And when he (the Lord) had removed him (Saul), he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will (Acts 13:22). See also: 1 Sam. 13:14; 2 Sam. 2:4; 1 Kings 15:5.
What is the history of David and Bathsheba? For a moment, consider some of the background of their situation. We read in 2 Samuel 3 and 2 Samuel 4 that Saul’s son, Ishbosheth, who began to reign over Israel after Saul’s death, has been murdered by two captains of his own guard. In 2 Samuel 5:1-3, David is crowned king over Israel, and by this time he is in the prime of his life, only 37 or so years old (2 Sam. 5:3-5). After battle with the Philistines (2 Sam. 5: 17-25), David was able to recover the Ark Of The Covenant which had been captured when Samuel was young, and to bring it back to Jerusalem with great rejoicing (1 Sam. 4:11; 2 Sam. 6:6-7; 2 Sam. 6:12-17). He loved the Lord enough to desire to build a house for Him, but was told that his son would build it instead (2 Sam. 7:12-13; 1 Chron. 28:6). The Lord was with him to secure his throne and give him victory over all his enemies (2 Sam. 8:1-18). (See verses 14-18, and also chapter 10). These are long readings, but vital for understanding King David’s temptation.
Then read 2 Sam. 11:2-27. David’s is the sad account of a temptation during an era when God’s people had not been guaranteed a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13). We are not told why King David did not go to battle with his army, but we know he did not (2 Sam. 11:1). After running from Saul for approximately ten years, he may have been weary and felt the need of a rest. We can only glean bits and pieces of the rough introduction to his new position as king over both Judah and Israel. Some had not learned to trust him yet, so his kindnesses to them had been spurned (2 Sam. 10). The fact remains: David was at home, rose from his bed and walked on his roof-top during the evening. He was now king of the whole nation of Israel and his power and authority established, but he fell into a great temptation.
Consider that David had already inherited or was given his wives (2 Sam. 12:7-8), but seeing Bathsheba brought a new temptation to call a very beautiful woman to himself. He coveted her and sent for her. As the king, he had every right to choose who would serve him in any capacity, but Bathsheba belonged to a warrior in David’s army (2 Sam. 11:3-4). When David called her, it was approximately seven days after her “flowers” had passed and she had been purified according to the Law (Lev. 12:2-5; Lev. 15:19-28; Lev. 15:30-33). Conception took place immediately. We are not told why David did not confess his sin, or why he determined to conceal it with a murder which could look like a normal battle event, but he did.
As we have seen, 2 Samuel 11 gives the details. We are left to wonder how and why such an egregious sin could tempt a man who had overcome so many other temptations (1 Kings 15:5). Even when he almost took vengeance against Nabal, the Lord saved him by the counsel of Abigail and he was spared (1 Sam. 25).
Use the following questions to help understand more; let the scriptures do the teaching.
- Under the Old Testament what was the command concerning taking another man’s wife [adultery] (Exo. 20:14, 17; Lev. 20:10)?
- King David had a right to make any woman in Israel his wife, but when his messengers told him who Bathsheba belonged to, what should he have remembered that would help him to overcome the temptation (Exo. 20:17; Pro. 5:15-21)?
- Why did he determine to kill Uriah after Uriah refused to go home (Pro. 6:30-34)?
- According to Romans 13:9-10 what consideration should King David have given to Uriah?
- What spirit did David have when he was confronted with his sin (Psa. 34:18; 51:17)?
- Was King David forgiven when he confessed (2 Sam. 12:13)?
- What principle did David follow that caused God to forgive his sin (Pro. 28:13)?
- Was forgiveness the end of the matter (Psa. 99:8)?
- Even though David was forgiven, what three things did God promise as a punishment for his sin (2 Sam. 12:7-14)?
- When and how were those promises fulfilled? Cite scripture references.
- David didn’t have the New Testament command in Hebrews 13:5-6, but if he had considered that principle, would he have been better equipped to resist the temptation to take another man’s wife? He probably did have that knowledge and understanding, but it wasn’t on his mind at the time.
- Was King David tempted in a way that was not common to men? Was his temptation any different than the ones we face (1 Cor. 10:11-13)?
- What does the New Testament tell us about the same sins (Rom. 13:9)?
- Are all temptations of the same degree, or are some temptations more severe than others (Luke 22:31)?
- We have a choice when we are tempted to do wrong: We can get as close to it as possible without actually doing wrong, or we can get as far away from it as possible and put it out of our thoughts. Which does God say a prudent person will do? When David caught sight of a woman washing herself, what should he have done that could have avoided Satan’s trap (Pro. 22:3-5; Rom. 13:14; Job 31:1)?
- Is it possible for a thought to be sinful (Matt. 5:27-28)?
- Can we meddle with evil things or even think about wrong things (like reading inappropriate books or watching questionable movies) and then expect to come away without any damage to our hearts (Pro. 6:27-28; Pro. 4:23-27)?
- Can I do something wrong, hide it, and expect not to suffer any consequences for it or any punishment (Eccl. 8:11-13; Psa. 10:11-14; Matt. 10:26; 2 Cor. 5:9-11; Pro. 28:13-14)?
- According to 2 Timothy 2:22 and 1 Corinthians 6:18, what should we do when temptation presents itself to us?
- From where does all sin come (Mark 7:21-23)?
- What could make the temptation to commit fornication or adultery stronger for the unmarried (1 Cor. 7:1-5)?
- What is the conclusion to the whole matter for all of us (Ecc. 12:13-14)?