David and Bathsheba
1In the spring of the year,*11:1 Hebrew At the turn of the year. The first day of the year in the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred in March or April. 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.
2Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath. 3He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” 4Then David sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her. She had just completed the purification rites after having her menstrual period. Then she returned home. 5Later, when Bathsheba discovered that she was pregnant, she sent David a message, saying, “I’m pregnant.”
6Then David sent word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent him to David. 7When Uriah arrived, David asked him how Joab and the army were getting along and how the war was progressing. 8Then he told Uriah, “Go on home and relax.*11:8 Hebrew and wash your feet, an expression that may also have a connotation of ritualistic washing. ” David even sent a gift to Uriah after he had left the palace. 9But Uriah didn’t go home. He slept that night at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard.
10When David heard that Uriah had not gone home, he summoned him and asked, “What’s the matter? Why didn’t you go home last night after being away for so long?”
11Uriah replied, “The Ark and the armies of Israel and Judah are living in tents,*11:11 Or at Succoth. and Joab and my master’s men are camping in the open fields. How could I go home to wine and dine and sleep with my wife? I swear that I would never do such a thing.”
12“Well, stay here today,” David told him, “and tomorrow you may return to the army.” So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13Then David invited him to dinner and got him drunk. But even then he couldn’t get Uriah to go home to his wife. Again he slept at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard.
David Arranges for Uriah’s Death
14So the next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and gave it to Uriah to deliver. 15The letter instructed Joab, “Station Uriah on the front lines where the battle is fiercest. Then pull back so that he will be killed.” 16So Joab assigned Uriah to a spot close to the city wall where he knew the enemy’s strongest men were fighting. 17And when the enemy soldiers came out of the city to fight, Uriah the Hittite was killed along with several other Israelite soldiers.
18Then Joab sent a battle report to David. 19He told his messenger, “Report all the news of the battle to the king. 20But he might get angry and ask, ‘Why did the troops go so close to the city? Didn’t they know there would be shooting from the walls? 21Wasn’t Abimelech son of Gideon*11:21 Hebrew son of Jerub-besheth. Jerub-besheth is a variation on the name Jerub-baal, which is another name for Gideon; see Judg 6:32. killed at Thebez by a woman who threw a millstone down on him from the wall? Why would you get so close to the wall?’ Then tell him, ‘Uriah the Hittite was killed, too.’”
22So the messenger went to Jerusalem and gave a complete report to David. 23“The enemy came out against us in the open fields,” he said. “And as we chased them back to the city gate, 24the archers on the wall shot arrows at us. Some of the king’s men were killed, including Uriah the Hittite.”
25“Well, tell Joab not to be discouraged,” David said. “The sword devours this one today and that one tomorrow! Fight harder next time, and conquer the city!”
26When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. 27When the period of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to the palace, and she became one of his wives. Then she gave birth to a son. But the Lord was displeased with what David had done.