2 Samuel 11

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Read 2 Samuel 11

David and Bathsheba

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

One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) 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 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.” 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 and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, 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 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 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 and die.”

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 son of Jerub-Besheth? Didn’t a woman drop an upper millstone on him from the wall, 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 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 the Lord.

Go Deeper

Today’s main takeaway is this: 1) be where God wants you to be, and 2) confess when you are elsewhere. David does neither and this chapter shows us the painful consequences of such sin.

First, David is not where God intends for him to be. Instead of going to war with his men, like kings normally do, David finds himself on his roof looking at another man’s wife. His lust overtakes him and he sends a messenger for Bathsheba. This is not a friendly message, by the way. In the Hebrew, the most accurate translation is David’s messengers “took her.” David’s choice to avoid his responsibilities led to lust and abusing his power. Pastor Tony Evans explains it like this: “It’s often when we’re not doing what we ought to be doing that temptation pounces.” The result? David commits adultery with the wife of one of his soldiers. 

Second, instead of confessing his sin immediately, David doubles down on it. Calling Uriah in from battle will cover it all up, right? However, there are no cover-ups for sin. No one gets away with anything. Sin has consequences. David refuses to confess his sin and repent. When Bathsheba’s pregnancy makes his sin painfully obvious, David buys a lie and tries to deal with his sin in a way other than confessing it to God. That lie leads to more sin and death.

The bottom line? Be where God intends for you to be. Christians should physically be in places where we have responsibility, whether at home, work, school, church or within our community. In those places where God has us, we are called to care for and love our family, coworkers, neighbors or friends. When we stray from those places and those purposes God has for us, we are prone to sin. Unlike David, when we realize we are out of line, we should immediately confess and return to the Lord’s purposes for us.


  1. David’s first mistake was not being where he was supposed to be. Are you currently in places God has not intended for you to be? Are you neglecting responsibilities that He has for you in order to be somewhere else that He hasn’t called you?
  2. What sin(s) are you covering up? How can you bring that sin(s) to light as quickly as possible?
  3. What else do you see about the character of God in this chapter?

Pray This

God, we confess our brokenness and our sin to you. We confess how we are so quick to stray from the places and purposes you have created us for. Lovingly correct us. Show us our sin quickly. And allow your kindness to lead us into repentance. Thank you for your forgiveness, grace, and mercy. We love you.

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1 thought on “2 Samuel 11”

  1. Ella Snodgrass

    What a hard read this chapter is! We might expect this scenario of Saul, but certainly not David. Note to self, don’t put anyone on a pedestal but our Lord. Although David will repent of this heinous sin, tragic consequences will follow. I’m reminded how sin often starts small and then steamrolls. Today “let’s pay attention to what we pay attention to”.

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