Lesson 7: 2 Samuel 10-12
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When I first read through 2 Samuel years ago, I wished that it could have ended with chapter 9. I remember learning about the stories we are about to study and cringing. If David had been the king of any other nation, the stories we are about to read would have been stricken from the record and never remembered again. Here is where we are reminded that the Bible was not written to celebrate earthly kings. It was written to tell us about our heavenly king who always does what is right and just.
Read 2 Samuel 10
Summarize the events in this chapter. Who is fighting who and why?
The war with the Ammonites becomes the setting for the events that follow in 2 Samuel 11-12. David’s attempts to befriend the neighboring Ammonite king were scorned, leading to war between the two nations. The Ammonites hired the Arameans to help them fight against the Israelites. With God’s help (10:12), the enemies were forced to flee from Joab and the armies of Israel. The Arameans regrouped and David responded by personally pursuing them. Eventually, David defeated the Arameans and forced them to make peace with him. This left the Ammonites to fight Israel on their own.
Read 2 Samuel 11:1
Where was David during the war with the Ammonites? Where should he have been?
Right away, the author tells us that something bad is about to happen. It was the time when the king went to battle. Yet where was David? At his home in Jerusalem. David had shirked his kingly duty of defending his people from their enemies.
Read 2 Samuel 11:2-5
Skim 2 Samuel 23:24-39, especially verse 39. Who was Uriah the Hittite?
David saw the beautiful wife of one of his mighty men and decides that it is his kingly privilege to sleep with her. It was not as if David did not already have a wife. We know from early passages that he already had several. In this moment, he saw Bathsheba and decided that she would satisfy his lustful desire.
I have heard many sermons on Bathsheba’s role in this narrative. Honestly, the Bible is more concerned with David’s sin than Bathsheba’s part. We do not know if she willingly participated or if she was forced. At this point in history, it was common for a king to use his authority to have a woman he desired so Bathsheba may not have felt she had a choice. In the end, we really do not know what she was thinking or feeling, and the inspired author did not consider it important to expressly reveal that. What is clear from the text is that David knew better.
David soon discovered that his secret sin had a not-so-secret consequence; Bathsheba became pregnant with his child. Uriah had been away at war and Bathsheba had just purified herself from her menstrual bleeding when David saw her from the rooftop. There was no way to explain her pregnancy other than adultery.
Read Leviticus 20:10. What was the penalty for adultery?
Read 2 Samuel 11:6-13
Summarize David’s plan to hide his sin.
Considering David’s actions in 11:1, what is ironic about Uriah’s words in 11:11?
David’s attempts at a cover-up were unsuccessful because Uriah acted as David should have. Uriah refused to indulge himself while Israel was at war. If David had shown the same character, he would have evaded the opportunity for temptation altogether.
Read 2 Samuel 11:14-25. What did David do to hide his sin? Who died as a result?
David attempted to cover his sin with another sin. He devised to a plot to murder Uriah by forcing his death in battle. However, Uriah is not the only casualty. Joab’s purposefully poor military tactic had caused Uriah to die, but several other men died as well. The casualty list for David’s sinful behavior continued to climb.
Read 2 Samuel 11:26-27.
These verses end the story of David’s sinful acts. No person knew the extent of David’s transgressions. Joab knew about David’s intent to murder Uriah, but he may not have known about David’s sin with Bathsheba. Bathsheba knew what David had done to her, but it is possible that she did not know about David’s involvement in her husband’s death. David had covered his sin so that the people around him did not see the full extent of his depravity. He forgot that he could not hide his sin from God.
Read 2 Samuel 12:1-6
God sent Nathan the prophet to speak to David. Nathan delivers a convicting sermon by means of an allegory.
Fill in the chart. How does Nathan’s story parallel David’s life as described in 2 Samuel 11?
|Nathan’s Story||David’s Story|
|A rich man with many sheep|
|A poor man with one sheep|
|The poor man loved his sheep dearly|
|The rich man needed a lamb, but had many|
|The rich man takes the lamb from his poor man|
|The rich man kills the lamb|
After hearing the story, David, blind to its purpose, quickly declared judgement on the rich man.
Read Exodus 22:1. What was the penalty for stealing a lamb? How was David’s judgement more severe than the prescribed punishment?
Read 2 Samuel 12:7-10
List the things that God had done for David.
“You are the man.” Nathan did not mince words. David was the same as the horrible rich man in Nathan’s story. “You are the man.” These words jump off the page and into your heart. How many times do we hear about someone’s sin, proclaim our own judgement, and then go on and do the thing that we just condemned? “You are the man.”
Nathan’s message pointed out the pointlessness of David’s sin. God had blessed him richly! David had just received the covenantal promise in 2 Samuel 7 of deliverance from enemies, a son on the throne, and an everlasting dynasty. We also know that David already had multiple wives and sons. Why did he desire more? Why did he choose to act selfishly and lawlessly rather than righteously and justly (2 Samuel 8:15)? “Why did [he] despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in His eyes” (2 Samuel 12:9)?
Apply It: What has God done for you? Why should God’s provision cause you to be obedient to Him?
Think about it: David’s decision to disobey, despite God’s provision, parallels other passages in scripture.
- Read Genesis 2:8-3:4 and describe the parallels to David’s sin.
- Read 1 Samuel 15:13-26 and the describe the parallels between Samuel’s judgement to Nathan’s judgment.
Read 2 Samuel 12:10-12
What consequences resulted from David’s sin?
David attempted to hide his sin, but God would reveal it for the whole nation to see. What he did to Uriah in secret, taking his wife, would publicly happen to David. Violence would never leave David’s house, meaning that there would be hostility between his family members.
This judgement begs a few questions. Is David going to die for his sin? Adultery and murder were both deserving of death according to the Law. Were David’s actions cause for rescinding the valuable promise that God had made to him in 2 Samuel 7? If there is violence in David’s house, will David’s son still sit on the throne? Will God still give this man an everlasting dynasty?
Read 2 Samuel 12:13-14
The question of whether David will die for his sin is dealt with in a few short sentences. David repented and immediately, Nathan revealed that the Lord had taken away David’s sin. However, this did not mean that the sin disappeared as if it never had happened. “The Lord has taken away your sin” can also be translated to “the Lord has transferred your sin.”
David would not die for his sin as he deserved, but his sin still carried the penalty of death (Romans 6:23). Instead of dying for it himself, the punishment of death was transferred to David’s child. David would have to watch as his infant son died for his own sin. My heart aches as I read these words. Is it not a horrible thing for someone to die for a sin they did not commit? Even more so, someone who is completely innocent?
Does that sound familiar?
This story was not included to just show that sin brings consequences. If that were what God had intended, David would have been executed for his sin as the law required. This story shows that God’s people, even his great king, need justification for their sin to live in relationship with God. It also foreshadows the great sacrifice that would be required to pay for that sin and how painful that sacrifice would be. Hundreds of years after David, God would give His own son, Jesus, to die in agony on a cross to become the propitiation for our sin (1 John 2:2). Our sin would be transferred to Jesus, who would die in our place. King David, even though he was the man after God’s own heart, still needed salvation. One day, Jesus, the son of David, would come as a king who would not require another to die for his sins, but in his perfection, would be able to die for all sin.
Meditate on the pain and purpose of Jesus’s death on the cross. Use scriptures to support your thinking.
Read 2 Samuel 12:15-23
Why did David fast and weep for his child while he was still alive (v.22)?
David’s response to his son’s death in 12:23 offers hope to those who have lost a child. What comfort does this verse offer?
While God allowed David to live, David still faced the consequences of his sin and watched as his child suffered for seven days. Yet, David did not give up hope in the potential for God to show mercy. He prayed to God that He would heal the child. When his son died, David realized that God’s word had come and there was nothing he could do to change it. However, David’s faith did not fail him. He looked forward to the day that he would be with his child again.
Read 2 Samuel 12:24-25
How was the marriage of David and Bathsheba blessed?
What was special about Solomon?
God’s grace and redemptive power are magnified as David and Bathsheba are blessed with a son. Not just any son. This is a son that the Lord loved. The meaning of the name Solomon is debated. It either means “His (their dead son’s) substitute” or “Yahweh’s Restoration.” Either name shows that his birth is an act of restoration on God’s part. Solomon’s special place was confirmed by his other name, “Jedidiah,” which means loved by the Lord.
At this point in the story, we do not know why Solomon is so special. We will read later that Solomon is the son that God spoke of in his covenant with David in 2 Samuel 7:12-15. He would build the temple for the Lord and would usher in a time of peace and prosperity in Israel. While Solomon would have his own faults to reckon with, God would keep his promise to never let his love depart from him. The insertion of this story confirms that God will continue to keep His covenant with David. God always keeps his promises.
Read 2 Samuel 12:26-31
How does this passage relate to 11:1?
David returned to the place he should have been from the start. He resumed leadership of the people of Israel and went before them into battle against their enemies. His presence produced results. The Ammonites were defeated, and David again amassed great wealth that was later dedicated to building the temple. The nation of Israel benefited when its king followed God as he should.
Think About It: How does the faithfulness of a leader affect the faithfulness of their followers?
How gracious is God? God took David’s sinful relationship with Bathsheba and redeemed it, with a heavy price, to produce the promised heir that would bring God’s blessing to his people. He restored the fallen king and continued to honor His promise to defeat David’s enemies and expand his fame.
Doesn’t God do the same thing with us? We all start deep in sin.
“But God demonstrates his own love towards us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Romans 5:8-11
Describe how God revealed his redemptive plan through his forgiveness of David’s sin with Bathsheba.
There are not many comparisons to make between King David and King Jesus in these chapters. Rather, we see through David’s imperfection the need for the perfection of Jesus.
List the ways the Jesus succeeded where David failed as King of his people. Use scripture references. Consider the degrees to which David and Jesus:
- Take care of the needs of their people
- Rule with righteousness and justice
- Lead their people to a right relationship with God
- Deal with sin
by Christi Smith