Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, ‘Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’ David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, ‘I am pregnant.’ Then David sent to Joab, saying, ‘Send me Uriah the Hittite.’ So Joab sent Uriah to David… Now in the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. He had written in the letter, saying, ‘Place Uriah in the front line of the fiercest battle and withdraw from him, so that he may be struck down and die.’ So it was as Joab kept watch on the city, that he put Uriah at the place where he knew there were valiant men. The men of the city went out and fought against Joab, and some of the people among David’s servants fell; and Uriah the Hittite also died… Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him and said, ‘There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb which he bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, and was like a daughter to him. Now a traveler came to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.’ Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, ‘As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.’ Nathan then said to David, ‘You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel, It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these! Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon. Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’
2 Samuel 11:2-6, 14-17, 12:1-10
King David, a man after God’s own heart, murdered a man to cover up sleeping with the man’s wife.
I’ve been in 1 and 2 Samuel the last few weeks. Monday or Tuesday I had this thought: There is no special reason I know of why I couldn’t have been the man wronged by David instead of Uriah.
I wasn’t, obviously. God didn’t choose to have me born in the 2nd millennium BC in the Kingdom of Israel and allow me to marry the woman who David saw and wanted and either raped or took on with her approval (the text doesn’t explicitly tell us about Bathsheba’s willingness or lack thereof).
But He could have.
I could have been the man of ancient Jerusalem who married Bathsheba and had this done to me by David. I could’ve been in Uriah’s shoes. And if I had been…
David would’ve murdered me to cover up sleeping with my wife.
God would have defended me to David.
And David and I would have been brothers in Heaven after death.
And the Gospel is in each of those 3 things.
- David would’ve killed me to cover up his adulterous sin against me.
People are not inherently good. We are not born loving God and loving others as ourselves. We may learn to be decent, we may be nice or likeable or hard working, but our hearts are inclined to evil. And even after conversion, that flesh, that old man, can rise up and cause us to do evil things. The fact that people are born evil, that we all do evil, and that we cannot simply become pure or Godly on our own are essential parts of the Gospel. The Gospel is the Good News that in Jesus by the power of the Spirit God the Father has accomplished His plan to do for people what they cannot do themselves. The fact that David was born in sin and was capable of such horrific, violent, greedy wickedness is proof that we need what the Gospel offers.
- God would have defended me to David.
God defends me. I am in Him through faith and a part of the people of God, and so I have a defender. Wrongs against me do not go unseen. Someone has taken account of them, each of them, and they will each be paid for, either on the Cross or in Hell. Most importantly, I have a defender against the good, just wrath of God that I myself deserve.
This God who is righteously indignant at what David did to the man with less is the God who has rebuked Satan, crushed death, and absorbed the wrath for my sin with all the vigor and the love I see in Scripture. This God is, and will always be, my defender.
- David and I would have been brothers in Heaven after death.
The one wronged and the one who wronged him can be reconciled through faith in Christ. They can be brought together in unimaginably full-throated, God-centered love. As Jesus, the perfect Son of God, Himself is perfectly reconciled to Peter, the man who disowned him. Jesus was more profoundly and undeservingly wronged by all of us, since He is God for whom we were created and yet we have each deserted Him. And yet our once bloodied, shamed, beaten Lord opens His arms in forever-love to all of us who believe in Him. Despite what David would have done to me, despicably violating and dishonoring me, had I been in Uriah’s place as a believer David and I would have eventually sat as brothers at the same final banquet, clothed in the same righteousness of God.
I could’ve been destroyed as the victim of this sin. God would have defended me to David, against Satan, and against His own just wrath for me. And David and I would have been reconciled in purity and Christlike love in Heaven. I see the grace of the God’s salvation in this difficult story.
2 Samuel 11 and 12, like all of Scripture, is layered with the truths of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
The Bible tells a very good, very true story.