In the spring when kings march out to war, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah, but David remained in Jerusalem.
One evening David got up from his bed and strolled around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing—a very beautiful woman. So David sent someone to inquire about her, and he reported, “This is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah the Hittite.”
David sent messengers to get her, and when she came to him, he slept with her. Now she had just been purifying herself from her uncleanness. Afterward, she returned home. The woman conceived and sent word to inform David: “I am pregnant.”
David sent orders to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the troops were doing and how the war was going. Then he said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king followed him. But Uriah slept at the door of the palace with all his master’s servants; he did not go down to his house.
When it was reported to David, “Uriah didn’t go home,” David questioned Uriah, “Haven’t you just come from a journey? Why didn’t you go home?”
Uriah answered David, “The ark, Israel, and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my master Joab and his soldiers are camping in the open field. How can I enter my house to eat and drink and sleep with my wife? As surely as you live and by your life, I will not do this!”
“Stay here today also,” David said to Uriah, “and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day and the next. Then David invited Uriah to eat and drink with him, and David got him drunk. He went out in the evening to lie down on his cot with his master’s servants, but he did not go home.
Uriah’s Death Arranged
The next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In the letter he wrote:
Put Uriah at the front of the fiercest fighting, then withdraw from him so that he is struck down and dies.
When Joab was besieging the city, he put Uriah in the place where he knew the best enemy soldiers were. Then the men of the city came out and attacked Joab, and some of the men from David’s soldiers fell in battle; Uriah the Hittite also died.
Joab sent someone to report to David all the details of the battle. He commanded the messenger, “When you’ve finished telling the king all the details of the battle— if the king’s anger gets stirred up and he asks you, ‘Why did you get so close to the city to fight? Didn’t you realize they would shoot from the top of the wall? At Thebez, who struck Abimelech son of Jerubbesheth? Didn’t a woman drop an upper millstone on him from the top of the wall so that he died? Why did you get so close to the wall?’—then say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.’” Then the messenger left.
When he arrived, he reported to David all that Joab had sent him to tell. The messenger reported to David, “The men gained the advantage over us and came out against us in the field, but we counterattacked right up to the entrance of the gate. However, the archers shot down on your soldiers from the top of the wall, and some of the king’s soldiers died. Your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead.”
David told the messenger, “Say this to Joab: ‘Don’t let this matter upset you because the sword devours all alike. Intensify your fight against the city and demolish it.’ Encourage him.”
When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband Uriah had died, she mourned for him. When the time of mourning ended, David had her brought to his house. She became his wife and bore him a son. However, the Lord considered what David had done to be evil.
Nathan’s Parable and David’s Repentance
So the Lord sent Nathan to David. When he arrived, he said to him:
There were two men in a certain city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one small ewe lamb that he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up, living with him and his children. It shared his meager food and drank from his cup; it slept in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man could not bring himself to take one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for his guest.
David was infuriated with the man and said to Nathan: “As the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! Because he has done this thing and shown no pity, he must pay four lambs for that lamb.”
Nathan replied to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you and your master’s wives into your arms, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah, and if that was not enough, I would have given you even more. Why then have you despised the command of the Lord by doing what I consider evil? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife as your own wife—you murdered him with the Ammonite’s sword. Now therefore, the sword will never leave your house because you despised Me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own wife.’
“This is what the Lord says, ‘I am going to bring disaster on you from your own family: I will take your wives and give them to another before your very eyes, and he will sleep with them publicly. 12 You acted in secret, but I will do this before all Israel and in broad daylight.’”
David responded to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
Then Nathan replied to David, “The Lord has taken away your sin; you will not die. However, because you treated the Lord with such contempt in this matter, the son born to you will die.” Then Nathan went home.
The Death of Bathsheba’s Son
The Lord struck the baby that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. David pleaded with God for the boy. He fasted, went home, and spent the night lying on the ground. The elders of his house stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat anything with them.
On the seventh day the baby died. But David’s servants were afraid to tell him the baby was dead. They said, “Look, while the baby was alive, we spoke to him, and he wouldn’t listen to us. So how can we tell him the baby is dead? He may do something desperate.”
When David saw that his servants were whispering to each other, he guessed that the baby was dead. So he asked his servants, “Is the baby dead?”
“He is dead,” they replied.
Then David got up from the ground. He washed, anointed himself, changed his clothes, went to the Lord’s house, and worshiped. Then he went home and requested something to eat. So they served him food, and he ate.
His servants asked him, “What did you just do? While the baby was alive, you fasted and wept, but when he died, you got up and ate food.”
He answered, “While the baby was alive, I fasted and wept because I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let him live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I’ll go to him, but he will never return to me.”
The Birth of Solomon
Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba; he went and slept with her. She gave birth to a son and named him Solomon. The Lord loved him, and He sent a message through Nathan the prophet, who named him Jedidiah, because of the Lord.