Reading 87/341, 2 Samuel 8-12.25

We will read about many kings of Israel and Judah, and many crimes that they committed, but this crime of David ranks among the worst. The more closely you read this story, the more apparent is the awfulness of the crime.

...2 Samuel...

After this David struck the Philistines, and subdued them, and David took the bridle of the mother city out of the hand of the Philistines. He struck Moab, and measured them with a line, making them to lie down on the ground, and he measured two lines to put to death, and one full line to keep alive. The Moabites became servants to David, and brought tribute. David also struck Hadadezer the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to recover his dominion at the River. David took from him one thousand seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen, and David hamstrung all the chariot horses, but saved enough of them for one hundred chariots. When the Syrians of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king of Zobah, David struck of the Syrians twenty-two thousand men. Then David put garrisons in Syria of Damascus, and the Syrians became servants to David and brought tribute. The Lord gave victory to David wherever he went. David took the shields of gold that were carried by the servants of Hadadezer, and brought them to Jerusalem. From Betah and from Berothai, cities of Hadadezer, king David took very much bronze. When Toi king of Hamath heard that David had struck the whole army of Hadadezer, Toi sent Joram his son to king David, to greet him and to bless him, because he had fought against Hadadezer and struck him, for Hadadezer had wars with Toi. Joram brought with him vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and vessels of bronze, These also King David dedicated to the Lord, with the silver and gold that he dedicated from all the nations which he subdued: of Syria, and of Moab, and of the children of Ammon, and of the Philistines, and of Amalek, and of the spoil of Hadadezer, son of Rehob, king of Zobah. David made a name for himself when he returned from smiting in the Valley of Salt, eighteen thousand Edomites. He put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom he put garrisons, and all the Edomites became servants to David. The Lord gave victory to David wherever he went. David reigned over all Israel, and David executed justice and righteousness to all his people. Joab the son of Zeruiah was over the army, and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder, and Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, were priests, and Seraiah was scribe, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites, and David's sons were priests.

David said, “Is there yet anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?” There was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David, and the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” He said, “I am your servant.” The king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “Jonathan yet has a son, who is lame in his feet.” The king said to him, “Where is he?” Ziba said to the king, “Behold, he is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, in Lo Debar.” Then King David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lo Debar. Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, and fell on his face, and did homage. David said, “Mephibosheth.” He answered, “Behold, I am your servant!” David said to him, “Do not be afraid; for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of Jonathan your father, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat bread at my table continually.” He did homage, and said, “What is your servant, that you should look on such a dead dog as I am?” Then the king called to Ziba, Saul's servant, and said to him, “All that pertained to Saul and all his house have I given to your master's son. You shall till the land for him, you, and your sons, and your servants, and you shall bring in the fruits, that your master's son may have bread to eat, but Mephibosheth your master's son shall eat bread always at my table.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. Then said Ziba to the king, “According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so shall your servant do.” “As for Mephibosheth,” said the king, “he shall eat at my table, like one of the king's sons.” Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Mica. All who lived in the house of Ziba were servants to Mephibosheth. So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate continually at the king's table. He was lame in both his feet.

It happened after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his place. David said, “I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness to me.” So David sent his servants to comfort him concerning his father. David's servants came into the land of the children of Ammon. But the princes of the children of Ammon said to Hanun their lord, “Do you think that David honors your father, because he has sent comforters to you? Has not David sent his servants to you to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it?” So Hanun took David's servants, and shaved off half of each one’s beard, and cut off their garments in the middle, at their buttocks, and sent them away. When they told it to David, he sent to meet them, for the men were greatly ashamed. The king said, “Wait at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return.” When the children of Ammon saw that they had become odious to David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Beth-rehob, and the Syrians of Zobah, twenty thousand footmen, and the king of Maacah with one thousand men, and the men of Tob, twelve thousand men. When David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the army of the mighty men. The children of Ammon came out in battle array at the entrance of the gate, and the Syrians of Zobah and of Rehob, and the men of Tob and Maacah, were by themselves in the field. Now when Joab saw that the battle was set against him before and behind, he chose from the best men of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians. The rest of the men he committed into the hand of Abishai his brother, and he put them in array against the children of Ammon. He said, “If the Syrians be too strong for me, then you shall help me, but if the children of Ammon be too strong for you, then I will come and help you. Be of good courage, and let us play the man for our people, and for the cities of our God, and the Lord do what seems him good.” So Joab and the people who were with him drew near to battle against the Syrians, and they fled before him. When the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fled, they likewise fled before Abishai, and entered the city. Then Joab returned from the children of Ammon, and came to Jerusalem. When the Syrians saw that they were put to the worse before Israel, they gathered themselves together. Hadarezer sent, and brought out the Syrians who were beyond the River, and they came to Helam, with Shobach the captain of the army of Hadarezer at their head. It was told David, and he gathered all Israel together, and passed over the Jordan, and came to Helam. The Syrians set themselves in array against David, and fought with him. The Syrians fled before Israel, and David killed of the Syrians the men of seven hundred chariots, and forty thousand horsemen, and struck Shobach the captain of their army, so that he died there. When all the kings who were servants to Hadarezer saw that they were put to the worse before Israel, they made peace with Israel, and served them. So the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon anymore.

At the turn of the year, at the time when kings go out, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel, and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. At evening, David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. From the roof, he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to look at. David sent and inquired after the woman. Someone said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” David sent messengers, and took her. She came to him, and he lay with her. Now, she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness. Then she returned to her house. The woman conceived, and she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.” David sent to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah had come to him, David asked him how Joab did, and how the people fared, and how the war prospered. David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house, and wash your feet.” Uriah departed out of the king’s house, and a gift from the king was sent after him. But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. When they had told David, saying, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?” Uriah said to David, “The ark, and Israel, and Judah, dwell in booths, and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open field. Shall I then go into my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.” David said to Uriah, “Stay here today also, and tomorrow I will let you depart.” So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the next day. David called him on the next day, he ate and drank before David, and he made him drunk. At evening, he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but did not go down to his house. In the morning, David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. He wrote in the letter, saying, “Send Uriah to the forefront of the heaviest battle, and draw back from him, that he may be struck and die.” While Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there to be valiant men. The men of the city went out, and fought with Joab. Some of the people fell, of the officers of David, and Uriah the Hittite died also. Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war, and he charged the messenger, saying, “When you have made an end of telling all the things concerning the war to the king, it shall be that, if the king's wrath arise, and he tells you, ‘Why did you go so near to the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? Who struck Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Did not a woman cast an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?’ then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.’” So the messenger went, and came and told David all that Joab had sent him for. The messenger said to David, “The men prevailed against us, and came out to us into the field, and we were on them at the entrance of the gate. The archers shot at your servants from the wall, and some of the king's servants are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.” Then David said to the messenger, “Thus you shall tell Joab, ‘Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another. Make your battle stronger against the city, and overthrow it’, and encourage him.” When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she made lamentation for her husband. When the mourning was past, David sent and took her home to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.

The Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, “There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and raised. It grew up together with him, and with his children. It ate of his own food, drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was to him like a daughter. A traveler came to the rich man, and he did not take of his own flock and of his own herd, to prepare a meal for the wayfaring man who had come to him, but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man who had come to him.” David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die! He shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and because he had no pity!” Nathan said to David, “You are the man. Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. And I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbor, and he will lie with your wives in the sight of the sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.’” David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin. You will not die. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the Lord’s enemies to blaspheme, the child who is born to you shall surely die.” Nathan departed to his house. The Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it was very sick. David therefore begged God for the child, and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night on the ground. The elders of his house arose beside him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, nor did he eat bread with them. It happened on the seventh day, that the child died. The servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he did not listen to our voice. How then will he harm himself, if we tell him that the child is dead!” But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was dead, and David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his clothing, and he came into the house of the Lord, and worshiped, then he came to his own house, and when he asked, they set bread before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while it was alive, but when the child was dead you arose and ate bread.” He said, “While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will not be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in to her, and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon [Peace]. The Lord loved him, and he sent a message by the hand of Nathan the prophet and named him Jedidiah [Beloved of the Lord], because of the Lord.

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