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extraordinary, had fought no battle which he did not win, and assaulted no city which he did not take—but the LORD was with him.
DAVID CAUSETH URIAH TO BE SLAIN IN BATTLEAND TAKETH BATHSHEBA TO BE HIS WIFE.
From 2 Samuel, Chap. xi. xii.
AND it came to pass, that 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.
And it came to pass, that as David walked on the roof of his house, that he beheld a woman, and she was beautiful.
And David sent and enquired after her, and one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite. And David sent messengers and took her, but the woman returned to her husband's house.
And it came to pass that David wrote a letter to Joab saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle; and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.
And it came to pass when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men where.
And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab and there fell some of the people of the servants of David, and Uriah the Hittite died also.
Then Joab sent, and told David all the things con+ cerning the war.
And charged the messenger, saying, When thou hast
made an end of telling the matters of the war unto the king, and if so be that the king's wrath arise, and he say unto thee, Wherefore approached ye so nigh unto the city when ye did fight? knew ye not that they would shoot from the wall?
Who smote Abimelech the son of Jerub-besheth? did not a woman cast a piece of a mill-stone upon him from the wall, that he died in Thebez? why went ye nigh the wall? then say thou, Thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.
So the messenger went, and came and shewed David. all that Joab had sent him for.
And the messenger said unto David, Surely the men prevailed against us, and came out unto us into the field, and we were upon them even unto the entering of the gate.
And the shooters shot from off the wall upon thy servants, and some of the king's servants be dead, and thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.
Then David said unto the messenger, Thus shalt thou say unto Joab, Let not this thing displease thee; for the sword devoureth one as well as another; make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it; and encourage thou him.
And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.
And when the mourning was past, David sent, and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son: but the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.
And the LORD sent Nathan unto David: and he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds ;
but the poor man had nothing save one little ewe-lamb which he had bought and nourished up and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.
And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flocks, and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him, but took the poor man's lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.
And David's anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing, shall surely die.
And he shall restore the lamb four-fold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.
And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man.
Thus saith the LORD GOD of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul and I gave thee thy master's house, and I gave thee the house of Israel, and of Judah: and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.
Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.
Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.
Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil unto thee out of thine house, for thou didst it secretly, but I will do this thing before Israel, and before the sun. And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against
And Nathan said unto David, the LORD
also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
It is shocking to read, that David, who was so well acquainted with his duty, should commit such enormous crimes. The sin of taking another man's wife, which is called adultery, was forbidden under the Jewish law on pain of death; yet David was not only guilty of it, but added treachery and murder to it! It is needless to enlarge on the nature of his offences, for our own reason tells us that they were very great. Nothing can be said in excuse for David; and it is to be feared, that prosperity had made him less attentive to the performance of his religious exercises, or they would have kept his mind from desiring what God's law forbad him to covet: as his crime was of a most heinous nature, the LORD sent Nathan to bring him to public confession. Nathan executed his commission with so much judgment and address, that the king, without knowing it, pronounced sentence on himself. Did he deserve to die who had taken his neighbour's lamb? How much more he who had taken his neighbour's wife, and caused him to be slain; who had abused God's bounty, and despised the commandment of the LORD.
David did not offer to extenuate his guilt, but, stung with shame, and oppressed with a dread of the Divine vengeance, so justly due, he acknowledged his sin; and the LORD, knowing that his penitence was sincere, to save him from despair, permitted Nathan to assure him, that he would spare his life, and save him from eternal death;
death; but the honour of GoD required that some exemplary punishment should fall on such a sinner; lest blasphemous men should say, the LORD was partial in his dealings, and a respecter of persons: and we shall find, that all the evils, which Nathan foretold, fell upon David afterwards.
As soon as the king found that his guilt was known to the world, he resolved to do all in his power to wipe off the reproach he had brought on that holy religion, which he had taken such pains to propagate; and make all possible reparation for his offence, both to GoD and man. Could the blood of thousands of burnt sacrifices have washed away the stain of guilt from his polluted mind, gladly would he have offered them; but for such crimes the only sacrifice that could be acceptable to the LORD was, repentance and public humiliation; David therefore resolved to make* a public confession before his people, and for this purpose he composed the following psalm, commanding it to be sung in the tabernacle, in the presence of the congregation, himself attending, and prostrate before the throne of mercy t.
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy loving kindness, according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight: that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest.
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity: and in sin did my mother conceive me.
* Delany's Life of David.
+ Psalm li.