2 Samuel 11
-Up to this point, David had been a man of character and honor in all his encounters. He had certainly not been perfect, but he had sincerely followed the LORD. He had risen in power as the anointed ruler over the kingdom of Israel and had been given the blessing as the inaugurator of the eternal Kingdom, which would be fulfilled in the Messiah, Jesus Christ. However, in this chapter we see the frailties and faults that can occur when a person becomes at ease with his situation. David’s struggles begin with lust, intensify with adultery and deceit, and end up making him virtually a murderer.
-“Then it happened.” This is a prelude to the situation after David had gained full confidence as a king. Times were good. “In the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle.” This denotes a shrinking back, a leisurely attitude, an aloofness, a non-involvement, a delegating where perhaps more hands on action would have suited him better. David instead sent his capable commander, Joab, with his servants and all of Israel to destroy the sons of Ammon (see 2 Samuel 10 for background) and besiege their wall-protected city of Rabbah. David stayed back, content, in Jerusalem. “Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house.” This informs us, as the readers, that laziness had enveloped the king of Israel. He was in a state of complacency and was probably lethargic, perhaps very bored. That is when Satan snatched an opportunity through the eye gate (1 John 2:16). David, from his roof in this mountainous city, looked down and saw a very beautiful woman bathing. She captivated his lustful heart, and soon he was inquiring about her and sending for her. He found that she was married to one of his faithful soldiers, Uriah the Hittite. He learned that her name was Bathsheba. Soon after he sent his messengers and she was brought before him. He committed adultery with her in sensuous passion. In the aftermath, she purified herself from her uncleanness and returned to her house. It was not long before she found that she had conceived a child in her womb, and David was told about her pregnancy (2 Samuel 11:1-5). Whoops!
-The intrigue then picks up as David sent to Joab commanding him to send Uriah the Hittite back to Jerusalem. When the warrior arrived, the king asked him of the welfare of Joab, the people, and the state of the war going on. Indeed, small talk to comfort the tension and guilt in his spirit. David had devised a plan to try to get out of his sexual misconduct. He told Uriah to go down to his house, and David sent out a present to him as he left. He was hoping that Uriah would go and take pleasure in his wife while he had a retreat. But, the faithful soldier was committed to his God, king, country, and fellow warriors. He did not go down to his house for a vacation. Instead, he slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord. When it was told to David that he had done this thing, David upped the ante. He strongly encouraged his soldier to go down to his house and receive rest from his journey. This is where Uriah’s character shines through and puts David in an even bigger predicament. Uriah’s response was this, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in temporary shelters, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? By your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing.” David was scrambling now. He had him stay there another day with the prospect of sending him back on the tomorrow. David called him, and the Hittite ate and drank before the king to the point of getting drunk by David’s design. But, he still would not go down to his house. He insisted to lay down with the servant’s at the front of the king’s house for the night. So, in the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, sent by the hand of Uriah. It was his death warrant basically. Uriah was to be placed in the front line of the fiercest battle. When the fighting was intense, the fellow soldiers were to withdraw from him, leaving him defenseless and vulnerable, so that he would be struck down and killed. And, so it was as Joab kept watch of the city that the commander obeyed the wishes of the king and put Uriah at the place where he knew there were valiant men. As some of the sons of Ammon went out to fight from the city against Joab, some of David’s servants fell including, unfortunately and tragically, the honorable, Uriah (2 Samuel 11:6-17).
-As Joab sent and reported all the events of the war, he told his messenger, “When you have finished telling all the events of the war to the king, and if it happens that the king’s wrath rises and he says to you, ‘Why did you go so near to the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? Who struck down Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Did not a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?’—then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittitite is dead also.’” When the messenger delivered this report to the king, David seemed very satisfied. He exclaimed, “Thus you shall say to Joab, ‘Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another; make your battle against the city stronger and overthrow it’; and so encourage him (2 Samuel 11:18-25).”
-Soon, Bathsheba heard the news that her husband had been killed in action. She mourned properly for her loved one, but when the time of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to his house to be his wife. She bore him the illegitimate son, “but the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the LORD (2 Samuel 11:26-27).”
-*Application* Uriah the Hittite, not even an Israeli, had more character than David even when he was drunk. This should be a lesson for us in vigilance and pressing on in faith even when things seem at their peak (Philippians 3:12). Complacency is the devil’s playground, and we cannot afford to listen to his schemes. Don’t let boredom overtake us. Set new goals, have new vision, resist temptation and all of this world’s pleasures for the sake of God’s Kingdom and our personal testimony (James 4:7). David would eventually repent and find forgiveness. So can we when we mess things up with wrongful lusts and decisions, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We must guard ourselves on the front side to avoid Satan’s pitfalls. Learn these lessons from David’s struggles. Even though David thought initially that he had gotten away with this sin, God knew all about it, and it was evil in His sight. We have to come clean with our God who knows and see all of our thoughts and works. Let’s let His Holy Spirit convict us and search us out to know any wicked way within. Then let’s turn into His everlasting way (Psalm 139:23-24).
Verse to Memorize: 2 Samuel 11:2, 27