2 Samuel 11; 2 Samuel 12; 2 Samuel 13

1 In the spring, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, his mercenaries, and Israel's army [to war]. They destroyed the Ammonites and attacked Rabbah, while David stayed in Jerusalem. 2 Now, when evening came, David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the royal palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing, and she was very pretty. 3 David sent someone to ask about the woman. The man said, "She's Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah the Hittite." 4 So David sent messengers and took her. She came to him, and he went to bed with her. (She had just cleansed herself after her monthly period.) Then she went home. 5 The woman had become pregnant. So she sent someone to tell David that she was pregnant. 6 Then David sent a messenger to Joab, saying, "Send me Uriah the Hittite." So Joab sent Uriah to David. 7 When Uriah arrived, David asked him how Joab and the troops were and how the war was going. 8 "Go home," David said to Uriah, "and wash your feet." Uriah left the royal palace, and the king sent a present to him. 9 But Uriah slept at the entrance of the royal palace among his superior's mercenaries. He didn't go home. 10 When they told David, "Uriah didn't go home," David asked Uriah, "Didn't you just come from a journey? Why didn't you go home?" 11 Uriah answered David, "The ark and [the army of] Israel and Judah are in temporary shelters, and my commander Joab and Your Majesty's mercenaries are living in the field. Should I then go to my house to eat and drink and go to bed with my wife? I solemnly swear, as sure as you're living, I won't do this!" 12 David said to Uriah, "Then stay here today, and tomorrow I'll send you back." So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 David summoned him, ate and drank with him, and got him drunk. But that evening Uriah went to lie down on his bed among his superior's mercenaries. He didn't go home. 14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 In the letter he wrote, "Put Uriah on the front line where the fighting is heaviest. Then abandon him so that he'll be struck down and die." 16 Since Joab had kept the city under observation, he put Uriah at the place where he knew the experienced warriors were. 17 The men of the city came out and fought Joab. Some of the people, namely, some of David's mercenaries, fell and died--including Uriah the Hittite. 18 Then Joab sent [a messenger] to report to David all the details of the battle. 19 And he commanded the messenger, "When you finish telling the king about the battle, 20 the king may become angry. He might ask you, 'Why did you go so close to the city to fight? Didn't you know they would shoot from the wall? 21 Who killed Jerubbesheth's son Abimelech? Didn't a woman on the wall of Thebez throw a small millstone at him and kill him? Why did you go so close to the wall?' If the king asks this, then say, 'Your man Uriah the Hittite is also dead.'" 22 The messenger left, and when he arrived, he reported to David everything Joab told him to say. 23 The messenger said, "Their men overpowered us and came to attack us in the field. Then we forced them back to the entrance of the city gate. 24 The archers on the wall shot down at your mercenaries, and some of Your Majesty's mercenaries died. Your man Uriah the Hittite also is dead." 25 David said to the messenger, "This is what you are to say to Joab, 'Don't let this thing trouble you, because a sword can kill one person as easily as another. Strengthen your attack against the city, and destroy it.' Say this to encourage him." 26 When Uriah's wife heard that her husband Uriah was dead, she mourned for him. 27 When her mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to his home, and she became his wife. Then she gave birth to a son. But the LORD considered David's actions evil.
1 So the LORD sent Nathan to David. Nathan came to him and said, "There were two men in a certain city. One was rich, and the other was poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cows, 3 but the poor man had only one little female lamb that he had bought. He raised her, and she grew up in his home with his children. She would eat his food and drink from his cup. She rested in his arms and was like a daughter. 4 "Now, a visitor came to the rich man. The rich man thought it would be a pity to take one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler. So he took the poor man's lamb and prepared her for the traveler." 5 David burned with anger against the man. "I solemnly swear, as the LORD lives," he said to Nathan, "the man who did this certainly deserves to die! 6 And he must pay back four times the price of the lamb because he did this and had no pity." 7 "You are the man!" Nathan told David. "This is what the LORD God of Israel says: I anointed you king over Israel and rescued you from Saul. 8 I gave you your master Saul's house and his wives. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if this weren't enough, I would have given you even more. 9 Why did you despise my word by doing what I considered evil? You had Uriah the Hittite killed in battle. You took his wife as your wife. You used the Ammonites to kill him. 10 So warfare will never leave your house because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife. 11 "This is what the LORD says: I will stir up trouble against you within your own household, and before your own eyes I will take your wives and give them to someone close to you. He will go to bed with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did this secretly, but I will make this happen in broad daylight in front of all Israel." 13 Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." Nathan replied, "The LORD has taken away your sin; you will not die. 14 But since you have shown total contempt for the LORD by this affair, the son that is born to you must die." 15 Then Nathan went home. The LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife had given birth to for David so that the child became sick. 16 David pleaded with God for the child; he fasted and lay on the ground all night. 17 The older leaders in his palace stood beside him to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling. And he wouldn't eat with them. 18 On the seventh day the child died. But David's officials were afraid to tell him that the child was dead. They thought, "While the child was alive, we talked to him, and he wouldn't listen to us. How can we tell him the child is dead? He may harm [himself]." 19 But when David saw that his officials were whispering to one another, he realized that the child was dead. "Is the child dead?" David asked them. "[Yes,] he is dead," they answered. 20 So David got up from the ground, bathed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes. He went into the LORD's house and worshiped. Then he went home and asked for food. They placed food in front of him, and he ate. 21 His officials asked him, "Why are you acting this way? You fasted and cried over the child when he was alive. But as soon as the child died, you got up and ate." 22 David answered, "As long as the child was alive, I fasted and cried. I thought, 'Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.' 23 But why should I fast now that he's dead? Can I bring him back? [Someday] I'll go to him, but he won't come back to me." 24 Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba. He went to bed with her, and she later gave birth to a son. David named him Solomon. The LORD loved the child 25 and sent a message through the prophet Nathan to name the baby Jedidiah [The LORD's Beloved]. 26 Meanwhile, Joab fought against the Ammonite city of Rabbah and captured its royal fortress. 27 So he sent messengers to tell David, "I fought against Rabbah and captured the fortress guarding its water supply. 28 Gather the rest of the troops, surround the city, and capture it. Otherwise, I will capture the city, and it will be named after me." 29 So David gathered all the troops and went to Rabbah. He fought against the city and captured it. 30 He took the gold crown from the head of Rabbah's king and put it on his own head. (The crown weighed 75 pounds and contained a precious stone.) David also took a lot of goods from the city. 31 He brought out the troops who were there and put them to work with saws, hoes, and axes. He did the same to all the Ammonite cities. Then David and all the troops returned to Jerusalem.
1 After this, David's son Amnon fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of David's son Absalom. 2 Amnon was so obsessed with his half sister Tamar that he made himself sick. It seemed impossible for him to be alone with her because she was a virgin. 3 Amnon had a friend by the name of Jonadab, a son of David's brother Shimea. Jonadab was a very clever man. 4 He asked Amnon, "Why are you, the king's son, so worn out morning after morning? Won't you tell me?" "I'm in love with Absalom's sister Tamar," he answered. 5 Then Jonadab told him, "Lie down on your bed. Act sick, and when your father comes to see you, say to him, 'Please let my sister Tamar come to feed me. She can prepare a meal in front of me as I watch her, and she can feed me.'" 6 So Amnon lay down and acted sick, and the king came to see him. Amnon asked the king, "Please let my sister Tamar come and make some bread in front of me, and she can feed me." 7 David sent for Tamar at the palace. "Please go to your brother Amnon's home," he said, "and prepare some food for him." 8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's home. He was lying down. She took dough, kneaded it, made flat bread in front of him, and cooked it. 9 Then she took the pan and served him [the bread]. But he refused to eat. "Have everyone leave me," he said. So everyone left him. 10 Amnon told Tamar, "Bring the food into the bedroom so that you can feed me." Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her brother Amnon in the bedroom. 11 When she handed it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, "Come to bed with me, Tamar!" 12 "No," she told him, "don't rape me! That shouldn't be done in Israel. Don't do this godless act! 13 Where could I go in my disgrace? And you will be considered one of the godless fools in Israel! Speak to the king. He won't refuse your request to marry me." 14 But Amnon wouldn't listen to her. He grabbed his sister and raped her. 15 Now, Amnon developed an intense hatred for her. His hatred for her was greater than the lust he had felt for her. "Get out of here," he told her. 16 She said to him, "No, sending me away is a greater wrong than the other thing you did to me!" But he wouldn't listen to her. 17 Then he called his personal servant and said, "Get rid of her. Put her out, and bolt the door behind her." 18 (She was wearing a long-sleeved gown. The king's virgin daughters wore this kind of robe.) So his servant took her out and bolted the door behind her. 19 Tamar put ashes on her head, tore the long-sleeved gown she had on, put her hands on her head, and went away crying. 20 Her brother Absalom asked her, "Has your brother Amnon been with you? Sister, be quiet for now. He's your brother. Don't dwell on this matter." So Tamar stayed there at the home of her brother Absalom and was depressed. 21 When King David heard about this, he became very angry. But David didn't punish his son Amnon. He favored Amnon because he was his firstborn son. 22 Absalom wouldn't speak at all to Amnon. He hated Amnon for raping his sister Tamar. 23 Two years later Absalom had sheepshearers at Baal Hazor near Ephraim. He invited all the king's sons. 24 Absalom went to the king and said, "Since I have sheepshearers, Your Majesty and your officials are invited [to feast] with me." 25 "No, Son," the king answered Absalom. "If we all go, we'll be a burden to you." Even when Absalom continued to urge him, David did not want to go, though he did give Absalom his blessing. 26 So Absalom said, "If you won't go, then please let my brother Amnon go with us." "Why should he go with you?" the king asked him. 27 But when Absalom urged him, he let Amnon and all [the rest of] the king's sons go with him. 28 Then Absalom gave an order to his servants. "Watch now," he said. "When Amnon begins to feel good from drinking [too much] wine, I'll tell you, 'Attack Amnon.' Then kill him. Don't be afraid. I've given you the order, haven't I? Be strong and courageous." 29 Absalom's servants did to Amnon as Absalom had ordered. Then all the king's sons got up, mounted their mules, and fled. 30 While they were on their way, David heard this rumor: "Absalom has killed all the king's sons, and not a single one is left." 31 The king stood up, tore his clothes, and lay down on the ground. All his servants were standing beside him with their clothes torn [to show their grief]. 32 Then Jonadab, the son of David's brother Shimea, said, "Sir, don't think that all the young men, all the king's sons, have been killed. Only Amnon is dead. Absalom decided to do this the day his half brother raped his sister Tamar. 33 You shouldn't burden your heart with the idea that all the king's sons are dead, Your Majesty. Only Amnon is dead. 34 Absalom has fled." When the servant who kept watch looked up, he saw many people coming down the road beside the mountain west of him. 35 Then Jonadab told the king, "The king's sons have come. It's just as I said." 36 When he finished speaking, the king's sons arrived and cried loudly. The king and all his men also cried very bitterly. 37 Absalom, however, fled to Geshur's King Talmai, Ammihud's son. But the king mourned for his son Amnon every day. 38 Absalom, having fled to Geshur, stayed there three years. 39 King David began to long for Absalom once people had consoled him over Amnon's death.
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