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David and Bathsheba

2 Samuel 11:1-5





David’s behavior in 2 Samuel 11 provided a sharp contrast with his behavior in 2 Samuel chapter 9 and 10. David pleased God by showing mercy and steadfast love to Mephibosheth (chapter 9) and the Ammonites (chapter 10). David showed his kindness and friendship to those around him. However, in chapter 11 David showed evil and enmity to those around him by destroying their lives. Ultimately, is David a merciful person or an evil person? Both are part of him. David did show kindness and friendship but in chapter 11 he became someone who does evil. This is an important realization for our life and the lives of our Christian leaders. Great Christian leaders can also fall into deep sin. The Bible consists of many stories about great leaders falling into deep sin. Even David, a king whom God had chosen for Himself, whom He called “a man after My own heart” can commit such a heinous sin.

Ironies are also present throughout the chapter:

  1. Bathsheba committed herself to the ceremonial law by purifying herself from her uncleanness (verse 4) but it is also written in the same verse that she did something that goes against the moral law of God.

  2. Verse 7 states that David pretended to care about his people’s wellbeing during war. In fact, he was about to kill and destroy Uriah and his family. David always tries to minimize casualties during wars, but for the sake of covering his sin, he was willing to sacrifice Uriah’s life along with other soldiers that were with him.

David was responsible for committing a great evil before the Lord. He is portrayed as a lustful adulterer. He is portrayed as a hypocrite full of deception. He is portrayed as a murderer that uses any means necessary to hide his sins. Through this tragedy, it is evident that David, who is called a man after God’s own heart can do such great evil. God is not always on David’s side, God is truth and He will punish anyone who disobeys Him no matter who it is. Therefore, do not take sin lightly in the presence of a holy God.



God is truth and He will punish anyone who disobeys Him no matter who it is. Therefore, do not take sin lightly in the presence of a holy God.


The context of David’s sin is written in verses 1-2a. Israel was waging war with the Ammonites but David sent Joab and his servants to battle while David stayed in his castle in Jerusalem, taking a nap and did nothing. The devil finds work for idle hands to do. David was supposed to lead Israel in war but instead he decided to rest and do nothing. If David did not do what is right and pleasing to the Lord, he will definitely do evil that is against God. David might not be actively sinning, but he also did not do what God wanted him to do. It is very important for us not to be lazy. If we laze around and do nothing, we are more susceptible to sin. When we are not doing anything, we are not on neutral ground because satan is like a roaring lion wanting to devour us (Matthew 26:41 and 1 Peter 5:8). If we are not watchful, prayerful or sober-minded we will be devoured by satan. We should be extremely careful when we do not have many responsibilities as it is easier to fall into sin. Therefore, we must fill our schedule with activities that pleases the Lord and beware of empty schedules.


If we are not watchful, prayerful or sober-minded we will be devoured by satan. We should be extremely careful when we do not have many responsibilities as it is easier to fall into sin.


David was lured and enticed by his own desire when looking at Bathsheba bathing (James 1:14-15). We can observe that sin often starts from the eyes. Visual input is powerful as it influences our emotion, heart and desire. Dwelling on sin can destroy your life like David’s. When you fall into sin, you are disqualifying yourself from the glorious work of God in your life. Only when you truly repent, leave sin, live a holy life, will God bless and use your life greatly. When Joseph was tempted to sin by Potiphar’s wife, Joseph replied “How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9b), he kept living a holy life before God. Joseph went through many difficulties because of this, but God never left him, instead God used him to be the greatest person in Egypt. Therefore, leave sin, surrender your life to God, and He will use your life greatly.


Dwelling on sin can destroy your life like David’s. When you fall into sin, you are disqualifying yourself from the glorious work of God in your life. Only when you truly repent, leave sin, live a holy life, will God bless and use your life greatly.


Walter Brueggemann provides an excellent commentary on verse 4 which states that David quickly took action upon action to make Bathsheba his. “The action is so stark that there is nothing but action. There is no conversation nor caring or affection of love, only lust. David does not call her by name, does not even speak to her, at the end of the encounter she is only ‘the woman’”.

This sin of David will lead to other forms of sin with fatal consequences that is explained in greater detail in 2nd Samuel chapter 12. Even though we know that God forgives David and he repented, he still had to bear the consequences of his sins.


We have to realize that David and our leaders are sinful men that are given grace from God so that we do not idolize men. We can only surrender ourselves to Jesus Christ our perfect savior. Our hearts are prone to wander and we are easily enticed to sin. May we realize our own weaknesses and constantly be watchful and prayerful to continually live in the Word by the grace of God that upholds us.

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