0 David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11)

Episode 122: David and Bathsheba

2 Samuel 11

David sends Joab to destroy the Ammonites

11 1 It was the time of the year when kings go to battle, so David sent Joab to destroy the Ammonites and besiege Rabbah.

David impregnates Bathsheba

2-3 One evening, while David was walking on the roof of his house, he saw a beautiful woman washing herself. He asked who the woman was, and was told that she was Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah.

4 David sent messengers to bring her to him. When she arrived, he had sex with her (for she was purified from her uncleanness).

5 She conceived and said to David, "I'm pregnant."

David has Uriah killed

6 David sent a message to Joab, saying, "Send me Uriah the Hittite."

7 When Uriah arrived, David said to him,

Is the war going well?

8 Go home and wash your feet.

9 But Uriah didn't go home. He slept at the door of David's house.

10 When David heard that Uriah didn't go home, he said to him, "Why didn't you go to your house?"

11 Uriah answered,

While the ark, Israel, and Judah live in tents, and Joab and your army are sleeping on the ground, how can I go home, eat and drink, and have sex with my wife? I won't do it.

12 David said to Uriah,

Stay here today and tomorrow you can leave.

13 Uriah ate with David, got drunk, and slept with David's servants.

But he didn't go home.

14 In the morning, David wrote a letter, and told Uriah to deliver it to Joab.

15 The letter said, "Make sure Uriah is killed in battle."

16 So Joab put Uriah in a place he knew he'd be killed.

17 And Uriah died in battle.

David marries Bathsheba and she has a son

26 When Bathsheba heard that her husband was killed, she mourned for him.

27 Then David fetched her, she became his wife and had a son. But God was displeased with what David had done.

A few more words about this episode

David sent Joab to destroy the Ammonites and besiege Rabbah. (11:1)

David is no longer leading his armies in battle. Now he sends Joab to do it for him.

Rabbah is called Amman today and is the capital of Jordan. It is 104 kilometers east of Jerusalem. So the trips that Uriah took between the war front and Jerusalem would have taken many days.

She was purified from her uncleanness (11:4)
A woman had to be purified after her period according to Leviticus 15:19-33. Since Bathsheba had gone through her purification after her period, David wouldn't be guilty of having sex with a menstruating woman. It also indicates that she would be more likely to conceive at this time.
Go home and wash your feet. (11:8)
David isn't really telling Uriah to wash his feet. He's suggesting that he go home an have sex with his wife. That way Uriah will appear to be the father of the child that Bathsheba has conceived.
How can I have sex with my wife? (11:11)
Uriah, as a soldier in war, is not allowed to have sex with is wife. (Deuteronomy 23:9-11)
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