When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. When the period of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to the palace, and she became one of his wives. Then she gave birth to a son. But the Lord was displeased with what David had done. So the Lord sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.” David was furious. “As surely as the Lord lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man! The Lord, the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. Why, then, have you despised the word of the Lord and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife. From this time on, your family will live by the sword because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own. “This is what the Lord says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your very eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view. You did it secretly, but I will make this happen to you openly in the sight of all Israel.” Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “Yes, but the Lord has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin. Nevertheless, because you have shown utter contempt for the word of the Lord by doing this, your child will die.” After Nathan returned to his home, the Lord sent a deadly illness to the child of David and Uriah’s wife. David begged God to spare the child. He went without food and lay all night on the bare ground. The elders of his household pleaded with him to get up and eat with them, but he refused. Then on the seventh day the child died. David’s advisers were afraid to tell him. “He wouldn’t listen to reason while the child was ill,” they said. “What drastic thing will he do when we tell him the child is dead?” When David saw them whispering, he realized what had happened. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.” Then David got up from the ground, washed himself, put on lotions, and changed his clothes. He went to the Tabernacle and worshiped the Lord. After that, he returned to the palace and was served food and ate. His advisers were amazed. “We don’t understand you,” they told him. “While the child was still living, you wept and refused to eat. But now that the child is dead, you have stopped your mourning and are eating again.” David replied, “I fasted and wept while the child was alive, for I said, ‘Perhaps the Lord will be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me.” Then David comforted Bathsheba, his wife, and slept with her. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son, and David named him Solomon. The Lord loved the child and sent word through Nathan the prophet that they should name him Jedidiah (which means “beloved of the Lord”), as the Lord had commanded.
2 Samuel 11:26-12:25
Dear God, what must it have been like to be Bathsheba? She was forced into adultery. Her husband was killed. Her baby (presumably her first child) died. Then, ultimately, her next son ends up being the king of Israel. She would never had guessed the life you had for her, but I can’t help but feel sorry for her and wish for her the normal life she foresaw for herself.
But in terms of David as a father, he seems very detached in this story. I think I mentioned this in my last prayer journal about this. He didn’t seem to care that he wouldn’t get to know this child. His approach to comforting Bathsheba was to sleep with her. What? As if the opportunity to have sex with him made it all better? I don’t know. Maybe it did.
I’ve also mentioned this before, but I wonder how much of David’s attitude towards women got passed down to his children. Amnon raped his sister. Solomon slept with, at minimum, hundreds of women. One of the other sons, I can’t remember which one, slept with one of David’s concubines. And I’m sure that it was a poorly kept secret what David had done with Bathsheba and Uriah. I’m sure Solomon and all of the other children grew up hearing the stories. How did that impact David’s relationships with them? Did he lose the high ground forever? When one reads 2 Samuel, this is certainly the beginning of the decline of David’s success. The apex of his joy and victory is certainly behind him at this point.
Yes, the losing of the moral high ground is probably really significant when it comes to his relationships with his children. They probably did not respect him after that. Absolom didn’t.
Father, I don’t want or need my children to see me as perfect, but I certainly want to set an example for them. A perfect example doesn’t help because it gives them an unrealistic, condemning view of what a man should be. At the same time, a life of debauchery is no good either. Help me to just be a man that follows you, is humble about his mistakes, and gives his children the love and direction that. you need them to have through me. Do it all, ultimately, for your glory so that you might live through them and enter the world through them.
In Jesus’s name I pray,