David and Bathsheba:
Sin, Cover-up, Condemnation, and Restoration

A four-part Biblical study of grace and healing

Part 4: Healing and Restoration

So far, David has committed adultery, then ordered the murder of several innocent men, trying to cover up his sin. God has sent Nathan the Prophet to confront David,
and David has sought God’s forgiveness and expressed an attitude of genuine repentance.

Now, there are many who want the story to end here, with 2 Samuel 12:13:

13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.”

We love stories with perfect, happy endings, and we want sin forgiven without consequence. In reality, we can be forgiven for breaking the window, but we still have
to sweep up the broken glass and repair the window.
There are consequences to our actions, and like it or not, we must coexist with those consequences, just as David

2 Samuel 12:14 “However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.”

15 So Nathan went to his house. Then the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s widow bore to David, so that he was very sick.

16 David therefore inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground.

17 The elders of his household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat food with them.

18 Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while
the child was still alive, we spoke to him and he did not listen to our voice. How then can we tell him that the child is dead, since he might do himself harm!”

19 But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was dead; so David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” And
they said, “He is dead.”

20 So David arose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he came into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he came to his own
house, and when he requested, they set food before him and he ate.

21 Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept; but when the child died, you arose and ate

22 He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, the LORD may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’

23 “But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:14-23).

The death of David’s newborn son seems, at first look, to be a cruel and unfair punishment of an innocent child. There are many commentaries that see this from other
perspectives, including that the child would have lived a painful and disgraceful life, as an illegitimate son, and his death as an infant was merciful. Others have
commented on the possible ramifications of this illegitimate child becoming king. Still others see the example of atonement, an innocent life being given to redeem the
life of the guilty. Frankly, I don’t have a definitive answer. The child’s death does, however, underscore an important truth; our sin affects not only ourselves, but
also those around us. The long-reaching effect of a moment of sinful self-indulgence can be disastrous. We seldom pause to consider that factor in a moment of
temptation. If we could see the results of our actions clearly, we’d say “no” more often.

There were other consequences, too. The judgement proclaimed in verses 11 and 12 came to pass, when in 2 Samuel 16:20-22 David’s rebellious son Absalom publicly went in
to his father’s wives and concubines to demonstrate his rebellion to the nation. In verse 12, Nathan told David that what he tried to keep as a secret affair would be
made public, and he would face public disgrace and humiliation. Bathsheba, though a part of the king’s household, had to live with humiliation and disgrace in the midst
of the king’s other wives and concubines. In the terms of their society, the loss of a son was a sign of God’s judgement upon them that was a matter of deep, scarring

The best news of all is that the story does not end with the consequences of sin. Where there is sin, there are consequences, but where there is grace, there is
restoration and healing:

24 Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her; and she gave birth to a son, and he named him Solomon. Now the LORD loved him

25 and sent word through Nathan the prophet, and he named him Jedidiah for the LORD’S sake.

I would have expected the embarrassed and disgraced Bathsheba to tell David that he could just stay on his side of the palace, and that she never wanted to lay eyes
on him again.
Perhaps she even did. Scripture does not record Bathsheba’s journey of healing as it does David’s, but there is sound evidence that she did, indeed,
make the trip.

Who would think that a relationship with such a sin-drenched foundation could even survive, much less prosper. God demonstrated His grace in the sanctification of a
relationship that had once brought the condemnation of death. This is not a “healed but always deficient” relationship, but a “healed and holy household,” a union that
brought forth Solomon, a child regarded by both sacred and secular authority as one of the wisest men ever born. He succeeded his father as King, and his name appears in
the direct bloodline of Christ in the New Testament genealogies.

The restored, healed, sanctified marriage of David and Bathsheba bears both God’s hand and His blessing. It is purely poetic that the same prophet chosen to bring God’s
condemnation of sin was also chosen to deliver God’s blessing on the fruits of this healed, holy relationship. The LORD sent word through Nathan that He had a special
name for this special child: Jedidiah — which means “beloved of God.” It is important to note that the healing and reconstruction of this relationship did not happen
immediately. Based on historical accounts and comparative scriptural studies, it is apparent that several years passed between the death of the first son and the birth
of Solomon. It is also apparent that, although David had many wives, Bathsheba became his favorite. A marriage built on the healing grace of God always produces very
special, intimate, bonded relationships.

God never brings us condemnation without offering us grace and healing. This is a recurring theme throughout the Bible — God wants to have an intimate
relationship with each of us, and goes out of His way to invite us into that relationship
. The whole point of Nathan’s charge against David was not to punish him,
but to restore him.

There have been many parallels between this chapter of David’s life and the lives of men who have fallen into sin. Whether the man is a well-known figure like Jim Bakker
or Bill Clinton, or a common “man in the street,” we all stand on level ground at the foot of the cross. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, or where you’ve been —
God’s healing, restoring grace is available for you, just like it was for David. All you have to do is be willing to face God — and yourself — with the same painful
honesty that was David’s first step toward rebuilding his life.

Are you ready for a fresh start? Your life can be healed, restored, and rebuilt, just like David’s was. I can tell you from experience that it will not be an easy
journey, but it will be the most worthwhile venture of your entire lifetime.

Like David, you will have to be honest with God, and with yourself.

  • Stop trying to hide your sin behind cheap excuses and lies
  • Be willing to deal with and accept the consequences of your sin
  • Totally surrender yourself to God
  • Allow Jesus to come into your heart and forgive your sin
  • Having accepted His free gift of salvation, let Him start the process of rebuilding your life on His firm, eternal foundation.

God is not only willing to help you rebuild, He wants you whole even more than you do!

Why hesitate? He’s waiting for your call!

How to Become a Christian

Back to Part 3: Condemnation and Repentance

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17 Responses to

  1. God may be waiting for me to call, but the God who kills a child for the sins of the father (which, ironically, is something I have heard pastors preach that God NEVER does) will be waiting a long time. Who knows, though… maybe I’ll wind up being one of those cowardly deathbed conversions.

    • Jennifer Bangstrom
      The only problem with a deathbed conversion is that you may not have one. 150,000 people die everyday. You do not know when your time will be. So do not put off what you could do today.
      Also you are looking at it from the wrong perspective. David’s child went to be with God. Death was not a punishment to the child, but a punishment to David.

    • Carri Byers says:

      Jennifer, the actions of the parent have and will always affect the children, it is the natural order of thing. If a woman engages in drugs while pregnant, her child is scarred or killed because of it. If she drives recklessly while pregnant, her child is affected. If the father drinks excessively and is a violent drunk, children pay the price. You should sooner kick at natural consequence as to choose David’s story to be angry with God.

      If you do not give God glory in this life, you will in the next as “every knee will bow and every tongue confess.”

    • Deon Rodden says:

      Jennifer we will never understand God’s sovereignty completely in this lifetime.Faith in him that he is as he says he is gets us a long way with him and judging him is always a bad decision for us.May he reveal to you what his love truly is for his creation and draw you to himself anyhow.

  2. Your presentation of Davids story is great.

  3. Robyn Yelm says:

    @ Jennifer Bangstom- That is the good news… It will never be too late… I believe in deathbed conversions… because God is a great and merciful God. Be blessed on your journey to discover the Truth 🙂

  4. I was wondering if the study was going to get to the part where the child pays for the sins of the father. Isn’t this death a direct contradiction of other scriptures that state that the sins of the father will not be delivered on the children? This story indeed teaches that there consequences to sin, but that the actual sinner isn’t the one to pay for them.
    Not only does this loving god kill the child for the sins of the father, but he also makes the little bit of life the child had filled with suffering so he could teach that “sinner” David a lesson.
    And what does David do after the death of the child? He takes a bath, puts his kingly clothes back on and acts like nothing happened.
    This was the final nail that turned me away from my christianity. There is nothing good or just in this outcome. As far as I’m concerned, it kills the sanctity of life argument against abortion that christians use.

  5. The injustice of the innocent child for the sins of David is a picture of the very point of the Christian faith. The innocent Christ suffering for the sins of you and I.

  6. Ben Brown says:

    As a parent I can tell you my greatest fear would be the loss of my child. But if it did ever happen I would know their suffering was over and they had gone home while mine had just begun and would last I’m sure until I joined them. Now using that logic, which my tremendous faith in Him provides me, I would agree that it would be David who would suffer in this scenario. The child, on the other hand, well it was brought home to be with The Father and his suffering that comes with life in Satan’s domain was over and great celebration begun. And as a reply to my friend with the analogy about of abortion, I could just as easily say that it is often the abortion supporters who talk about how some children would be better off not being born. Well under the laws and customs of the day as the writer explains the child would have been a virtual peria or as good as dead only that he would have suffered along with his mother and likely lived a shortened life. Besides, how do we not know the child Bathsheba later has is not the child she lost. We are talking about God here…
    Anyway I hope if this story was the basis of your rejection of Christianity you will reconsider it just as you should reconsider your position on this who does the suffering in this story. Blessings!

  7. This is one of my favorite Bible stories. I devoured it. Very well done, indeed. My one single objection, or rather, comment, is that you end it with an invitation to become a Christian. Why? Are other religions not as good? David was a Jew, as was Jesus, for that matter. You go through the entire story talking about God, his justice and his mercy, and his willingness to forgive sins, but then you ask if the reader wants to become a Christian? It’s a non-sequitor.

  8. God is a just God. The accounts of David’s sins are to show us that sin hurts not only us, but others to. Restoration, healing, and respect did not come overnight. What this shows us is this….David was a man after God’s own heart, but yet, he was a man. He would have never been in the situation he found himself in if he had been where he should have been in the first place. David found forgiveness, but he still paid for it. So many of us thinks that we can go around, hurt others, and not worry about it. Some commit adultery, murder, or other things not just in the eyes of God. We all have done things that are not right. God does love us, will forgive us, because we are his children. This is a study of David’s short comings in the Bible and that is why the author of this study refers to God. I love it that God has shown us through the Bible of people who have “messed up” but still is able to correct it. Yes, you are forgiven, but your sin not only hurts you, it hurts other too.

  9. I’m really blessed. It feels good to know that God still loves me in spite of me and ready to forgive, restore and heal me.

  10. Alex Vaughan says:

    So this is the morality we get from the bible. You can use your earthly power as a king to compel a woman to sleep with you then murder her husband and nothing happens to you personally. A child dies instead and you live happily ever after with the murdered man’s wife (plus a load of other wives).
    Human morality, on the other hand would depose this king and lock him up – or in the bible belt probably put him on death row. Our gut instinct is not to let people get away with this kind of behaviour. For that reason you see people interpret these bible stories not on the basis of what they actually record but on a convoluted apology for an ancient realpolitik morality which we in the West would today reject.

    • Evan Stone says:

      Hey Alex,

      If you have read any of David’s Psalms or the rest of his story, you know very well that he definitely didn’t live “happily ever after” like none of this ever happened.

      Also, that is not the morality we get from Scripture, hence the condemnation for the whole act by God. Nothing in this story makes David look good or glorifies his actions. He is a sinful man who begs for mercy because of his actions.

  11. Wonderful essay. Thanks for writing it. You spelled ‘Jedediah’ wrong, though. Also, the sentence, “Who would think that a relationship with such a sin-drenched foundation could even survive, much less prosper.” probably should have ended with a question mark. Not nit-picking, here, nor am I feeling superior, so please don’t take offense. I simply wanted to emphasize the importance of proof-reading your work. It may seem trivial, but it is not. As a writer, you must always keep in mind that spelling, grammar, and punctuation do matter very much. I have heard it said that the deterioration of a culture coincides with the decline in language, in particular, with the decline in the respect for its rules.

  12. God is not the problem, Sin is. The consequences affect us and others. The grace and mercy of God is the real story. Death comes to us all; eternity is the decision to make. David is with his son.

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