David and Bathsheba:
Sin, Cover-up, Condemnation, and Restoration
A four-part Biblical study of grace and healing
To some, it is a story of judgment and condemnation. Others see it as a story of grace, restoration, and hope. For those willing to admit their sin and accept
God’s judgment, grace, and restoration, it is both.
For those of us who have experienced moral failure, divorce, or other such life experience, it is a message of hope, healing, and restoration that reminds us that God’s
agenda is not to crush sinners under his feet, but to heal them and restore their relationship with Him.
For the sake of fast page loading, we’ve divided this study into four parts. In Part 1, The Sin, we will examine how David and Bathsheba got into this mess in
the first place. Part 2, The Cover-up, looks at the frantic efforts of David to hide his sin. Part 3, The Condemnation, is a look at God’s efforts to
straighten out His servant. Part 4, The Restoration, studies God’s grace and restoration in the lives of both partners. Scripture references are taken from the
1995 Edition of the New American Standard Version.
The realization that God’s agenda is one of healing and restoration will change your perspective on everything. It is my prayer that this study will have as much
impact in your life as it has had in mine.
Part 1: The Sin
The story begins in 2 Samuel 11:1:
1 Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons
of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.
At the very root of David’s problems, we find a king who wasn’t where he belonged. If David had been out in the battlefield, where the king was supposed to be, instead
of hanging around the palace looking at naked women, this whole incident would have never happened. Some have suggested that David may have been battling depression, or
having a “mid-life crisis.” In either event, he wasn’t where he belonged — which, at least in my life, is often the first step of a downhill slide.
2 Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very
beautiful in appearance.
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?”
4 David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house.
I should point out here that, when viewed through the eyes of modern western civilization, it’s all too easy to conclude that Bathsheba shares in David’s guilt as a
willing participant, or if nothing else, an immodest woman who had no business bathing where the King could see her. To be honest, I’ve even taught that perspective in
the past, but I’ve also been gently but firmly corrected for my error. In that society’s governmental system, the King was the absolute authority. If Bathsheba was
summoned to the King’s palace, then she came to the palace or risked execution for defying the King. Bathsheba’s bathing was not in a public place, but probably behind
the walls of an enclosed courtyard. She had no expectation that she would be seen, since the King was, after all, supposed to be out in the battlefield with her husband.
Clearly, this is a case of one man abusing his power to satisfy his own lustful desires.
David didn’t set out to commit an insidious sin. People seldom do. At first inquiry, he didn’t know this woman’s identity or her marital status. Had she been unmarried,
he would have been quite proper in pursuing her as a wife, and his inquiry would not have been improper. By the time he learned that she was married, David had already
let lust get its nasty little hooks into his heart, and his lustful desire outweighed his good sense and integrity. Unbridled lust can do that to a person — yes, even
you, if you allow it to smolder long enough.
By this point, it’s apparent that David’s intentions have shifted from an interest in taking Bathsheba as a wife, to just plain taking Bathsheba. David had no plans on a
long-term affair — just a one-night sexual romp with a good-looking woman.
As usual, sin had its consequences:
5 The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, “I am pregnant.”
David hadn’t planned on that possibility.