What is the story of David and Bathsheba?
The story of David and Bathsheba can be found in 2 Samuel 11. To paraphrase the story, David remained in the city while his men went to battle. Upon one idle evening while he was walking on his rooftop, he saw Bathsheba bathing. After seeing her, he asked about her and found out she was the wife of one of his men. Even though he knew that, he still sent for her and had an affair with her. That affair led to her being pregnant. David then placed her husband in harms way in a battle and allowed him to fall to the enemy. He then took Bathsheba to be his wife.
“But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord” (2 Samuel 11:27).
From the story, we can learn several key takeaways. It is easier to be led to sin when we are idle. After Adam’s first fall in sin, God cursed the ground for our sake, because in toil and labor we won’t be idle and more prone to sin (Genesis 3:17).
The first sin that occurred was David coveted Bathsheba. When he saw her bathing, he did not turn away, but saw that she was beautiful and coveted her. The tenth commandment states, “You shall not covet … anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17). David then acted upon that and found out she was married and chose to commit adultery with her when the seventh commandment says clearly, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).
After coveting, which led to adultery, David murdered her husband when the sixth commandment clearly states, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). It’s easy to see from this story how one sin can lead to another greater sin. “This desire leads to sin, and then the sin grows and brings death” (James 1:15).
After David’s sin with Bathsheba, God did not have David to cut the marital relationship with her since her husband was dead and she was released from that marital law. “For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man” (Romans 7:2-3).
But God punished David and brought upon him the evil consequences of his sin to teach us the pure character of God’s Law. Three direct consequences were inflicted upon David:
First: Nathan said the sword would never depart from David’s house (2 Samuel 12:10). This was fulfilled in the successive violent deaths of at least three of his sons—Amnon (2 Samuel 13:29), Absalom (2 Samuel 18:14), and Adonijah (1 Kings 2:25).
Second: Nathan also prophesied to David that his own wives would be humiliated before all Israel (2 Samuel 12:11). This was fulfilled when Absalom “lay with his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel” (2 Samuel 16:22).
Third: Nathan pronounced the fatal end of the son conceived by David’s sin with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12:14). This was fulfilled seven days after Nathan’s judgment sentence (2 Samuel 12:18). To David, the death of his son was a far greater punishment than his own death.
Repentance and conversion
As a result of the bitter experience he passed through, David was brought to a complete repentance and conversion. And this was the Lord’s goal. We read about this change in the Psalm 51, written at this time, where David not only confessed his sin and prayed for forgiveness but asked the Lord to create in him a clean heart and renew a right spirit within him. He prayed, “…Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin…Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:2, 3, 7, 10).
The Lord, in His mercy, allows men to see that the results of sin are not increased prosperity and happiness, but misery, woe, and death. His protecting hand was withdrawn from David, and the king was permitted to taste the bitter fruits of his sin. And David realized that the pathway to true happiness could not be found in disobedience. The story of David and Bathsheba is also recorded in the Bible for us to learn from. The biggest lesson is that God can forgive, if we come to Him and repent.
In His service,