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55. II Samuel 11: “The Betrayal”

Golden Nursing Center in Mannington, NJ –Evening Service on 10/22/2015

(edited October 2020)


“Now these things were our examples. . .” So says the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 10:6a concerning lessons we can learn from the experiences of Old Covenant Saints. Our study tonight is about one of those experiences. It is not very pleasant and so it is often avoided. But with God’s help, let’s proceed into:


II Samuel chapter 11:

Verse 1: “And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.”


This was a time of great victories and accomplishments for David, Ancient Israel’s greatest King. Would you agree with me that sometimes success is harder to handle than trials and failures? It’s going to be that way for David here: 


Verses 2-5: And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.”


Wow, that happened quick. I want to make it clear that our lesson tonight is not an attack King David. We are here to learn, not to judge. David is actually not being as perverted as it may sound. In his day, kings did tend to live in this way. God had even warned Ancient Israel through the Prophet Samuel against having kings at all (see I Samuel chapter 8). But they wanted to be led by a visible man, not an invisible God. God is warning us today, I think, that even the best human leaders should not distract us from following the Lord first, and foremost.


By any standards, David was being reckless. And then it got even worse. Like with our own politicians sometimes today the “coverup” is as bad or worse than the original offence. Look:


Verses 6-13: And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David. And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered.  And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king's house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king.  But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house. And when they had told David, saying, Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from thy journey? why then didst thou not go down unto thine house? And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing. And David said to Uriah, Tarry here to day also, and to morrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow. And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house.”


Uriah was a dedicated soldier. Maybe he a little too dedicated. Maybe he was a was a workaholic who left his wife alone and neglected once too often. But, even if all this were true, he did not deserve what was about to come to him from his own commander and king:


Verses 14-17: And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.  And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die. And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men were. And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also.”


(pause, then:)


Verses 18-24: Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war; And charged the messenger, saying, When thou hast made an end of telling the matters of the war unto the king, And if so be that the king's wrath arise, and he say unto thee, Wherefore approached ye so nigh unto the city when ye did fight? knew ye not that they would shoot from the wall?  Who smote Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? did not a woman cast a piece of a millstone upon him from the wall, that he died in Thebez? why went ye nigh the wall? then say thou, Thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also. So the messenger went, and came and shewed David all that Joab had sent him for. And the messenger said unto David, Surely the men prevailed against us, and came out unto us into the field, and we were upon them even unto the entering of the gate. And the shooters shot from off the wall upon thy servants; and some of the king's servants be dead, and thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.”


Well, things appear to be turning out according to plan for King David:


Verses 25-26: Then David said unto the messenger, Thus shalt thou say unto Joab, Let not this thing displease thee, for the sword devoureth one as well as another: make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it: and encourage thou him.  And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.”


Many of the ancient kings would take several wives in those days. . . but not like this. Especially not among the God’s People. Now, there was no initial scandal at all. But God noticed. He ALWAYS does:


Verse 27: “And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.


I really don't think that the major lessons in this passage are of a sexual nature. That is to say, I don’t think anything done in the church today can be accurately compared to or justified in any way by what King David did here. Unlike us today, he had a legal right to take as MANY women into his marriage bed as he chose to take.  I’m NOT endorsing it as a practice, but it’s the truth. No, it wasn’t his “crush” on Bathsheba, but the circumstances around the incident and the manner in which he operated that condemned him. I honestly believe that David’s real sin here is that of “playing God.” And that is a sin we all will struggle with at one time or another. I know it’s been a problem for me.


In closing, here are four Scriptural quotes and a few thoughts that helped me this week to further understand David’s mistakes and, hopefully, to avoid them in my life:


Scriptural Quote

Brief Reflection

II Sam 12:1-7a: And the Lord sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man's lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him. And David's anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity. And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man.”




Notice that Nathan the Priest does not tell David a story about illicit romance. But what he does do is painfully expose David’s SELFISHNESS.

I Sam 25:2-3: “And there was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; and the man was very great, and he had three thousand sheep, and a thousand goats: and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb.”

& I Sam 25:37-39: “But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. And it came to pass about ten days after, that the Lord smote Nabal, that he died. And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Blessed be the Lord, that hath pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and hath kept his servant from evil: for the Lord hath returned the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head. And David sent and communed with Abigail, to take her to him to wife.”



David had been attracted to many women, not just Bathsheba. Look carefully at this story of David and Abigail. Before he ever met Bathsheba, David had been “given” another man’s wife. But, and this is a HUGE difference, it happened by an act of God, not through the “dirty work” of man.

II Sam 5:22-25: “And the Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And when David enquired of the Lord, he said, Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees. And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the Lord go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines. And David did so, as the Lord had commanded him; and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer.”


The Lord had been trying to lead the Leader of Israel. Trying to teach David to be patient and to wait on Him. More than anyone else involved, David let God down when he went to Bathsheba.



Psalm 51:1-4: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”

To his credit, once he came to his senses, David truly hurt over this incident. David had sent many men into battle and harm’s way. He was used to death and suffering. But he wasn’t used to causing it. He could have taken almost any woman in Israel for a wife. Did he really need to steal one from another man? He knew that he had been trying to play God, and that hurt him most of all.

Let’s pray.