2 Samuel 11-13New International Version - UK (NIVUK)
David and Bathsheba
11 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.
2 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman washing. The woman was very beautiful, 3 and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, ‘She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.’ 4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. 5 The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, ‘I am pregnant.’
6 So David sent this word to Joab: ‘Send me Uriah the Hittite.’ And Joab sent him to David. 7 When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. 8 Then David said to Uriah, ‘Go down to your house and wash your feet.’ So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. 9 But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house.
10 David was told, ‘Uriah did not go home.’ So he asked Uriah, ‘Haven’t you just come from a military campaign? Why didn’t you go home?’
11 Uriah said to David, ‘The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents,[a] and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!’
12 Then David said to him, ‘Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back.’ So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 At David’s invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants; he did not go home.
14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 In it he wrote, ‘Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so that he will be struck down and die.’
16 So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. 17 When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.
18 Joab sent David a full account of the battle. 19 He instructed the messenger: ‘When you have finished giving the king this account of the battle, 20 the king’s anger may flare up, and he may ask you, “Why did you get so close to the city to fight? Didn’t you know they would shoot arrows from the wall? 21 Who killed Abimelek son of Jerub-Besheth?[b] Didn’t a woman drop an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you get so close to the wall?” If he asks you this, then say to him, “Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.”’
22 The messenger set out, and when he arrived he told David everything Joab had sent him to say. 23 The messenger said to David, ‘The men overpowered us and came out against us in the open, but we drove them back to the entrance of the city gate. 24 Then the archers shot arrows at your servants from the wall, and some of the king’s men died. Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.’
25 David told the messenger, ‘Say this to Joab: “Don’t let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.” Say this to encourage Joab.’
26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. 27 After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.
Nathan rebukes David
12 The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, ‘There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb that he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
4 ‘Now a traveller came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveller who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.’
5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.’
7 Then Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: “I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. 9 Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.”
11 ‘This is what the Lord says: “Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.”’
13 Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’
Nathan replied, ‘The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for[c] the Lord, the son born to you will die.’
15 After Nathan had gone home, the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. 16 David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth[d] on the ground. 17 The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.
18 On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, ‘While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.’
19 David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realised that the child was dead. ‘Is the child dead?’ he asked.
‘Yes,’ they replied, ‘he is dead.’
20 Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshipped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.
21 His attendants asked him, ‘Why are you acting in this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!’
22 He answered, ‘While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, “Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.” 23 But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.’
24 Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The Lord loved him; 25 and because the Lord loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah.[e]
26 Meanwhile Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites and captured the royal citadel. 27 Joab then sent messengers to David, saying, ‘I have fought against Rabbah and taken its water supply. 28 Now muster the rest of the troops and besiege the city and capture it. Otherwise I shall take the city, and it will be named after me.’
29 So David mustered the entire army and went to Rabbah, and attacked and captured it. 30 David took the crown from their king’s[f] head, and it was placed on his own head. It weighed a talent[g] of gold, and it was set with precious stones. David took a great quantity of plunder from the city 31 and brought out the people who were there, consigning them to labour with saws and with iron picks and axes, and he made them work at brickmaking.[h] David did this to all the Ammonite towns. Then he and his entire army returned to Jerusalem.
Amnon and Tamar
13 In the course of time, Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom son of David.
2 Amnon became so obsessed with his sister Tamar that he made himself ill. She was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to do anything to her.
3 Now Amnon had an advisor named Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother. Jonadab was a very shrewd man. 4 He asked Amnon, ‘Why do you, the king’s son, look so haggard morning after morning? Won’t you tell me?’
Amnon said to him, ‘I’m in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.’
5 ‘Go to bed and pretend to be ill,’ Jonadab said. ‘When your father comes to see you, say to him, “I would like my sister Tamar to come and give me something to eat. Let her prepare the food in my sight so that I may watch her and then eat it from her hand.”’
6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. When the king came to see him, Amnon said to him, ‘I would like my sister Tamar to come and make some special bread in my sight, so that I may eat from her hand.’
7 David sent word to Tamar at the palace: ‘Go to the house of your brother Amnon and prepare some food for him.’ 8 So Tamar went to the house of her brother Amnon, who was lying down. She took some dough, kneaded it, made the bread in his sight and baked it. 9 Then she took the pan and served him the bread, but he refused to eat.
‘Send everyone out of here,’ Amnon said. So everyone left him. 10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, ‘Bring the food here into my bedroom so that I may eat from your hand.’ And Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her brother Amnon in his bedroom. 11 But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, ‘Come to bed with me, my sister.’
12 ‘No, my brother!’ she said to him. ‘Don’t force me! Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing. 13 What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.’ 14 But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her.
15 Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her. Amnon said to her, ‘Get up and get out!’
16 ‘No!’ she said to him. ‘Sending me away would be a greater wrong than what you have already done to me.’
But he refused to listen to her. 17 He called his personal servant and said, ‘Get this woman out of my sight and bolt the door after her.’ 18 So his servant put her out and bolted the door after her. She was wearing an ornate[i] robe, for this was the kind of garment the virgin daughters of the king wore. 19 Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornate robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went.
20 Her brother Absalom said to her, ‘Has that Amnon, your brother, been with you? Be quiet for now, my sister; he is your brother. Don’t take this thing to heart.’ And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house, a desolate woman.
21 When King David heard all this, he was furious. 22 And Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar.
Absalom kills Amnon
23 Two years later, when Absalom’s sheep-shearers were at Baal Hazor near the border of Ephraim, he invited all the king’s sons to come there. 24 Absalom went to the king and said, ‘Your servant has had shearers come. Will the king and his attendants please join me?’
25 ‘No, my son,’ the king replied. ‘All of us should not go; we would only be a burden to you.’ Although Absalom urged him, he still refused to go but gave him his blessing.
26 Then Absalom said, ‘If not, please let my brother Amnon come with us.’
The king asked him, ‘Why should he go with you?’ 27 But Absalom urged him, so he sent with him Amnon and the rest of the king’s sons.
28 Absalom ordered his men, ‘Listen! When Amnon is in high spirits from drinking wine and I say to you, “Strike Amnon down,” then kill him. Don’t be afraid. Haven’t I given you this order? Be strong and brave.’ 29 So Absalom’s men did to Amnon what Absalom had ordered. Then all the king’s sons got up, mounted their mules and fled.
30 While they were on their way, the report came to David: ‘Absalom has struck down all the king’s sons; not one of them is left.’ 31 The king stood up, tore his clothes and lay down on the ground; and all his attendants stood by with their clothes torn.
32 But Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother, said, ‘My lord should not think that they killed all the princes; only Amnon is dead. This has been Absalom’s express intention ever since the day that Amnon raped his sister Tamar. 33 My lord the king should not be concerned about the report that all the king’s sons are dead. Only Amnon is dead.’
34 Meanwhile, Absalom had fled.
Now the man standing watch looked up and saw many people on the road west of him, coming down the side of the hill. The watchman went and told the king, ‘I see men in the direction of Horonaim, on the side of the hill.’[j]
35 Jonadab said to the king, ‘See, the king’s sons have come; it has happened just as your servant said.’
36 As he finished speaking, the king’s sons came in, wailing loudly. The king, too, and all his attendants wept very bitterly.
37 Absalom fled and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur. But King David mourned many days for his son.
38 After Absalom fled and went to Geshur, he stayed there for three years. 39 And King David longed to go to Absalom, for he was consoled concerning Amnon’s death.