BPotW David is a very naughty boy (2 Samuel 11-12)

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Bible Passage of the Week

Mendalla

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This week's Bible story is bit of a long one (2 chapters) but you need it all to get the full story so please do read both. If you follow the link to 11 there should be an arrow on the right side that will flip to 12 but I'll link both since I am not sure if that works the same on all devices.



So it's not enough to just screw Uriah's wife. He has to screw over Uriah, too. What a performance. It's this sort of thing that makes me think the books of Samuel and Kings would make for great premium cable/streaming television shows. Keep in mind that in Leviticus 20:10, it prescribes death as the penalty for adultery so this is some serious stuff. :eek:

This is a terrific story, for sure. But does it have much to say beyond "David is a horny little creep who can't keep his hands off other guys' wives"?

You gotta love how 11 just ends with "But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord" and leaves the real crapstorm for chapter 12. A modern writer like, oh, me might have just left it there so people could imagine the crapstorm for themselves. Or at least had the episode end on that note, leaving the conclusion hanging until next week.

But then all Hell breaks loose. Nathan cracks out a nice parable, which David is predictably too dense to realize is about his situation. Nathan gives him a stern lecture, ending by saying that the child David conceived with Bathsheba will die. Which does, of course, happen.

Now, this is where I kind of think the Lord goes a bit overboard. The child did not deserve that treatment and it seems just a smidgen unjust. But I imagine that in the mind of the author, the child conceived in adultery dying is a form of justice.

And David consoles Bathsheba by knocking her up again? I mean, having another child might help but I'm not sure sex is really what she was after so soon after the loss. Seems more like consolation for him than her but, again, my modern perspective there. And the new child is Solomon who goes on to be a greater king (in some regards) than David so that's got to count for something.

Which brings us to the almost anti-climactic ending in which the Ammonites get defeated and their city falls. Not much consolation to Uriah or Bathsheba, though, given that this was the war Uriah died in with just a bit of help from David.

So what do you think about this story?
 
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Mendalla

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My library got the NKJV Study Bible in its Overdrive collection so I grabbed a copy (they actually bought 2). It's VERY Christian to the extent that even 2 Samuel has a whole piece explaining how it relates to Jesus Christ and expounding on his importance in the Hebrew scriptures. Ugh. But there is some useful info in the notes and I might bring some of it out as we discuss this story. Wish they had acquired one that a bit more neutral and less polemic than this one, though.

In one of its notes, it raises an interesting point about Uriah. He's not a Hebrew, but a Hittite whose name means "Flame of the Lord" or "The Lord is Light". Hittites were another Semitic people from the region who at one point had a fairly large, powerful empire. Uriah was apparently a Hittite who was fighting in the Hebrew army, perhaps as a mercenary, and had embraced their God. So the authors of the study Bible make much of how this foreign convert is more upstanding and faithful to The Lord than David, who is supposed to be God's anointed king.

From my own musings on the story:

I think this is a Bible story that could be fairly historical. I mean, there's probably a lot of the details that are made up, but the bare bones of the story make sense. A king seduces one of his follower's wives while the follower is away fighting the king's battles is a narrative that seems entirely plausible. The woman has a child who dies in birth or infancy and the death is blamed on the adultery. Again, fits rather well with the worldview and morality of that day and age. Even Nathan reaming David out when he learns what happened sounds like something you would expect a king's senior counsellor or advisor to do. So, we may have an embellished tale of something David actually did here. At least it feels real.


Thoughts?
 
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Mendalla

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Trivia: Notice 2 Sam 11:2

It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful.
Compare this line from a very famous song:

You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew her

And the first verse also talks about David.

The song is, of course, "Hallelujah" by the late Leonard Cohen.
 
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Redbaron

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I wonder if Uriah ever had any clue what was going on. Would Bathsheba have told him what was going on? Is that maybe why he refused to go home to sleep? He seems to be presented in the story as pretty much an innocent, just answering questions, remaining loyal to his fellow soldiers, and unquestioningly carrying out orders (except for David's suggestion he go home and sleep there). But I wonder if there was more to him than this...

This would have made a great miniseries, I think.
 

Lastpointe

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So many details in this story. It strikes me as funny that it starts that it is spring, the time of year when kings go to battle. Spring is to my mind a time of new beginnings. And David starts a new beginning with Bathsheba.

another odd thing , to me. David is King. He can do whatever he wants. I don’t doubt he could command any woman to come and wait on him or sleep with him.

he certainly puts her husband in danger, but isn’t he a soldier? isn’t danger part of the job?

then after her husband dies, isn’t it a very Jewish thing to look after another’s wife? Lest she be left destitute? We have no knowledge of her having brothers of her husband Who might have been obligated to marry her?

so I find it a puzzling story. He slept with another mans wife. Ok. Not likely the first person to do that. There is Abraham pretending his wife is his sister......
he hoped to have the husband die but that was a bit out of his control. Not every soldier at the battle died surely. Yet he is blamed for it?
then he takes the wife in and they are collectively punished with the death of the child. Pretty harsh punishment. Yet, they obviously continue on happily and have another son. So what was the point of punishing the first son....
 

Nancy

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Some of the New Testament praise of David has always bothered me a little because of these events you are mentioning now. Also, the end of his reign is not stellar at all. David presents as very human, very flawed, yet also very loving of God, and recognizing his need for forgiveness I guess that is what I relate to.
 

Waterfall

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It's rather amazing that a shepherd, who is no relation to king Saul, becomes King after becoming a commander in the army after he proved himself when he defeated Goliath. He was the seventh born son of Jesse from the tribe of Judah.
"and there shall come forth, a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a twig shall grow forth out of his roots." Isaiah 11:1
This is where Christianity and Judaism share the idea that David's blood will flow in the veins of the Messiah.
God loves a good shepherd it seems, but was he?
He has been recorded as admirable and less then admirable, even being described as "a blood stained fiend of hell" and yet also as someone after God's own heart. Most of the people loved and supported David no matter what he did.....hard to believe....but there are many examples today of leaders who would fit this bill. David was chosen by the people and God.
 

Waterfall

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David is also the first man to be called "King Of The Jews".
 

unsafe

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So we can see this Chapter as a bad performance or a see it as a Spiritual warning about just how evil Lust is -----

This Chapter i like to call Crash and Burn -------

Spiritually this Chapter is to show just how evil Lust is and the consequences that come with entertaining it's evil desires and Satan's use to Temp people with it -----

David --had tasted the Good life that God can give -----he experienced victory with God at the helm ---- but David also had a big problem with lasciviousness

Hebrew word for lasciviousness
Thayer's Greek Lexicon:
aselgeia
unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence

So we see how easy it is for Godly people to fall back into their worldly desires -----when they put God in the background instead of in their foreground ----

David"s desire for women was know in previous Chapters - ---so this shows his lack of romantic restraints and allowing his passion to Rule him --instead of him ruling it -----David cultivated his lust over time ---Bathsheba was just another lustful conquest for him ----

And Notice ---that God leaves him to his desire as God knows that he will reap what he sows --so God is a loving God and leaves us to our desires if we don't want to follow what He wants for us -----this is the free will that He lovingly gave us -----

We see that David didn't go into battle he stayed home in his palace --first mistake ----David was a great warrior and God wanted him to go into battle not stay home -----we see that David got up from his bed ---so that says to me he was restless not at peace ----that is the way it is when God's children go their own way and disobey God's will for us -----

Then we see David saw a woman bathing as he was on the roof -----So we see here he just saw a woman first ----but then he noticed her beauty which says he was intently gazing at this woman ---verse 2
2 One evening David got up from his couch and was walking on the [flat] [b]roof of the king’s palace, and from there he saw a woman bathing; and she was very beautiful in appearance

Second mistake ----nothing wrong with him seeing the woman ---and here he could have then looked away and paid no more attention --but he didn't ---he keep looking at her till he noticed her beauty ----that was David's down fall being a womaniser his lust again won him over -----David committed adultery on the roof top in his mind ---he wanted her then ---

This is what happens when God's Children don't learn self control and call on Grace to give them strength to resist evil -----and allow their feelings and emotions to control them ------big trouble is the result ------

So his lust gets its way and he gets his woman who he lusted after -----but now we see she lays with him ---so now both have committed a capitol offence against God ------and she gets with child ----third mistake

Leviticus 20:10 NIV​

10 “‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.

So we see that the 2 of them now can be put to death for what they did -----so the woman tells David to deal with the situation -----so he has to come up with a sinful plan ------to save the 2 of them from death ---so one sin leads to another Folks ----he comes up with a cover up plan ---

So David's first plan fails --as Uriah doesn't do what David wanted him to do ---have sex with Bathsheba so he would get the blame for her pregnancy ----so he goes to the second cover up plan ---have Uriah killed in battle ----and succeeds ----and marries his dream girl ----

So David thinks that he has covered his mistake ---well here is the thing Folks -----we may fool other humans but we can;t fool God nor can we cover up our sins from God ---God sees and knows every sin we commit and he knows the state of our heart at the time -----

This is the last sentence in this Chapter -----very important statement here -----using the AMP ---
But the thing that David had done [with Bathsheba] was evil in the sight of the Lord.

So in this Chapter ----we see that David's sinful lust cost him his peace ----an unwanted pregnancy -- his dignity --- and his entrapment led him to murderer --

And today this sensual lust causes the same problems for many who cannot control the lust of the flesh ----

This is the Spiritual Battle that all Godly people must fight every minute of every day ----David had God to rely on and he chose to rely on his fleshly desires instead of continuing his walk with God -----all sin has consequences and David learned it first hand -----and his battle is not over --it continues in the next Chapter ----

But David does feel deep remorse and repents --Psalms 51 --written by David after he committed his adultery with Bathsheba --

Psalm 51[a] NIV​

For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.​

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b] a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus+20&version=NIV
 

BetteTheRed

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I hate this story. And frankly, Mendalla, I don't even like the title of this particular BPotW.

David wasn't a "naughty boy". In this story, he was an "evil man". And clearly, his mistress, Bathsheba, was complicit. An ugly story. And Godde's "punishment"? Equally unsettling. Kill the (completely innocent infant) product of the initial lust, but then let the next progeny rule Israel? Like, WTF was any god paying any attention?

This horrible story has discoloured my readings of the Psalms.
 

Luce NDs

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People do not like to read about broken souls ... what sometimes are referred to a perfect minds hidden in the obscurity of John Nash's writ!

One has to get out-there a bit to see it from outside the prodigious "I"! Aye that may be it as spread wide ... an abstract upset in the scheme ... illustrative of > I < ... everything else being of greater need of humility in one lesson! Ridiculous?

Perhaps ... but how would we know when psyche is trashed and put down by overwhelming desires ... lusty? How thoughts are lost ...raising the question; where do they go?

In Welsh that's Daffyd EON humus ...
 

paradox3

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It's an odd one. I like the way chapter 11 ends with God's displeasure. But was God displeased that David committed adultery or that David contrived to have Uriah killed? To be sure Uriah was in a dangerous position but David had a hand in his death.

Agreed that it was heavy handed of God to kill off the child if that's what happened. We are told the child was ill. It was common enough in those days to view all kinds of natural processes as the work of God.

I like that David pleaded with God to spare the child. And I like that he didn't abandon Bathsheba.
 

Mendalla

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David wasn't a "naughty boy". In this story, he was an "evil man".
But you have to agree, I think, that that is exactly how the story ends up treating it. I mean, aside from the baby dying thing (and P3 and I have both pointed out that's probably just a product of a culture where children dying often gets blamed on things like this), he basically get a tongue-lashing from Nathan and carries on after committing murder and adultery, both of which should have got him executed under the laws of the time. And, really, that's par for the course in an ancient monarchy like this. The king gets his way and also gets to declare that his way is God's way.

From a Christian standpoint, David is supposedly the ancestor of Jesus. That alleged ancestry is cited in at least two Gospels to back up the claim that he is the Messiah. So apparently David is considered "good enough" to be the Son of God's direct ancestor and the source of some of the credibility of his claims. So how does that fit with the "evil man"? Jesus redeems the line by his contrast to his royal ancestor's behaviour?
 

paradox3

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Is it a story of sin and redemption? David commits adultery and plots a murder but goes on to find favor with God.

If David is the spiritual ancestor of Jesus does the story give us something about Jesus's human nature?

It is intriguing.
 

unsafe

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David himself is not evil -----it is the fleshy thinking that gives way to evil -------and Satan has every right to put evil thoughts in all minds ---saved and unsaved ----if we allow the evil though to remain in the mind ---our body will move toward it -----which is what happen to David ---seeing her was not the issue ---he saw her and had the chance to divert his attention away from her but he continued to gaze at her ----and his heart became defiled with lustful thoughts --we are to cast down all evil thoughts and keep our focus on God -----2 Corinthians 2:5 ---that is our job to accomplish this ----David pushed God aside and allowed his imagination run wild which was nothing new for him when it came to women -----

God gave us an imagination for his purpose but Satan also has access to it ------our imagination is a very powerful tool ----it is how people create things -----they see it in their minds then they have an idea how to bring it to manifest in this world ------David created adultery on the roof ----
Mark 7
Context
What Defiles a Man
…21For from within the hearts of men come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22greed, wickedness, deceit, debauchery, envy, slander, arrogance, and foolishness. 23All these evils come from within, and these are what defile a man.”…
 

Waterfall

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Davids first wife was Michal, daughter of Saul whom he left for a woman from Jezreel after Michal began to despise him for dancing in front of the lord.
Then he married Abigail who was married to Nabel. David was going to kill Nabel so he could marry her but Abigail convinces him not to...but Nabel then dies anyway.
Then there was Bathsheba.
There are five more named wives and many more unnamed wives.
So to dwell on his love life would probably take forever.
Were multiple wives just normal back then much like we hear in other faiths?
Source Wikipedia
 

Mendalla

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Davids first wife was Michal, daughter of Saul whom he left for a woman from Jezreel after Michal began to despise him for dancing in front of the lord.
Then he married Abigail who was married to Nabel. David was going to kill Nabel so he could marry her but Abigail convinces him not to...but Nabel then dies anyway.
Then there was Bathsheba.
There are five more named wives and many more unnamed wives.
So to dwell on his love life would probably take forever.
Were multiple wives just normal back then much like we hear in other faiths?
Source Wikipedia
Polygamy was common for male royalty and nobility, who used marriages to seal alliances. David seems to have been driven more by passion than simple politics in many of his relationships, though, save for Michal. That was clearly a dynastic marriage to tie David to Saul. Look at Solomon, David's son. He had quite a harem, too. Saul likely did, too, though I forget if there is support for that in the Bible.

As has been discussed in threads before, our notion of marriage as monogamy has not always been the norm.
 

Mendalla

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Wow. For a 'spiritual leader' David sure did a lot of 'fleshly thinking.'
To be fair I would say he was a "spiritual" leader rather than a "spiritual leader". That is, a temporal ruler with a spiritual element (in that he was a divine-right monarch) rather than a leader of a faith. It's not like this was an Israelite Pope or Imam screwing around. More like a 10th century (or so) BCE Henry VIII.
 
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