II Samuel Chapter 11
Memory verses for this week:
Num 12:6 And he
said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD
will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him
in a dream. Num 12:7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in
all mine house.
Overview of II Samuel 11:
This chapter begins with the
destruction of the Ammonites, and the siege of Rabbah their chief
city. Attention turns to the sins of David in committing adultery
with Bathsheba and what his attempts to conceal his sin.
I. David's Great Sin
2 Sam 11:1 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
The war with Ammon was still not over. It was customary in
middle-eastern wars in ancient times to call a ‘cease-fire’ during
the winter. David and his forces evidently put the war against Ammon
on hold over the winter. The Hebrew year ended in February; that's
why, the comment about how “after the year was expired.” As spring
was blossoming, David again sent military units under Joab, his
chief general, back into battle.
It is noted that they first destroyed the main forces of the
Ammonites in battle and then proceeded to besiege the city of Rabbah
which was a chief city of the region of Ammon.
For reasons untold, David stayed in Jerusalem rather than lead
his forces into battle. It would prove to be his downfall. Rather
than abounding in the work of the Lord, he chose to remain idle in
the palace. Many Christians do the same today often get into trouble
as well. It is evident that David’s relationship with the Lord
wasn’t what it should have been.
2 Sam 11:2 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.
2 Sam 11:3 And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one
said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of
Uriah the Hittite?
Late one spring afternoon, David had evidently taken a nap. He
went up on the flat roof of his palace. The city of Jerusalem is
built upon a succession of hills.
The elite of the city built upon the highest levels to catch the
slightest breeze that may blow in the summer. It is likely that
David’s palace was atop a hill and he could look down on homes built
at lower elevations. At one of the homes below, a woman had gone to
bathe herself. It is conceivable that David had seen her there
before and had gone out to look again. Little has ever been said
about Bathsheba, but it could have been that this woman knew that
her home was readily visible to the king’s palace. It could be that
she was aware that her immodesty could be viewed from the palace and
that may have even known that David had glanced her way before.
Whether Bathsheba knew the king would be there or not is
irrelevant. It is clear that she displayed herself immodestly,
knowing that she could be seen from the palace. For whatever
culpability David faced in the coming incident, it is clear that
Bathsheba’s immodesty helped provoke it.
Bathsheba may have even purposefully done what she did to get his
attention. David looks upon her beauty and then inquires as to who
she was. He was informed of fact that she was a married woman there
in verse 3.
2 Sam 11:4 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.
2 Sam 11:5 And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and
said, I am with child.
Even though David had been told that Bathsheba was a married
woman, he still takes her and commits sin with her.
“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust,
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin,
when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” James 1:14,15
It seems apparent that Bathsheba was a willing participant in
this great sin. When David should have been out serving God, he
“The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall
be under tribute.”
Sin has a way of finding itself out. It sooner or later floats to
the surface. David was already beginning to reap the harvest of his
great sin. As a result of their adultery, Bathsheba conceived and
carried David’s child.
In the Believer's Study Bible, W. A. Criswell commented about
both David and Bathsheba’s part in the sin.
Bathsheba may have been guilty of some indiscretion in her
immodesty, and apparently she made no effort to resist the amorous
intent of the king (note the clause “and she came to him”). David
found that lust grew into adultery; adultery produced deceit in
concealing iniquity (vv. 6–13); and the failure of these attempts
pressured David to the desperate act of murder (vv. 14–21).
Furthermore, David involved Joab as an accomplice in the crime. The
truth of James 1:15 can be clearly observed in this sequence of
events. Note also the awesome power of visual images when the mind
is allowed to meditate at length on the object of desire.
Unfaithfulness in terms of adultery unfailingly results in the
disfavor of the Lord and the certainty of His judgment (v. 26).
II. David Tries to Conceal His Sin
2 Sam 11:6 And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the
Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David.
2 Sam 11:7 And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of
him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered.
2 Sam 11:8 And 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.
David immediately began to try and cover up his wrong doing.
David sends a messenger to Joab asking that Uriah be sent to him.
Bathsheba’s husband was out fighting as an officer in David’s army.
The fact that Uriah was a Hittite suggests that he may not have been
a Hebrew. The Hittites in David’s time were descended of Heth, the
second son of Canaan. They were a division of the Canaanites.
Uriah may have been a proselyte to Judaism or at least a
mercenary working for David. David’s plan was apparent. In bringing
Uriah home, he would spend several nights with his wife and her
child would then be thought to be his.
David played innocent asking Uriah how the war went. He then told
him to go home. He even sent a gift likely of food along with him.
David’s sin was not only adultery against his spouse, but against a
loyal soldier in his army. It ultimately was against God.
Psa 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done
this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when
thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
III. Uriah Sleeps at Door of King's House
2 Sam 11:9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with
all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house.
2 Sam 11:10 And 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?
2 Sam 11:11 And 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.
2 Sam 11:12 And 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.
2 Sam 11:13 And 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
Sometimes even the best laid plans of mice and men go awry. David
had thought out a pretty clever plan. However, Uriah would not
cooperate with David’s scheme. David’s cover up was not working.
Uriah was a loyal and dedicated soldier. He knew his comrades in
arms back at the front had none of the comforts of home. Therefore,
he ‘camped’ outside David’s palace rather than spending the night
with his wife. David tried to coax him to cooperate. Uriah would
In verse 12, after having initially failed, David tried a
different scheme. If he could cause Uriah to get drunk, surely then
he would go home and sleep with his wife. David therefore invited
him to a meal and made sure that Uriah was amply supplied with
alcohol. However, Uriah remained steadfast in his resolve. Note how
that one sin can cause you to commit another and then another. God
forbids strong drink to the Christian man or woman, and we are
warned to not put that before others.
Prov 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and
whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
Prov 31:4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for
kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
Prov 31:5 Lest they drink, and forget the law, and
pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
Isa 5:22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and
men of strength to mingle strong drink:
Isa 5:23 Which justify the wicked for reward, and take
away the righteousness of the righteous from him!
Isa 28:7 But they also have erred through wine, and
through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the
prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed
up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink;
they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.
Rom 14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink
wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is
offended, or is made weak.
IV. Uriah is Murdered
2 Sam 11:14 And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote
a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.
2 Sam 11:15 And 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.
After the first few plans fail, David was becoming desperate to
cover his sin. Now murder seemed the only option. Note how harsh a
road sin can take us down. Things may seem initially harmless, but
soon the Devil has us in a position where we can't win. Only God can
be trusted. Satan is a liar from the beginning, and is the father of
David's new plan was to murder Uriah, and then quickly marry
Bathsheba to make her pregnancy seem legitimate. David thought he
finally had a fail-safe plan. Only Joab, the commander on the scene,
would be aware of David’s intention to have Uriah killed in action
and even he would not really know why.
David’s fingerprints would not be upon Uriah’s death. His sin
would be covered and he would get away with what he had done. Truly,
David had become sorely backslidden. A little sin can sure drag a
man or woman a way, way down. The irony of it all is that Uriah
carried his own death warrant and did not know it.
2 Sam 11:16 And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city,
that he assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men
2 Sam 11:17 And 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.
Upon receiving the private letter from David, Joab did as
ordered. Though David did not ‘pull the trigger,’ he was the one who
had ordered Uriah’s death. Added to David’s dark and lengthening
list of sin was murder of one totally innocent. Moreover, his victim
had remained loyal to his king to the bitter end.
Joab did not initially know the motive for David’s orders against
Uriah. However, as events would eventually unfold, he surely put two
and two together. There is little doubt that Joab eventually figured
out why David wanted Uriah dead.
Significant is the fact that Joab would later become disloyal to
David. He had seen his king’s treachery and disloyalty to one of his
soldiers. If you want people to respect you and be loyal, you much
show respect and loyalty to them. David would also reap the
disloyalty of Joab who lost respect for him as king.
V. Joab's Report to David
2 Sam 11:18 Then Joab sent and told David all the things
concerning the war;
2 Sam 11:19 And charged the messenger, saying, When thou hast
made an end of telling the matters of the war unto the king,
2 Sam 11:20 And 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?
2 Sam 11:21 Who 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.
2 Sam 11:22 So the messenger went, and came and showed David all
that Joab had sent him for.
2 Sam 11:23 And 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.
2 Sam 11:24 And 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.
Joab sent David a report of the recent battle action. Fearing
that David might be angry because his forces had suffered a setback
in the battle, he counseled the messenger to make sure that he
informed David that Uriah had died. He knew that would satisfy
We find in verse 22 that the messenger did as instructed and
reported the action to David. Details of Uriah’s death by arrows are
noted. Of further irony is how that Uriah is repeatedly referred to
as David’s servant. The prick of conscience of what David had done
was already beginning to come to pass.
2 Sam 11:25 Then 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.
Upon hearing the news, David sanctimoniously replied to 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. Though David portrayed himself as concerned
about what had happened, he was secretly delighted.
2 Sam 11:26 And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her
husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.
2 Sam 11:27 And 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.
Bathsheba thus portrayed herself as a widow in mourning. Perhaps
she did actually mourn the death of her husband, but that is
unclear. The period of mourning may have been as short as seven
days. See I Samuel 31:13 for an example of another example of
mourning after the death of Saul and his sons.
1 Sam 31:12 All the valiant men arose, and went all
night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons
from the wall of Bethshan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt
1 Sam 31:13 And they took their bones, and buried them
under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.
It would seem that she too was eager to cover her adultery and
was more than willing to quickly marry David to cover up what they
had done. Moreover, here was an opportunity to become a wife of the
king. That she did. In the course of time, she bore him a son. David
perhaps thought he had gotten away with his terrible sin
No one seemed the wiser. However, One had witnessed it all. “But
the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.” God saw it all
and was very displeased.
David’s sin would soon find him out. Some things we control in
life, many we do not. The reaping after the sowing is something that
happens to us all.
Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for
whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Gal 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the
flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit
shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
J. Vernon McGee said this about Chapter 11.
We have now come to the second and last section of the Book of 2
Samuel, which I have labeled “The Troubles of David.” We have seen
the “Triumphs of David” in the first section. Under the blessing of
God, David has become one of the great kings of the earth. However,
the sin recorded in this chapter places David under the judgment
of God. From here on David will have trouble. His life will be a
series of heartbreaks.
This sin causes the enemies of God to blaspheme—until this day.
Leering and suggestive, they exclaim, “This is the ‘man after God’s
The sin of David stands out like a tar-baby in a field of snow,
like a blackberry in a bowl of cream. It may cause us to miss the
greatness of the man. Remember that sin was the exception in David’s
life—not the pattern of it.
The Word of God does not play down the sin of David; it does not
whitewash the man. God doesn’t say it is not sin. God is going to
call it sin, and David will be punished for it.
Internet Bible Studies are prepared and distributed free of
charge. The lessons may not be sold without consent. If you have
questions or wish to discuss the lessons, or possibly need help in
finding Jesus Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior, contact David
Parham at 940-322-4343.
Prov 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that
shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Practice Random Acts of Kindness. Each act spreads, and many will