2 Samuel 11
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.
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 washing. The woman was very beautiful, 3 and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, ‘She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.’ 4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. 5 The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, ‘I am pregnant.’
6 So David sent this word to Joab: ‘Send me Uriah the Hittite.’ And Joab sent him to David. 7 When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. 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. 9 But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house.
10 David was told, ‘Uriah did not go home.’ So he asked Uriah, ‘Haven’t you just come from a military campaign? Why didn’t you go home?’
11 Uriah said to David, ‘The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!’
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. 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.
14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 In it he wrote, ‘Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so that he will be struck down and die.’
16 So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. 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.
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? 21 Who killed Abimelek son of Jerub-Besheth?[b Didn’t a woman drop 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, “Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.”’
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 of 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.’
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.’
26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. 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.
In the Garden of Eden, we read that sin entered the world because the woman ‘saw, took and ate’ – and the man who was with her did the same (Genesis 3). Sin’s pattern has not changed any. In this passage, David saw, took and ‘ate’! Aroused by the lust of his eyes, he took Bathsheba to himself and to His bed and devoured her in the flesh – with her becoming pregnant as a result. Then, to compound matters, he covered it up rather than confess it. When his plans to send Uriah home to cover his own sin failed (verse 11), he made a bad situation worse by wickedly and deceitfully orchestrating Uriah’s death (verse 14). In the end, David got exactly what he wanted – a new wife who bore him a son … ‘but the thing David had done displeased the Lord’ (verse 27)!
We must recognise the way that sin entraps us … it appeals first to our eyes – which is why it is so important to be careful what we watch and what we look at … it takes control of the actions of our hands – we take, steal and plunder, consuming the desires of our flesh … and no sooner have we finished consuming those delights, than do we discover that sin has, in fact, consumed us. For sin simply reveals the true desires of our heart, the true nature of our heart and how desperately we need regeneration and salvation. And, of course, we must remember that the Lord is never pleased with such behaviour.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, especially the evil that lurks within the sinful desires of our hearts. Guard our eyes from the lust of the eyes; give us self-control over the lust of the flesh; and help us overcome the pride of life– recognising these are the not from You but the world (John 2:16). Help us to overcome the temptations we face all around us and to pursue righteousness in all things.
May the grace that helps us say no to unrighteousness and yes to godliness (Titus 2:14) abound more and more in each of us every day.
Help us always to faithfully pursue pleasing You in all things, especially in a world that is moving further away from You. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.