Gracefully Truthful

Adoration,Confession,Enemies,Freedom,Healing,Holiness,Holy Spirit

Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

2 Samuel 11

In the spring when kings march out to war, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah, but David remained in Jerusalem.

2 One evening David got up from his bed and strolled around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing—a very beautiful woman. 3 So David sent someone to inquire about her, and he said, “Isn’t this Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah the Hethite?”

4 David sent messengers to get her, and when she came to him, he slept with her. Now she had just been purifying herself from her uncleanness. Afterward, she returned home. 5 The woman conceived and sent word to inform David, “I am pregnant.”

6 David sent orders to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hethite.” So Joab sent Uriah to David. 7 When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the troops were doing and how the war was going. 8 Then he said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king followed him. 9 But Uriah slept at the door of the palace with all his master’s servants; he did not go down to his house. 10 When it was reported to David, “Uriah didn’t go home,” David questioned Uriah, “Haven’t you just come from a journey? Why didn’t you go home?”

11 Uriah answered David, “The ark, Israel, and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my master Joab and his soldiers are camping in the open field. How can I enter my house to eat and drink and sleep with my wife? As surely as you live and by your life, I will not do this!”

12 “Stay here today also,” David said to Uriah, “and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 Then David invited Uriah to eat and drink with him, and David got him drunk. He went out in the evening to lie down on his cot with his master’s servants, but he did not go home.

14 The next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 In the letter he wrote: Put Uriah at the front of the fiercest fighting, then withdraw from him so that he is struck down and dies.

16 When Joab was besieging the city, he put Uriah in the place where he knew the best enemy soldiers were. 17 Then the men of the city came out and attacked Joab, and some of the men from David’s soldiers fell in battle; Uriah the Hethite also died.

18 Joab sent someone to report to David all the details of the battle. 19 He commanded the messenger, “When you’ve finished telling the king all the details of the battle— 20 if the king’s anger gets stirred up and he asks you, ‘Why did you get so close to the city to fight? Didn’t you realize they would shoot from the top of the wall? 21 At Thebez, who struck Abimelech son of Jerubbesheth? Didn’t a woman drop an upper millstone on him from the top of the wall so that he died? Why did you get so close to the wall?’—then say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hethite is dead also.’” 22 Then the messenger left. When he arrived, he reported to David all that Joab had sent him to tell. 23 The messenger reported to David, “The men gained the advantage over us and came out against us in the field, but we counterattacked right up to the entrance of the city gate. 24 However, the archers shot down on your servants from the top of the wall, and some of the king’s servants died. Your servant Uriah the Hethite is also dead.”

25 David told the messenger, “Say this to Joab: ‘Don’t let this matter upset you because the sword devours all alike. Intensify your fight against the city and demolish it.’ Encourage him.”

26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband, Uriah, had died, she mourned for him. 27 When the time of mourning ended, David had her brought to his house. She became his wife and bore him a son. However, the LORD considered what David had done to be evil.

The Original Intent

1) Why would David disobey the law of the Lord by committing adultery? (verse 4)

By the Lord’s own declaration, King David was a man after God’s own heart. (1 Samuel 13:14) He was brave (Psalm 27:1), worshipful (Psalm 18:2), and full of faith (1 Samuel 17:45-47). He understood and loved God’s laws. (Psalm 119:16) In fact, the Bible proclaims that David did what was right and obeyed God’s laws in every matter but one. (1 Kings 15:5)

David disobeyed God when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and arranged the murder of her husband to cover up the resulting pregnancy. (2 Samuel 11:4) David understood that God forbids adultery. (Exodus 20:14) He allowed his lusting heart to overrule his head knowledge of God’s law. He permitted his physical desires to supersede God’s place of authority in his life.

Pastor Chuck Swindoll suggests, “As the dense cloud of his aroused passion closes in around him, all he knows is the present. Everything else is forgotten — his family, his kingdom, even his God.” Bible student, David Guzik, suggests David’s fall was more than a matter of the moment, and points to David’s harem as indicative of his problem, “David’s practice of adding wives showed a lack of sexual restraint and an indulgence of his passions. This corrupt seed, sown long ago, grew unchecked long enough and would bear bitter fruit.”

The Lord advised that a king must not acquire many wives lest his heart go astray. (Deuteronomy 17:17) Yet David had at least 8 wives ( plus even more concubines (2 Samuel 5:13). God provided David with ways of escape from his lustful temptations (1 Corinthians 10:12-13), but David chose to ignore all of them.

Rather than flee from sin (Matthew 6:13), David indulged his sinful passions until they grew stronger than his desire to cling to God’s Word. He fed his lust more than his worship of the Lord. When we are faced with temptation of any kind, we can ask the Lord to help us flee and thank Him that His grace frees us from the bonds of sin. (Romans 6:14)

The Everyday Application

1) Why would David disobey the law of the Lord by committing adultery? (verse 4)

When I was a kid, my dad managed a Christian radio station, so I occasionally met musicians on tour in our city, including my favorite group. They were role models I tried to emulate. When I learned that one member had abused alcohol and drugs and committed adultery, I was devastated. How could someone who knew Scripture so well and led worship so beautifully fail so catastrophically? In my eyes, it was on the scale of what happened to King David in 2 Samuel 11:4.

David proved his trust in the Lord and his reliance on God’s precepts time and again throughout his life. (Psalm 27 and Psalm 25) He knew that committing adultery with Bathsheba was not in God’s will, or even in his own best interest. Still, he disregarded God’s Word and gave in to his selfish desires, setting in motion a chain of disastrous events that changed his family forever. David did not rely on God’s strength; he trusted in his own, and it failed him miserably. (Jeremiah 17:5)

Scriptures tell us to live according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. (Romans 8:4-6) When we rely on the Holy Spirit, He promises to help us escape temptation’s call by delivering us from evil. (Matthew 6:13) When we believe the enemy’s lie that we can better satisfy ourselves than God, we are deep into trouble.

When we pursue pleasures that take the place of God’s provision, we are left empty and devastated for sin always leads to death. (James 1:15) David Guzik asserts, “You can’t satisfy lusts of the flesh. They are primarily rebellious assertions of self. It wasn’t so much that David wanted Bathsheba, it was that he would not be satisfied with what God gave him.”

Stop chasing what will never fulfill! Instead, recognize and appreciate God’s will and work in our lives, only then will we find delightful satisfactions within God’s plan as we flee temptation.

The Original Intent

2) In their culture, what would happen if Bathsheba was found pregnant while her husband was away? (verse 5)

David knew there could be dire consequences for sleeping with Bathsheba. He knew Bathsheba’s “father and husband [were] both members of David’s elite vanguard (2 Samuel 23:34, 39); her grandfather . . . [was] one of the king’s wisest counselors” (Rachel Adelman) He also knew God’s law required death for adultery. (Deuteronomy 22:22)

Despite the deadly risk and his knowledge of God’s jealous justice, David disregarded the consequences for himself and others. Possibly, as king, he felt powerful, above the law, and immune to judgment. Bathsheba, however, did not have that security. While David was clearly complicit in this affair, Bathsheba’s compliance is questionable. David saw her bathing, but bathing in one’s own courtyard was common, and often even involved a covering cloth. (Bonnie Kirk) Author Carmen Joy Imes explains Bathsheba was “purifying herself ritually following menstruation (2 Samuel 11:4). This practice indicates that she was a pious keeper of Israelite purity law (and also that she was not already pregnant […].”

When summoned by the king, we only know Bathsheba obeyed the call. Author Subby Szertesky asserts, “Given the times and the culture in which she lived, Bathsheba almost certainly had no power to refuse the advances of an absolute monarch.” We only see Bathsheba report she is pregnant. (2 Samuel 11:5)

This revelation led David to deceive, and ultimately murder, Bathsheba’s husband to hide his adultery. When Nathan confronted David with his sin, it was only David he reproached, not Bathsheba. Bible scholar John Piper suggests Nathan’s word picture “re-created the adultery in the categories of theft and killing. Not Uriah’s killing — that’s an added evil — but as it were, Bathsheba’s killing represented by the little, little, helpless pet lamb being killed and served up as a meal.”

As king, David justified he could get away with adultery, but he exposed Bathsheba to the consequence of death for her part in the affair.

The Everyday Application

2) In their culture, what would happen if Bathsheba was found pregnant while her husband was away? (verse 5)

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
, is about a pregnant Puritan woman whose husband denied her child to be his. Her community forced her to wear a scarlet letter “A” for adulterer. She never revealed that her lover was the minister, but his guilt caused him to secretly brand his chest with a letter “A”. Her affair was volitional, but even women without a choice bear the consequences of sexual sin when they become pregnant.

For Bathsheba, her pregnancy (2 Samuel 11:5) could have brought her shame and death. Bathsheba’s volition in the affair is not known, but we do know that Scripture focuses on David’s sin. Rachel Adelman suggests, “As the story unravels, the narrative seems to exonerate Bathsheba of any guilt and is exclusively concerned with the king’s degeneracy.” David was at first reckless in sinning and then later desperate to cover it up. He should have remembered God’s teaching that your sins will catch up with you. (Numbers 32:23) He should also have considered the danger to Bathsheba.

When we encounter strong temptations, like David did, we can instead choose to be led by God’s Spirit and successfully avoid sin. We have a way to defeat temptations available to us by heeding the apostle Paul’s advice in Galatians 5:16 to “Walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh.”

We can choose to follow the desires instilled in us by the Holy Spirit and refuse the wrong desires of our flesh. It is Christ alive in us (Galatians 2:20) that empowers us to follow Him even in the face of our wrong desire and the strong pull of sin. When we face the consequences of sin, whether our own or those committed against us, the Holy Spirit guides us through this as well (Philippians 1:6) for He desires our reconciliation back to a whole relationship with Him. Our God is faithful to give us a way out of temptation and to help us when we fall. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

The Original Intent

3) Why didn’t Uriah’s loyalty and faithfulness earn David’s respect and save his life? (verse 11)

When David discovered that Bathsheba was the wife of his faithful soldier, Uriah, that fact alone should have kept him from pursuing her. When Bathsheba became pregnant, David brought Uriah home from battle to make her pregnancy plausible. In 2 Samuel 11:8, David told him to “Go down to your house and wash your feet,” which was an idiomatic way to say “spend some time at home” with your wife in intimacy. (

David should have respected Uriah’s noble response, “The ark, Israel, and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my master Joab and his soldiers are camping in the open field. How can I enter my house to eat and drink and sleep with my wife? As surely as you live and by your life, I will not do this!” (2 Samuel 11:11) Because David was trying to cover his own sin, he didn’t recognize or appreciate Uriah’s loyalty; in fact, it likely riled him all the more because Uriah was acting more righteously than he.

Joyce G. Baldwin notes, “David had expected and hoped that Uriah would prove to be like himself; instead he proved to be a man of integrity, whose first loyalty was to the king’s interests rather than to his own pleasure.” In his desperation, David tried to make Uriah contradict his values and forsake his convictions (Romans 14:13), but Uriah proved faithful and true where David had failed.

Instead of letting Uriah’s integrity move him to penitence, David allowed it to predicate his murder. According to author Adam Clarke, “This was the sum of treachery and villainy. He made this most noble man the carrier of letters which prescribed the mode in which he was to be murdered.”

David let his lust and his selfishness blind him to the respect due to his faithful soldier. His unrepentant heart led him to murder the man he should have been rewarding.

The Everyday Application

3) Why didn’t Uriah’s loyalty and faithfulness earn David’s respect and save his life? (verse 11)

I had a friend who loved his family very much and worked hard at a blue-collar job to meet their needs. His wife encouraged him to work as much overtime as possible for the extra income, which he gladly did, never suspecting she was trying to increase his salary so that when she filed for divorce her child support payments would be based on a higher salary.

My friend was devastated to find that the extra money he earned and the time away from his family were being used against him in divorce proceedings. Instead of being appreciated and valued for his contributions, he was being used like a pawn in his wife’s selfish plans for her future without him.

King David used his loyal soldier Uriah in a similar way. Uriah refused to indulge his own pleasures while his fellow soldiers were on the battlefield proving his allegiance to David and his army. (2 Samuel 11:11) This faithfulness to his king and country should have been valued. Instead, Uriah’s fidelity was the very thing that motivated David to kill him.

When David heard Uriah’s honorable words, all he could think of was how Uriah was thwarting his attempts to cover his sin. (Proverbs 28:13) One sin led to another sin (John 8:34), and eventually David had innocent blood on his hands for he had become a slave to sin. David returned evil for the good Uriah gave him, and it turned out badly for David. (Proverbs 17:13)

By the time David repented of his sins, there were consequences already set in motion that would plague David all his remaining days. (1 Kings) In our own lives, we can recognize that when we go astray we can turn from our sin (Acts 3:19), stopping the cycle of disobedience that David fell into and moving closer to the life God has planned for us.

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