the death of
Uriah, is related in Jdg_9:50-55.
22 The messenger set out, and when he arrived he
told David everything Joab had sent him to say.
23 The messenger said to David, "The men
overpowered us and came out against us in the
open, but we drove them back to the entrance to
the city gate.
24 Then the archers shot arrows at your servants
from the wall, and some of the king's men died.
Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is
dead."
1. Here we get the impression that Uriah dies from arrows shot from the wall of the
city. They overpowered the enemy and drove them back into their city, but in doing
so they came too close to the city where the archers could get a good shot at them. It
was a cleaver plan that made the murder of Uriah look completely innocent. It was
the bad fortune of war, and not the manipulating scheme of a desperate king.
2. Henry, “Many were the aggravations of this murder. 1. It was deliberate. He took
time to consider of it; and though he had time to consider of it, for he wrote a letter
about it, and though he had time to have countermanded the order afterwards
before it could be put in execution, yet he persisted in it. 2. He sent the letter by
Uriah himself, than which nothing could be more base and barbarous, to make him
accessory to his own death. And what a paradox was it that he could bear such a
malice against him in whom yet he could repose such a confidence as that he would
carry letters which he must not know the purport of. 3. Advantage must be taken of
Uriah's own courage and zeal for his king and country, which deserve the greatest
praise and recompence, to betray him the more easily to his fate. If he had not been
forward to expose himself, perhaps he was a man of such importance that Joab
could not have exposed him; and that this noble fire should be designedly turned
upon himself was a most detestable instance of ingratitude. 4. Many must be
involved in the guilt. Joab, the general, to whom the blood of his soldiers, especially
the worthies, ought to be precious, must do it; he, and all that retire from Uriah
when they ought in conscience to support and second him, become guilty of his
death. 5. Uriah cannot thus die alone: the party he commands is in danger of being
cut off with him; and it proved so: some of the people, even the servants of David (so
they are called, to aggravate David's sin in being so prodigal of their lives), fell with
him, 2 Samuel 11:17 . ay, this wilful misconduct by which Uriah must be betrayed
might be of fatal consequence to the whole army, and might oblige them to raise the
siege. 6. It will be the triumph and joy of the Ammonites, the sworn enemies of God
and Israel; it will gratify them exceedingly. David prayed for himself, that he might
not fall into the hands of man, nor flee from his enemies (2 Samuel 24:13,14 ); yet he
sells his servant Uriah to the Ammonites, and not for any iniquity in his hand.”
3. Dr. S. Lewis Johnson Jr. “Thomas Goodwin, one of the seventeenth century
Puritans, wrote with reference to this in a great treatise on the aggravation of sin
that, “It was the matter of Uriah the Hittite more than the matter of Bathsheba that
awakened the anger of the Lord against David.” That is to say, it was David’s sin of
deliberation and determination, rather than his sudden sin of sudden and
intoxicating passion. Actually, of course, it was both matters but, for Mr. Goodwin,
the more important of the two was the fact that David, after he slipped and fell by
the outburst of sexual passion, persisted in the deceit for a year. And, not only did
he persist in the deceit but he engaged in actions one right after the other, in an
attempt to cover up his sin.”
4. Pink, “This terrible sin of David’s was more laid to his charge by God than any
other he committed: not only because of its gravity, and because it has given
occasion to so many of His enemies to blaspheme, but also because it was more a
deliberate and premeditated crime than an involuntary infirmity acting suddenly.
How many of his failures are left on record: his lie to Ahimelech (1 Sam. 21:2), his
dissimulation before the king of Gath (1 Sam. 21:12), his rash vow to destroy abal
(1 Sam. 25:33), his unbelieving "I shall one day perish at the hand of Saul" (1 Sam.
27:1), his injustice in the matter of Mephibosheth and Ziba (2 Sam. 16:4), his
indulgence of Absalom, his numbering of the people (2 Sam. 24); yet after his death
God said, "David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not
aside from any thing that He commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the
matter of Uriah the Hittite" (1 Kings 15:5).”
25 David told the messenger, "Say this to Joab:
'Don't let this upset you; the sword devours one as
well as another. Press the attack against the city
and destroy it.' Say this to encourage Joab."
1. It was a stupid thing to do to get so close to the city and lose men due to the sharp
shooting archers, and ordinarily such a blunder would have caused David to go into
a rage of anger at such folly, but in this case he breathed a sigh of relief and sent a
message back to Joab that said don't worry about it. That is the way the ball
bounced in warfare. You win some and you lose some. It was unfortunate to be sure,
but don't let it get you down. Just keep up the good work and finish the job. Joab
should have been relieved of duty for such a stupid plan that cost him valuable men,
but David honors him instead. We know what is going on, and so did Joab, and so
did God, but David thinks he has put one over on everybody, and that he is now in
the clear with not a problem in the world.
2. David does not seem to have any struggle with his conscience at all for this
horrible murder. Jim Bomkamp asks the question that many have asked about this
matter. "Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband was such an honorable, loyal, righteous (he
was obviously a Gentile proselyte ), and faithful man, and on the battlefield he was
sacrificing his very life daily for the king, so how could David have sinned against
such a man as this?" He could do it because sin hardens the heart and makes it
possible to do evil thinking it is a good thing. David is justifying himself and
thinking it is good for Uriah and these men to die, for in doing so they protect the
image of the king. It was a good cause for which they gave their lives. Sin makes it
possible to really believe such nonsense, and when a believer seeks to coverup sin he
or she can rationalize anything that fulfills that goal. Why do bad things happen to
good people? It is because good people can be blinded by their sin and folly and
choose to do bad things.
3. Blackwood: “Such a brilliant tactician as David could think of more than one way
to “liquidate” an undesirable soldier. The scheme that the king devised left him
clear in the eyes of the law. As long as his conscience failed to condemn, what had he
to dread? After he had caused the woman’s husband to fall in battle, the royal
culprit might have whispered to himself, with a sigh of relief: “All’s well that ends
well!” Perhaps so, if a man forgets God. For years this one had stood out in his
world as the public representative of the Most High. Indeed, he was to become the
forebear of the promised Messiah. And yet the most highly favored of men had
deliberately committed adultery and murder. Worse still, he had no thought of
confessing those sins. What can the Almighty do with such an ingrate?”
4. Gill, “ ““ “for the sword devours one as well as another; officers as well as soldiers the
strong as well as the weak, the valiant and courageous as well as the more timorous;
the events of war are various and uncertain, and to be submitted to, and not repined
at, and laid to heart. David's heart being hardened by sin, made light of the death of
his brave soldiers, to which he himself was accessory; his conscience was very
different now from what it was when he cut off the skirt of Saul's robe, and his
heart in a different frame from that in which he composed the lamentation over
Saul and Jonathan:” ”” ”
5. HERY, "David receives the account with a secret satisfaction, 2Sa_11:25. Let not Joab
be displeased, for David is not. He blames not his conduct, nor thinks they did wrong in
approaching so near the wall; all is well now that Uriah is put out of the way. This point
being gained, he can make light of the loss, and turn it off easily with an excuse: The sword
devours one as well as another; it was a chance of war, nothing more common. He orders
Joab to make the battle more strong next time, while he, by his sin, was weakening it, and
provoking God to blast the undertaking.
6. David is being very philosophical here, for he is saying that we just have to accept
the consequences of war. God in his providence takes one and leaves another. It is
all mystery to us, but we need to accept his will and bow to it. It is sad, but we
cannot change the will of God. His providence is final, for he has the last word, and
he determines when we die. So just accept it Joab, and get on with the battle. Here
we see the folly of accepting the doctrine that many preach that God determines the
death of all people. He has a certain date set for everyone, and when that day comes,
it is inevitable that we die. This is a false doctrine, for it is clear here that a man
made conspiracy determined when Uriah would die. It was evil, just as many of the
millions of deaths in history are due to the evil plots of men. It is theological
nonsense to declare that God is the one who determines when people die at the
hands of murderers, and tyrants who kill people by the thousands. God was angry
at David for what he did, and this would be meaningless if God also willed that
Uriah die in battle that day.
26 When Uriah's wife heard that her husband was
dead, she mourned for him.
1. There is no way to know the depth of the feelings going on here. It is just stated
that she mourned, and that is all we know. It seems like such a tragedy would
produce more emotion, but we just have a brief account with no details. Maybe she
was glad she was spared from him knowing about her affair with David. Maybe she
was glad she would be taking into David's harem. All we have is maybe, and no
certainty as to her feelings about the whole matter. She must have known it was no
accident that her husband was killed, but she was helpless in all that was taking
place. Women were taken and given in marriage with no consent on their part.
David's first wife Michal was given to him as a prize, and then given to another
man, and later taken back again with no hint that she ever had a word to say about
it. Women had little to no power to determine their marital status in Bible times.
2. Adam Clarke has a negative attitude toward Bathsheba, for he feels she basically
seduced David by exposing herself. He has a nasty remark here: “The whole of her
conduct indicates that she observed the form without feeling the power of sorrow.
She lost a captain and got a king for her spouse; this must have been deep affliction
indeed: and therefore:-"She shed reluctant tears, and forced out groans from a
joyful heart."
3. Look at the facts. This chapter ends with God being displeased with David, and
nothing is said of God's being displeased with Bathsheba. athan later made it clear
that David was the one who needed to repent. If Bathsheba was guilty of any sin in
this whole affair, there is no record of it in the Biblical account. All judgment on her
is based on prejudice rather than fact.
27 After the time of mourning was over, David
had her brought to his house, and she became his
wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had
done displeased the LORD.
1. otice, it was the thing David had done that displeased the Lord. There is not a
word about God being displeased with Bathsheba. In fact, Richard L. Strauss
writes, "Bathsheba seems to have assumed the most prominent place among David’s
wives. There is no record that he ever took another wife after her. As an indication
of God’s forgiveness, he gave them another son whom they named Solomon, which
means “peace.” The Prophet athan called him Jedidiah, which means “Beloved of
the Lord.” And God assured David that Solomon, son of Bathsheba, would reign in
his place and build the Temple . As added evidence of God’s grace, Bathsheba was
chosen to be one of the four women referred to in the genealogy of our Lord Jesus
Christ."
2. Richard Strauss, “He later wrote three psalms describing those months out of
fellowship with God: Psalms 32, 38 and 51. Listen to his plaintive cry: “I am bent
over and greatly bowed down; I go mourning all day long … I am benumbed and
badly crushed; I groan because of the agitation of my heart” (Psa. 38:6, 8 ). David
loved his Lord and tried to worship him, but he found a barrier there; it was the
barrier of his own sin. God seemed far away. “Do not forsake me, O Lord; O my
God, do not be far from me!” (Psa. 38:21 ). His friends sensed his irritability and
avoided him. “My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague; and my
kinsmen stand afar off” (Psa. 38:11 ). David lived that way for nearly a year. He had
his precious Bathsheba, but he had no rest of soul.”
3. Wayne Jackson wrote to make it clear that even though David was forgiven by
God, he was not released from all the negative consequences of his sin. Many assume
that he was forgiven and so it is no big deal to defy the will of God. Just confess and
be forgiven and all is good. ot so, for forgiveness does not wipe away the effects of
what has been done. God's forgiveness does not eliminate judgment.
4. Jackson wrote, “ ““ “It is truly remarkable that some could seemingly suggest that
Jehovah virtually “ ““ “looked the other way” ”” ” with reference to David’ ’’ ’s transgression,
hence, will do so today. How desperate is the case of those who are obliged to defend
their teaching by an example of which the Bible says: “ ““ “the thing that David had
done displeased Jehovah” ”” ” (2 Sam. 11:27).
The aftermath of this sordid affair is evidence aplenty of the Lord’ ’’ ’s abiding
displeasure of it. The prophet athan was sent unto David. After telling the parable
of the pirated ewe lamb, the fearless spokesman for God made application to the
king: “ ““ “Thou art the man.” ”” ” He then boldly asked: “ ““ “Why have you despised the word
of Jehovah, to do what is evil in his sight?” ”” ” (2 Sam. 12:9). A heavy penalty was
about to be exacted.
First, David had taken Uriah’ ’’ ’s wife and had him slain by the sword of the
Ammonites; so, the sword was never to depart from his house. The fulfillment of
this punishment is a matter of historical record.
Amnon, David’ ’’ ’s eldest son by Ahinoam (1 Chron. 3:1), raped his half-sister, Tamar.
Two years afterward, Absalom, the king’ ’’ ’s son by Maacah (2 Sam. 3:3), had Amnon
murdered (2 Sam. 13). Then, later, Absalom “ ““ “stole the hearts of the men of Israel,” ”” ”
rebelled against his father, and was ultimately killed by Joab (2 Sam. 18). And even
after David’ ’’ ’s death, Adonijah, the king’ ’’ ’s son by Haggith (2 Sam. 3:4), was slain by
Solomon (1 Kgs. 2:24-25). A truly bloody price was paid for David’ ’’ ’s lust and
violence.
Second, David secretly fornicated with his warrior’ ’’ ’s wife while the latter was
engaged in defense of the nation. And so, Jehovah declared:
“ ““ “I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house; and I will take
thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbor, and he
shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly:
but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun” ”” ” (2 Sam.
12:11-12).
Some years later, Absalom openly rebelled against his father. David, upon hearing
that the hearts of the men of Israel were in favor of Absalom, fled Jerusalem,
leaving ten of his concubines behind to keep the palace (2 Sam. 15:16). When
Absalom entered Jerusalem, upon the advice of Ahithophel (Bathsheba’ ’’ ’s
grandfather – –– – 2 Sam. 11:3; 23:34), the young rebel pitched a tent upon the palace
roof (the very place where David had first observed Bathsheba) and “ ““ “went in unto
his father’ ’’ ’s concubines in the sight of all Israel” ”” ” (2 Sam. 16:22).
Third, athan informed David that since this deed had “ ““ “given great occasion to the
enemies of Jehovah to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely
die” ”” ” (2 Sam. 12:14). Though we will briefly comment on this later, it will be
sufficient to note here, with Edersheim, that the baby’ ’’ ’s death was “ ““ “for David’ ’’ ’s
sake, that he might not enjoy the fruit of sin” ”” ” (p. 196).
How strange that this case is cited in support of the modern theory which alleges
that adulterers should be allowed, with impunity, to enjoy the fruit of their sin.
Finally, it is not without significance that the apostle Matthew, centuries later, in
listing the legal genealogy of Christ from Abraham downward, records by
inspiration: “ ““ “And David begat Solomon of her of Uriah” ”” ” (Mt. 1:6).
The Greek text literally says ek tes tou Ouriou, i.e., “ ““ “of [the her belonging to] Uriah.” ”” ”
Lenski comments:
“ ““ “The simple way in which Matthew connects Israel’ ’’ ’s two greatest kings
is telling to the highest degree. Behind the little phrase lies adultery and
murder and the death of the first child. And this woman, though
unnamed, was a queen; rightfully she belonged to Uriah” ”” ” (p. 29).
The thrust of this particular point is this: even in the dimness of pre-Christian
antiquity, there were sometimes lifelong penalties attached to sins. God did not
simply overlook the sin of David and accept the penitent king as he was. There was a
price to be paid.
Even so today, frequently there are agonizing consequences that result from illicit
relationships.” ”” ”
5. Woodrow Kroll, “ ““ “The first half of David's life was a life of great victory. The
second half of his life was a life of great defeat. The dividing point is his lust and his
sin with Bathsheba. Subsequent to David's sin, David's house is the scene of horrible
crimes and feuds and scandals, every kind of disgrace imaginable. In chapter 13, his
daughter Tamar is raped by his son Amnon. In chapter 15, his son Absalom incites
a rebellion, which drove David out of Jerusalem and away from his throne. In
chapter 16, David is cursed by Shimei, a nobody. Although David was returned to
the throne, in chapter 20 another nobody, Sheba, incites another rebellion against
David. In chapter 21 there is a threeyear famine striking the land. In chapter 24
David brings a plague upon his own people because of his pride. You see, you can
easily divide success and failure in David's life by his lust and his sin with
Bathsheba.” ”” ”
6. Redpath: David was called “ ““ “a man after God’ ’’ ’s own heart.” ”” ” That was the caliber
of the man, the height to which he had risen. He had become king of all Israel, and
he had defeated all his enemies. He had risen now to the peak of his life and career – –– –
when suddenly the devil tripped him up. Oh, from what heights of blessing it is
possible for a man to fall! To what depths of sin a man can descend, even with all
that spiritual background! The higher the pinnacle of blessing, authority, and
publicity he has attained by grace, the deeper and more staggering can be his
collapse. There is never a day in any man’ ’’ ’s life but that he is dependent upon the
grace of God for power and the blood of Jesus for cleansing.” ”” ”
7. Adam Clarke concluded that Uriah was the only good character in this whole
chapter. He wrote, “Let David, once a pious, noble, generous, and benevolent hero,
who, when almost perishing with thirst, would not taste the water which his brave
men had acquired at the hazard of their lives; let this David, I say, be considered an
awful example of apostasy from religion, justice, and virtue; Bath-sheba, of lightness
and conjugal infidelity; Joab, of base, unmanly, and cold-blooded cruelty; Uriah, of
untarnished heroism, inflexible fidelity, and unspotted virtue; and then justice will
be done to each character. For my own part, I must say, I pity David; I venerate
Uriah; I detest Joab, and think meanly of Bath-sheba.
O a review of the whole, I hesitate not to say that the preceding chapter is an
illustrious proof of the truth of the sacred writings. Who that intended to deceive, by
trumping up a religion which he designed to father on the purity of God, would
have inserted such an account of one of its most zealous advocates, and once its
brightest ornament? God alone, whose character is impartiality, has done it, to show
that his religion, librata ponderibus suis, will ever stand independently of the
conduct of its professors.
Drs. Delaney, Chandler, and others, have taken great pains to excuse and varnish
this conduct of David; and while I admire their ingenuity, I abhor the tendency of
their doctrine, being fully convinced that he who writes on this subject should write
like the inspired penman, who tells the TRUTH, the WHOLE TRUTH, and
OTHIG BUT THE TRUTH.”
8. Dr. S. Lewis Johnson Jr. “It’s rather startling, is it not, that the only remark
concerning David’s conduct, made by the sacred historian is the chapter’s last line,
in which we read, “But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.” In fact,
those words are very important because, to use modern language, it’s a heading, it’s
a screamer that one would put over the remainder of David’s life because the
history of David’s house is expressed so beautifully by that expression. The thing
that David did displeased the Lord. He never recovered from it in its effects. He,
himself, recovered but the effects of it lasted. And as the chapters unfold in 2
Samuel, you’ll notice that they persisted in the effects of the sin upon his family, his
children, and in his kingdom, and finally even on his death bed, the effects of what
had happened here remained with him. How important it is, my Christian friend,
for us to give every attention to the details of our spiritual life that we might not fall
into the same kind of sin into which David fell.”
9. “Some may ask, "Why is such an awful story found in the Holy Scriptures?" The
Scripture answers this question when it says: "Everything that was written in the
past was written to teach us!" (Rom. 15:4) "These things…were written down as
warnings for us…So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't
fall!" (1 Cor. 10:11,12) In the Holy Scriptures, God does not hide the sins of the
prophets because God wants to teach us valuable lessons."
10. James Wilson, “Verse 27 sums up the whole sordid affair-it was evil in the sight
of the Lord. Up until this point in David's life, he has been a real spiritual hero, but
now, because of this event, his character is forever footnoted by this grave sin. He
started well-but he doesn't finish well. Mickey Spillane says, "The most important
part of a story is the ending. o one reads a book to get to the middle." (Reader's
Digest, ov 2002, p. 73) The ending is the context for everything that precedes it.
Without a strong ending, the value of our lives is cheapened and the potential of our
influence is diminished. Our faithfulness must be for a lifetime. We must finish well.
Paul wrote,"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the
faith;" (2 Tim. 4:7 ASB ) David couldn't.
11. GILL, "but the thing that David had done displeased the Lord; or "was evil in
the eyes of the Lord" (o); for though it was not done in the eyes of men, being
scarcely or very little known, yet was in the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro
throughout the earth, and sees all things that are done: the adultery he had been
guilty of with another man's wife was abominable to the Lord, and for which,
according to the law, both he and she ought to have been put to death, Lev_20:10;
the murder of her husband, which he was accessory to, as well as the death of many
others, and the marriage of her under such circumstances, were all displeasing to
God, and of such an heinous nature, that his pure eyes could not look upon with
approbation: the Jews (p) endeavour to excuse David from sin; from the sin of
murder, by making Uriah guilty of rebellion and treason, as before observed; and
from the sin of adultery, by affirming that it was the constant custom for men, when
they went out to war, to give their wives a bill of divorce; so that from the time of
giving the bill they were not their wives, and such as lay with them were not guilty
of adultery; but for this there is no foundation: it is certain David was charged with
it by the Lord; he himself owned it, and bewailed it, both that and his blood
guiltiness, and the following chapter abundantly proves it.
12. BI, "The fall and punishment of David illustrated
I. The circumstances of David previous to His fall. For several years he had been in
a state of great trouble: But it was not in this state of trial and affliction that he
offended. During this period we see him exercising, in a remarkable degree, the
faith, the resignation, the humility, the patience, the meekness of the servant of God.
But now God had brought his troubles to a close. For some years he had been the
most powerful monarch in that quarter of the world. These were his circumstances
when he fell.
II. Consider the peculiar temptation which is suffered to present itself to David, and
the way in which he encountered it. The temptation arose, a temptation sudden and
great. He gives way to the seduction. He calmly descends from his palace with a
determination to bring the evil of his heart into act, and to perpetrate the crime
which the tempter had suggested to him. This we may conceive to have been the
turning point in David’s career. Oh! had David paused but for one moment; had he
retired a while to deliberate upon his Conduct; had he put up one prayer for Divine
help; had he passed on even to the duties of his kingly office so as to divert his
thoughts into a different channel; the snare might have been broken, and he have
escaped. But, alas! David is left a melancholy monument of what the best man may
become when he forsakes his God, and when his God, in consequence, abandons
him.
III. The state of David after his first sin, and his progress to new offences. What
must David have felt after the perpetration of the first crime? Immediately the sense
of the Divine presence, the inspiring hope of Divine favour and eternal glory, would
withdraw from him. The consequences of his crime were becoming visible, and the
once noble and generous David now resorts to low artifices to conceal his guilt. He
sends for the injured husband. He treats him with a subtlety unworthy both of
himself and of his loyal subject, endeavouring to impose upon him a spurious
offspring. When deceit, however, would not prevail on Uriah, a fresh crime must
compel him. Crime leads on to crime. David, therefore, urged by a dread of
detection, determines to add murder to adultery.
IV. The criminal schemes of David had now taken effect, and Uriah could no more
disturb the bed of his seducer and murderer. But when there remained no obstacle
to enjoyment, the Divine Hand suddenly arrested him in his guilty career. God sent
athan the Prophet to convince him in his guilt.
V. The dreadful consequence of this transgression. Where God forgives, He does not
always wholly spare. He may so pardon the sin as not to inflict upon the sinner
eternal condemnation, and yet punish him severely. And such was the case of David.
Besides the wound his soul had sustained, and which, perhaps, might never
afterwards be entirely healed, we find the remainder of David’s life harassed by
perpetual sorrows.
1. It may teach us to guard against declension in grace, and watch against
temptation. If temptation is urgent flee from it and think of the fall of David.
2. Charity and tenderness in judging of those who fall. Call them not, as the
world are too apt to call them, hypocrites. David was no hypocrite—but David
fell.
3. Finally, let us beware of employing the fall of David as a plea for sin, and of
presuming that such a restoration as his to favour and holiness will be granted to
ourselves. Before we can build upon the hope of a restoration such as his our
circumstances must be those of David. (J. Venn, M. A.)
David’s great trespass
How ardently would most, if not all readers of David’s life have wished that the first
verse of this chapter had been—“And David died, and was gathered unto his
fathers; and his son reigned in his stead.” The golden era of his life has passed
away; his sun has begun to go down; and what remains of his life is chequered with
records of crime and chastisement, of sin and sorrow. What we now encounter is not
like a spot but an eclipse; it is not a mere pimple that slightly disfigures a comely
face, but a tumour that distorts the countenance and drains the whole body; of its
vigour. There is something quite remarkable in the fearless way in which the Bible
unveils the guilt of David; it is set forth in all its enormity, without an attempt to
excuse or palliate it; and the only statement introduced in the whole narrative to
characterise his proceedings are these quiet but terribly expressive words with
which the chapter ends—“But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.”
In the bold and fearless march of Providence, we often see the hand of God. What
mere man, framing the character of one designed to be a pattern of excellence, and
to bear the designation “the man after God’s own heart”—would have dared to
ascribe to him such wickedness as this? The truth is, that though David’s reputation
would have been far brighter, if he had died at this point of his career; the moral of
his life, so to speak, would have been less complete. In some way that we cannot
rightly explain, he does not appear to have been duty sensible either of the guilt or
of the danger of this tendency. He does not appear to have watched against it as
against other sins, nor to have taken the same pains, through grace, to subdue it. In
the passage now before us we find a catastrophe, resulting from this state of things,
which was truly the beginning of sorrows. The king of Israel becomes familiar with
sorrows and trials, compared to which any that he had suffered when flying and
biding from Saul were light indeed. The lust which he has spared and indulged, re-
appearing in his children, introduces incest and murder into the bosom of his
family; it violates the sanctity of his home; and in place of the comely order, and the
sweet tranquility of brothers and sisters dwelling together in unity, his palace
becomes an abode of brutal appetites and murderous passions—the stain and
horror of which time can neither lessen nor remove. Such a fall as David’s could not
have been altogether instantaneous. It must have been preceded by a spiritual
declension, probably of considerable duration. The likelihood is that the great
prosperity that was now flowing in upon David in every direction had had an
unfavourable effect upon his soul. For a long period the very extremities of his
situation had driven him to dependence on God—necessity was laid upon him; but
now that necessity was removed. Add to this the fact mentioned in the beginning of
this chapter, and so mentioned as to imply that it is a significant one—that at the
time when kings go forth to battle, David allowed his army to go without him, and
“tarried still at Jerusalem.” This seems to imply that the king had fallen into a
luxurious, self-indulging mood; that he was disposed to sit still and enjoy himself
rather than accompany his brave soldiers to the self-denying labours and dangers of
the field. ext, let us notice the manner in which David was led on from step to step
of sin. His first sin was—suffering himself to be arrested by the sight of the woman;
his fall began with a sin of the heart; had he made a covenant with his eyes, like Job,
he would have nipped the temptation in the bud; he would have been saved a world
of agony and sin. Let us try to gather up briefly, first, the principal kinds of sin of
which David was guilty on this occasion; and then, their chief aggravations.
(1) There was the crime of adultery, including, as it always does, the sin of
robbery, and the murder of character, and constituting, according to the
criminal law of the Jews, a capital offence, the punishment of which for both
parties was death.
(2) Attempted deception, in his efforts to prevent his crime from being
known.
(3) Tempting Uriah to drunkenness—braving the curse afterwards
denounced by the prophet.
(4) Ingratitude and injustice to Uriah, whose noble services in the cause, of
his king met with a “cruel return.
(5) Meanness and treachery; it was mean to take advantage of Uriah’s
absence in the first instance; it was mean to attempt, through him, to conceal
the crime; it was mean to try to intoxicate him; and it was incredibly mean to
make him the bearer of a letter detailing a plot for his death.
(6) Commanding another person (Joab) to do an unjust and atrocious action.
And,
(7) The crowning sin of murder—slightly masked, no doubt, and less
atrocious in appearance as the mode of death was-what every soldier was
exposed to, but, in substance, deliberate murder.
The aggravations of these sins were great.
(1) All this was done by the king of the nation, who was bound not only to be
an example to his people in general, but especially to discountenance crime,
and to encourage and reward bravery in his service.
(2) God had shown singular goodness to David; he had been rescued by God
from all his enemies, placed upon the throne, and surrounded with every
species of lawful enjoyment.
(3) The very profession made by David, and for the most part so
consistently—his reputation as a good and holy man—made his offences the
greater.
(4) He had reached a mature or almost advanced age; he was long past the
boundary of youth, and therefore the more inexcusable in giving way to
youthful lusts. And
(5) There was the example of Uriah—so eminent a pattern of faithfulness to
his duty as a soldier—of firm aversion even to lawful indulgences that might
indispose him for the hardships of a soldier’s life, or be unsuitable in the
comrade of brave, self-denying men. Such was the labyrinth of guilt and
wickedness into which King David was now betrayed. How, then, it may be
asked, can the thing be accounted for at all? It may serve, in some slight
degree, to account, for it, if we bear in mind the source of the spiritual life
and the mode of its operation. When a man is converted, two opposite
principles begin to struggle in his heart—the old man and the new: “The
flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit lusteth against the flesh.” In
some natures, both the old man and the new possess unusual vehemence; the
desperate energisings of the old are held in check only by the still greater
vigour of the new; and if by any means the new man lose his vigour for a
time—if the communication with the great Source of that vigour be
interrupted, frightful havoc may be wrought by the old. Some men are giants
every way: Luther, for example, was a giant in intellect—a giant in animal
force and power—a giant in gracious affections; and when in such men the
native inclinations burst the restraints of the new nature, it is no common
wickedness that may be looked for. It was so with David. But it is one thing
to account for David’s sin—it is another to excuse it. These remarks are
designed for the one purpose, not the other. The whole transaction bears the
character of a beacon, and the beacon is one of the darkest even in the
faithful records of Scripture history.
(1) First of all, it shows the frightful danger of interrupting, however briefly,
the exercise of watching and praying—of discontinuing communion with the
great Source of spiritual strength, especially when the evils that first made us
pray earnestly are removed. An hour’s sleep may leave Samson at the mercy
of Delilah, and when he awakes his strength is gone.
(2) Further, it affords a sad proof of the danger of dallying with sin even in
thought. Admit sin within the precincts of the imagination, and there is the
utmost danger of its ultimately mastering the soul. The outposts of the
spiritual garrison should be so placed as to protect even the thoughts, and the
moment the enemy is discovered there the alarm should be given and the
fight begun.
(3) Still further, his fail exemplifies the frightful risk of tolerating anywhere
in our hearts a single sin. One sin leads on to another and another; especially
if the first be a sin which it is desirable to conceal. (W. G. Blaikie, M. A.)
Transgression: its progress and, consummation
I. The origin of David’s transgressions. Seldom, if ever, is it the case that crime, to
any enormous extent, is perpetrated by men even of the common Stamp, upon
sudden and momentary impulse. There is almost invariably to be observed a regular
gradation in sin, until it towers in all the fierce and frightful ascendancy of open
guilt. Thus was it here. Despise not the fear of extreme iniquity, as if you were
incapable of such a thing. If David fell, who once stood so high and ‘holy in
Christian character, to what a depth may we yet fall, we who have never yet
attained to any thing like his early piety:, his primitive godliness.
II. The progress of sin now opens before us. Indolence and sensuality worked out
their regular and invariable effect upon the erring monarch. He rises from his bed
in the evening time—the bed of luxury, every passion pampered, every avenue to sin
wide open, nothing further necessary to bring about his ruin than some external
object to move the overt act of evil. The wife of Uriah, one of his principal and most
faithful generals, becomes the object of temptation. The temptation triumphs, and
the first work of iniquity is accomplished. Sin now becomes compulsory; the fear of
detection and infamy, perhaps of personal danger from the just wrath of Uriah,
drives the royal culprit to every mean and despicable expedient in order to conceal
his transgression. Sin now drives on the soul to violence; and with cold and
unfeeling treachery Uriah is made the innocent messenger of his own destruction.
What a series of close-linked iniquities—indolence, luxury, lust adultery, hypocrisy,
falsehood, treachery, murder! And this is not all; we have here but the single series
of crimes; there is a complication likewise which we must not overlook if we would
read off the history in all its forcible and solemn instructiveness. Bathsheba is made
an accomplice in sin, a moral victim to the guilty passion of the king, while her
husband is sacrifced to his fears. Here are souls and bodies of men, precious lives,
sported away under the hellish dominion of triumphant guilt! What complicated
crime! What an awful history!
III. The consummation of evil. All that we have hitherto looked at belongs only to
substantial guilt; guilt branded, it is true, with atrocity, but the consummation of
evil still remains for our reflections. Many months had elapsed since the
commencement of this wretched business, and a long period of time, too, had
intervened between the death of Uriah and the visit of athan, to awaken the royal
transgressor to repentance. Throughout this whole interval, there was no movement
of remorse towards heaven in the heart of the king; he feared the reproof of man,
and the wrath of man, as we have seen, and laboured by murderous efforts to avoid
them; but there was yet no remorse towards God, no recognition of his turpitude, as
viewed by the Most High, no fear of Divine censure, of Divine indignation, no effort
to arrest or even deprecate the wrath of Jehovah. Thus, then, David had fallen into
practical infidelity; every active consideration of God’s existence, omniscience, and
justice had vanished away. What a mystery is sin; it possesses us to self-destruction,
while it diminishes nothing of our sagacity or skill in arraying and condemning the
guilt of others. It is enough for satanic malice and purpose, if the soul be filled with
every holy sentiment, and wisdom, and quality for external occupation, provided it
remain dead to its own interests, unmoved by its own guilt! This prostration of
judgment, this death of conscience, consummated the spiritual misery of the fallen
monarch. How long should such a state have lasted, if God had not specially recalled
the sinner to repentance? For ever! There was no human power, no natural remedy
left for his restoration. To reclaim him, fear had failed, and conscience had failed,
and memory of past obedience had failed. Reason was stupified, and stupified for
ever, if God had not, in his faithfulness and mercy, sent a special waffling to his
soul, calling forth repentance. Let us pause here one short moment, while we collect
together the admonition, which may be adduced from what we have now perused.
1. And first, as we saw the steady, onward progress of sin, from the almost
imperceptible germ of indolence and luxury, to the actual crime of murder, and
the utter infatuation of all spiritual sense and judgment, let us hence, I say,
beware of the least compliance with iniquity. We often trifle with sins of small
account, set limitations to our compliance with the follies or luxuries, or
harmless indulgences of the world, as they are termed.
2. Reflect with horror on the complication of sin. For our self-gratification alone
it is that we are led on to crime at first; that gratification must have victims; aye,
if the besetting evil within us be but pride or covetousness, it must have victims.
Some must suffer for our indulgence, many will become hardened by our
example in guilt; for often the man who is called, in the false language of the
world, his own enemy alone, will have to answer, perhaps, for the eternal death
of others.
3. Trust nothing to your own shrewdness of discernment between good and evil
your own spiritual-mindedness and holiness, about the external objects and
other men. Our profession is worth nothing, our spiritual attainments no proof
of personal approbation with God, of personal holiness, while they range beyond
self. We must deal with self, prove self, pass judgment on self, and live in
communion, secret union with Christ, or our religion is but sounding brass and
tinkling cymbal.
IV. The return to virtue. Mark the proof; here is a king, with all the powers of life
and death over his subjects, in his own will, in his own hands. He is confronted by a
man of humble state, of lowly lot, a man devoid of ally earthly influence. By this
man he is accused of a grievous murder, and that, too in broad noon day, before his
courtiers and counsellors, on his very throne of judgment; and so far from yielding
to resentment at so daring an intrusion, or expressing the least displeasure at the
abrupt and public accusation with which he is so assailed, he sinks at once into
contrition, and confesses his iniquity—“I have sinned against the Lord.” This is
what we need, a thorough conviction of our sins now; we shall have it certainly in
the world to come, if it be not here attained. But conviction there is too late for
anything but eternal torment; we must have it here, that under a thorough sense of
our lost condition, we may apply to the rich mercies of the Redeemer for pardon.
V. Pardon I And may pardon be had for such iniquities as adultery and murder—
for such extremes of crime? Yes, for all transgressions; the vilest may hope; this
history is for our encouragement, to seek that grace which never was denied to
suppliant man—“Christ is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by
him.”
VI. o encouragement to careless sin, and fruitless admission of criminality, with
the secret or avowed purpose of continuance in crime. That from which nature
shrinks with more alarm than all the threatenings of eternal misery can inspire is
present suffering; that was inflicted, in all its severity, upon David. (C. M. Fleury, A.
M.)
Sloth and sin
I. David at this time enjoyed great prosperity. The promises made in adversity have
not been forgotten. His devotion to God is fervid and growing. There were no
rebellions at home. The land was quiet. The great wish of his heart had been formed
into an avenue through which the service could be rendered to God.
1. Prosperity enervated him. Prosperity is a danger to men of David’s mould.
Contrast the readiness with which he went forth in the old days when Saul
hunted him as a bird! He was standing in high places! He needed clinging grace.
2. Prosperity induced sloth. Our inner life is very responsive to our outward
condition.
II. When opportunity and temptation meet there is struggle. Without reserve the
Bible tells the shameful story—shows how one sin drags after it another until it
compels you to write against the name of the man (not free from the weakness of
human imperfections, yet sincere and upright)—to write against that man the
horrible list of crimes, deception, adultery, injustice, treachery, and murder.
III. The influences which sapped the wall of his will. You feel instinctively such a
fall could not have been instantaneous—fifty years old, a devoted, upright man of
God to so fall. The tempest has not strength in it to snap such an oak if the heart of
the tree is sound. The sacred narrative shows the weakness, reveals the secret decay.
1. Close the doors of imagination against carnal imagery; make a covenant with
your eves and keep it. There was a “prepared plate” in the camera of David’s
mind, or the beauty of Bathsheba had been as nought to him. Take heed where
you go for your recreations. Idle strolling may in some moods lead to pitfalls. He
concealed when he should have confessed. Better to have crept to the mercy-seat
covered with his filth than, as he did, wait in the palace with his sin. (H. E.
Stone.)
David and Bathsheba
After so many splendid victories achieved by David, after such frequent triumphs
over his enemies, nothing remained but the subjugation of those passions that are
excited by prosperity and wealth: but these were enemies more difficult to subdue
than the Philistines and the other powerful nations whom this valiant warrior had
vanquished. “He that ruleth his spirit is stronger than he that taketh a city.” David
was smitten with the charms of Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, a brave and generous
soldier, who was at that time fighting the battles of his country, and engaged at the
siege of Rabbah. Contrary to the laws of God, to every sentiment of honour, and
every dictate of generosity, he led her to violate her nuptial engagements. What shall
we say to this conduct? Shall we with some well-intentioned but injudicious
commentators extenuate the crimes of David? o; he himself, when his eyes were
opened to behold the depth of the abyss into which he was fallen, would not attempt
to diminish the horror of his transgressions. He was guilty of crimes than which
none more enormous are to be found in the black list of sins.
1. Are there any who are ready to justify their enormities from the example of
David? Who are saying to themselves, “If David, notwithstanding these
enormous crimes, was a saint of God, and obtained pardon, I am safe?” Let such
consider his habitual conduct, his splendid virtues, and his deep repentance. In
examining his habitual conduct, we behold a heart devoted to God. He fell into
acts of the greatest wickedness; but these were not permanent, but diametrically
opposite to his general walk and conversation. Justice requires also that we
should contrast his murder and adultery with the splendid actions of his life.
“David,” says the sacred historian (1Ki_15:5) “did that which was right in the
eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him
all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” Think of his
confidence in God; of his trust in the everlasting covenant; of the magnanimity
and clemency that he so often displayed; of his zeal for the glory of God; of his
humility; of his acquiescence in the severest dispensations of providence; of the
pious emotions which glow in his psalms, and were felt in his heart; and after
taking this general review of his life, say if there are many who from the bed of
death can look back to more numerous or more splendid monuments of piety
and virtue. Consider, too, the depth of his repentance. Behold him prostrate in
the dust, dissolved in tears, pleading for the life of his soul; looking back with
unutterable anguish to his conduce; bearing the agonised remembrance of it to
the grave; never palliating his crimes; fleeing for pardon to unmerited grace.
2. This subject teaches us that one sin gradually leads us to another; that he who
enters upon a criminal course knows not where he shall stop in his course; that
he who indulges impetuous passions and inordinate appetites will shortly be
deprived of the power of saying to them, “Hitherto shall ye come and no
farther;” and that, therefore, our only safety is to be found in resisting the first
approaches to crime, and “abstaining from all appearance of evil.” Oppose,
then, the beginnings of evil; beware of cherishing one sinful thought; you know
not to what lengths of guilt and shame it may carry you; you cannot tell where
its destructive consequences will end.
3. This subject addresses those who, like David, have departed from the ways of
the Lord; have violated their engagements; have wounded their consciences;
have grieved the Spirit of God and His saints. There is a sacrifice which has
sufficient virtue to expiate all your accumulated guilt. By the application of the
blood of Jesus, and the communication of his Spirit, you shall obtain the
restoration of peace with God, and strength to serve Him in time to come; like
David and like Peter recovered from your falls, you shall again participate of his
favour and love.
4. In reviewing this history, we are naturally led to ask, Why did Providence
permit this shameful fall in David? or, to extend the question, Why does God
allow sin to remain, and sometimes to break out forcibly in his regenerate
children? This question cannot easily be answered. It is not for want of power to
prevent it; for He could perfectly sanctify them. It is not for want of hatred to
their sin; it appears as odious, more odious in them than in others. It is not for
want of love to them; he regards them as his friends and his children. Why, then,
does he not render them immaculately holy? The following are, perhaps, some of
the reasons of this dispensation. These do not at all justify the offender, though
they vindicate the providence of God, and show its omnipotence in educing good
from evil itself.
(1) By them, the grace of God, in justification, is illustriously, and will be
eternally magnified.
(2) They are thus taught the depth of that iniquity which is in them, and
rendered humble and dependent.
(3) Thus they are taught to value more dearly the advocacy and intercession
of the Lord Jesus.
(4) The remembrance of the anguish of soul which they endured before God
restored unto them the joy of His salvation; the recollection of “the
wormwood and the gall” inspires them with additional fear of sin, and makes
them more studious to mortify it. They tremble at the disease they have
already felt, and walk in holy fear.
(5) They are thus, by the wonderful providence of God, fitted for service.
“When thou art converted,” says Christ to Peter, after predicting his fall,
“strengthen thy brethren.” By the bitter experience of the power of sin they
can admonish others against it.
(6) The sins of believers make them tong for heaven. They are made ready to
drop this body of flesh if with it they may drop the body of sin and death.
“They groan, being burdened,” and sigh for that land of perfect holiness,
where they shall no longer offend their God. (H. Kollock, D. D.)
David’s fall
What led to David’s great sin? He did by another what he ought to have done
himself. otice verse l, “When kings go forth;” “David sent Joab;” “David tarried
still.”
1. The indulgence of the flesh in a little thing led to indulgence in a greater.
(Rom_13:12-14; Rom_8:12-13; Gal_5:16.)
2. One sin leads to another, or requires another to cover it.
3. See the hardening effect of sin! The tender-hearted David becomes a monster
of cruelty! (Read, after 2Sa_11:26; 2Sa_12:26 to end.)
4. The degradation of sin! Joab taken into counsel.
5. The Lord’s unseen contemplation of man’s actions. (Verse 27. Heb_4:13; Pro_
15:11.) I, the great onus of the crime. For Christians the terrible ingredient of
wilful sin is this: They crucify Christ afresh. They cause His name to be
blasphemed. (Rom_2:24.) This makes our responsibility; hence 1Pe_2:12; 2Co_
6:3.
II. David’s repentance. otice immediate confession on conviction of his sin. His
confession brief, heartfelt, going to the root of the matter. (R. E. Faulkner.)
David’s dark days
If the heart is lifted up, if pride and self-conceit take the place of humility and manly
self-forgetfulness, the soul is likely to lose its hold upon God and its close
communion with Him, and there is danger of temptation prevailing over high
principle, danger of the “natural man” usurping the place of the “spiritual man,”
danger of a fall. So it was with David. The height of his success and the splendour of
his triumph may have thrown him off his guard. He was a strong man with a
passionate nature, and through his passions he fell. It was a true instance of St.
James’s awful statement. He was “drawn away of his lust, and enticed;” and when
lust had conceived it brought forth sin; and sin, when it was finished, brought forth
death. One deliberate sin has this terrible property about it, that, unless checked at
once, by honest confession and return to God, it is sure to lead on to other sins. Such
was the case with David. He tried to cover up the crime he had committed by
various efforts to deceive Uriah, and make it impossible for the dark secret to be
known.
2. A year had passed away since David’s fall. He had returned to Jerusalem in
triumph. The dead Uriah was probably forgotten. The child of guilt was burn,
and loved by David with a passionate tenderness. The dreadful story, however,
was not, we maybe quite certain, all forgotten by the king himself. However
much the commission of the crimes of adultery and murder had injured or
blinded his conscience—as wilful sin always does—still, “the man after God’s
own heart,” the man who had shown through many temptations “an honest and
good heart,” the man who had loved and trusted God so faithfully, could not
have rested quite at his ease under the terrible memory that he had allowed base
passion to conquer his better self.
3. God was looking in mercy upon His servant, and athan was sent to him to
bring him to the fulness of a sincere repentance, and to restore trim to peace
with God. athan did his duty fearlessly and completely. Whatever sorrows
there are and must be to penitents who have deeply fallen, still “God is the God
of comfort,” and He comforted David. Bathsheba was now his wife. Another
child was born to them and David—with the sense of restored peace with God—
called him Solomon, “the peaceful.” (W. J. Knox Little, M. A.)
David’s downfall
This chapter holds out the history of David’s soul downfall from the very pinnacle
of the highest prosperity to which God raised him. David’s downfall was double,
into two sins (without repentance), namely, the sin of adultery and the sin of
murder.
I. Remarks upon the concomitant circumstances Are:—
1. The time of David’s adultery. This has a three-fold description, as
(1) The time of the year, at springtime;
(2) The time of war, when David had renewed his war against the
Ammonites; and
(3) The time of the day, in an eventide (2Sa_11:1-2.) To which may be added
(4) The time of David’s age and reign. Common computation makes it
David’s seventh year, the forty-ninth of his age, and the nineteenth of his
reign. But learned Dr. Lightfoot computes it to be the twenty-sixth of his
reign and so the fifty-sixth of his age, seeing he was thirty years old when he
began his reign in Hebron, being in the tenth year of Samuel.
2. The place of David’s sin: it was his own palace where he was indulging himself
to ease and pleasure, when he should have been fighting the Lord’s battles in the
field with his army against the Ammonites. While he kept abroad in the wars in
his own person he was safe enough. It was at evening tide when David should
have been at his devotion, as had been his custom (Psa_55:17), seeing he would
not be in the field to fight.
3. Upon the third circumstance, the person, the sight whereof was the occasion of
David’s soul fall. She is described here divers ways:
(1) A woman washing herself, to wit, from her legal uncleanness (Lev_15:19;
Lev_18:19.) Possibly some window was carelessly left open for air in her
chamber, that was near the palace royal, where she could espie no beholder;
but lust, being quick sighted, lustful David espied her through the casement
that then was casually or carelessly left open.
(2) “Very beautiful to behold.” This was a strong bait to David, who had
been indulging himself with some excess of eating and drinking.
(3) She is described by her name, as well as by her beauty (2Sa_11:3.) David
enquired after her, who she was, when he should rather have reproved
himself for looking and lusting after a forbidden object; more especially
when he found she was a daughter to one and a wife to another of his famous
worthies (2Sa_23:34; 2Sa_23:39.)
(4) “David sent messengers to fetch her.” Unbridled lust, like the wild vine,
will ramble over the hedge.
(5) She came from her own house into his palace, not by force but by
persuasion, pretending only to speak with her; but she came not so well
fortified for resisting a temptation as she should.
II. Let us turn aside with Moses to take a little prospect of this, a great wonder,
1. As to David, “A man after God’s own heart,” yet his unbridled lust had
metamorphosed him into a beast, He might now well say in the words of Asaph,
“So foolish was I and ignorant, and even as a beast before Thee.” (Psa_73:23.)
This teacheth us, that the best of men are but men at the best; and who art thou,
O man, that thinkst thou art safe and secure enough from acts Of sin? “Surely
thou knowest not the plague of thine own heart” (1Ki_8:38.)
2. As to Bathsheba, some do say she was not free from faultiness upon several
accounts.
(1) That she bathed herself in her garden, so nigh to the King’s court, for
Uriah, being one of David’s worthies, had his house assigned him near to the
royal palace.
(2) That she so willingly came with the first messenger without any jealousy
of a snare to her, after such too open a washing herself in the view of the
court.
(3) That she so easily yielded unto David’s tempting her without any
reluctancy, forgetting her fidelity to her honourable husband, choosing
rather to be a base harlot to a king than an honest wife to a good subject.
III. David’s adding murder to his adultery, instead of repenting for his sin.
1. First, David’s contrivement to congeal his sin from the eyes of men, in the
meantime not regarding the all-seeing eye of God, etc.
(1) He sends for Uriah, that he, returning home and lying with his wife,
might believe this now begotten child, to be of his own begetting.
(2) The discourse betwixt David and Uriah upon his return at royal summons
(v. 7.)
(3) David deals still with Uriah while sober, and dissemblingly gives him an
amicable dismission (v. 8) bidding him go home and refresh thyself after thy
travail, “and rejoice with the wife of thy youth” (Pro_5:18.) ot doubting but
he would converse with his wife, and so cover both their sin and their shame.
(4) David’s expostulation with Uriah, occasioned by his not embracing the
King’s leave to go to his house, but sleeping all night, among the king’s guard
(v. 9.)
(5) Uriah still holds his resolution (v. 11) neither the dignity of the king (saith
Peter Martyr) nor the beauty and importunity of his wife could reclaim him
from his refractory humour. Thus the providence of God did counter-work
all the policies and projects of David, who designed all along to have his sin
concealed, when the most wise God will have it revealed; and lest the king
should think it was too saucy a sullenness in a subject to be thus peremptory
he renders a most pregnant reason for so persisting in his resolve.
(6) Still David, instead of repenting, proceeds from bad to worse (2Sa_11:12-
13), when he found himself crossed in his former contrivances with Uriah
while sober, he will try one trick more in making Uriah drunk, that when
intoxicated he might forget his oath and lie with his wife, putting off all his
former austerity.
2. The last, but worst link of that doleful chain of David’s lust: So far was David
still from repenting of his sin that, seeing his craft (for concealing his adultery he
failed him in all the other fair means he contrived, now) resolveth upon cruelty
in the use of foul methods to get this good Uriah cut off insensibly, and so to
cover his adultery with murder, that so he might not live to accuse the
adulteress.
(1) In order hereunto he wrote a letter to Joab (v. 14), not with black but
rather with blood, and Uriah must carry this sword to Joab for the cutting of
his own throat.
(2) Uriah must be set in the hottest battle, and then lurched (v 15). Joab must
believe this most excellent person had some way deserved death, and he must
be the executioner; yet could he not be ignorant of the law, that no criminals
should die without two or three witnesses against them; therefore, he was too
obsequious in obeying so tyrannical a command (v. 16, 17), but Joab haply
hoped thereby to ingratiate himself with David for the murder of Abner,
which he had not yet answered, for now David was like to be no less guilty
than himself. Right or wrong, he’ll please the king.
(3) Tidings hereof are dictated by Joab in what order the messenger must tell
David (v. 18, 19), and if the king object any rashness in the enterprise, he
must answer “Uriah is slain also,” and that answers all objections.
(4) David was pleased, saying “Let not Joab be displeased,” etc (v. 25), where
he smootheth up his general, slights the slaughter of so many gallant men,
and deeply dissembleth with the messenger, that so neither his bloody
command nor Joab’s fawning obedience might be discovered to him. David
had, been still striving against the stream in the use of fair means, and none
would do to his content; but, having found success in this foul policy, oh how
he hugs himself under hardness of heart.
(5) Bathsheba mourned for the death of her husband (v. 26), and no doubt it
was a feigned and a merry mourning. She was inwardly pleased, both as
freed from fear of his rage and punishment of an adulteress, and: as hoping
now to be made a queen. Had she been sensible of her sin (afterwards
doubtless she was) she would have mourned like a dove, as Queen Huzzah
did (ah_2:7.) But after seven days of mourning (saith Josephus) the
ordinary time (Gen_50:10, 1Sa_31:13) the adulterer married the adulteress;
and probably more haste might be made here that she might be thought to be
with child by David after they were married (v. 27.) “But the thing that
David had (lone displeased the Lord,” which was not simply his marrying of
her, for that is nowhere forbidden in Scripture, but for his alluring her to
adultery, and for murdering her husband after it. (C. ess.)
Susceptibility to sin
Professor George Lincoln Goodale, speaking of the cultivation of plants, said: “It is
impossible for us to ignore the fact that there appear to be occasions in the life of a
species when it seems to be peculiarly susceptible to the influences of its
surroundings. A species, like a carefully laden ship, represents a balancing of forces
within and without. Disturbances may come through variation from within, as from
a shifting cargo, or in some cases from without. We may suppose both forces to be
active in producing variation, a change in the internal condition rendering the plant
more susceptible to any change in its surroundings. “Under the influence of any
marked disturbance a state of unstable equilibrium may be brought about, at which
times the species as such is easily acted upon by very slight agencies.” Analogous to
the learned scientist’s observation of growing plants is the experience of every
growing human life. We cannot pass over its ever-repeated evidence that there are
occasions when character, to use Dr. Goodale’s phrase, “seems to be peculiarly
susceptible to, the influence of its surroundings;” and disturbances, whether from
within or without, produce such a state of “unstable equilibrium,” that the
character is “easily acted upon by any very slight agencies.” Then is it that, by the
merest little only, life’s important steps are taken, and lead to either success or
failure. (Homiletic Review.)
A man’s weak hours
A man is weak, not by the power that assails, but by the want of defensive power. It
made no difference where the assault was made at Gettysburg on the third day, by
the adversary that attempted to pierce the centre of the lines; and it made no
difference that they came after a perfect whirlwind of cannonading; for the resisting
power was greater than the attacking power. That is an hour of weakness when the
resisting power is weak. ow, nothing is weaker than the conscience when it is
paralysed by the touch of avarice. There is such an appetite in some natures for gold
that, although at times they are manly and good in a thousand respects, at other
times, when avarice dominates, their moral sentiments are paralysed by it; and
those are their weak hours. There are some men whose weak hour is connected with
their passions. There are some men whose weak hour is in the lower grade of
pleasures. There are some men whose weak hour is in eating. There are other men
whose weak hour is in drinking. Oh, how many noble men have been girdled, how
many men of genius have been utterly destroyed, how many persons of hope and
promise have been completely overthrown, by intemperance! (H. W. Beecher.)
Watchfulness against riotous appetites imperative
The fleshly passions are like mutinous sailors, to be kept below deck. “ever allow
your lower nature anything better than a steerage passage. Let watchfulness wall:
the decks as an armed sentinel and shoot down with great promptness anything like
a mutiny of riotous appetites.” Says the apostle: “Mortify—literally, kill your
members which are upon the earth.” (E. P. Thwing.)
Sin, a malicious guest;
“Sin is an ill guest,” says Manton, “for it always sets its lodgings on fire.”
Entertained within the human breast, and cherished and fondled, it makes its host
no return but an evil one. It places the burning coals of evil desire within the soul
with evident intent to fire the whole man with fierce passions. Let these passions be
suffered to rage, and the flame will burn even to the lowest hell. Who would not shut
his door on such a guest? Or, if he be known to be lurking within, who would not
drag him out? How foolish are these who find delight in such an enemy, and treat
him with more care than their best friend. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
Looking at a wrong thing perilous
Weak dallying with forbidden desires is sure to end in wicked clutching at them.
Young men, take care! You stand upon the beetling edge of a great precipice, when
you look over, from your fancied security, at a wrong thing; and to strain too far,
and to look too friendly, leads to a perilous danger of toppling over and being lost. If
you know that a thing cannot be won without transgression do not tamper with
hankering for it. Keep away from the edge, and shut your eyes from beholding
vanity. (A. Maclaren, D.D.)
Satan ever near the idle
David’s giving himself to ease and pleasure was the root of all his wretchedness.
Standing waters gather filth. Flies settle upon the sweetest perfumes when cold, and
corrupt them. As the crab-fish seizeth upon the oyster gaping, so doth Satan upon
the idle. o moss sticketh to the rolling stone: which if it lay still would be
overgrown. The rankest weeds grow out of the fattest soil. The water that hath been
heated soonest freezeth; the most active spirit soonest tireth with slacking. The earth
standeth still, and is all dregs; the heavens ever move and are pure. Beware of ease
and idleness: here began David’s downfall. Say not of this, as Lot did of Zoar, “Is it
not a little one?” The parvity of a sin taketh not away the pravity of it: and a less
maketh way for a greater, as wedges do in wood-cleaving. Pompey desired that all
his soldiers might come into a certain city; when that was denied he said, “Let nay
weak and wounded soldiers come in;” they did, and then soon opened the gates to
all the army. (J. Trapp.)
13. HAWKER, "Reader! let you and I make a most serious pause over the perusal
of this chapter, and endeavor to gather the improvements from it which God the
Holy Ghost plainly intended the church should gather from the awful subject.
See! that the blessed Spirit hath suffered nothing to be kept back in the relation.
Everything that can possibly tend to give it the most finished representation of
infamy and sin is marked in it. And after the enumeration of adultery, with the art
and baseness to conceal it; even leading to drunkenness, and to murder; not barely
of one, but of many; we discover (and what is in the representation as awful a view
as any) the most consummate boldness in sin, rioting in the fruits of it, in the
marriage with the accomplice of his former shame, and a total insensibility and
hardness of conscience, as if he had committed no evil at all.
And what may we suppose to be the intention of the Holy Ghost in thus unfolding to
the church’s view the shame of David? Is it not, Reader, to teach every child of God
those most useful, however humbling, lessons; that the best of men are but men, and
as liable to fall into the worst of sins as the unrenewed and unawakened. Corrupt
nature; in the mass of flesh and blood, is the same in all. That the Lord’s people are
regenerated only in their better part, their spiritual faculties. The body still
continues earthly, sensual, and tending to earth and sensuality. If therefore the
affections of the body in the people of God do not break out, and show themselves as
vilely as in the unregenerate; this is not from any greater purity in their earthly
parts than others, but from the restraining grace of God. This is one precious design
which we may venture to believe God the Holy Ghost had in view, in causing this
fall of David to be so particularly and fully recorded.
And there is another we may as confidently suppose intended by it, and that is, to
teach the infinite importance of being always kept by sovereign grace. David himself
was so conscious of it that he cries out in a fervor of the greatest earnestness, Keep
back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me.
Depend upon it, my Brother, the withdrawment of God’s Spirit from a child of God,
though but for a short space, is the saddest evil in our pilgrimage state. God hath
other ways in the stores of his omnipotency, of punishing the sins of his children,
than casting them into hell. It is only, as no doubt it was in this instance of David, (in
his first giving way to the lust of his corrupt nature, in looking wantonly on Bath-
sheba) it is only for the Lord to suspend the operations of his Holy Spirit, and the
enemy, who waits for our halting, joining with our own hearts, and the world
around, soon makes us to fall. And, if the Lord be withdrawn, the heart, like a cage
of unclean birds, is open to the admission of every evil. And who knows what a
succession of sins, like those of David, treading one upon the heels of another, may
follow during the Lord’s suspension of the operations of his grace? How doth the
heart, as in his instance, become more and more hardened through the deceitfulness
of sin. Oh! let us, like him, daily, hourly, minutely, if possible, pray, Lord! take not
thine Holy Spirit from us!
And, is there not a third sweet lesson, believers in Christ have, to draw from this
view of David? Yes! blessed Spirit! I venture to assure myself that in thine own most
lovely and gracious office, in glorifying the Lord Jesus, thou didst, above every
other consideration, design to teach the church, in the fall of David, the infinitely
precious doctrine of redemption by Christ Jesus; and that there is salvation in no
other; for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must
be saved. Oh! dearest Lord, let this view of David serve to impress on my soul this
grand truth, in yet stronger and stronger characters. Give me to see, to feel, to be
convinced, that if a man after God’s own heart, (of whom it is said by the word of
truth itself, that save only in this matter of Uriah he turned not aside from anything
that the Lord commanded him all the days of his life. See 1Ki_15:5), if such a man
needed redemption, oh! how infinitely endeared to every poor sinner’s view ought to
be the person, offices, relations, and characters of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes! thou
dear Redeemer! with my latest breath, and earliest song, would I chant those sweet
words, as the sum and substance of all my trust; We have redemption through thy
blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of thy grace.
14. The final ending is not over yet, and David did repent and became a favorite
with God. He is still one of the most admired men of the Bible, and millions sing
his songs with gratitude for the beauty of what he has written. He did blow it,
but the grace of God is greater than our sin, and so the final end is still good, for
he end as a child of God. Damaged, but still loved.

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