David and Bathsheba


David's Victories

kingdoms around israel

David enjoyed the full extent of God's blessing. After establishing Jerusalem as his capitol and bringing the Ark of the Covenant into the city, David set about the king's business in his newly constructed cedar palace. At times it appears that David is overwhelmed with God's favor.

Chapter 7 - Chapter seven relates a particularly touching exchange between God and David. David expresses to the prophet Nathan, a desire to build a "house" for the ark of God. Initially, Nathan tells David to do it, but that night, God comes to Nathan with a message for David that he is to focus his efforts on securing Israel and it will be David's son that will build the temple for God. The last half of the chapter has David going into the tent and setting before God and making a heart felt prayer of thanks and commitment.

Chapter 8 - lists the details of David's battles and victories. The battles were brutal, but David brought the Canaanites under the control of Israel. It's interesting that David brought the foreign powers under his control as opposed to "wiping them out" as had been done with Saul and Joshua. There was a lot of death, however as David subdued the Edomites, Moabites, the Ammonites, the Philistines and the Amalekites. David put garrisons in the southern land of Edom as well as the northern land of Damascus in Aramea and subjected the people to Israelite rule. These conquests effectively extended the Israelite area.

Chapter 9 - Mephibosheth Remembering his covenant with Jonathan, David was looking for a survivor of Saul's house to show kindness to, and a servant of Saul named Ziba told David about Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth (who's original name was Merib-Baal) is the surviving son of Jonathan and was five years old when his father died. He was crippled in both feet. David had him brought to Jerusalem and placed in the king's care. David made a permanent place at his table for the son of Jonathan and restored Saul's land to him. David then directed Ziba, Ziba's sons, and Ziba's servants to farm the land for Mephibosheth so he would always have an income.

There is a bit of subversion here but it doesn't become apparent until later. When David had asked Ziba of any surviving members of Saul's house, there were actually several but Ziba mentioned the one that was most likely to get David's attention. Verse ten indicates Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants who are to work the land for their master's grandson. So including Ziba, that's thirty-six people working for Mephibosheth at David's command. There may be some hard feelings.

Chapter 10 - The beginning of the war with the Ammonites. The Ammonite king, Nahash died and David sent a delegation to his son, Hanun, seeking a treaty between their kingdoms. Hanun and his counselors, however, decided that David was actually sending spies and they seized David's men and shaved half of each man's beard and cut off their garments in the middle of the buttocks. And then let them go, deeply humiliated. David heard of the incident and sent messengers to tell the men to stay in Jericho until their beards grew back. Jericho was still in ruins at that time.

When the Ammonites realized they had messed up, "become a stench in David's nostrils", they hired twenty thousand soldiers from the Aramean army. When David heard of that, he sent Joab with Israel's entire army to engage them. As Joab approached the Ammonite battle formation, he found himself surrounded with Ammonites on one side and Arameans on the other. So Joab took some of his best men and deployed them against the Arameans and put the rest of the army under command of his brother Abishai and deployed them against the Ammonites. It was a tense situation, but Joab had a strong faith that they were in God's hands. As Joab advanced on the Arameans, they fled before him. When the Ammonites saw the Arameans running, they withdrew back to their city. Joab returns to Jerusalem.

When David hears that the Arameans are regrouping, he takes the entire Israelite army and crosses the Jordan to engage them. When they see Israel, The Arameans flee but David kills seven hundred charioteers and forty thousand foot soldiers. The Arameans saw that they had been defeated by Israel and sought peace with them. The became subjects to Israel and were now afraid to help the Ammonites.



David and Bathsheba

Chapter 11 - David's dalliance with Bathsheba takes place about ten years after settling Jerusalem and while Israel is still at war with the Ammonites. It's springtime.

2Samuel 11:2-5 2. One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, 3. and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, "Isn't this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" 4. Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home. 5.The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, "I am pregnant."

So, while it may be "good to be the king", here is the problem:

Leviticus 20:10 If a man commits adultery with another man's wife-with the wife of his neighbor-both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.

AND

Deuteronomy 22:22 If a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel.

This will not end well. David's initial response is to send for Bathsheba's husband who was fighting with Joab against the Ammonites. Uriah did come to Jerusalem, but out of a sense of duty, would not allow himself the luxury of sleeping in his own house. The next evening David invited Uriah to dine with him and got him drunk, but Uriah still wouldn't go home to his wife. On the third day, David returns Uriah to Joab with a message:

2Samuel 11:15-17 15. In it he wrote, "Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die." 16. So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. 17. When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David's army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.

When David and Bathsheba heard that Uriah was dead and after a compulsory mourning period of seven days, David had her brought to his house and married her. King David has brazenly violated God's laws on adultery, committed a murder, and demonstrated a flagrant abuse of his power. Chapter eleven ends with and ominous sentence:

2Samuel 11:27 But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.

Chapter 12 - God sends the prophet Nathan to rebuke David for his behavior. Nathan delivers a parable about a rich man with many sheep taking a poor man's only lamb and preparing it for a guest. As David's anger burns against the rich man, Nathan proclaims that the rich man is in fact, David.

2Samuel 12:7-12 This is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8. I gave your master's house to you, and your master's wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. 9. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.' 11. "This is what the Lord says: 'Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. 12. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.' "

I bolded the words that are prophecy. These things will happen in David's house.

David owns his sin. Verse thirteen, In a direct contrast to Saul, David says,"I have sinned against the Lord." Nathan tells David that the Lord has taken away his sin, but his actions will result in the death of his son. When Nathan left, the Lord struck the child that was born by Bathsheba and he became ill. David lay on the ground fasting and praying for seven days until the child died. When David heard that the child had died, he washed, changed clothes, and got something to eat. When his servants asks about his peculiar behavior, he responded.

2Samuel 12:22-23 22. He answered, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.' 23. But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me."

The background noise in this story is the war with the Ammonites. After the death of his infant son, David and Bathsheba have another son, Solomon and in verse twenty-six, the story returns to the battle lines in Rabbah-Ammon. Joab has taken the water supply and needs David to bring more troops. David arrives with Israel's entire army and they take Ammon's capitol. Look at verse thirty.

2Samuel 12:30 He took the crown from the head of their king -its weight was a talent of gold, and it was set with precious stones-and it was placed on David's head. He took a great quantity of plunder from the city.

The NIV footnote has Milcom (which translates Molech) in place of "head of their king". Since a talent of gold is seventy-five pounds it is likely that it was removed from a statue of Molech, the Ammonite god, and set on David's head and David probably didn't wear it long. Chapter twelve ends with David putting the Ammonites to the task of brick making.