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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 11:3

So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?"
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Adultery;   Ammiel;   Bastard;   Bath-Sheba (Bathsheba);   Covetousness;   David;   Eliam;   Hittites;   Instability;   Lasciviousness;   Temptation;   Uriah;   Wife;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bath-Sheba;   David;   Infatuation;   Lust of the Eye;   Queens;   Women;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Chastity;  
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ahithophel;   Hittites;   Uriah;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Bathsheba;   Concubine;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Ammiel;   Bath-Sheba;   David;   Eliam;   Samuel, Books of;   Uriah;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Ahithophel;   Eliam;   Proselytes;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ahithophel;   Ammiel;   Bathsheba;   Eliam;   Samuel, Books of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ahithophel;   Ammon, Ammonites;   Bathsheba;   Hittites;   Marriage;   Samuel, Books of;   Uriah;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ammiel ;   Bathsheba ;   Eliam ;   Uriah ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Bathsheba;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - David;   Hittites;   Uriah;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Ahith'ophel;   Am'mi-El;   Bath'-Sheba,;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Division of the Earth;  
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Ahithophel;   Ammiel;   Bath-Sheba;   Eliam;   Names, Proper;   Samuel, Books of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Ammiel;   Bath-Sheba;   Eliam;   Gentile;   Hittites;   Marriage;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Verse 2 Samuel 11:3. The daughter of Eliam — Called, 1 Chronicles 3:5, Ammiel; a word of the same meaning, The people of my God, The God of my people. This name expressed the covenant - I will be your God; We will be thy people.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 11:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary


David takes Bathsheba as wife (11:1-12:31)

While the Israelite army was out fighting another battle against Ammon, David, back in Jerusalem, committed a series of sins that brought him sorrow and trouble for the rest of his life. To begin with, he was guilty of sexual immorality with Bathsheba, wife of Uriah, one of David’s top soldiers (11:1-5; cf. 23:39).
On discovering that Bathsheba was pregnant, David thought of a plan to cover up his sin. He recalled Uriah from the battle and sent him home to sleep with Bathsheba, hoping that this would make people think that Uriah was the cause of Bathsheba’s pregnancy. But Uriah refused to go near his wife (6-13). David therefore sent Uriah back to the battle and arranged for him to be killed during the fighting (14-17). After waiting for confirmation from the battlefield that Uriah was dead (18-25), David took Bathsheba into his palace as a royal wife (26-27).
David was unaware that anyone in the palace knew of his sin. But Nathan knew, and he trapped David by seeking his judgment in a case where a rich sheep-owner stole and killed a poor man’s pet lamb to provide food for his own meal. As expected, David condemned the guilty person (12:1-6). Nathan pointed out that David had condemned himself. In punishment for his murder of Uriah, his own family would be torn apart by murder. In punishment for his adultery with Bathsheba, his own family would be morally disgraced in the eyes of all Israel (7-12).

In genuine sorrow David confessed his sins to God (see Psalms 51:0) and God graciously pardoned him. But that did not remove the distress that David would suffer as a result of his sins (13-14). (For the fulfilment of the judgments announced by Nathan see 13:10-19,28-33; 16:21-22; 18:9-15,31-33; 1 Kings 2:13-15; 2 Kings 11:1-2; 2 Kings 11:1-2.)

When the child born to David and Bathsheba became sick, David prayed earnestly for it. But the child died, as Nathan had foretold (15-18). David accepted what had happened and realized it was part of God’s judgment upon him (19-23). Some time later another son, Solomon, was born to David and Bathsheba (24-25).
The story now returns to the battle with the Ammonites in Rabbah that had provided David with the opportunity for his misdeeds (see 11:1,7,15). The Israelites had captured Rabbah’s most strongly defended area and cut off the city’s water supply. They could now easily take the whole city, and Joab called David down from Jerusalem to have the honour of leading the triumphal entry. David became king of Ammon and forced the Ammonites to work for Israel (26-31).

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 11:3". "Brideway Bible Commentary". 2005.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Eliam - Or Ammiel, 1 Chronicles 3:5, the component words being placed in an inverse order. Bath-sheba was the granddaughter of Ahithophel 2 Samuel 23:34.

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These files are public domain.
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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 11:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Chapter 11

Now in chapter eleven.

It came to pass, after these things that Joab, and the army in the springtime when it was a good time to go out and fight, after the winter rains were over, Joab with the forces went again against Ammon. [Or the Ammonites.] And David one evening, after his afternoon siesta, was taking a stroll on his roof: and from this vantage point, [up on his roof, looking over the city,] he noticed in the courtyard of a neighboring house a beautiful woman bathing. [David began to lust after this woman.] He said to his servant, Who is that woman that lives in that house over there? And the servant said, That is Bathsheba the wife of Uriah the Hittite. So David commanded his servant to go over and to bring her to him [There David committed adultery with her. After awhile she sent a message to David that she was pregnant.] ( 2 Samuel 11:1-5 ).

So David sought to cover his sin.

His son Solomon later wrote, "He who seeks to cover his sin shall not prosper, but whoso will confess and forsake his sin, he shall be forgiven".

David sought to cover for his sin by sending for Uriah who was in the army fighting with Joab.

He sent a note to Joab, Send Uriah back from the battle. So Uriah came back, and David said, How's the battle going, how's Joab, how are the troops? [Asking a lot of questions concerning the battle.] He said, Go home, spend the night with your wife tonight. And David sent after him a mess of meat, so they could just feast ( 2 Samuel 11:6-8 ).

He figured that he'd go home, and go to bed with his wife, and later on when his wife would say, "Honey, I'm pregnant," that no one would ever know the difference, except for David and Bathsheba, and he figured that the whole thing could be covered over. But Uriah seemed to be a very honorable man.

[Instead of going home,] he slept that night on David's porch with David's servants. In the morning it was told David that Uriah didn't go home, he spent the night there on the porch. So he called Uriah in, and he said, Hey man why didn't you go home and spend the night with your wife, I mean after all you've been out fighting and you have a chance to spend the night with your wife, why would you sleep on the porch? He said, Well Joab, and all of my buddies are out there in the fields, they're sleeping out in the fields at night: and it wouldn't be right for me to enjoy my wife, and my own bed [when my buddies are out there in the trenches, I just couldn't do that.] And so David said, Well tarry with me to day and tomorrow. And so he kept filling the guy's wine glass; got him pretty drunk, [Figuring that if he was drunk enough maybe he would go home.] but he staggered out to the porch of David's house and there he was asleep again ( 2 Samuel 11:9-13 ).

So, as sin so often does, it leads to something worse. It begins to compound, it begins to develop in its insidious manner. So David turned to a second plan, more dastardly than the first. That plan was to deliberately have Uriah killed in battle.

And so David sent a message to Joab, sealed orders by the hand of Uriah which said, When the battle gets hot, put Uriah in the front line of the hottest spot, that he might be smitten, and die. [So Joab began to assault the city of the Ammonites, and he sent an assault troop up towards the wall pursuing the Ammonites. And as they got close to the wall, the archers from the wall began to shoot at them,] and Uriah was shot and killed along with some of the other troops. So Joab sent a messenger unto David to tell him of the battle and how things were going. He said, If David gets angry because we approached the wall too close, then tell him that Uriah also is dead. And so the fellow came and told David of the battle, how that some of the men had fallen. They had been shot by the archers on the wall. [And David became sort of angry, because he said, That's foolish come so near the wall? Joab knows better than that!] The messenger said, Well Uriah the Hittite was also killed. And David said, Let the matter rest, it is okay. Bathsheba mourned for her husband. And after her period of mourning, David took her as his wife, [figuring things were all right. But things weren't all right. God could not allow David's sin to go unnoticed, or to go unpunished.] The child was born ( 2 Samuel 11:14-27 ).

David figured, "Well, that's great!" He no doubt came to love Bathsheba. His first experience with her was not an experience expressing love. It was an experience just expressing lust, but he no doubt came to love.

Even as I believe that many couples are attracted by certain physical characteristics, and later on they actually learn to love each other. Many times you're attracted to another person by certain physical characteristics, and later on you'll learn to hate them, as you really get to know them. So love doesn't always follow an attraction, a physical attraction. But people say, "Love at first sight". No, it doesn't really happen that way. Interest at first sight, attraction maybe, but love is something that grows. Love is something that develops in a relationship. "

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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 11:3". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". 2014.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

David’s adultery with Bathsheba 11:1-5

While Joab was continuing to subdue the Ammonites the following spring by besieging Rabbah ("the great one," modern Amman, the capital of Jordan; cf. 2 Samuel 10:7), David was residing in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 11:1). By mentioning the fact that normally kings led their armies into battle in the spring, the writer implied that David was not acting responsibly by staying in Jerusalem (cf. 1 Samuel 14:1-2).

". . . leading his troops into battle was expected to be the major external activity of an ancient Near Eastern ruler . . ." [Note: Youngblood, p. 928. Cf. 1 Samuel 8:5-6, 20.]

"Our most difficult times are not when things are going hard. Hard times create dependent people. You don’t get proud when you’re dependent on God. Survival keeps you humble. Pride happens when everything is swinging in your direction. When you’ve just received that promotion, when you look back and you can see an almost spotless record in the last number of months or years, when you’re growing in prestige and fame and significance, that’s the time to watch out . . . especially if you’re unaccountable. . . .

"Our greatest battles don’t usually come when we’re working hard; they come when we have some leisure, when we’ve got time on our hands, when we’re bored." [Note: Swindoll, p. 183.]

David’s temptation followed an age-old pattern: he saw, he desired, and he took (cf. Genesis 3:6; James 1:14-15). He could not help seeing, but he could have stopped watching, lusting, sending for Bathsheba, and lying with her. "Very beautiful" translates a Hebrew phrase that describes people of striking physical appearance (cf. Genesis 24:16; Genesis 26:7 [Rebekah]; Esther 1:11 [Vashti]; Esther 2:7 [Esther]; 1 Samuel 16:12 [where a cognate expression describes David]). Perhaps Bathsheba was not totally innocent, but that does not vitiate David’s guilt. It seems reasonable to assume that she could have shielded herself from view if she had wanted to do so. Yet the writer never explicitly blamed Bathsheba for what happened, only David.

"The bathing itself may have been for the purpose of ritual purification and would therefore not only advertise Bathsheba’s charms but would serve as a notice to the king that she was available to him." [Note: Eugene H. Merrill, "2 Samuel," in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament, p. 467.]

Bathsheba’s father, Eliam (2 Samuel 11:3), was apparently the son of Ahithophel, David’s counselor (cf. 2 Samuel 15:12; 2 Samuel 23:34). [Note: See Hayim Tadmor, "Traditional Institutions and the Monarchy: Social and Political Tensions in the Time of David and Solomon," in Studies in the Period of David and Solomon and Other Essays, p. 247.] If so, this may throw light on Ahithophel’s later decision to abandon David and support Absalom when Absalom tried to overthrow David. Uriah may have been a mercenary from one of the Syro-Hittite states to Israel’s north. Alternatively he may have been the son of Hittites who had immigrated to Israel when the Hittite Empire was crumbling. [Note: Richard H. Beal, "The Hittites After the Empire’s Fall," Biblical Illustrator 10:1 (Fall 1983):81.] Probably he was a member of the native Canaanite tribe of Hittites that inhabited the Promised Land before the Conquest (cf. Genesis 23:3-15; Numbers 13:29; et al.).

David then "took" Bathsheba-we could translate the Hebrew word "he collected" her-and so abused his royal power. Evidently this was a "one night stand;" David and Bathsheba appear to have had sex only on this one occasion before their marriage. In the Hebrew text it is clear that Bathsheba purified herself before having sex with David. The Hebrew clause is disjunctive and could be put in parentheses: "(Now at that time she was purifying herself from her [menstrual] uncleanness.)" Having just completed her menstrual cycle, the reason for her purification, Bathsheba was physically ready to conceive. Thus Uriah, who was away at war, could not have been the father of the child she conceived.

"The only recorded speech of Bathsheba, brief though it is ["I am pregnant," 2 Samuel 11:5], sets in motion a course of action which ultimately results in her husband’s death." [Note: Lawlor, p. 197.]

Why did Bathsheba inform David that she was pregnant? Could she not have told her husband alone? Was she hoping that David would acknowledge her child and that the child would then enjoy royal privileges? The writer left us to guess. I think she told David because she hoped he would do something to help her. If she had told Uriah, he could have figured out that the child was not his.

About five years later David’s oldest son, Amnon ("faithful"), followed in his father’s footsteps (2 Samuel 13:14). Since David was born in 1041 B.C. and this incident took place about 992 B.C., David was close to 49 years old when he committed adultery.

"The king who is content to be given the kingdom (2 Samuel 2-4) nevertheless seizes with violence the woman of his desire. The theme of seizure then erupts in the rape of Tamar, the taking of Amnon’s life and (in political form) the major incident of the rebellion of Absalom." [Note: Gunn, "David and . . .," p. 35.]

"This king who took another man’s wife already had a harem full of women. The simple fact is that the passion of sex is not satisfied by a full harem of women; it is increased. Having many women does not reduce a man’s libido, it excites it . . . it stimulates it. . . . One of the lies of our secular society is that if you just satisfy this drive, then it’ll be abated." [Note: Swindoll, p. 182.]

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 11:3". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And David sent and inquired after the woman,.... Who she was, what her name, and whether married or unmarried; if the latter, very probably his intention was to marry her, and he might, when he first made the inquiry, design to proceed no further, or to anything that was dishonourable; but it would have been better for him not to have inquired at all, and endeavoured to stifle the motions raised in him at the sight of her:

and [one] said, [is] not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam; who in 1 Chronicles 3:5; is called Bathshua, and her father Ammiel, which is the same with Eliam reversed:

the wife of Uriah the Hittite? who either was of that nation originally, and became a proselyte; or had sojourned there for a while, and took the name or had it given him, for some exploit he had performed against that people, as Scipio Africanus, and others among the Romans; this was said by one that David inquired of, or heard him asking about her, and was sufficient to have stopped him from proceeding any further, when he was informed she was another man's wife: some say h she was the daughter of Ahithophel's son; see

2 Samuel 23:34.

h Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 8. 2.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 11:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

David's Sin with Bath-sheba. B. C. 1037.

      1 And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.   2 And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.   3 And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?   4 And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house.   5 And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.

      Here is, I. David's glory, in pursuing the war against the Ammonites, 2 Samuel 11:1; 2 Samuel 11:1. We cannot take that pleasure in viewing this great action which hitherto we have taken in observing David's achievements, because the beauty of it was stained and sullied by sin; otherwise we might take notice of David's wisdom and bravery in following his blow. Having routed the army of the Ammonites in the field, as soon as ever the season of the year permitted he sent more forces to waste the country and further to avenge the quarrel of his ambassadors. Rabbah, their metropolis, made a stand, and held out a great while. To this city Joab laid close siege, and it was at the time of this siege that David fell into this sin.

      II. David's shame, in being himself conquered, and led captive by his own lust. The sin he was guilty of was adultery, against the letter of the seventh commandment, and (in the judgment of the patriarchal age) a heinous crime, and an iniquity to be punished by the judges (Job 31:11), a sin which takes away the heart, and gets a man a wound and dishonour, more than any other, and the reproach of which is not wiped away.

      1. Observe the occasions which led to this sin. (1.) Neglect of his business. When he should have been abroad with his army in the field, fighting the battles of the Lord, he devolved the care upon others, and he himself tarried still at Jerusalem,2 Samuel 11:1; 2 Samuel 11:1. To the war with the Syrians David went in person, 2 Samuel 10:17; 2 Samuel 10:17. Had he been now at his post at the head of his forces, he would have been out of the way of this temptation. When we are out of the way of our duty we are in the way of temptation. (2.) Love of ease, and the indulgence of a slothful temper: He came off his bed at evening-tide,2 Samuel 11:2; 2 Samuel 11:2. There he had dozed away the afternoon in idleness, which he should have spent in some exercise for his own improvement or the good of others. He used to pray, not only morning and evening, but at noon, in the day of his trouble: it is to be feared he had, this noon, omitted to do so. Idleness gives great advantage to the tempter. Standing waters gather filth. The bed of sloth often proves the bed of lust. (3.) A wandering eye: He saw a woman washing herself, probably from some ceremonial pollution, according to the law. The sin came in at the eye, as Eve's did. Perhaps he sought to see her, at least he did not practise according to his own prayer, Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity, and his son's caution in a like case, Look not thou on the wine it is red. Either he had not, like Job, made a covenant with his eyes, or, at this time, he had forgotten it.

      2. The steps of the sin. When he saw her, lust immediately conceived, and, (1.) He enquired who she was (2 Samuel 11:3; 2 Samuel 11:3), perhaps intending only, if she were unmarried, to take her to wife, as he had taken several; but, if she were a wife, having no design upon her. (2.) The corrupt desire growing more violent, though he was told she was a wife, and whose wife she was, yet he sent messengers for her, and then, it may be, intended only to please himself with her company and conversation. But, (3.) When she came he lay with her, she too easily consenting, because he was a great man, and famed for his goodness too. Surely (thinks she) that can be no sin which such a man as David is the mover of. See how the way of sin is down-hill; when men begin to do evil they cannot soon stop themselves. The beginning of lust, as of strife, is like the letting forth of water; it is therefore wisdom to leave it off before it be meddled with. The foolish fly fires her wings, and fools away her life at last, by playing about the candle.

      3. The aggravations of the sin. (1.) He was now in years, fifty at least, some think more, when those lusts which are more properly youthful, one would think, should not have been violent in him, (2.) He had many wives and concubines of his own; this is insisted on, 2 Samuel 12:8; 2 Samuel 12:8. (3.) Uriah, whom he wronged, was one of his own worthies, a person of honour and virtue, one that was now abroad in his service, hazarding his life in the high places of the field for the honour and safety of him and his kingdom, where he himself should have been. (4.) Bath-sheba, whom he debauched, was a lady of good reputation, and, till she was drawn by him and his influence into this wickedness, had no doubt preserved her purity. Little did she think that ever she could have done so bad a thing as to forsake the guide of her youth, and forget the covenant of her God; nor perhaps could any one in the world but David have prevailed against her. The adulterer not only wrongs and ruins his own soul, but, as much as he can, another's soul too. (5.) David was a king, whom God had entrusted with the sword of justice and the execution of the law upon other criminals, particularly upon adulterers, who were, by the law, to be put to death; for him therefore to be guilty of those crimes himself was to make himself a pattern, when he should have been a terror, to evil doers. With what face could he rebuke or punish that in others which he was conscious to himself of being guilty of? See Romans 2:22. Much more might be said to aggravate the sin; and I can think but of one excuse for it, which is that it was done but once; it was far from being his practice; it was by the surprise of a temptation that he was drawn into it. He was not one of those of whom the prophet complains that they were as fed horses, neighing every one after his neighbour's wife (Jeremiah 5:8); but this once God left him to himself, as he did Hezekiah, that he might know what was in his heart,2 Chronicles 32:31. Had he been told of it before, he would have said, as Hazael, What! is thy servant a dog? But by this instance we are taught what need we have to pray every day, Father, in heaven, lead us not into temptation, and to watch, that we enter not into it.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on 2 Samuel 11:3". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.