David and Bathsheba. I want to briefly touch on a matter that is not the focus of this post. There are some who place the blame almost entirely on Bathsheba (she was seductively behaving on her rooftop), but this is ridiculous. She was bathing. There is no evidence in the text that Bathsheba was partly guilty in the matter. It can also be said that Bathsheba could have refused King David’s advances when he summoned her. However, in this time and culture, it was not acceptable or common practice (especially for a woman) to refuse the King anything! Bathsheba was a victim. Furthermore, as this post looks at David’s progression into sin, his culpability becomes clear.
However, the point is not to blame David either, but rather to consider David’s steps or progression into this sin. We can be guilty of saying “I have no idea how I ended up in this mess!” (whatever the mess may be) but if we are honest it likely involved a series of poor choices, where we could have changed our direction but failed to do so.
2 Samuel 11:1 states that Israel had gone out to war, but David remained in Jerusalem. The text does not elaborate about why David remained in Jerusalem, but it seems strange that since he had a reputation as a mighty warrior that he did not go out to fight with his men. Although it can only be indirectly deduced, it appears that David may have been shirking his duty. This could be seen as a preliminary step in David’s fall into sin.
While walking on the roof of his house, David saw Bathsheba bathing one evening (verse 2). It could have stopped there, but David took things a step further by sending someone to find out who this woman was (verse 3). Then he went another step, by having Bathsheba brought to him (verse 4). Finally, David had sexual relations with her and Bathsheba became pregnant.
David could have arrested this progression of events at one of several points, yet he did not do so. Then we see a new progression, as David attempts to cover-up his sin.
In verses 6-13, David calls Bathsheba’s husband Uriah back from war, in an attempt to have him be intimate with his wife. David seems to assume that Uriah would automatically do this, but he does not, as Uriah considers it disloyal to enjoy himself while his comrades are at war. In verse 13, King David takes this a step farther by getting Uriah drunk, in apparent hopes that Uriah will sleep with his wife while his senses are impaired. When all this fails, David sends a note to General Joab (via Uriah!) to have Uriah placed in the forefront of the fiercest battle, with the intention that Uriah’s death would result. Indeed, Uriah does die in battle.
What can we personally learn from this incident in the life of David? Pray for spiritual discernment about the choices you make everyday. Pray that if you begin to walk down a wrong path, God will empower you to change your course. And if we end up in sin, we should be honest and repent – Rather than try to cover it up, rationalize it, or otherwise avoid taking responsibility for it.
Consequences and grief resulted from David’s sin, but David was restored in his relationship with God – as we can be if we end up in sin. God honors the contrite heart. But it is better for us to learn from this example of Scripture. As Romans 15:4 states:
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” – The Lord Jesus Christ is our ultimate hope.