We have moved past chapters 8-10 in which David enjoys some key military victories, and in chapter 9, he seeks a survivor of Saul’s house so that he could show kindness to them for Jonathan’s sake. He finds Miphibosheth, Jonathan’s son, who is lame. From that day forward, he eats at David’s table.
But chapter 11 focuses on David’s great sin, for which he will pay most dearly. It is the story of one of the Bible’s greatest men brought to the deepest depravity and callousness by lust and adultery. It is most disappointing to see a great man of God fall so low. When David saw her in verse 3 from his roof bathing, his first sin was lust – the right thing would have been to turn away. When he inquired about her, he is told that she is the wife of Uriah the Hittite. We find out in 2 Samuel 23:39 that this is one of David’s closest warriors – his famous “mighty men” listed in 23:8-39. He did battle for David loyally, and probably considered him his friend.
King David Handing the Letter to Uriah (1611) by Pieter Lastman, oil on panel, 51.1 x 61.3 cm, Detroit Institute of Arts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
David is powerful, and only he can be blamed for this adultery. When she becomes pregnant, David plots Uriah’s death. To make things worse, before he returns to battle, Uriah shows his great character and loyalty in verse 11. Then David sends him to battle with the note containing instructions for Uriah’s death delivered by his own hand! Joab carries out this sickening deed, and in verse 26 we are told that Bathsheba mourned for her husband. When the mourning was over, David took her as his wife, and she bore him a son.
This is not the David we know, nor is it the man after God’s own heart that we have read about for so many chapters; and verse 27 tells us that it “displeased the Lord.” This seems like a very mild statement, and we will see God forgive David. But the consequences for this deed will be anything but mild.
Sin often has its consequences – for us, and for others; and God never promises to “fix” all the damage we bring on ourselves and others. We cannot plan to sin, thinking that we will just ask God to forgive us later, and that He will simply do our bidding – repairing for us all the heartache we may have caused from our sin. But through or savior Jesus Christ, we can obtain the forgiveness for any sin we truly repent about – no matter how terrible we think of what we have done.
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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