Bathsheba mourned for her dead husband one week and married David the next. They’d gotten what they wanted. They were together at last, and no one could stop them now. Honestly, does this remind anyone but me of the Forensic Files?
But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord. 2nd Samuel 11:27 esv
30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:30-31 esv
David very much falls into the hands of the living God.
It is generally believed that about a period of one year passes between the end of 2nd Samuel 11 and the beginning of 2nd Samuel 12. During that time, the newlyweds are presumably living it up, celebrating their new baby, and thinking they’ve gotten away with murder…until that pesky ole prophet showed up.
1 And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 3 but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. 2nd Samuel 12:1-3 esv
Uriah was never afforded the chance to tell his side of the story – and so God does, through the prophet, Nathan.
Uriah loved Bathsheba, affectionately and deeply. He shared his own portions with her, and she drank from his cup. They were like the young couple you see in the restaurant, so gaga over one another that they are feeding each other off their own plates. Uriah was a man wholly in love with his wife, and she was sacred to him. He held nothing back from her. Furthermore, she was all that he had and he was delighted to have her.
Nathan continues with his story:
4Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” 2nd Samuel 12:4 esv
A traveler came to the rich man. The Hebrew word for traveler is hēlek, and it can also be translated as wayfarer. This is a person who travels from place to place on foot.
8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1st Peter 5:8 esv
This traveler, the wayfarer, the devil, came prowling over to David’s place, looking for someone to devour, and he found it. David is not being sober minded. Judging from his actions over the past year or so, we can just about guess where he’s at in his Bible study. He’s supposed to study the Law every single day, (see Deuteronomy 17:18-20) and he’s been given a directive to shepherd the flock. Well, the flock has been dispatched without its shepherd for a considerable period of time. The shepherd stayed in Jerusalem and the flock was out there fighting the Ammonites on their own. The devil came to David with some carnal desires and had to be fed. And instead of going to his own harem, he exploited the sacredness of a good man.
Make no mistake, these carnal desires will demand to be fed, and if we’re not sober minded and watchful somebody is going to get devoured.
When Nathan is finished with his story,
5 Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, 6 and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.” 2nd Samuel 12:5-6 esv
David is so moved with compassion at the story that he blasts, he deserves to die!
Isn’t it funny…we can always see the gravity of sin in someone else, but we’re completely blind to our own. Didn’t Jesus say something about that? Oh, yes, here it is in my notes: Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5 esv
David invokes the Law with which to punish this guy Nathan is talking about – God’s penalty for such a crime is to return the stolen property fourfold (Exodus 22:1). And in that, David prescribes his own judgment.
7Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. 8 And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. 9 Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11 Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.’” 13 David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.” 15 Then Nathan went to his house. 2nd Samuel 12:7-15 esv
And in the weeks to come we will see how David’s own judgment plays out in his personal life. He will pay back that lamb he stole fourfold…and judgment begins immediately.
And the Lord afflicted the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and he became sick. 16 David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. 17 And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. 18 On the seventh day the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us. How then can we say to him the child is dead? He may do himself some harm.” 19 But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” 20 Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. 2nd Samuel 12:15-20 esv
David worshiped. David was trying to come back to the Lord. He’d been on his face before God for seven days, possibly writing Psalm 51. In his repentance he recognized the work of the Lord in his life.
He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. 21 Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” 22 He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ 23 But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” 2nd Samuel 20:20-23 esv
In the whole lesson, my greatest comfort comes from verse 23. Let me tell you why.
Thirty-four years ago at Thanksgiving we lost a baby. This verse gives me hope that I will go to that baby someday. David believes he will see his little one someday, though he knows he can’t bring him back to this place. I know that too.
That David possessed a deep understanding of God’s character is evident by the way he responded to God’s judgment. Before the blow fell he prayed, knowing that Jehovah was a God of mercy. After the blow fell, he worshiped knowing that Jehovah was a God of righteousness. He forgot the things that were behind, accepted the divine discipline, and looked ahead to the future. He did not despair because he knew that God would yet bless him. He was right.
—William McDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary
Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba… 2nd Samuel 12:24 esv
The Hebrew word for comforted is nāḥam—Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, and this is the definition from Vine’s Concise Dictionary of the Bible:
“to repent, comfort.” [… ]to bring acts of kindness and favor, and encouraging words to another. David “comforted” Bathsheba after the death of her child born in sin […] this probably indicates his repentance of what had happened in their indiscretion.
Put simply, David repented of his sin against God, but also how he’d sinned against Bathsheba. He’d seduced her away from the arms of a man who loved and cherished her, and now here she was grieving the death of her child. David was sorry for what his sinful actions had brought to her life. As a result, he went to her with kindness and encouragement, and repented of his actions, and God blessed him for it.
[David] went in to her and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the Lord loved him 25 and sent a message by Nathan the prophet. So he called his name Jedidiah, because of the Lord. 2nd Samuel 12:24-25 esv
This new little one, Solomon, has been conceived not in the sinful will of the flesh, but within David’s tender repentance toward Bathsheba. This is an important aspect of repentance. David acknowledged that he’d sinned first against God Almighty, and then he went to the injured party and repented – and God blessed David’s sincere actions with a new life. With Solomon, and the Lord loved him.
I will be out of town for the next ten days, so please come back in two weeks for A Royal Dysfunction Part 1 in our series, The Lion of Judah.
If you’re interested in my fiction, please visit www.TaMaraHanscomBooks.com for a free download of the first 4 chapters of The Pretender.
© 2018, Ta`Mara Hanscom