Dave Burnette's Commentary

2 Samuel Chapter 11


Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Nathan, Zabud, & Gad 
Date Penned: (930 BC)
Overview: A Record of David's Reign (c 1-24)
Theme: David's Struggles (c 11-24)
Message: David Sins with Bath-sheba (v 1-26)

2 Samuel 11 Commentary

(11:1) David Takes a Sinful Path - In the episode with Bath-sheba, David allowed himself to fall deeper and deeper into sin in several ways: (1) He abandoned his purpose by staying home from war (111). (2) He focused on his own desires (11:2). (3) When temptation came, he leaned into it instead of turning away from it (1:3). (4) He sinned deliberately (11:4). (5) He tried to cover up his sin by deceiving others (11:6-15). (6) He committed murder to continue the cover-up (11:15, 17), though eventually his sin was exposed (12:9) and punished (12:10-14). (7) The consequences of his sin were far-reaching, affecting many people, especially his immediate family (11:7; 12:11, 14-18). David could have chosen to stop and turn from this spiral of sin at any stage along the way. But once the cycle of sin and cover-up gets moving, it is difficult to stop (James 1:14-15).

The deeper the mess, the less we want to admit having caused it. It's much easier to stop sliding down a hill when you are near the top than when you are halfway down. By then you are moving at such a fast pace that you're at the bottom before you know it. The best solution is to avoid sin before it starts.

(11:1) Seasons of War - Winter is the rainy season in Israel, the time when crops are planted. Spring was a good time to go to war because the roads were dry, making travel easier for the movement of troops, supply wagons, and chariots. In Israel, wheat and barley were ready to be harvested in the spring. These crops were an important food source for traveling armies.

(11:1) The Ammonites Are Defeated - This successful siege (see 12:26-27) put an end to the Ammonites' power. From this time on, the Ammonites were subject to Israel.

(11:3-4) David Fails to Turn From Temptation - As David looked from the roof of the palace, he saw a beautiful woman bathing, and he was filled with lust. David should have left the roof and fled the temptation or perhaps sensitively sent word through a trusted messenger to make the woman aware that she was visible. Instead, he entertained the temptation by keeping his eyes on her and then inquiring about her. The results were devastating. Take these actions in order to flee temptation: (1) Ask God in earnest prayer to help you stay away from people, places, and situations that may tempt you. (2) Memorize and meditate on portions of Scripture that combat your specific weaknesses. (At the root of most temptation is a real need or desire that God knows you have and can be filled in a proper way, but you must trust in his timing.) (3) Find another believer with whom you can openly share your struggles, and call this person for help when temptation strikes.

(11:4) David Misuses His Authority - The progression of this story makes it plain that David was clearly wrong. David used his position of power and authority as king to exploit Bath-sheba, and ultimately to manipulate Joab and take advantage of Uriah. David treated her as an object to fulfill his lust. In the Hebrew text, Bath-sheba's name isn't mentioned until 1:5; David himself does not address her nor refer to her by name.) Until this point in his reign, David had been submissive to both the law and God, but here he disobeyed both. With this act, David began to behave like the kings of all the other nations (see 1 Samuel 8:11-20) by taking from his people whatever he wanted without thinking through the consequences. Leaders in our churches and institutions often find themselves caught in the same grasp of power that David did, which frequently leads to sin. Godly leaders should behave in a manner that protects and respects those in their care and under their leadership. When we witness or experience exploitation or manipulation by our leaders, we need to be willing to step forward and stop what is happening, regardless of the consequences, much like the prophet Nathan does in 2 Samuel 12:1-12.

(11:4) Bath-sheba Was Not with Child before Her Encounter with David -  The phrase "she was purified from her uncleanness" means that Bath-sheba had just completed the ritual bathing that Israelite women had to carry out following menstruation. Thus, she could not have already been pregnant by her own husband when David slept with her. Leviticus 15:19-30 gives more information on these rites that Bath-sheba had to perform.

(11:5) David Sin Complicates Life - David put both Bath-sheba and Joab in difficult situations. Bath-sheba knew it was wrong to commit adultery, but to refuse a king's request could mean punishment or death. Joab did not know why Uriah had to die, but it was obvious the king wanted him killed. We sometimes face situations with only two apparent choices, and both seem wrong. Bath-sheba had to decide between committing adultery and disobeying the king. Job's obvious choices were to disobey the king or deliberately put one of his soldiers in harm's way. When such a dilemma arises, we must not lose sight of what God wants. The answer may be to pray and seek out more choices. By doing this, we are likely to find a choice that honors God.

(11:17) Uriah Dies at the Hand of David's Scheme - Uriah and several other soldiers died as a result of David's scheme. Sin often hurts innocent bystanders. When you are tempted to do something that is wrong, remember the people who could be hurt by your sin, and resist the temptation.

(11:25) David is Insensitive to His Sinful Action - David's response to Uriah's death seems flippant and insensitive. While he had grieved deeply for Saul and Abner, his rivals (2 Samuel 1; 3:31-39), he showed no grief for Uriah, a good man with strong spiritual character. Why? David had become callous to his own sin, hardening his heart against guilt and shame. The only way he could cover up his first sin (adultery) was to sin again (murder), and soon he no longer felt guilty for what he had done. Feelings are not reliable guides for determining right and wrong. Deliberate, repeated sinning had dulled David's sensitivity to God's laws and the rights of others. The more you try to cover up a sin, the more insensitive you become toward it. Don't become hardened to sin, as David did. Confess your wrong actions to God before you forget they are sins, and better yet, stay away from what is tempting you.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Your Sin will Find You Out

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Today we continue in the book of 2nd Samuel with Chapter 11. In our text, we see the familiar story of David and Bath-sheba and his sin that cost Uriah his life and many heartaches for David. In making the application, we see how sin will find you out, David thought he could get away with his sin, and each step of an attempt to cover it up his sin cost him more and more. Today many follow this same pattern as they sin and think they maneuver their way out, but a person's sin will always find them out. Do you see that we cannot cover up our sins? How about you? Let us learn from the life of David and see his life unfold in the Chapters ahead, and remember that our sin will find us out.


2 Samuel 11

2 Samuel 11

 1And 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.

 2And 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.

 3And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?

 4And 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.

 5And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.

 6And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David.

 7And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered.

 8And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king's house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king.

 9But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house.

 10And when they had told David, saying, Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from thy journey? why then didst thou not go down unto thine house?

 11And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.

 12And David said to Uriah, Tarry here to day also, and to morrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow.

 13And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house.

 14And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.

 15And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.

 16And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men were.

 17And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also.

 18Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war;

 19And charged the messenger, saying, When thou hast made an end of telling the matters of the war unto the king,

 20And if so be that the king's wrath arise, and he say unto thee, Wherefore approached ye so nigh unto the city when ye did fight? knew ye not that they would shoot from the wall?

 21Who smote Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? did not a woman cast a piece of a millstone upon him from the wall, that he died in Thebez? why went ye nigh the wall? then say thou, Thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.

 22So the messenger went, and came and shewed David all that Joab had sent him for.

 23And the messenger said unto David, Surely the men prevailed against us, and came out unto us into the field, and we were upon them even unto the entering of the gate.

 24And the shooters shot from off the wall upon thy servants; and some of the king's servants be dead, and thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.

 25Then David said unto the messenger, Thus shalt thou say unto Joab, Let not this thing displease thee, for the sword devoureth one as well as another: make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it: and encourage thou him.

 26And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.

 27And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.