David and Bathsheba
It was now spring, the time when kings go to war.
n 11.1 when ... war: Or “when the messengers had gone to Ammon” (see 10.2) or “the time when the kings had gone to war” (see 10.6-8).
David sent out the whole Israelite army under the command of Joab and his officers. They destroyed the Ammonite army and surrounded the capital city of Rabbah, but David stayed in Jerusalem.
Late one afternoon, David got up from a nap and was walking around on the flat roof of his palace. A beautiful young woman was down below in her courtyard, bathing as her religion required.
o 11.2-4 as ... required: This bathing was often a requirement for worshiping God.
David happened to see her, and he sent one of his servants to find out who she was.
The servant came back and told David, “Her name is Bathsheba. She is the daughter of Eliam, and she is the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”
David sent some messengers to bring her to his palace. She came to him, and he slept with her. Then she returned home.
5 But later, when she found out that she was going to have a baby, she sent someone to David with this message: “I'm pregnant!”
6 David sent a message to Joab: “Send Uriah the Hittite to me.”
Joab sent Uriah
to David's palace, and David asked him, “Is Joab well? How is the army doing? And how about the war?”
Then David told Uriah, “Go home and clean up.”
p 11.8 and clean up: Or “and sleep with your wife.”
Uriah left the king's palace, and David had dinner sent to Uriah's house.
But Uriah didn't go home. Instead, he slept outside the entrance to the royal palace, where the king's guards slept.
10 Someone told David that Uriah had not gone home. So the next morning David asked him, “Why didn't you go home? Haven't you been away for a long time?”
Uriah answered, “The sacred chest and the armies of Israel and Judah are camping out somewhere in the fields
q 11.11 somewhere in the fields: Or “at Succoth.”
with our commander Joab and his officers and troops. Do you really think I would go home to eat and drink and sleep with my wife? I swear by your life that I would not!”
12 Then David said, “Stay here in Jerusalem today, and I will send you back tomorrow.”
Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day. Then the next day,
13 David invited him for dinner. Uriah ate with David and drank so much that he got drunk, but he still did not go home. He went out and slept on his mat near the palace guards.
14 Early the next morning, David wrote a letter and told Uriah to deliver it to Joab.
15 The letter said: “Put Uriah on the front line where the fighting is the worst. Then pull the troops back from him, so that he will be wounded and die.”
16 Joab had been carefully watching the city of Rabbah, and he put Uriah in a place where he knew there were some of the enemy's best soldiers.
17 When the men of the city came out, they fought and killed some of David's soldiers—Uriah the Hittite was one of them.
18 Joab sent a messenger to tell David everything that was happening in the war.
19 He gave the messenger these orders:
When you finish telling the king everything that has happened,
he may get angry and ask, “Why did you go so near the city to fight? Didn't you know they would shoot arrows from the wall?
Don't you know how Abimelech the son of Gideon
r 11.21 Gideon: The Hebrew text has Jerubbesheth, which stands for “Jerubbaal,” another name for Gideon. See Judges 6.32 and the note on “bosheth” at 2.8 (“besheth” means the same as “bosheth”).
was killed at Thebez? Didn't a woman kill him by dropping a large rock from the top of the city wall? Why did you go so close to the city walls?”
Then you tell him, “One of your soldiers who was killed was Uriah the Hittite.”
22 The messenger went to David and reported everything Joab had told him.
23 He added, “The enemy chased us from the wall and out into the open fields. But we pushed them back as far as the city gate.
24 Then they shot arrows at us from the top of the wall. Some of your soldiers were killed, and one of them was Uriah the Hittite.”
David replied, “Tell Joab to cheer up and not to be upset about what happened. You never know who will be killed in a war. Tell him to strengthen his attack against the city and break through its walls.”
s 11.25 break ... walls: Or “destroy it.”
26 When Bathsheba heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him.
27 Then after the time for mourning was over, David sent someone to bring her to the palace. She became David's wife, and they had a son.
The Lord's Message for David
The Lord was angry at what David had done,
and he sent Nathan the prophet to tell this story to David:
A rich man and a poor man lived in the same town.
2 The rich man owned a lot of sheep and cattle,
3 but the poor man had only one little lamb that he had bought and raised. The lamb became a pet for him and his children. He even let it eat from his plate and drink from his cup and sleep on his lap. The lamb was like one of his own children.
4 One day someone came to visit the rich man, but the rich man didn't want to kill any of his own sheep or cattle and serve it to the visitor. So he stole the poor man's little lamb and served it instead.
5 David was furious with the rich man and said to Nathan, “I swear by the living Lord that the man who did this deserves to die!
6 And because he didn't have any pity on the poor man, he will have to pay four times what the lamb was worth.”
7 Then Nathan told David:
You are that rich man! Now listen to what the Lord God of Israel says to you: “I chose you to be the king of Israel. I kept you safe from Saul
8 and even gave you his house and his wives. I let you rule Israel and Judah, and if that had not been enough, I would have given you much more.
9 Why did you disobey me and do such a horrible thing? You murdered Uriah the Hittite by having the Ammonites kill him, so you could take his wife.
“Because you wouldn't obey me and took Uriah's wife for yourself, your family will never live in peace.
Someone from your own family will cause you a lot of trouble, and I will take your wives and give them to another man before your very eyes. He will go to bed with them while everyone looks on.
What you did was in secret, but I will do this in the open for everyone in Israel to see.”
13-14 David said, “I have disobeyed the Lord.”
“Yes, you have!” Nathan answered. “You showed you didn't care what the Lord
t 12.13,14 what ... wanted: One manuscript of one ancient translation; one Hebrew manuscript “what the Lord had said”; most Hebrew manuscripts “what the enemies of the Lord would think.”
He has forgiven you, and you won't die. But your newborn son will.”
Then Nathan went back home.
David's Young Son Dies
The Lord made David's young son very sick.
16 So David went without eating to show his sorrow, and he begged God to make the boy well. David would not sleep on his bed, but spent each night lying on the floor.
17 His officials stood beside him and tried to talk him into getting up. But he would not get up or eat with them.
18 After the child had been sick for seven days, he died, but the officials were afraid to tell David. They said to each other, “Even when the boy was alive, David wouldn't listen to us. How can we tell him his son is dead? He might do something terrible!”
19 David noticed his servants whispering, and he knew the boy was dead. “Did my son die?” he asked his servants.
“Yes, he did,” they answered.
20 David got up off the floor; he took a bath, combed his hair, and dressed. He went into the Lord's tent and worshiped, then he went back home. David asked for something to eat, and when his servants brought him some food, he ate it.
21 His officials said, “What are you doing? You went without eating and cried for your son while he was alive! But now that he's dead, you're up and eating.”
22 David answered:
While he was still alive, I went without food and cried because there was still hope. I said to myself, “Who knows? Maybe the Lord will have pity on me and let the child live.”
23 But now that he's dead, why should I go without eating? I can't bring him back! Someday I will join him in death, but he can't return to me.
Solomon Is Born
David comforted his wife Bathsheba and slept with her. Later on, she gave birth to another son and named him Solomon. The Lord
and sent Nathan the prophet to tell David, “The Lord
will call him Jedidiah.”
u 12.25 Jedidiah: In Hebrew this name means “Loved by the Lord.”
The End of the War with Ammon
26 Meanwhile, Joab had been in the country of Ammon, attacking the city of Rabbah. He captured the royal fortress
27 and sent a messenger to tell David:
I have attacked Rabbah and captured the fortress guarding the city water supply.
28 Call the rest of the army together. Then surround the city, and capture it yourself. If you don't, everyone will remember that I captured the city.
David called the rest of the army together and attacked Rabbah. He captured the city
and took the crown from the statue of their god Milcom.
v 12.30 the statue of their god Milcom: Or “their king.”
The crown was made of seventy-five pounds of gold, and there was a valuable jewel on it. David put the jewel on his own crown.
w 12.30 David ... crown: Or “and David wore the crown.”
He also carried off everything else of value.
David made the people of Rabbah tear down the city walls
x 12.31 tear ... walls: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
with iron picks and axes, and then he put them to work making bricks. He did the same thing with all the other Ammonite cities.
David went back to Jerusalem, and the people of Israel returned to their homes.