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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 11

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verses 1-27

David Takes Bathsheba, the Wife of Uriah 2 Samuel 11:1 to 2 Samuel 12:31 records the story of David’s sin of taking Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, as his wife, and the murder of Uriah. In ancient monarchs, a king had the power to take another man’s wife within his kingdom. We read in the Scriptures the story of how the Pharaoh took Abraham’s wife from him when he journeyed into Egypt (Genesis 12:10-20), and King Abimelech later took Sarah (Genesis 20:1-18). Mullins, an Anglican missionary to East Africa, records the customs of the primitive African tribes. He notes how the local kings owned all of the land in their kingdoms, how they had the power of life and death over the people, killing them at the slightest presumption, and how they took as many wives as he desired. [57]

[57] J. D. Mullins, The Wonderful Story of Uganda (London: Church Missionary Society, 1908), 194-206.

The narrative material opens and closes with Israel’s battle against Rabbah, the capital city of the Ammonites. The preceding chapters record Israel’s defeats of all of her enemies around about her borders, of her victories over the Philistines, the Moabites, the Syrians, and the Ammonites. The ministry of King David reaches a peak in the chapters preceding the story of David and Bathsheba. After the king’s moral failure with Uriah and Bathsheba, the narrative text records a series of events that weaken the nation of Israel, culminating in civil war and the lost of many Israeli lives, all in fulfilment of Nathan’s prophecies. In the remaining chapters of 2 Samuel King David will no longer be described as a man of great exploits and territorial expansion, but rather, a man of sorrow and one who extends compassion towards others. Although David had failed to raise his sons with discipline and godly fear, he will now take young Solomon and pour his life and passion for the things of God into this child.

2 Samuel 11:1 to 2 Samuel 12:31 David Takes Bathsheba, the Wife of Uriah (Polygamy in Society) - One reason that Paul limits a Christian man to one wife in the midst of these polygamous societies is that polygamy tends to bring a man into sexual promiscuity (1 Timothy 3:2). Polygamy is found in the lives of King David and King Solomon, and because of it, both men sinned against God in this area. For King David, it resulted in adultery and murder. For King Solomon, it resulted in idolatry. Having lived in Africa a number of years, I have seen how polygamy distorts a man’s perception of marriage. A man who believes that he can seek additional wives has no way to define adultery. When his poverty moves him into common law relationships where a marriage ceremony is too expensive, how does one distinguish between an adulterous relationship and a common law marriage? It becomes impossible to define. A man with more power in a polygamous society is able to steal another man’s wife. How does one define right and wrong is such situation? Was not this King David’s sin?

1 Timothy 3:2, “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife , vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;”

2 Samuel 11:1 to 2 Samuel 12:31 David Takes Bathsheba, the Wife of Uriah (The Spirit of Adultery and Murder Often Work Together) - It is interesting to compare David’s sin of adultery and murder with the testimony of Jack Hayford when he was a young minister. His testimony includes a temptation towards adultery followed by thoughts of murder. As a young minister working at the headquarters of the Four Square Church, he found himself becoming close friends with a female co-worker, even though he was married. After some time a mature co-worker noticed this unhealthy friendship. Hayford tells of his emotional experience, how he both love his wife and yet, felt affections for this new lady. He tells how he entertained the thoughts of his wife dying. As he struggled with his heart and the Spirit of God, he felt tremendous conviction, but did not know what to do. He was feeling thoughts of adultery, followed by thoughts of loosing his wife, which was a spirit of murder. But because of the intercession of others and the work on the Holy Spirit, he came to himself, approached his supervisor and arranged for a separation between himself and this female co-worker. At that point he approached his wife and revealed this struggle with her. Years later, he began to share this testimony from the pulpit and found that it was a frequent struggle with many church leaders and laymen. [58] We find these same two spirits at work in the life of David. He committed adultery, followed by murder.

[58] Jack Hayford, The Anatomy of Adultery (Ventura, California: Regal Books, 2004).

It is interesting to note the fact that Lamech, the first polygamist in the Scriptures (Genesis 4:23), also committed an act of murder. We can note that the religion of Islam, which emphasizes polygamy as a part of hits religious tenets of faith is also characterized as a religion of war and terror and murder. We can note that the African nations are known for their polygamy as well as their internal wars. Thus, there seems to be a relationship between polygamy, or adultery, and the spirit of murder.

2 Samuel 11:1 to 2 Samuel 12:31 David Takes Bathsheba, the Wife of Uriah (The Setting and the Progression of Sin) - Note the setting for this sin in David’s life. David has become king and subdued all people around him. In 2 Samuel 7:1 we read that the Lord gave David rest from all his enemies.

2 Samuel 7:1, “And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies;”

Note that the first sin David committed in his sin with Uriah’s wife was not adultery, but idleness. In his idleness his imagination found time to lead him down the path of adultery. This journey began with lust when he saw Bathsheba. This lust conceived when David sent for her. His lust turned to sin when he lay with her. This sin resulted in the death of the child that was conceived by this sin of adultery, in the murder of Uriah, and eventually in the deaths of Amnon and Absalom, David’s two sons. In the darkness of his sin David pursued murder before judgment fell in his life. Sin had taken its course. Note this progress described in James 1:14-15.

James 1:14-15, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

This great process of sins left one black mark on an otherwise upright life (1 Kings 15:5).

1 Kings 15:5, “Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.”

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 11". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/2-samuel-11.html. 2013.
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