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11 In the spring of the following year, at the time when wars begin, David sent Joab and the Israeli army to destroy the Ammonites. They began by laying siege to the city of Rabbah. But David stayed in Jerusalem.

One night he couldn’t get to sleep[a] and went for a stroll on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking her evening bath. He sent to find out who she was and was told that she was Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah. Then David sent for her and when she came he slept with her. (She had just completed the purification rites after menstruation.) Then she returned home. When she found that he had gotten her pregnant she sent a message to inform him.

So David dispatched a memo to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” When he arrived, David asked him how Joab and the army were getting along and how the war was prospering. Then he told him to go home and relax, and he sent a present to him at his home. But Uriah didn’t go there. He stayed that night at the gateway of the palace with the other servants of the king.

10 When David heard what Uriah had done, he summoned him and asked him, “What’s the matter with you? Why didn’t you go home to your wife last night after being away for so long?”

11 Uriah replied, “The Ark and the armies and the general and his officers are camping out in open fields, and should I go home to wine and dine and sleep with my wife? I swear that I will never be guilty of acting like that.”

12 “Well, stay here tonight,” David told him, “and tomorrow you may return to the army.”

So Uriah stayed around the palace. 13 David invited him to dinner and got him drunk; but even so he didn’t go home that night, but again he slept at the entry to the palace.

14 Finally the next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and gave it to Uriah to deliver. 15 The letter instructed Joab to put Uriah at the front of the hottest part of the battle—and then pull back and leave him there to die! 16 So Joab assigned Uriah to a spot close to the besieged city where he knew that the enemies’ best men were fighting; 17 and Uriah was killed along with several other Israeli soldiers.

18 When Joab sent a report to David of how the battle was going, 19-21 he told his messenger, “If the king is angry and asks, ‘Why did the troops go so close to the city? Didn’t they know there would be shooting from the walls? Wasn’t Abimelech killed at Thebez by a woman who threw down a millstone on him?’—then tell him, ‘Uriah was killed too.’”

22 So the messenger arrived at Jerusalem and gave the report to David.

23 “The enemy came out against us,” he said, “and as we chased them back to the city gates, 24 the men on the wall attacked us; and some of our men were killed, and Uriah the Hittite is dead too.”

25 “Well, tell Joab not to be discouraged,” David said. “The sword kills one as well as another![b] Fight harder next time, and conquer the city; tell him he is doing well.”

26 When Bathsheba heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him; 27 then, when the period of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to the palace and she became one of his wives; and she gave birth to his son. But the Lord was very displeased with what David had done.


  1. 2 Samuel 11:2 couldn’t get to sleep, literally, “arose from his bed.”
  2. 2 Samuel 11:25 The sword kills one as well as another, literally, “The sword devours now one and now another.”

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