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11 In the springtime of the year, the season when most kings took their soldiers out to fight, David stayed in Jerusalem and sent Joab out as general in charge of David’s men and the whole army of Israel. They destroyed the Ammonites and put the city of Rabbah under siege.

Early one evening, David rose from his bed and was strolling on the palace roof when he saw a woman bathing on a roof below his. She was very beautiful. David sent someone to find out who the woman was, and the answer came back that she was Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite. Uriah was one of David’s officers who had gone to war with the rest of David’s troops.

4-5 David couldn’t get her off his mind, so he sent messengers to bring Bathsheba to him. She came, and they had sexual relations. Soon after she returned home, Bathsheba realized she was pregnant, and she sent this news to David. Since their encounter occurred just after the purifying bath after her period, her husband Uriah could not have been the father. So David sent a message to his general Joab.

David: Send me Uriah the Hittite.

Joab sent Uriah back to David. There he was taken in front of the king; and David asked how Joab was doing, how the army was getting along, and how the campaign was progressing. When they finished discussing the news from the front, David suggested that Uriah go to his own house to clean up, relax, and visit his wife.

David: Since I’ve called you back here, why don’t you go down to your house?

David sent a gift after him when he left, but Uriah did not go down to his own house. Instead he spent the night at the entrance of the palace with all the king’s servants.

David is frustrated by this. If Uriah doesn’t have sexual relations with his wife, then everyone will know that Bathsheba has been unfaithful—and they might remember her secret trip to the palace.

Servants (to David): 10 Uriah did not go home last night.

David (to Uriah): You’ve just come home from a long trip. Why didn’t you spend the night in your own house?

Uriah: 11 The people of Israel and Judah and the covenant chest of the Lord are in tents; my general, Joab, and the king’s other servants are sleeping in the open fields. Do you think I would go to my home to eat and drink and sleep with my wife while everyone else suffers? As you live, good king, I will not do such a thing.

David: 12 Stay here with me today; tomorrow I will send you back to the battle.

Uriah remained in Jerusalem that whole day and the next day. 13 David invited him to eat and drink in the king’s royal company, and David got him drunk. After the party, Uriah fell asleep on a bed with the servants of the king, and again he did not return to his home.

14 So the next morning, realizing Uriah would not go home to be with Bathsheba, David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it back to the front with Uriah.

David’s seduction of the beautiful Bathsheba and the plot to murder her husband, Uriah, represent low points in David’s life. Even when someone has a reputation for good character—and David must have one, since he is beloved of God—temptation can lead him to act totally against his own values. David takes Bathsheba because he wants her and because he has the power to do so; he orders her husband into battle to be killed because he is unable to cover his lustful advances.

David’s Letter: 15 Put Uriah at the front of the battle, in a place where the fighting is most intense. Then pull back and leave him in front of the line so that the enemy will strike him down and kill him.

16 After he received this message, Joab laid out his attack plans and assigned Uriah to a place where he knew the enemy had put strong warriors. 17 When the warriors of the city came out to fight against Joab’s forces, some of David’s servants were killed, and Uriah the Hittite was one of them.

18 Joab sent a messenger to David with news of the battle.

Joab (to the messenger): 19 Give the king all of this news about the battle. 20 If he gets angry and asks you, “Why did the army go so near the city to fight? Didn’t you realize that they would shoot from the walls? 21 Wasn’t Abimelech, Jerubbesheth’s son, killed by a woman who dropped a millstone on him from the wall at Thebez?[a] Why were you so close to the wall?” then tell him, “Your servant Uriah the Hittite was also killed in the fighting.”

22 So the messenger went and told David everything Joab had instructed him to say. But he did not wait for the king’s reaction before telling him Uriah had died.

Messenger: 23 Their soldiers came out against us into the field surrounding the city. At first they had the advantage over us, but we drove them back to their gate. 24 Then their archers fired on us from the wall; and some of your servants were killed, including your servant Uriah the Hittite.

David: 25 Take this reply back to Joab: “Don’t let this trouble you. The sword kills indiscriminately. Continue to push forward against the city, and capture it.” And give him my encouragement.

26 When Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife, heard the news of his death, she went into mourning for seven days. 27 When her appointed time of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her into his household. He made her his wife, and in time she bore him a son.

But the Eternal One was displeased with what David had done.


  1. 11:21 Judges 9:53

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