A Christian with natural tendencies to sensuality may have cravings even when the general bent of his mind is to live in God’s will.
The devil finds work for idle hands to do (v. 1) and we should therefore be warned of the danger of having nothing in particular to do.
Sin started leads to more sin to hide it.
After all, the atmosphere of trial and difficulty is the occasion of highest strength.
II Samuel 1
1 And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.
2 ¶ And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.
3 And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?
4 And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house.
5 And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.
6 ¶ And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David.
7 And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered.
8 And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king’s house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king.
9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house.
10 And when they had told David, saying, Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from thy journey? why then didst thou not go down unto thine house?
11 And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.
12 And David said to Uriah, Tarry here to day also, and to morrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow.
13 And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house.
14 ¶ And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.
15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.
16 And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men were.
17 And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also.
18 ¶ Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war;
19 And charged the messenger, saying, When thou hast made an end of telling the matters of the war unto the king,
20 And if so be that the king’s wrath arise, and he say unto thee, Wherefore approached ye so nigh unto the city when ye did fight? knew ye not that they would shoot from the wall?
21 Who smote Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? did not a woman cast a piece of a millstone upon him from the wall, that he died in Thebez? why went ye nigh the wall? then say thou, Thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.
22 ¶ So the messenger went, and came and shewed David all that Joab had sent him for.
23 And the messenger said unto David, Surely the men prevailed against us, and came out unto us into the field, and we were upon them even unto the entering of the gate.
24 And the shooters shot from off the wall upon thy servants; and some of the king’s servants be dead, and thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.
25 Then David said unto the messenger, Thus shalt thou say unto Joab, Let not this thing displease thee, for the sword devoureth one as well as another: make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it: and encourage thou him.
26 ¶ And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.
27 And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.
II Samuel 1 – J. Vernon McGee
2 Samuel 11:1-13 – Giving Rein to Self-Indulgence
This was not an isolated sin. For some time, backsliding had been eating out David’s heart. The cankerworm takes its toll before the noble tree crashes to the ground. See Psalm 51:8. Joab and his brave soldiers were in the thick of a great conflict. Rabbah was being besieged and had not fallen. It was a time when kings went out to battle, but David tarried at home. It was a fatal lethargy. If the king had been in his place, this sin would never have besmirched his character.
A look, as in Eve’s case, opened the door to the devil. “Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity” (Psalm 119:37). However great our attainments and however high our standing, we are all liable to attack and failure; but when we abide in Christ, no weapon that hell can forge can hurt us. When we have sinned, our only safety is in instant confession. This David delayed for a year and till forced to it. He was more eager to evade the consequences than to deal with his transgression. Sober David was far worse, here, than drunken Uriah. The singular self-restraint of the soldier threw the sin of the king into terrible and disgraceful prominence.
2 Samuel 11:1—David tarried still at Jerusalem.
Ah! Fatal dalliance in the arms of sensual ease! It led to David’s undoing. It was the time of the year when kings generally went forth to the fight; and in earlier days David would never have thought of leaving to Joab or others the strain and stress of conflict when there were hard knocks to give and take. Indeed, on more than one occasion his followers had remonstrated against his exposing the Light of Israel to the risks of the battlefield. But now he sends Joab and his mighty men to fight against Ammon, while he tarries securely at Jerusalem. In this fatal lethargy he betrays the deterioration of his soul. Already the walls were broken down, and entrance into the citadel was easy. We are not surprised to learn that as he sauntered lazily on his palace roof in the sultry afternoon he was swept away before the rush of sudden passion, and took the poor man’s ewe lamb to satisfy the vagrant, hungry impulse which suddenly came to him.
Beware of hours of ease! Rest is necessary; times of recruiting and renewal must come to us all; nature positively demands re creation; but there must be no neglect of known duty, no handing over to others of what we might and could do ourselves, no tarrying behind the march of the troops when we should go forth with them to the battle. Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation. Be most on guard when not actively engaged against the enemy. One unlocked gate may admit the foe to the citadel of the life, and rob you of peace for all after days. The luxury of the plains of Capua was more fatal to the soldiers of Hannibal than the passage of the Alps.
2 Samuel 11:14-27 – Adding Blood-Guiltiness to Adultery
Joab must have smiled grimly to himself when he received his master’s letter. “This king of ours can sing psalms with the best, but I have to do his dirty work. He wants to rid himself of Uriah—I wonder why? Well, I’ll help him to it. At any rate, he will not be able to talk to me about Abner!” II Samuel 3:27. It is an awful thing when the servants of God give the enemy such occasion to blaspheme.
Uriah was set in the battle-line and left to die. The king was duly notified and, on hearing the news, must have given a sigh of relief. The child could be born under cover of lawful wedlock. There was, however, a fatal flaw in the whole arrangement: The thing that David had done displeased the LORD. David and the world would hear of it again. But, oh, the bitter sorrow, that he who had spoken of walking in his house with a perfect heart, who had so great a faculty for divine fellowship, should have fallen into this double sin! The psalmist, king, lover of God—all trampled in the mud by one passionate act of self-indulgence!