David’s Turn

Like Saul before him, David began his reign as king over Israel with God’s blessing upon him.  And like Saul, David’s success in battle and in ruling over the nations around him is very great.  But also like Saul, we see the problem of sin begin to enter David’s life.  Nowhere is this more evident than in David’s sin with Bathsheba.

A couple of  things need to be pointed out here – things which may tell a little about why David suddenly begins to stray.  First, the Bible tells us:

“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 Samuel 11:1

The Bible specifically points out that this is the time when kings go off to war.  David is a king.  And yet we see him sending Joab out to fight his battles, while David stays at home in Jerusalem.  Though God blesses the outcome of these military campaigns, it is clearly not the right thing for him to be doing.  Next, we see David walking around on the roof of his palace (while his men are pitching their tents in the battlefields), and watching other men’s wives in ways in which he should not be looking at them.  And one thing quickly leads to another (did this all happen on the same night?) and David sleeps with Bathsheba.

From my viewpoint, an even worse sequence of sin is committed next.  In an effort to hide his act, he brings Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, home from battle and tries to get him to go to her.  But in a meaningful turn of events, Uriah shows that he is a better man than David when it comes to thinking of his troops.  Unlike David, who stayed home from the battle, Uriah will not even go to his wife when the king calls him back to Jerusalem and encourages him to sleep with her.  And Uriah does this twice!  The temptation to go to her must have been great, and yet Uriah did the noble thing when he says,

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!”   — 2 Samuel 11:11

Don’t you wonder if David saw his own failure in what Uriah said and did?


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