2 Samuel 11
Contemporary English Version
David and Bathsheba
11 It was now spring, the time when kings go to war.[a] David sent out the whole Israelite army under the command of Joab and his officers. They destroyed the Ammonite army and surrounded the capital city of Rabbah, but David stayed in Jerusalem.
2-4 Late one afternoon, David got up from a nap and was walking around on the flat roof of his palace. A beautiful young woman was down below in her courtyard, bathing as her religion required.[b] David happened to see her, and he sent one of his servants to find out who she was.
The servant came back and told David, “Her name is Bathsheba. She is the daughter of Eliam, and she is the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”
David sent some messengers to bring her to his palace. She came to him, and he slept with her. Then she returned home. 5 But later, when she found out that she was going to have a baby, she sent someone to David with this message: “I’m pregnant!”
6 David sent a message to Joab: “Send Uriah the Hittite to me.”
Joab sent Uriah 7 to David’s palace, and David asked him, “Is Joab well? How is the army doing? And how about the war?” 8 Then David told Uriah, “Go home and clean up.”[c] Uriah left the king’s palace, and David had dinner sent to Uriah’s house. 9 But Uriah didn’t go home. Instead, he slept outside the entrance to the royal palace, where the king’s guards slept.
10 Someone told David that Uriah had not gone home. So the next morning David asked him, “Why didn’t you go home? Haven’t you been away for a long time?”
11 Uriah answered, “The sacred chest and the armies of Israel and Judah are camping out somewhere in the fields[d] with our commander Joab and his officers and troops. Do you really think I would go home to eat and drink and sleep with my wife? I swear by your life that I would not!”
12 Then David said, “Stay here in Jerusalem today, and I will send you back tomorrow.”
Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day. Then the next day, 13 David invited him for dinner. Uriah ate with David and drank so much that he got drunk, but he still did not go home. He went out and slept on his mat near the palace guards. 14 Early the next morning, David wrote a letter and told Uriah to deliver it to Joab. 15 The letter said: “Put Uriah on the front line where the fighting is the worst. Then pull the troops back from him, so that he will be wounded and die.”
16 Joab had been carefully watching the city of Rabbah, and he put Uriah in a place where he knew there were some of the enemy’s best soldiers. 17 When the men of the city came out, they fought and killed some of David’s soldiers—Uriah the Hittite was one of them.
18 Joab sent a messenger to tell David everything that was happening in the war. 19 He gave the messenger these orders:
When you finish telling the king everything that has happened, 20 he may get angry and ask, “Why did you go so near the city to fight? Didn’t you know they would shoot arrows from the wall? 21 Don’t you know how Abimelech the son of Gideon[e] was killed at Thebez? Didn’t a woman kill him by dropping a large rock from the top of the city wall? Why did you go so close to the city walls?”
Then you tell him, “One of your soldiers who was killed was Uriah the Hittite.”
22 The messenger went to David and reported everything Joab had told him. 23 He added, “The enemy chased us from the wall and out into the open fields. But we pushed them back as far as the city gate. 24 Then they shot arrows at us from the top of the wall. Some of your soldiers were killed, and one of them was Uriah the Hittite.”
25 David replied, “Tell Joab to cheer up and not to be upset about what happened. You never know who will be killed in a war. Tell him to strengthen his attack against the city and break through its walls.”[f]
26 When Bathsheba heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. 27 Then after the time for mourning was over, David sent someone to bring her to the palace. She became David’s wife, and they had a son.
The Lord’s Message for David
The Lord was angry at what David had done,
- 11.1 when. . . war: Or “when the messengers had gone to Ammon” (see 10.2) or “the time when the kings had gone to war” (see 10.6-8).
- 11.2-4 as. . . required: This bathing was often a requirement for worshiping God.
- 11.8 and clean up: Or “and sleep with your wife.”
- 11.11 somewhere in the fields: Or “at Succoth.”
- 11.21 Gideon: The Hebrew text has Jerubbesheth, which stands for “Jerubbaal,” another name for Gideon. See Judges 6.32 and the note on “bosheth” at 2.8 (“besheth” means the same as “bosheth”).
- 11.25 break. . . walls: Or “destroy it.”