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Lesson 10: David and Bathsheba: Adultery and After *

Introduction: Sin is a type of addiction, which like all addictions, is progressive. If you want to keep sin out of your marriage, you need to watch out for the small things, not just the big problems. Small issues will likely grow into big, painful problems. What are these "small" issues in marriage that are addictive? A few that come to mind are pornography, criticism of your spouse, and coveting the spouse of another. Let's dive into our lesson to observe what not to do!

  1. The Progression

    1. Read 2 Samuel 3:1-5. Early on in David's rise to leadership, what problem do you see in his life? (Multiple marriages.)

    2. Read 2 Samuel 5:13. What kind of attitude was David establishing towards women and marriage?

    3. Read 2 Samuel 11:1-2. What do you think crossed David's mind, given his background with women? (That this beautiful woman might be added to his harem.)

    4. Do you think this woman knew she could be seen by the King?

      1. Do you think she cared? (She no doubt knew she was beautiful. Perhaps she thought it would be an innocent pleasure to have the King of the country notice you and think you were beautiful.)

    5. Read 2 Samuel 11:3-4. Why does the Bible say that she had "purified herself from her uncleanness?" (This is a reference to her ceremonial "cleanliness" - a spiritual matter. No doubt this reflects their views of what is important - how glad we are to hear that they are observing the small matters of the law and violating the large matters of the law!)

    6. At this point, how would you imagine things are between David and Bathsheba? (Exciting. Dangerous. Maybe romantic. A little guilty. They got away with it.)

    7. Read 2 Samuel 11:5. Now how are things?

      1. At this point does David regret his decisions?

    8. They say that hindsight is 20/20. With perfect hindsight, at what point did David cross the line into sin? Lets look at the possible points? Raise your hand when we hit the point of sin and keep raising it.

      1. When he decided to take multiple wives?

        1. If you would think this was a sin under any circumstances, is it a sin that lead to committing adultery with Bathsheba?

      2. When he stayed home instead of doing his job of leading the troops?

      3. When he looked long enough to tell she was beautiful?

      4. When he sent someone to find out who she was?

      5. When David sent for her - knowing that she was married?

      6. When he slept with her?

    9. Read James 1:14-15. How does this say sin comes into our life?

    10. Are there practices and activities in your life and your marriage that may not be sin in themselves, but are just not wise?

      1. Does this vary with the nature of your weakness towards sin? That is, if some sins are more of a problem for you than others, are you especially careful in the problem areas?

  2. The Attempted Cover Up

    1. Read 2 Samuel 11:6-9. David is caught in sin. Does he confess?

      1. Why not? (Uriah might try to kill him. Might start a revolt. At least Uriah might start complaining and that would embarrass him.)

      2. What does David do? (He tries to cover it up by sending for Uriah so that he will spend the night at home with his wife.)

    2. Read 2 Samuel 11:10-11. Why doesn't this scheme work? (Uriah is now just the opposite of David. He has a very high sense of duty. He will not spend the night in his house, when all of his fellow soldiers are out in tents. (It may even have been an established practice for soldiers to refrain from sex when on a military campaign. See 1 Samuel 21:4-5.))

      1. How would such words sound to King David, who is living in his palace while his troops are in the field?

      2. Is this a rebuke to David? (Yes. Uriah had the right to sleep with his wife. All the reasons why Uriah said he should be out in the field were reasons why David should be out there too. And, David was sleeping with the wife of a man that was out there.)

      3. What does this tell us about the relationship between Uriah and Bathsheba? (It might not tell us anything. However, what it says to me is that Uriah has a gorgeous wife who is married to a man who has priorities higher than sleeping with her (even after he has been off at war). He was even ordered by his King to go home ( 2 Samuel 11:8) If she suffers from pride in her beauty, this might tell us something about why she was willing to sleep with the King - a man whose top priority (it seems) is sleeping with beautiful women. Uriah prefers a high sense of honor over her beauty - thus she takes second place. The King puts her in first place.)

    3. Read 2 Samuel 11:12-13. What is "Plan B" for David? (David tries to get Uriah drunk, so that his resolve will lower and he will sleep with his wife.)

      1. Does this work? (No.)

    4. Read 2 Samuel 11:14-15. What is "Plan C" for David?

      1. Someone has to be on the front line. Would it have been "okay" for David's instructions to have stopped with "put him on the front line?"

      2. In your opinion, was it murder to tell Joab to withdraw and leave Uriah alone?

    5. Read 2 Samuel 11:16-17. Did Joab do it the way that David suggested? (No. Joab did not withdraw the rest of the troops.)

    6. Read 2 Samuel 11:18-21. What does this tell us about Joab's method of following David's instructions? (He put a number of men in peril. More than just Uriah died that day.)

      1. Why would Joab send the whole front line too close, and allow several of his men to die? (Perhaps David's plan is too obvious? Perhaps Joab thinks it is too plainly murder.)

      2. Why would Joab tell the millstone story? (This story ( Judges 9:50-54) about the milestone refers to a prior battle involving the son of Gideon. This son, Abimelech, was an evil leader of Israel. During one battle he got too close and a woman threw a milestone down on him and it cracked his skull. Joab is telling David this was not malpractice on Joab's part. He knew better as a military strategist.)

    7. Why didn't David just let Bathsheba have the baby and deny that it was his? (He either loved her or he had some honor left. Soldiers can die. This one did - fighting for his country. My bet is that David had all of this justified in his mind. He could not justify, however, letting Bathsheba be stoned to death.)

    8. After a proper period of time, David marries Bathsheba.

  3. The Confession.

    1. Read 2 Samuel 12:1-4 God sent Nathan to David. He tells him a story. How do you react to the story?

    2. Read 2 Samuel 12:5-6. Would you want to confront the king with his sin?

      1. What is David's response to this story? (He is angry and passes a judgment on his own sin.)

    3. Read 2 Samuel 12:7. Nathan brings the point forcefully home.

      1. Why does David so clearly understand the nature of his sin when he is told this story, but is unable to see his sin when it is his life? (Friend, this is a serious problem in our lives. We justify our own sins. We downplay them. But, when we look at them in another context, we see how wrong we have been.)

        1. Have you ever had that happen? You are involved in some sin, and you hear someone say something in another context that cuts you to the heart?

    4. Read 2 Samuel 12:7-9. Why is God so unhappy with David? (God has given him so much. If God has blessed you, how have you treated Him?)

    5. Read 2 Samuel 12:10-12. Consider the nature of God's punishment on David. Think about this in the context of your sins. Would you like your sins to be made public?

    6. Read 2 Samuel 12:13. How does David react to his sin?

      1. How does this compare to the way that King Saul reacted to his sin? (Read 1 Samuel 15:13-20.)

      2. In 2 Samuel 12:13 Nathan says that David will not die. Why does he say that? (The penalty for this sin was death. It crossed David's mind that the Lord might require his life for this. Indeed, when he heard the "lamb story," he announced "the man who did this deserves to die!")

    7. Friend, are you taking the small details of your life seriously? Are you taking the sin in your life seriously? Sin has terrible consequences. The momentary pleasures of sin pale in comparison to the long-term pain. Just ask King David.

  4. Next week: Ahab and Jezebel: Abuse of Authority.

* Copr. 2007, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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