David, having slept with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, one of the soldiers in David’s army, got Uriah drunk and did everything else he could think of to get Uriah to go home to his wife. David hoped this would present the opportunity for Uriah to think himself the father of the baby Bathsheba was carrying. But honorable Uriah wouldn’t go.
So David commits premeditated murder. No, he didn’t swing the club or fire the arrow, but he might as well have. He even gave trustworthy Uriah the responsibility of carrying his own death order to his superior officer Joab. And Joab obeyed the king, placing Uriah where his death was assured; and, in the process, causing the death of some of the other men in Israel’s army.
Hoping to hide his own sin, David committed the horrific sin of murder. Hoping the death of Uriah would get the job done, David signed the death warrant for all the soldiers who were sent to the front alongside Uriah.
And then what? Joab sends word that the deed is done. David responds by sending this return message: “‘Tell Joab not to be discouraged,’ David said. ‘The sword devours this one today and that one tomorrow!’” (II Samuel 11:25a, NLT).
Can we say cold, callous, nonchalant? In other words, no biggie, Joab; a dead soldier’s a dead soldier.
The Bible doesn’t tell us how Bathsheba responded to David’s advances; but we do know that women were hardly more than property back then. We do, however, know how she reacted to news of her husband’s death: “She mourned for him” (II Samuel 11:26b).
What does David do? He decides to treat Bathsheba with a little respect, so “when the period of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to the palace, and she became one of his wives” (II Samuel 11:27a). Can you even begin to imagine! Bathsheba became the wife of the man who murdered her husband – and I seriously doubt that she suspected David of being responsible.
So time rocks on; no one’s the wiser for what David has done; and Bathsheba “bore him a son”.(II Samuel 11:27b).
Had David literally gotten away with murder? Not hardly. This passage goes on to say that “the thing David had done displeased the Lord” (II Samuel 11:27c).
Sin for a season. A one-night stand. And consequences beyond David’s wildest imagination.
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates