If we are tempted to think we are exempt from the seduction of sin, this story serves as a cautionary tale. Up until now, David had been an exemplary king. Today’s reading reveals that even David was capable of the unthinkable.
The story happened in three scenes. The first reveals David’s affair with Bathsheba (vv. 2–5). Some suggest that David’s first mistake was staying home while his army went to war. However, kings often stayed behind for their safety and the country’s stability. The text does not say that David was unduly idle.
One night the king was loitering on the palace roof, when he saw a beautiful woman bathing. Acting on lustful impulse, he sent someone to identify the woman. He learned that she was the daughter of a prominent man (Eliam) and the wife of a soldier, but he was undeterred. He summoned her to the palace and slept with her. We are told that she had just purified herself from uncleanness. This sidenote is important, indicating that she was not pregnant before her encounter with David. In due time, however, a baby was on the way.
In the second scene (vv. 6–13), David attempted to cover his sin. He sent for Uriah, bringing him home from the battlefield. When Uriah arrived, David feigned concern about the war and even Uriah himself. This hypocritical side of David leaves us unsettled. Then David tried to manipulate Uriah into sleeping with his wife.
In the third scene (vv. 14–25), David’s actions turn from deceptive to sinister. He sent Uriah back to the front lines with a letter that sealed his fate. His plan worked, and Uriah was killed. Bathsheba became David’s wife and delivered their son. But the author concludes: “The thing David had done displeased the LORD” (v. 27).
>> Spend extra time today, asking God to search your heart. Meditate on Psalm 139:23–24, asking God to bring to mind any sinful thoughts or actions that displease Him.
Father, is there a word or action that we need to repent of? Is there someone with whom we need to make things right? Is there a blind spot where we have done unacknowledged wrong? Reveal these things to us, so we can repent.