Series: Thru the Bible
Message – Lust…a Murder Motive
***Video is HERE***
Thru the Bible: 2Sam. 11:2-12:25
David… lust, a murder motive
2 Samuel 11:2-27,
“(2) Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold. (3) 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?” (4) Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house. (5) And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.”
Ok, lots to unpack here!
1st off, it is clear that David sinned here. His sin was NOT his having seen the woman naked that was sin, nor in his finding her beautiful to behold. I would even go so far as to say that any lusting after her beauty was not necessarily sin – because it was not premeditated, but simply a hormonal response to a naked and beautiful woman. What was sin was his taking the thought and his acting upon it.
A word on lust…
It is well known that Jesus listed lusting upon a woman (or man) was one and the same as committing a sinful act of sex with them.
The word lust, Jesus used means to desire to possess. Also Jesus’ statement included intent. “Whoever looks at a woman TO LUST for her…”. It is well known that most men are sight motivated, and it is proven as fact time and again every moment of every day. Since we live in a fallen world it is a matter of course that women and advertisers exploit this at every turn. This attraction based upon site is a matter of design. God made it this way. You may recall that I pointed out to you an occasion where a man saw a woman who was beautiful and the scriptures say that he loved her in his heart. In Deuteronomy 21 God gave instructions for marriage for any man who saw a beautiful woman (virgin or widowed) among the captives of a land they conquered and they desired to marry them.
This is not exclusive to men, but it is predominant. It is why it is instinctive on one level or another for a woman to beautify herself, pay attention to details like, hair, nails, complexion…things most men (prior to this age of emasculated manliness) rarely thought about.
Nothing in the passage leads us to believe David went up on his roof with lustful intentions. It just happened. What David did with it was wrong and sin on many, many levels.
His sin was not impetuous…he had to inquire about her and send for her. There was PLENTY of time to reconsider.
David knew she was married and so wanted her as a one night stand. His desire had been satisfied and he thought he’d gotten away with it, until Bathsheba came telling him she was pregnant. Obviously some time had passed between these two events – at least a week, probably a month or more.
This part of the story is all well known, but what is rarely considered is Bathsheba’s role in all this.
In order for David to see Bathsheba with enough detail AT NIGHT to lust after her, her roof couldn’t have been far from his.
Upon sending for her, we see no hint at resistance. According to the law this made her just a culpable as David for the actual act of adultery. This event happened IN THE CITY – not alone in the countryside.
According to Deuteronomy 22:22-27,
“(22) If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then both of them shall die—the man that lay with the woman, and the woman; so you shall put away the evil from Israel. (23) “If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, (24) then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry out in the city, and the man because he humbled his neighbor’s wife; so you shall put away the evil from among you. (25) “But if a man finds a betrothed young woman in the countryside, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die. (26) But you shall do nothing to the young woman; there is in the young woman no sin deserving of death, for just as when a man rises against his neighbor and kills him, even so is this matter. (27) For he found her in the countryside, and the betrothed young woman cried out, but there was no one to save her.”
In fact, rather than being a silent victim she appears a silent co-conspirator. Upon seeing that she was pregnant without having been with her husband for some time, she had all she needed to go before the elders. Instead, she goes to David as if to warn him. This whole thing is looking more and more like a set up.
David attempts to cover his sin
“(6) Then David sent to Joab, saying, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David. (7) When Uriah had come to him, David asked how Joab was doing, and how the people were doing, and how the war prospered. (8) And David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah departed from the king’s house, and a gift of food from the king followed him. (9) But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. (10) So when they told David, saying, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Did you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?” (11) And Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields. Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.” (12) Then David said to Uriah, “Wait here today also, and tomorrow I will let you depart.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. (13) Now when David called him, he ate and drank before him; and he made him drunk. And at evening he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.”
Uriah was clearly a godly man on the same level as David, only in this case David was not acting godly at all.
David is at this point becoming brazen. He was able to face the man he had betrayed. Look him in the eye, break bread with him…David was becoming desperate to cover his sin.
As it progressed, David went so far as to deliberately get this man drunk hoping he would forget his nobility and go home to the comforts of his wife in bed. But he would not.
An interesting side note is this – being drunk will not cause you to do things you don’t want to do, it will remove your inhibitions so that you will more freely act upon what is in your heart. In Uriah’s case it is clear that his nobility was not a show, but a matter of honest heart-felt conviction.
“(14) In the morning it happened that David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. (15) And he wrote in the letter, saying, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die.” (16) So it was, while Joab besieged the city, that he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew there were valiant men. (17) Then the men of the city came out and fought with Joab. And some of the people of the servants of David fell; and Uriah the Hittite died also. (18) Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war, (19) and charged the messenger, saying, “When you have finished telling the matters of the war to the king, (20) if it happens that the king’s wrath rises, and he says to you: ‘Why did you approach so near to the city when you fought? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? (21) Who struck Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Was it not a woman who cast a piece of a millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you go near the wall?’—then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.’ ”
“(22) So the messenger went, and came and told David all that Joab had sent by him. (23) And the messenger said to David, “Surely the men prevailed against us and came out to us in the field; then we drove them back as far as the entrance of the gate. (24) The archers shot from the wall at your servants; and some of the king’s servants are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.”
“(25) Then David said to the messenger, “Thus you shall say to Joab: ‘Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another. Strengthen your attack against the city, and overthrow it.’ So encourage him.”
“(26) When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband. (27) And when her mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.”
Several things of note here:
- There was a bond between the members of David and his cabinet. This is perhaps most pronounced between David and Joab his military leader. Military leaders are types…the live by a code whether spoken or unspoken. They understand nobility, honor, responsibility, duty and candor. Though these many become distorted and even used for evil or self-promoting intent, the core attributes are there and Joab possessed them. He also possessed a bluntness. If he disagreed with David, he may obey him, but it will not be without some form of protest. We remember in 2Sam. 3 how Joab confronted David concerning his decision to let Abner, the murderer of Joab’s brother go free. He also pursued Abner and killed him, but was made to mourn Abner’s death by David. These types of tensions coupled with respect make most relationships like these.
- Joab seemed to understand what was going on.
- His message made his protest clear to the king without revealing it to the messenger.
- David plays down the importance of the issue and so hardens his heart a little more.
- God is not pleased!
This last point is very important. The statement sounds almost a little understated. One would expect a response more like.. “and the wrath of God was kindled against Daivd and he struck him with boils…etc.”, but what we get is “God was displeased”.
The reason this falls so limp around our ears is because we do not understand Who God is nor who we are in His story.
Pleasing God is one of the reasons for our creation – so His displeasure is a very serious matter. It need not escalate to anger or wrath for it to be important. A little displeasure is more than enough!
Also, as with Abel, though Uriah was a good man, God does not warn him about any of this. Now to speak with any authority on the questions of “why” is a little precarious since God does not offer us reasons nor insights into his heart or actions regarding this – only that He is displeased.
I will, however, venture a few educated guesses.
1st – God is Creator and sovereign. EVERYTHING revolves around His plans and purposes. That automatically places things in some type of order. Not necessarily an order of intrinsic importance, but the type of importance which is assigned to something due to its role towards a goal. Uriah’s life was no less valuable than David’s or any other man, so the importance we are talking about is not intrinsic.
At this time God’s primary purpose was to bring the Messiah to earth. This required a covenant people and at this time it required a godly king – not only for the immediate purposes in Israel at the time, but with a view to the future as an example of godliness and admonition.
What we have a hard time with is the idea that any person is at any time expendable in the story God is telling…but the truth is, we all are on one level or another, and God is not reticent to spend what needs spending.
He does not second guess His intentions, His plans nor those things which such purposes and plans require. All things belong to Him and we are His to spend as He pleases or needs. In this case, the whole of this entire episode was not about Uriah or even Bathsheba, it was about Israel and David…and we will see even tonight how expendable lives are in regard to God’s goals.
God sets David up to reveal both David’s sin and God’s Own heart
2 Samuel 12:1-25,
“(1) Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. (2) The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. (3) But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. (4) And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”
“(5) So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! (6) And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.”
“(7) Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. (8) I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! (9) Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon.”
Here we see how God felt about Uriah. He loved him as a master loves his little and precious pet lamb…something David understood all too well.
We also see the role of the prophet here. God uses Nathan to confront sin even in the highest levels of authority in the land. Notice again, though Nathan speaks with boldness, he has NO authority, he only conveys what God gave him to speak.
This whole narrative only makes sense inside the context of the purposes and plan of God at that time. God is the One Who delegated His Own authority to David to be king and in this case David misused that authority to accomplish his own goals. God’s purpose in using and appointing David was because of the kind of man he was – though clearly not a man without wanton passions and sin, he was still easily moved towards repentance and devotion to God’s heart and cause. This is why God acted as He did regarding this issue.
It is God’s prerogative to judge as He sees fit. David’s sin was worthy of death, but since the only One Who knew for sure what had been done (other than Bathsheba) it was up to God as to how he wanted to press charges. By the letter of the law or by mercy.
Now, as a side issue, it is worthy of mention that I’ve read from commentators that David’s pathway towards this sin was the sin of taking multiple wives. However, we have not seen any such statement in scripture where multiple wives was in any way forbidden under the old covenant. God was VERY verbose in his laws regarding marriage, and not once did He ever speak against it. So I cannot agree with their assessment. Furthermore, here in this very passage, God Himself takes responsibility for having given these wives to David and even saying He would have given him more if he had wanted.
No the sin of David is clear – lust, covetousness, murder and hiding his sin.
God judges David’s sin by degrees…
First God addresses his “in house” sin by rewarding him according to his sin
“(10) Now 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 adversity against you from 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, before the sun.’ ”
Notice God sees David’s actions not as disposing Uriah, but Himself.
God multiples David’s sin back on himself. Many years from now, God fulfills this promise through David’s son Absalom.
“(13) So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”
Notice the response of David. Unlike his predecessor Saul, who would have sought to justify himself until pressed into a corner of admission, David simply owns up.
Furthermore, David understands the nature of his sin. He had wronged Uriah, but his sin was against God, for it was God’s law he had broken.
God judges David for international sin – in his misrepresentation of God before the nations
Remember it is God Who raises national leaders up for His purposes. He did this with Pharaoh, He did this with Pilate and He did it here with David.
As such, where there is much responsibility there is much required. In the New Testament this is stated like this – “Not many should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive a stricter judgment” – James 3:1 and “…to whom much is given much is required.” – Luke 12:48.
“And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. (14) However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.”
“(15) Then Nathan departed to his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became ill.”
Now, having been part of the Word of Faith movement for a very long time, we would never have allowed ourselves to examine this passage in detail. We would have glazed over it and made excuses for it as being a poor interpretation. However, as the Lord revealed to me now nearly a decade ago – faith does not need a shield it is one. If our understanding of God and scripture is right…it needs no defense.
Here we have an answer to a much asked and very delicate question. I’ve heard it many times throughout my years in ministry – either from grieving parents or in more candid conversations with other ministers.
Is the sickness or the death of a child ever due to the sins of the parents?
The honest and straightforward answer is absolutely, but not always.
I dealt with this in a message back in January of 2013 entitled, “Questions about Healing” and I felt impressed to reposted it just last year.
We see examples of both in scripture. In the life and ministry of Jesus as recorded in John 9, we see that a child could be born with a disability – say blindness – and it not be associated with any sin on the parents part. Now, ALL sickness and sin ultimately go back to the sin in the garden and so, indirectly, every person who has ever been sick or died owes that condition, at least in part, to our original parents, but not necessarily to our immediate parents. That having been said, it does in fact happen.
Here in this passage we see it very clearly, both the sickness and the death were a matter of the judgment of God.
Notice the gravity of each sin and it’s incurring judgment. For covetousness, adultery and murder we have a future scandal and shame for David and his house. For bringing reproach on God’s name we have the death of a child.
Lest we think of this as an isolated example and therefore not one which should give us pause, let us consider a similar event in the life of Jeroboam.
As we will discover, David’s sons did not continue to walk in God’s ways and so the kingdom was both divided and taken from his house and delivered to another, and Jeroboam was one of those kings.
Jeroboam had been dishonorable and not kept the ways of the Lord and so was about to be judged by God in 1 Kings 14…
1 Kings 14:1-14,
“(1) At that time Abijah son of Jeroboam became sick. (2) Jeroboam said to his wife, “Go disguise yourself, so they won’t know that you’re Jeroboam’s wife, and go to Shiloh. Ahijah the prophet is there; it was he who told about me becoming king over this people. (3) Take with you 10 loaves of bread, some cakes, and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what will happen to the boy.” (4) Jeroboam’s wife did that: she went to Shiloh and arrived at Ahijah’s house. Ahijah could not see; his gaze was fixed due to his age. (5) But the LORD had said to Ahijah, “Jeroboam’s wife is coming soon to ask you about her son, for he is sick. You are to say such and such to her. When she arrives, she will be disguised.” (6) When Ahijah heard the sound of her feet entering the door, he said, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam! Why are you disguised? I have bad news for you. (7) Go tell Jeroboam, ‘This is what the LORD God of Israel says: I raised you up from among the people, appointed you ruler over My people Israel, (8) tore the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it to you. But you were not like My servant David, who kept My commandments and followed Me with all of his heart, doing only what is right in My eyes. (9) You behaved more wickedly than all who were before you. In order to provoke Me, you have proceeded to make for yourself other gods and cast images, but you have flung Me behind your back. (10) Because of all this, I am about to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam: I will eliminate all of Jeroboam’s males, both slave and free, in Israel; I will sweep away the house of Jeroboam as one sweeps away dung until it is all gone! (11) Anyone who belongs to Jeroboam and dies in the city, the dogs will eat, and anyone who dies in the field, the birds of the sky will eat, for the LORD has said it!’ (12) “As for you, get up and go to your house. When your feet enter the city, the boy will die. (13) All Israel will mourn for him and bury him, for this one alone out of Jeroboam’s sons will come to the grave, because in him alone out of the house of Jeroboam something was found pleasing to the LORD God of Israel. (14) The LORD will raise up for Himself a king over Israel, who will eliminate the house of Jeroboam. This is the day, yes, even today!”
So, are there times when such situations are the direct judgment of God for the sins of a parent? yes!
David’s heart is humbled but still hopes in God’s great mercy
“(16) David therefore pleaded with God for the child, and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. (17) So the elders of his house arose and went to him, to raise him up from the ground. But he would not, nor did he eat food with them. (18) Then on the seventh day it came to pass that the child died.”
“And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead. For they said, “Indeed, while the child was alive, we spoke to him, and he would not heed our voice. How can we tell him that the child is dead? He may do some harm!”
“(19) When David saw that his servants were whispering, David perceived that the child was dead. Therefore David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” And they said, “He is dead.” (20) So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped.”
“Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate.
(21) Then his servants said to him, “What is this 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) And he said, “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell 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 shall not return to me.”
(24) Then David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in to her and lay with her.
So she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon.
Now the LORD loved him, (25) and He sent word by the hand of Nathan the prophet: So he called his name Jedidiah, because of the LORD.”
Jedidiah means “beloved of Jehovah”.
Oh, there is SO much in this passage!
David’s heart begins the process of being softened. You can see it in his response to his judgment. You can see it in his hope for even greater mercy. You can see it in his treatment of his servants and you can see it in his worship towards his God.
David did not know how God would react, but David knew God’s mercy was infinite so if it was possible, he knew God would recant and save the boy. However, this was not a matter of God’s mercy…it was surely enough, but it was necessary due to David’s position to follow through with the stated consequence.
After his fasting and praying was not rewarded with favor, David showed his devotion was not only present when there was something to be gained. Even before filling his belly, he worshiped his God.
Notice also, David’s approachable nature. His servants were concerned and wondering at David’s actions. Rather than telling them such things belong to himself and was none of their concern, he humbled himself, and answered their questions.
It is worthy of note that this is the first time the writer of 2Samuel referred to Bathsheba by her name following her initial introduction. Up until now, she has been regarded as Uriah’s wife, now…after judgement and forgiveness, she is called Bathsheba, David’s wife.
This is NOT to be misunderstood as a concession for divorce and remarriage. The New Testament is VERY clear about that and MOST churches today do not teach nor adhere to the clear teaching of scriptures regarding marriage. In this case, the husband was dead. Regardless of the method, Bathsheba, according to scripture was freed from the law of her husband. She was in fact free to marry another, but only because of Uriah’s death.
Notice also that following all of this, Bathsheba was said to be comforted through intercourse with David. This is another attestation that she had very likely desired David all along. It is certainly not the response of a woman who was the victim of circumstances beyond her control.
Also, notice that once the judgment of God has passed, His favor is shown once again. He blesses their union with a child…a child He loved!
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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