In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.
It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful.
David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, "This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite."
So David sent messengers to get her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned to her house.
The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, "I am pregnant."
So David sent word to Joab, "Send me Uriah the Hittite." And Joab sent Uriah to David.
When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the people fared, and how the war was going.
Then David said to Uriah, "Go down to your house, and wash your feet." Uriah went out of the king's house, and there followed him a present from the king.
But Uriah slept at the entrance of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house.
When they told David, "Uriah did not go down to his house," David said to Uriah, "You have just come from a journey. Why did you not go down to your house?"
Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah remain in booths; and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to 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 such a thing."
Then David said to Uriah, "Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back." So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day. On the next day,
David invited him to eat and drink in his presence and made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.
In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.
In the letter he wrote, "Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die."
As Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there were valiant warriors.
The men of the city came out and fought with Joab; and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uriah the Hittite was killed as well.
Then Joab sent and told David all the news about the fighting;
and he instructed the messenger, "When you have finished telling the king all the news about the fighting,
then, if the king's anger rises, and if he says to you, "Why did you go so near the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall?
Who killed Abimelech son of Jerubbaal? Did not a woman throw 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 too.' "
So the messenger went, and came and told David all that Joab had sent him to tell.
The messenger said to David, "The men gained an advantage over us, and came out against us in the field; but we drove them back to the entrance of the gate.
Then the archers shot at your servants from the wall; some of the king's servants are dead; and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also."
David said to the messenger, "Thus you shall say to Joab, "Do not let this matter trouble you, for the sword devours now one and now another; press your attack on the city, and overthrow it.' And encourage him."
When the wife of Uriah heard that her husband was dead, she made lamentation for him.
When the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord,
and the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, "There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor.
The rich man had very many flocks and herds;
but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his meager fare, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him.
Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was loath to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb, and prepared that for the guest who had come to him."
Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man. 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 rescued you from the hand of Saul;
I gave you your master's house, and your master's wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added 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.
Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, for you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.
Thus says the Lord: I will raise up trouble against you from within your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this very 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, "Now the Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die.
Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child that is born to you shall die."
Then Nathan went to his house. The Lord struck the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and it became very ill.
David therefore pleaded with God for the child; David fasted, and went in and lay all night on the ground.
The elders of his house stood beside him, urging him to rise from the ground; but he would not, nor did he eat food with them.
On the seventh day the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead; for they said, "While the child was still alive, we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us; how then can we tell him the child is dead? He may do himself some harm."
But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, he perceived that the child was dead; and David said to his servants, "Is the child dead?" They said, "He is dead."
Then David rose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes. He went into the house of the Lord, and worshiped; he then went to his own house; and when he asked, they set food before him and he ate.
Then his servants said to him, "What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while it was alive; but when the child died, you rose and ate food."
He said, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, "Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me, and 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."
Then David consoled his wife Bathsheba, and went to her, and lay with her; and she bore a son, and he named him Solomon. The Lord loved him,
and sent a message by the prophet Nathan; so he named him Jedidiah, because of the Lord.
Now Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites, and took the royal city.
Joab sent messengers to David, and said, "I have fought against Rabbah; moreover, I have taken the water city.
Now, then, gather the rest of the people together, and encamp against the city, and take it; or I myself will take the city, and it will be called by my name."
So David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah, and fought against it and took it.
He took the crown of Milcom from his head; the weight of it was a talent of gold, and in it was a precious stone; and it was placed on David's head. He also brought forth the spoil of the city, a very great amount.
He brought out the people who were in it, and set them to work with saws and iron picks and iron axes, or sent them to the brickworks. Thus he did to all the cities of the Ammonites. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.
Some time passed. David's son Absalom had a beautiful sister whose name was Tamar; and David's son Amnon fell in love with her.
Amnon was so tormented that he made himself ill because of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin and it seemed impossible to Amnon to do anything to her.
But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab, the son of David's brother Shimeah; and Jonadab was a very crafty man.
He said to him, "O son of the king, why are you so haggard morning after morning? Will you not tell me?" Amnon said to him, "I love Tamar, my brother Absalom's sister."
Jonadab said to him, "Lie down on your bed, and pretend to be ill; and when your father comes to see you, say to him, "Let my sister Tamar come and give me something to eat, and prepare the food in my sight, so that I may see it and eat it from her hand.' "
So Amnon lay down, and pretended to be ill; and when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, "Please let my sister Tamar come and make a couple of cakes in my sight, so that I may eat from her hand."
Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, "Go to your brother Amnon's house, and prepare food for him."
So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house, where he was lying down. She took dough, kneaded it, made cakes in his sight, and baked the cakes.
Then she took the pan and set them out before him, but he refused to eat. Amnon said, "Send out everyone from me." So everyone went out from him.
Then Amnon said to Tamar, "Bring the food into the chamber, so that I may eat from your hand." So Tamar took the cakes she had made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.
But when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her, and said to her, "Come, lie with me, my sister."
She answered him, "No, my brother, do not force me; for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do anything so vile!
As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the scoundrels in Israel. Now therefore, I beg you, speak to the king; for he will not withhold me from you."
But he would not listen to her; and being stronger than she, he forced her and lay with her.
Then Amnon was seized with a very great loathing for her; indeed, his loathing was even greater than the lust he had felt for her. Amnon said to her, "Get out!"
But she said to him, "No, my brother; for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you did to me." But he would not listen to her.
He called the young man who served him and said, "Put this woman out of my presence, and bolt the door after her."
(Now she was wearing a long robe with sleeves; for this is how the virgin daughters of the king were clothed in earlier times. ) So his servant put her out, and bolted the door after her.
But Tamar put ashes on her head, and tore the long robe that she was wearing; she put her hand on her head, and went away, crying aloud as she went.
Her brother Absalom said to her, "Has Amnon your brother been with you? Be quiet for now, my sister; he is your brother; do not take this to heart." So Tamar remained, a desolate woman, in her brother Absalom's house.
When King David heard of all these things, he became very angry, but he would not punish his son Amnon, because he loved him, for he was his firstborn.
But Absalom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad; for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had raped his sister Tamar.
After two full years Absalom had sheepshearers at Baal-hazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king's sons.
Absalom came to the king, and said, "Your servant has sheepshearers; will the king and his servants please go with your servant?"
But the king said to Absalom, "No, my son, let us not all go, or else we will be burdensome to you." He pressed him, but he would not go but gave him his blessing.
Then Absalom said, "If not, please let my brother Amnon go with us." The king said to him, "Why should he go with you?"
But Absalom pressed him until he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him. Absalom made a feast like a king's feast.
Then Absalom commanded his servants, "Watch when Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, "Strike Amnon,' then kill him. Do not be afraid; have I not myself commanded you? Be courageous and valiant."
So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king's sons rose, and each mounted his mule and fled.
While they were on the way, the report came to David that Absalom had killed all the king's sons, and not one of them was left.
The king rose, tore his garments, and lay on the ground; and all his servants who were standing by tore their garments.
But Jonadab, the son of David's brother Shimeah, said, "Let not my lord suppose that they have killed all the young men the king's sons; Amnon alone is dead. This has been determined by Absalom from the day Amnon raped his sister Tamar.
Now therefore, do not let my lord the king take it to heart, as if all the king's sons were dead; for Amnon alone is dead."
But Absalom fled. When the young man who kept watch looked up, he saw many people coming from the Horonaim road by the side of the mountain.
Jonadab said to the king, "See, the king's sons have come; as your servant said, so it has come about."
As soon as he had finished speaking, the king's sons arrived, and raised their voices and wept; and the king and all his servants also wept very bitterly.
But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. David mourned for his son day after day.
Absalom, having fled to Geshur, stayed there three years.
And the heart of the king went out, yearning for Absalom; for he was now consoled over the death of Amnon.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (New Revised Standard Bible Version Online)