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David - The Sword That Never Left His House

2 Samuel 11
It was Spring, a time when Kings went to war. A time of good weather and when food would be easier to gather for a marching army. Except David. He stayed in Jerusalem while his army attacked Rabbah. This wasn't David's usual practice, but he stayed behind anyway. His lapse in judgment that Spring would have lasting, tragic consequences that would follow him for the rest of his life.

One evening that Spring, David went onto his roof of his Palace (2 Samuel 11:2). From there he could look down onto the neighboring roofs which is where he saw Bathsheba bathing. He wanted her so he asked his servants about her. They simply told him she was Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah and daughter of Eliam. Two mighty, respected and loyal men in David's army who were away at war where he should have been. Spurned by his own lust, David sent for her anyway.

This isn't a case that Bathsheba didn't refuse out of fear of David. Even if she was afraid of him and what he might do if she refused, that's not an excuse. She nor David were above the law of God. (2 Samuel 11:4) She went to David and he "lay with her".

Verse 4 also points out that she was clean from her impurity. In other words she had just come off her menstruation and went through the ritual cleansing process before she slept with David. We're told this simply to make known there was no way Bathsheba was pregnant by her husband.

Afterward, Bathsheba returned home. Some time later she sent a note to David that simply said "I am with child". This was not good news for either of them. According to the Law in Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22:22, the penalty for adultery was death. They may have been able to hide it before, but their secret was about to be blown wide open.

"He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy." Proverbs 28:13

David didn't panic at first, but instead of dealing with it righteously, he continued to try to cover it up by sending for Uriah from the battlefield (2 Sam 11:6) When Uriah returned, David made some casual conversation with one of his best soldiers. He asked how his commander Joab was. How were the men? How was the war effort going? Since Uriah was there David told him to go home to rest. David even sent food from the king's table with him so Uriah could spend a nice evening at home with his wife, whom he hadn't seen in a long time. David was sure he would sleep with Bathsheba and the baby could easily be past off as Uriah's.

(2 Sam 11:9) Uriah the Gentile was more honorable and righteous than that. He had too much loyalty to David and his fellow soldiers. Instead of going home to be with his wife, bathe, eat good food and sleep in a nice bed, Uriah slept on the floor at the king's door with the servants. Uriah didn't think it was fair that he be in comfort while so many other men were sleeping on the battlefields. When David heard this the next day he started to panic.

2 Sam 11:12 David pulled it together and told Uriah to remain in Jerusalem another two days before returning to battle. Then David called him and they ate and drank together until Uriah was drunk. David was certain now Uriah would go home to be with his wife. But once more Uriah returned to the servants and slept at the King's door. (2 Sam 11:13)

When David heard this he became desperate. In his panic he wrote a note to Joab his commander and told him that when Uriah returns to put him in the thickest part of the battle then order the men to back away from him so Uriah would be struck down by the enemy. To make it worse, David sent this note sealing Uriah's death sentence by Uriah himself. (2 Sam 11:14)

Uriah was killed and Joab sent word to David by messenger that Uriah the Hittite was dead. When Bathsheba heard her husband was dead she mourned him the customary seven days. When her mourning was over David sent for her and married her.

The damage was done and this marriage was not going to fix anything. 2 Sam 11:27 "But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD." Literally, it was pure evil to God and the consequences for David's actions would be evil. "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap." Galatians 6:7

God sent Nathan the Prophet to David to expose his sins and warn him that because David had Uriah murdered "by the sword of the people of Ammon" (2 Sam 12:9) God promised David that "the sword shall never leave your house" (2 Sam 12:10). David despised God in his gross disobedience and defiance then further sinned by trying to cover it up. God spared David's life, but He would still demand restitution for Uriah. David's sin had to be judged. When Bathsheba had the baby God took its life. Though David would not eat or sleep when the baby became sick, though he fasted and prayed continuously for God to spare the baby, the baby died. By allowing the baby to live it gave occasion for blasphemy against God by God's enemies. God had to protect His own reputation, holiness and righteousness. David didn't face the full penalty for his crimes, but death isn't always a punishment. Sometimes living is worse.

Because the analogy Nathan used to confront David about his sin was that of a rich man who had many flocks ( David's many wives) stealing the only ewe lamb a poor man had (Uriah's only wife Bathsheba),  the restitution God was demanding was the same for the theft of a lamb. According to the Law, restitution for a stolen lamb was to be repaid four-fold (Exodus 22:1) David did pay four-fold eventually by losing four sons. The baby, Amnon, Absalom and Adonijah (2 Sam 12:19).

Eventually, Bathsheba got pregnant again and bore Solomon. It says "the Lord loved him" (2 Sam 12:24). and sent this message by the Prophet Nathan. God called Solomon Jedidiah which means "Beloved of the Lord" (2 Sam 12:25) We know Solomon went on to succeed David on the throne of Israel and was greatly blessed by God, but David's life from that mistake with Bathsheba cost him dearly and the sword never did leave his house. Because Uriah died so violently, violence would never leave David. David may have found grace with God in that he didn't face the full penalty of being put to death for what was done and he was forgiven, he still had to face consequences just the same. Forgiveness doesn't always mean a free pass. Sometimes God may lighten the load, but evil always follows evil and consequences always follow from our choices. If they didn't, we'd never learn.

There are no great men and women of God. Only a great God.

A Psalm David wrote after Nathan confronted him about Bathsheba and Uriah. Psalm 51...

  Have mercy on me, O God,
   according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
   blot out my transgressions.
 Wash away all my iniquity
   and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
   and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
   and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
   and justified when you judge.
 Surely I was sinful at birth,
   sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
   you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
   wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
 Let me hear joy and gladness;
   let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
 Hide your face from my sins
   and blot out all my iniquity.
 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
   and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
 Do not cast me from your presence
   or take your Holy Spirit from me.
 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
   and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
   so that sinners will turn back to you.
 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
   you who are God my Savior,
   and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
 Open my lips, Lord,
   and my mouth will declare your praise.
 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
   you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
   a broken and contrite heart
   you, God, will not despise.
May it please you to prosper Zion,
   to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
   in burnt offerings offered whole;
   then bulls will be offered on your altar.


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Disclaimer: I do not condone the teaching of men by women nor am I trying to exercise authority over men by using this blog as a method of teaching men. All posts are for the edification of women. For more on what I believe concerning this issue please see: Women - No Dominion Over Men
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