II Samuel 12:7, 9, 10, 14
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
The above painting by Guy Rowe* depicts Nathan the prophet confronting King David concerning his sinful acts, recorded in II Samuel 12:7, 9,10, and 14:
Then Nathan said to David...“Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword...and... you have taken his wife to be your wife. Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me....because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blas- pheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.”
David’s response to God’s accusation through the prophet is just six words in verse 13, “I have sinned against the LORD.” That just sounds too trite for the seriousness of the sins! But it really is more of a summary of his heartfelt confession in Psalm 51! Here are just a few verses from that deeply penitent Psalm:
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkind- ness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin....Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight.... Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow....Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God....Restore to me the joy of Your sal- vation.... (Psalm 53:1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 10, 12 – see also Psalm 6, 32, 38, 102, 130, 143).
David greatly sinned…
- …against God! As he confessed in Psalm 53:4 (see above), “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight.” Why would he say that when the terrible sin also involved adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah? Because all sin is ultimately against God!
- …against the people of Israel! For he was their king! And the leader of any people should set an example, politically, ethically, and morally (see Deuteronomy 17:14-20).
- …against Bathsheba! Although from the record it seems she was a willing participant, David had no right to look upon and lust after this beautiful woman! His lust turned into action, as is often the case, and he committed adultery with her, and then murdered her husband!
- …against Uriah the Hittite! Although he is listed in both II Samuel 23:39 and I Chronicles 11:41 among “…the mighty men whom David had…” (II Samuel 23:8), the king’s most trusted warriors, David nonetheless commanded Joab, his military general, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die.” (II Samuel 11:15). His Highness was trying to cover his tracks for having gotten Uriah’s wife Bathsheba pregnant! (See II Samuel 11:4, 5).
Digging deeper into the Scriptures, I found something very interesting:
✡ In II Samuel 11:3 after David saw beautiful Bathsheba bathing, we are told, “So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, ‘Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?”
Three things should have stopped David right there! He knew that God comdemned adultery! (See Exodus 20:11, 17). Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah, one of David’s trusted soldiers! And her father Eliam was another of David’s mighty men! How do I know this about Eliam? It says so in II Samuel 23:34.
✡ But there is another bit of information revealed in II Samuel 23:34: It tells us that “...Eliam [is] the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite.” Why is this import- ant? In II Chronicles 27:33 it says, “Ahithophel was the king’s counselor.” Apparently, he was a loyal and trusted subject and counselor of King David...
…until the king seduced his granddaughter Bathsheba and murdered her husband! When David’s own son Absalom rebelled against his father and tried to take over the kingdom (see II Samuel 15:6, 10), Ahithophel joined the uprising! “Then someone told David, ‘Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.’ ” (II Samuel 15:31). Apparently, the former loyal counselor of the king, was just waiting for the opportunity to revenge David’s sinful actions against his daughter and her family!
If you consider the length of time covering all that happened, from David’s lustful gaze in II Samuel 11:2 to the confession of his misdeeds in II Samuel 12:13, it was at least half a year’s time that the king was not in close fellowship with the LORD! We are told in Proverbs 28:13, “He who covers his sins shall not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” That mercy, that reconnection with God, took six month’s or more to happen! I have experienced dry times in my spiritual life, and it was always because I was not living close to my Lord Jesus! I never let it go on for six months or longer, but David did! It must have been an awfully spiritually dry time for him!
Because of his grievous sin…
- David and Bathsheba’s child died! (See II Samuel 12:18).
- Bathsheba, from the way she presented herself to the king in I Kings 1:15 through 21, seems to have grown somewhat distant from her husband, although it may just be royal protocol when she was approaching the throne.
- David received a prophesy in II Samuel 12:10 through 12 that he would have family troubles from then on! For Nathan told him (Easy-to-Read Version) :
This is what the LORD says: “I am bringing trouble a- gainst you. This trouble will come from your own family. I will take your wives from you and give them to someone who is very close to you. He will have sexual relations with your wives, and everyone will know it! You had sex- ual relations with Bathsheba in secret, but I will pun- ish you so that all the people of Israel can see it.”
- The king’s son Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar (see II Samuel 13:6-13), and then disowned her, chasing her from his presence! (See II Samuel 13:15-18).
- Amnon’s half-brother, Absolom (brother of Tamar) waited two years, and then murdered Amnon! (See II Kings 13:28, 29).
- This was the same Absolom who rebelled against his father and tried to take over the kingdom! He was later killed in battle against David and his forces (see II Samuel 18:14-17), to the great grief of his father! (See II Samuel 18:33).
- Another son to the king, Adonijah, rebelled against his father and tried to take over the kingdom. He even convinced General Joab and the priest Abiathar to join him! (See I Kings 1:5-7). He later lost his life after Solomon became king.
What can we learn from all this? There are consequences of sin! Yes, God does forgive us our sins and He takes away their eternal penalty. But it is so much better to avoid sin in the first place…
…because sin does have consequences!
* Guy Rowe was commissioned to produce the 32 paintings for IN OUR IMAGE, “ Character Studies from the Old Testament,” selected by Houston Harte. Oxford University Press, New York, 1949.