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David Takes Bathsheba(A)

11 In the spring, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, his mercenaries, and Israel’s army to war. They destroyed the Ammonites and attacked Rabbah, while David stayed in Jerusalem.

Now, when evening came, David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the royal palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing, and she was very pretty. David sent someone to ask about the woman. The man said, “She’s Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah the Hittite.” So David sent messengers and took her. She came to him, and he went to bed with her. (She had just cleansed herself after her monthly period.) Then she went home. The woman had become pregnant. So she sent someone to tell David that she was pregnant.

Then David sent a messenger to Joab, saying, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah arrived, David asked him how Joab and the troops were and how the war was going.

“Go home,” David said to Uriah, “and wash your feet.” Uriah left the royal palace, and the king sent a present to him. But Uriah slept at the entrance of the royal palace among his superior’s mercenaries. He didn’t go home.

10 When they told David, “Uriah didn’t go home,” David asked Uriah, “Didn’t you just come from a journey? Why didn’t you go home?”

11 Uriah answered David, “The ark and the army of Israel and Judah are in temporary shelters, and my commander Joab and Your Majesty’s mercenaries are living in the field. Should I then go to my house to eat and drink and go to bed with my wife? I solemnly swear, as sure as you’re living, I won’t do this!”

12 David said to Uriah, “Then stay here today, and tomorrow I’ll send you back.” So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 David summoned him, ate and drank with him, and got him drunk. But that evening Uriah went to lie down on his bed among his superior’s mercenaries. He didn’t go home.

14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 In the letter he wrote, “Put Uriah on the front line where the fighting is heaviest. Then abandon him so that he’ll be struck down and die.”

16 Since Joab had kept the city under observation, he put Uriah at the place where he knew the experienced warriors were. 17 The men of the city came out and fought Joab. Some of the people, namely, some of David’s mercenaries, fell and died—including Uriah the Hittite.

18 Then Joab sent a messenger to report to David all the details of the battle. 19 And he commanded the messenger, “When you finish telling the king about the battle, 20 the king may become angry. He might ask you, ‘Why did you go so close to the city to fight? Didn’t you know they would shoot from the wall? 21 Who killed Jerubbesheth’s[a] son Abimelech? Didn’t a woman on the wall of Thebez throw a small millstone at him and kill him? Why did you go so close to the wall?’ If the king asks this, then say, ‘Your man Uriah the Hittite is also dead.’”

22 The messenger left, and when he arrived, he reported to David everything Joab told him to say.[b] 23 The messenger said, “Their men overpowered us and came to attack us in the field. Then we forced them back to the entrance of the city gate. 24 The archers on the wall shot down at your mercenaries, and some of Your Majesty’s mercenaries died. Your man Uriah the Hittite also is dead.”

25 David said to the messenger, “This is what you are to say to Joab, ‘Don’t let this thing trouble you, because a sword can kill one person as easily as another. Strengthen your attack against the city, and destroy it.’ Say this to encourage him.”

26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband Uriah was dead, she mourned for him. 27 When her mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to his home, and she became his wife. Then she gave birth to a son. But Yahweh considered David’s actions evil.


  1. 2 Samuel 11:21 Or “Jerubbaal’s”; see Judges 9:1.
  2. 2 Samuel 11:22 Greek adds, “And David was angry with Joab. ‘Why did you go so close to the city to fight? Didn’t you know you would be shot at from the wall? Who killed Abimelech, Jerubbaal’s son? Didn’t a woman throw a millstone on him from the wall? Why did you go so close to the wall?’”

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