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II Samuel 11-12; I Chronicles 20 Listen
1 And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.
2 And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.
3 And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?
4 And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house.
5 And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.
6 And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David.
7 And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered.
8 And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king’s house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king.
9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house.
10 And when they had told David, saying, Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from thy journey? why then didst thou not go down unto thine house?
11 And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.
12 And David said to Uriah, Tarry here to day also, and to morrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow.
13 And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house.
14 And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.
15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.
16 And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men were.
17 And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also.
18 Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war;
19 And charged the messenger, saying, When thou hast made an end of telling the matters of the war unto the king,
20 And if so be that the king’s wrath arise, and he say unto thee, Wherefore approached ye so nigh unto the city when ye did fight? knew ye not that they would shoot from the wall?
21 Who smote Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? did not a woman cast a piece of a millstone upon him from the wall, that he died in Thebez? why went ye nigh the wall? then say thou, Thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.
22 So the messenger went, and came and shewed David all that Joab had sent him for.
23 And the messenger said unto David, Surely the men prevailed against us, and came out unto us into the field, and we were upon them even unto the entering of the gate.
24 And the shooters shot from off the wall upon thy servants; and some of the king’s servants be dead, and thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.
25 Then David said unto the messenger, Thus shalt thou say unto Joab, Let not this thing displease thee, for the sword devoureth one as well as another: make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it: and encourage thou him.
26 And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.
27 And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.
Here's the infamous story of David and Bathsheba. Her husband fought in Israel's army, but was not a naturally-born Hebrew; he was a Hittite...married to a Jewish woman. Do you suppose David discounted the importance of Uriah's life because he was not Jewish by blood? Anyway, why isn't David out there fighting his own battles? Israel's at war! David did a bad, bad thing - adultery complicated by conspiracy to commit murder. Verses 4-5 would indicate that this wasn't even a casual meeting that just escalated out of control; David saw Bathsheba bathing, immediately sent for her, spent intimate time with her and then sent her back home. For a big-time king, these actions might have been no big deal had Israel not been a nation under Jehovah, but God expects more from his people.
The timetable for action was expedited by the pregnancy of Bathsheba as a result of David's selfish, extra-marital activities - like he didn't already have enough female attention. All's well that ends well - right! WRONG!
Then there's Uriah. What had to have made David feel like a dirty rotten dog here is the dedication to God, his country and his king demonstrated by the proselyted Uriah on his visit to Jerusalem from the battlefield (per David's command). While David is trying to orchestrate a cover story for his adultery by compelling Uriah to go spend a night with Bathsheba, Uriah is completely uncooperative. Look at verse 11, "And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing." A second attempt - this time with the assistance of an over-indulgence of alcohol - fails to cause Uriah to seek out and spend quality time with his wife, Bathsheba. To David, now the solution is simple - Uriah must die! David sends Uriah back to General Joab with a note commanding Joab to tend to Uriah's death in battle. Clueless Uriah is carrying his own death sentence!
Joab, with orders to make certain Uriah dies in battle from the King of Israel himself, makes a battle move which had proved fatal in previous Israeli battles (verse 21) - notably Abimelechs death in Judges 9:50-53 (see notes). In that battle, the infamous Abimelech got too close to the city wall in battle and a woman dropped a millstone on his head. Joab apparently calculates that a similar fate will follow if he sends Uriah to fight near the wall.
You will notice that Joab didn't follow David's plan exactly. David's written order to Joab is seen in verse 15, "Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die." Wow...now that's cold! Instead, Joab sends Uriah to fight with other valiant men next to the city wall, and some of them are killed as well. Joab's plan actually resulted in the calculated deaths of others besides Uriah. Only David and Joab know the treachery that had caused their deaths.
David and Joab had even worked out a code (so to speak) for relaying Uriah's death from Joab to David without raising the messenger's suspicions - a carefully-devised cover up. It was deceit all the way around. Incidentally, you can see why Joab had so much influence in David's life. Even though David would like to have been rid of Joab, Joab knew where all of David's skeleton's were (so to speak). Ultimately that was Joab's undoing with David's deathbed decree that Joab be executed by his son, Solomon, in I Kings 2:1-12 (see notes).
Finally, in verse 27, David makes an honest woman of Bathsheba when he marries her immediately after the death of her husband, a war hero, in battle. To friends and family, David taking care of Uriah's widow must have seemed like a very noble deed on David's part - HOW IRONIC!
1 And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.
2 The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:
3 But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.
4 And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.
5 And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:
6 And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.
7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;
8 And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.
9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.
10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.
11 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.
12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.
13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.
15 And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.
16 David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.
17 And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them.
18 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?
19 But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.
20 Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.
21 Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.
22 And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?
23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
Sometimes God's prophets can be a pain - know what I mean? You gotta admire Nathan's boldness in confronting David the way he does here; men had died for a lot less at the hand of David. "Hey David! I have a disgusting story for you!" David is all ears. Nathan tells a story - an allegory, which apparently David thinks is true. It's about a rich man and a poor man - a poor man with only one little sheep to his name. David was really into this rich-man-rips-off-poor-man story when he cries out, "the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:" Nathan makes the mother of all king-bashing statements when he replies, "Thou art the man." Then Nathan gets ugly with his prophecy concerning the future implications of David's sin. Here's the clincher; the baby of David and Bathsheba will die. After his death, David makes a statement of reassurance to Bathsheba concerning eternal life when he says in verse 23, "...I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."
Why must David's son die? There's your answer in verse 14, "Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die." The "enemies of the LORD" must not see God's children prosper in their disobedience. It's worth noting that David still holds out the hope that God would spare his son for seven days - even after Nathan's prophecy that his son would die. Notice verse 16, "David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth." However, after the child dies, David readily accepts the reality. David doesn't blame Nathan for the consequences of his own sin. As a matter of fact, Nathan continues to hold a place of prominence in the reign of David. He even takes part in the inauguration of King Solomon later on.
As we analyze God's methods (as best we can), a principle seems to emerge here. God does not let the overt disobedience of his children go unnoticed; he chastises disobedience. Hey, but didn't David say he was sorry; why did the child have to die? Here's the deal: When a Christian disobeys God, chastisement from God is to be expected. But what if one repents of his wrongdoing; doesn't that wipe the slate clean? Well...yes, of course God forgives our sin according to I John 1:9 (see notes), "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." However, the consequence of that sin is not necessarily erased - maybe so, maybe not. Though David cried out in sorrow and repented of his evil deed, the prophecy of Nathan regarding the death of his child proceeded nonetheless.
There's a powerful lesson on the strength of an unconditional covenant in this account. At this point in time, David functioned under the provisions of the covenant God had made with him back in II Samuel 7:12-16 (see notes). We refer to those promises made to David in that passage as The Davidic Covenant (see article). In those promises we see that God had provided that David's throne would last forever. David was given a cornerstone role in the future of Israel that would extend all the way into eternity, and those promises were given unconditionally by God. Many people have trouble understanding the nature of an unconditional covenant. When God make an unconditional covenant with man, that means that God will keep his promise based only upon God's faithfulness. The man's faithfulness with whom God made the covenant is not a factor. Indisputably, David was not faithful to God in this instance, but it did not invalidate the promise God had previously made in II Samuel 7:12-16 (see notes).
By the way, God's promise of salvation to Believers is another unconditional covenant. Jesus said in John 5:24 (see notes), "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." That's just one of many passages in the New Testament where we see the strength of an unconditional covenant with regard to salvation. God never changes his mind on an unconditional covenant! As in David's case, God did not let his sin go without dealing with it. That's where the Biblical concept of "chastisement" comes into play. For a greater understanding of this concept, read the notes on Hebrews 12:5-17.
24 And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved him.
25 And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name Jedidiah, because of the LORD.
Who was King Solomon's mama? Bathsheba. God forgave David and gave him the next King of Israel through Bathsheba. However, David's sin was not without future consequences - chastisement from God.
In II Samuel 12:10-12, Nathan prophesied from God that the following consequences would follow David as a result of his sin:
As specified above, here's an important addition to the principle regarding forgiveness from God. I John 1:9 (see notes) says with regard to Believers, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." That, however, does not preclude future consequences as a result of that sin. David suffered chastisement at the hand of God for his sinful act of adultery and murder, but God never rescinded the covenant made with David in II Samuel 7:12-16 (see notes). As a matter of fact, that covenant was valid before, during and after David's sin. David knew the consequences of his sin that would follow; Nathan had carefully outlined them. Nevertheless, David writes a heart-wrenching Psalm 51 (see notes) in the aftermath of Nathan's prophecy. Even though David had his faults, he was a man after God's own heart, first mentioned even before David was King of Israel in I Samuel 13:14 (see notes).
David takes the Ammonite prize (II Samuel 12:26-31; I Chronicles 20:1-3)
II Samuel 12
I Chronicles 20
|26 And Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and took the royal city.
27 And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, I have fought against Rabbah, and have taken the city of waters.
28 Now therefore gather the rest of the people together, and encamp against the city, and take it: lest I take the city, and it be called after my name.
29 And David gathered all the people together, and went to Rabbah, and fought against it, and took it.
30 And he took their king’s crown from off his head, the weight whereof was a talent of gold with the precious stones: and it was set on David’s head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city in great abundance.
31 And he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brickkiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon. So David and all the people returned unto Jerusalem.
|1 And it came to pass, that after the year was expired, at the time that kings go out to battle, Joab led forth the power of the army, and wasted the country of the children of Ammon, and came and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried at Jerusalem. And Joab smote Rabbah, and destroyed it.
2 And David took the crown of their king from off his head, and found it to weigh a talent of gold, and there were precious stones in it; and it was set upon David’s head: and he brought also exceeding much spoil out of the city.
3 And he brought out the people that were in it, and cut them with saws, and with harrows of iron, and with axes. Even so dealt David with all the cities of the children of Ammon. And David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.
Hey! What about the capital of the Ammonite kingdom, Rabbah? Joab's on it. This finishes off the Ammonites; they're slaves of Israel now. This battle and the subsequent capture of Rabbah, a land of the Ammonites, just gets three verses in I Chronicles. David stays behind in Jerusalem until Joab sends for him to come try on the crown - a crown that was more for show than daily wearing - 75 pounds it weighed! In the Chronicles rendition, Ezra sticks to the battle results instead of dealing with the whole Bathsheba episode. These Ammonites were subsequently executed - apparently in the fashion of cruelty to which the Ammonites were accustomed to inflicting on others (I Samuel 11:1-15, see notes).
Another war with the Philistines (I Chronicles 20:4-8)
4 And it came to pass after this, that there arose war at Gezer with the Philistines; at which time Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Sippai, that was of the children of the giant: and they were subdued.
5 And there was war again with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, whose spear staff was like a weaver’s beam.
6 And yet again there was war at Gath, where was a man of great stature, whose fingers and toes were four and twenty, six on each hand, and six on each foot: and he also was the son of the giant.
7 But when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea David’s brother slew him.
8 These were born unto the giant in Gath; and they fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.
Those Philistines had some big kids. Must have been something in their water - this guy (Sippai) had four extra appendages - two extra toes and two extra fingers. We read about him also in II Samuel 21:20 (see notes); he's related to Goliath. David and his men take care of them though. It is worth noting that Ezra skips the whole David/Absalom crisis that occupies the chapters in II Samuel from 13 to 20. That's why there's an eight-chapter gap of II Samuel occurrences between I Chronicles 20:3 and 4.