2 Samuel 11:1-27

David and Bathsheba

1 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.
2 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful,
3 and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”
4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home.
5 The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”
6 So David sent this word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent him to David.
7 When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going.
8 Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him.
9 But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house.
10 David was told, “Uriah did not go home.” So he asked Uriah, “Haven’t you just come from a military campaign? Why didn’t you go home?”
11 Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents,[a] and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”
12 Then David said to him, “Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next.
13 At David’s invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants; he did not go home.
14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah.
15 In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”
16 So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were.
17 When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.
18 Joab sent David a full account of the battle.
19 He instructed the messenger: “When you have finished giving the king this account of the battle,
20 the king’s anger may flare up, and he may ask you, ‘Why did you get so close to the city to fight? Didn’t you know they would shoot arrows from the wall?
21 Who killed Abimelek son of Jerub-Besheth[b] ? Didn’t a woman drop an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you get so close to the wall?’ If he asks you this, then say to him, ‘Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.’ ”
22 The messenger set out, and when he arrived he told David everything Joab had sent him to say.
23 The messenger said to David, “The men overpowered us and came out against us in the open, but we drove them back to the entrance of the city gate.
24 Then the archers shot arrows at your servants from the wall, and some of the king’s men died. Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.”
25 David told the messenger, “Say this to Joab: ‘Don’t let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.’ Say this to encourage Joab.”
26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him.
27 After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the LORD.

2 Samuel 11:1 in Other Translations

KJV
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.
ESV
1 In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.
NLT
1 In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem.
MSG
1 When that time of year came around again, the anniversary of the Ammonite aggression, David dispatched Joab and his fighting men of Israel in full force to destroy the Ammonites for good. They laid siege to Rabbah, but David stayed in Jerusalem.
CSB
1 In the spring when kings march out [to war], David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah, but David remained in Jerusalem.

2 Samuel 11:1-27 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO SECOND SAMUEL 11

This chapter begins with the destruction of the Ammonites, and the siege of Rabbah their chief city, 2Sa 11:1; and enlarges on the sins of David in committing adultery with Bathsheba, 2Sa 11:2-5; in contriving to conceal his sin by sending for her husband home from the army, 2Sa 11:6-13; in laying a scheme for the death of him by the hand of the Ammonites, 2Sa 11:14-25; and in marrying Bathsheba when he was dead, 2Sa 11:26,27.

2 Samuel 11:1-27 In-Context

1 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.
2 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful,
3 and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”
4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home.
5 The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”
6 So David sent this word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent him to David.
7 When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going.
8 Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him.
9 But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house.
10 David was told, “Uriah did not go home.” So he asked Uriah, “Haven’t you just come from a military campaign? Why didn’t you go home?”
11 Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”
12 Then David said to him, “Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next.
13 At David’s invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants; he did not go home.
14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah.
15 In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”
16 So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were.
17 When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.
18 Joab sent David a full account of the battle.
19 He instructed the messenger: “When you have finished giving the king this account of the battle,
20 the king’s anger may flare up, and he may ask you, ‘Why did you get so close to the city to fight? Didn’t you know they would shoot arrows from the wall?
21 Who killed Abimelek son of Jerub-Besheth ? Didn’t a woman drop an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you get so close to the wall?’ If he asks you this, then say to him, ‘Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.’ ”
22 The messenger set out, and when he arrived he told David everything Joab had sent him to say.
23 The messenger said to David, “The men overpowered us and came out against us in the open, but we drove them back to the entrance of the city gate.
24 Then the archers shot arrows at your servants from the wall, and some of the king’s men died. Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.”
25 David told the messenger, “Say this to Joab: ‘Don’t let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.’ Say this to encourage Joab.”
26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him.
27 After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the LORD.

Cross References 23

  • 1. 1 Kings 20:22,26
  • 2. S 2 Samuel 2:18
  • 3. 1 Chronicles 20:1
  • 4. S Deuteronomy 3:11; 2 Samuel 12:26-28
  • 5. S Deuteronomy 22:8; S Joshua 2:8
  • 6. Matthew 5:28
  • 7. 1 Chronicles 3:5
  • 8. 2 Samuel 23:34
  • 9. 2 Samuel 23:39
  • 10. S Leviticus 20:10; Psalms 51 Title; James 1:14-15
  • 11. Deuteronomy 22:22
  • 12. S Leviticus 15:25-30; Leviticus 18:19
  • 13. 1 Chronicles 11:41
  • 14. S Genesis 18:4; Genesis 43:24; Luke 7:44
  • 15. 2 Samuel 7:2
  • 16. S 1 Samuel 21:5
  • 17. 1 Kings 21:8
  • 18. ver 14-17; 2 Samuel 12:9
  • 19. 2 Samuel 12:12
  • 20. S Judges 8:31
  • 21. Judges 9:50-54
  • 22. Deuteronomy 34:8
  • 23. 2 Samuel 12:9; Psalms 51:4-5

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or "staying at Sukkoth"
  • [b]. Also known as "Jerub-Baal" (that is, Gideon)
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