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Ask the Lord to make you alert to the specific details of the events in today’s Bible verses, especially to the way in which one error of judgement leads to more and more wrongdoing, and more and more serious consequences.

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Bible passage: 2 Samuel 11:1–27

David and Bathsheba

11 In the spring,(A) at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab(B) out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army.(C) They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah.(D) But David remained in Jerusalem.

One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof(E) of the palace. From the roof he saw(F) a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba,(G) the daughter of Eliam(H) and the wife of Uriah(I) the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her.(J) She came to him, and he slept(K) with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.)(L) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”

So David sent this word to Joab: “Send me Uriah(M) the Hittite.” And Joab sent him to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.”(N) So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house.

10 David was told, “Uriah did not go home.” So he asked Uriah, “Haven’t you just come from a military campaign? Why didn’t you go home?”

11 Uriah said to David, “The ark(O) and Israel and Judah are staying in tents,[a] and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love(P) to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”

12 Then David said to him, “Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 At David’s invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants; he did not go home.

14 In the morning David wrote a letter(Q) to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down(R) and die.(S)

16 So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. 17 When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.

18 Joab sent David a full account of the battle. 19 He instructed the messenger: “When you have finished giving the king this account of the battle, 20 the king’s anger may flare up, and he may ask you, ‘Why did you get so close to the city to fight? Didn’t you know they would shoot arrows from the wall? 21 Who killed Abimelek(T) son of Jerub-Besheth[b]? Didn’t a woman drop an upper millstone on him from the wall,(U) so that he died in Thebez? Why did you get so close to the wall?’ If he asks you this, then say to him, ‘Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.’”

22 The messenger set out, and when he arrived he told David everything Joab had sent him to say. 23 The messenger said to David, “The men overpowered us and came out against us in the open, but we drove them back to the entrance of the city gate. 24 Then the archers shot arrows at your servants from the wall, and some of the king’s men died. Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.”

25 David told the messenger, “Say this to Joab: ‘Don’t let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.’ Say this to encourage Joab.”

26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. 27 After the time of mourning(V) was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased(W) the Lord.

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Audio Bible passage

The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


The selfish nature of sin
These episodes tell us a lot about the nature of sin, with its root in selfishness. The theme song could be ‘It’s all about me, Jesus, only me.’ For King David, it all starts with a little downtime at the palace when he should be out fighting along with his army. Verse 1 highlights this as a very big deal for what follows.

The thing is, David knows exactly what he’s doing. Bathsheba can’t say no – he’s the king after all. Her husband is away fighting (2 Samuel 23:39), so he won’t get in the way. Uriah is loyal to the king, but David doesn’t seem to care about that: ‘Only me, Jesus, only me.’ David has his one-night fling, and knows that can be the end of it (look at the last sentence of verse 4)… except that Bathsheba gets pregnant. Bad gets worse.

God's grace and mercy
It’s an indication of the Lord’s extraordinary grace and mercy that he uses someone as weak and even deceitful as David to play such a key role in the story of salvation and in Jesus’ family tree.

Terry Clutterham


The Lord is also using us, weak as we are, to bring the message of salvation to those who don’t know it. Thank him that he does, and ask for his protection from the selfishness that leads to sin and gets in the way of serving him effectively.

Deeper Bible study

Why do bad things happen to good people? It is one of those questions for which there are no easy answers. Although a foreigner, Uriah had distinguished himself as one of David’s top soldiers (2 Sam 23:39). Loyal to a fault, he maintained strict discipline above and beyond the call of duty (v 11). Having a beautiful wife (v 2) could hardly be considered an error of judgement, but it was to be his undoing!

The Bible does not gloss over the failings of its heroes. In this story, David got it wrong from start to finish, beginning with his ill-timed holiday (v 1). In fairness, he had not climbed to the roof of the house to look for a naked woman. It was simply an accident of time and place. The thing to do as a gentleman was to look away. He did not. He looked and kept on looking. One thing led to another and, since it was the age before birth control, a baby was soon on the way. King David found himself in a hole but kept digging anyway. Clever though they were, his cover-up attempts failed at every turn, and he ended up a despicable murderer with no redeeming features.

Such stories provide salutary warnings for every child of God. If it could happen to David, who am I to be complacent? This very day, am I taking it easy, instead of fighting the battles of the Lord? What do I do when the unsolicited luscious image flashes across the screen? What am I trying to hide instead of confess? Worst of all, is some action (or inaction) of mine dragging down some faithful child of God?

Kar Yong Lim

Background: Bathsheba

Dangerous beauty

Bathsheba was the beautiful daughter of Eliam and the wife of a Hittite named Uriah.

When the Israelites were besieging Rabbah, David did not go with his troops. We are not told why. From the roof of his palace in Jerusalem he saw Bathsheba bathing as she ritually cleansed herself. What David did next marks a turning point in his life.

In the story of David and Bathsheba as we have it in 2 Samuel 11 we are given no indication of what went on in Bathsheba’s mind. When the king sent messengers for her, Bathsheba came. David ‘lay with her’, and then she went home. She became pregnant.

(Verses 8–3 are brilliantly narrated. Read them very carefully, paying attention to all that is not said about what is going on in the mind of both David and Uriah.)

Cover up

David went to extreme lengths to cover up his sin. Anxious for it to appear that the child to be born was Uriah’s, he sent for Uriah from the battle. But Uriah refused to go home, and made sure there were witnesses when he slept instead at the door of the palace. Even when David made him drunk he did not go home.

David, ever more desperate, arranged for Uriah to be placed in a position in battle where he would almost certainly be killed. When Bathsheba heard that he was dead she mourned for her husband. Then David took her as his wife.

The child she bore died, and Bathsheba grieved. But she then had another child, Solomon.

David’s successor

We hear no more of her till the end of David’s life, when Adonijah, David’s fourth son, ‘exalted himself’ and had himself proclaimed king (1 Kings 1:3–10). Actually he was the oldest surviving son of David, but the right of primogeniture could be trumped by the wish of the king in power.

Nathan, deliberately not invited to the celebrations that were taking place, prevailed upon Bathsheba to remind David that he had sworn that Solomon should rule after him. Adonijah conceded, in fear of Solomon.

After David died, Adonijah approached Bathsheba to take a request to Solomon. He wanted Abishag as his wife. She was the young woman who had waited on David and helped keep him warm in his old age.

We must be careful not to read this through present-day romantic ideas. The request was an attempt on the part of Adonijah to build up his harem and influence, and it cost Adonijah his life (1 Kings 2:13–25).

Annabel Robinson

Bible in a year

Read the Bible in a year.

Numbers 34,35

Acts 25


If the tabloid newspapers had been around in King David’s day, they would have had a riot with this story. The similarities to all the sex scandals we read about in the gossip rags are remarkable – click on the image to read the passage again through the eyes of a shock-jock journalist and see that people back then, even kings, were just as human as us these days.


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God of mercy (Prayer song)
Lou Fellingham
Copyright © 2002 Thankyou Music
Buy this and other Lou fellingham songs at shop.phatfish.net

Song: I hear you fumble for words (I am still willing)
Keith Getty & Kristyn Getty
Copyright © 2002 Thankyou Music
Buy this song at www.integritymusic.com

  • Rachael Hampton | Tuesday, 13 March 2018

    Christopher, I speak Christ’s deep peace to your turbulent, repentant soul. You have many physical trials to wear you down, day by day. I hope you are encouraged by today’s reading. I’m sure any sins you have committed are nothing compared to David’s, and yet God loved him dearly and called him a man after His own heart. Thank You Father that even though we must live with the consequences of our sin, our relationship with You can be restored, bringing us full and complete forgiveness, and peace. Blessings and prayers to all, for needs known and unknown.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Wednesday, 14 March 2018

    The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life-come not from the Father but the world. 1 Jn 2:16

  • Rosemary Fairweather | Wednesday, 14 March 2018

    Oh, how the damaging knock on effects of selfish sin go out like ripples on a pond. David abuses his position to get what he wants. Bathsheba is unable to refuse so is drawn into the guilt. Uriah, innocent and unaware of the deceit is murdered. Joab is forced to put Uriah in the front line and certain death. He feels guilty, manipulated and a loss of respect for David. His report makes it clear to David that this action has cost the battle and sacrificed other lives as well as Uriah. Gossip and rumour would have been rife. And then their baby becomes another casualty. What a tangled web we weave when first. We practice to deceive!

  • Angela Munday | Wednesday, 14 March 2018

    In his humanity David responded to a temptation and this displeased the LORD. ( verse 27 ) David was guilty of wrongdoing. Thankfully, for all of us, God is merciful and not judgemental ......."For the LORD in his mercy will lead us and not forget us." (Isaiah 49: 10&15) God continues to guide us through our mistakes and helps us grow and become spiritually mature.

  • Rosemary Fairweather | Wednesday, 14 March 2018

    Confessing sin and being sorry is so vital to reallign ourselves with. Goc. His mercy and forgiveness is undeserved and truly wonderful but the consequences of sin remain and need to be dealt with humbly.

  • Rosemary Fairweather | Wednesday, 14 March 2018

    God ...sorry

  • Thelma Edwards | Wednesday, 14 March 2018

    BARBARA HALL. I too can empathize with your dilemma having gone through something similar with my brother who lives far away. Yes, help is available through memory clinic diagnosis which will unlock access to the social care system but first the GP needs to refer and it took a very long time for Don to agree to go to his doctor to begin the process. I pray for wisdom for you all and for God's strategy. He sees the whole picture and sometimes we only see what we think is best which may only be best for us and not in the best interests of our beloved relative. If it is of any comfort, although the lack of a hot mid day meal may seem a sign that help is required, it is a well known fact that older people eat less as they get older and may not fancy a hot meal but there are many nutritious cold snacks that can be left easily available to be consumed at less regular times of the day. There is much help and advice available and if you would like to chat further with me please ask WL for my email address and I am happy to listen to your heart cry and stand with you at this time. I know how helpful it has been for me to talk to about my situation with those who 'have been there and got the t-shirt!' and our WL community were/still are my wonderful prayer supporters.

  • Christopher Brann | Wednesday, 14 March 2018

    Thank you Rachel, I also thank my Father that He does forgive and hold me up.. hospital today so time to recover physically from the last few wearing days.

  • Roger Hall | Wednesday, 14 March 2018

    Oh dear. There are times when we fall right headlong. In some ways, maybe a long time later, someone may say: "is there any unconfessed sin in your life? That could be hindering your work for the Lord." Then we may be faced with the real sin of long ago. God's grace is so abundant that while He searches with the long sword, He does so with that amazing love. Was the sin so long ago that the consequences seem to have gone? I know the sin is forgiven now, and somehow when carnality strikes again, a lovely gentle reminder arrives which, for me says - "whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, think of these things. " it never seems to be 100% every time, but when I say "sorry Lord, I've done it again! " The reply comes back "I have no record. "

  • Lynda Spencer | Wednesday, 14 March 2018

    The bare facts are that none of us is immune to temptation and we are all 'prone to wander'. The greatest danger any of us can be in is when we sit in judgement of another and say, "It couldn't possibly happen to me." Oh the wonder of the grace, mercy and forgiveness of our amazing Lord! ROGER, your experience/advice is so valuable - "Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely ...... think on these things." We are all prone to temptation, and satan knows our weak spots, but God has made a way out for us and can and does give us the strength to withstand .... and when we don't withstand but fall and disappoint ourselves and offend God, then He is able to forgive and forgive and forgive. Wonderful love, wonderful grace. Thank You, thank You Lord! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdugliaCXUk

  • Lynn Creation | Wednesday, 14 March 2018

    BARBARA H, praying for your difficult situation with your Mum. Like many others, I have been there with my Dad, who lived far away. As has been said, there is a lot of help out there, including care packages and meals-on-wheels. Social services is a good place to start, but I know that quite often the main hurdle is the refusal of the help by the person needing it. So I pray for wisdom for you and your sister, as you try to make the right decisions.

  • Lynda Spencer | Wednesday, 14 March 2018

    BARBARA HALL, how blessed your mother-in-law is to be part of such a loving family! I, too, have been in a similar situation to yourself and can only echo all the comments sent to you yesterday and today. All I will add is my prayers for you all.

  • Sara Ward | Wednesday, 14 March 2018

    Today’s reading is a sobering reminder of what happens when we follow our own desires rather than God’s path. The consequences can ripple out over years - one ill advised course of action that changes lives for ever. It’s only when you look back you see how far and wide those ripples have spread. You know you’ve gone in the wrong direction but trying to turn your life around can feel as if you’re trying to turn an oil tanker. As The Archbishop of Canterbury once observed ‘repentance is when you know you’re going the wrong way - and rather than going on - you turn round and take the way God has shown you.’ Wishing you all a peaceful day.

  • Roger Hall | Wednesday, 14 March 2018

    Just a thought about the death of the amazing Prof. Steven Hawkin. I'm really wondering if, somewhere at the bottom of a very complicated brain, there was a part which has been searching high and low for contact with God. Was he blind because despite his search he didn't want to know God if he found Him? Who knows if he didn't find Him at the last moment?

  • Ruth Lewis | Wednesday, 14 March 2018

    I truly thank God for His Grace and His Mercy, for as it says in the Bible, we have all sinned and come short of the Glory of God. (Romans 3:23) In reading this story of David and Bathsheba this morning, this thought came to my mine. Uriah was faithful to David, but David was unfaithful to God.

  • Peter Oliver | Wednesday, 14 March 2018

    The story of David is we must keep eyes on GOD all the time a Christian person I know once said at a meeting of Christian camp workers the enemy will have you marked so make sure their is nothing in your lives that he could use.

  • Barbara Sabin | Wednesday, 14 March 2018

    The sins in the Garden of Eden keep on being repeated and once again the fig leaves come out covering over, But God always knows, he knows every hair on our head, he knows every thought, he know what we are going to say before we say it - and HE LOVES US REGARDLESS. Poor Uriah, he was a man of principle he would not go home and sleep with his wife while his men were on the battlefield. Try as David will he could not persuade Uriah to do what he wanted to cover his sin. So Uriah was expendable .But when Nathan challenged David he immediately confessed his sin and God loved him he was a man after God's own heart. All our sins are forgiven and forgotten when we confess them. I bring my sins to Jesus, as I pray That his blood will wash them all away; While I seek for favour at his feet, And with tears his promise still repeat, He doth tell me plainly; Jesus lives And forgives. I bring my all to Jesus; he hath seen How my soul desireth to be clean. Nothing from his altar I withhold When his cross of suffering I behold; And the fire descending brings to me Liberty.

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