David Connives Uriah's Death
Not long after Bathsheba and David committed adultery, Bathsheba sent a message to David telling him she was pregnant. Now the pressure was really on the king, who might have concealed his affair with Bathsheba, but couldn't hide her pregnancy for long. Instead of owning up to the liaison and making restitution, David took an even more sinful approach to the crisis.
First, 2 Samuel 11:7-11 says that David tried to attribute Bathsheba's pregnancy to Uriah. He recalled Uriah from the front, supposedly to give him a report on the battle, and then told him to take some leave and visit his wife. But Uriah didn't go home; he stayed within the palace barracks. David asked Uriah why he didn't go home, and loyal Uriah replied that he wouldn't dream of having a conjugal visit when David's army at the front has no such opportunity.
Next, in 2 Samuel 12 and 13, David invited Uriah for dinner and got him drunk, figuring that intoxication will arouse Uriah's desire for Bathsheba. But David was foiled again; drunk though he was, honorable Uriah returned to the barracks and not to his wife.
At this point David was desperate. In verse 15, he wrote a letter to his general, Joab, telling him to put Uriah in the front lines where the fighting is fiercest, and then to withdraw, leaving Uriah undefended. David sent this letter to Joab by Uriah, who had no idea that he was carrying his own death sentence!
David and Bathsheba's Sin Results in Death
Sure enough, Joab put Uriah in the front lines when David's army attacks Rabbath after a long siege, although Joab didn't withdraw the army as David instructed. Despite Joab's action, Uriah and other officers were killed. After a mourning period, Bathsheba was brought to the palace to become the latest of King David's wives, thus assuring the legitimacy of their child.
David thought he pulled off this caper until the prophet Nathan came to visit in 2 Samuel 12. Nathan told the powerful king a tale of a poor shepherd whose lamb was stolen by a rich man. David flew into a rage, demanding to know who the man was so that he could exact judgment on him. Nathan calmly told the king: "You are the man," meaning that God had revealed to the prophet the truth of David's adultery, deceit and murder of Uriah.
Even though David had committed sins worthy of execution, said Nathan, God instead exacted judgment upon David and Bathsheba's newborn son, who subsequently died. David consoled Bathsheba by getting her pregnant again, this time with a son they name Solomon.
Bathsheba Became Solomon's Closest Adviser
Although she seems passive at the beginning of her relationship with David, Bathsheba became King David's most famous wife because of the way she secured David's throne for their son, Solomon.
By now David was old and feeble, and his oldest surviving son, Adonijah, attempted to usurp the throne before his father died. According to 1 Kings 1:11, the prophet Nathan urged Bathsheba to tell David that Adonijah was preparing to take the throne by force. Bathsheba told her aged husband that only their son Solomon remained loyal, so the king named Solomon his co-regent. When David died, Solomon became king after executing his rival Adonijah. The new King Solomon valued his mother's help so much that he had a second throne installed for her so that she became his closest adviser until her death.
Bathsheba and David References:
- The Jewish Study Bible (Oxford University Press, 2004).
- "Bathsheba," Women in the Bible, URL = www.womeninthebible.net/1.11.Bathsheba.htm
- "Bathsheba," Women in Scripture, Carol Meyers, General Editor (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000).