The Story of King David: Week 5

THE BIG OOPSIE
2 Samuel 8:1 – 12:31

Summary:

It took a lot of work, but after a bloody fight over the throne and the capture of Jerusalem, David has finally settled down to rule the Israelites. Things go quite well at first. David conquers the Philistines, the Moabites, the Arameans, and the Edomites, quickly expanding his territory. Every so often these groups pop up again, forcing David to go out to war again.

Yet David still feels a longing for Jonathan and his family, so searches for any living descendants of his best friend. He finds a son of Jonathan named Mephibosheth. Because of his love for Jonathan, David gives Mephibosheth all of his grandfather Saul’s land and possessions, and invites him to eat at his table every day (a very high honor!).

The going ain’t good forever though, and David becomes tied in a net of his own making. He happens to see a woman named Bathsheba bathing and becomes infatuated with her. He summons her to his house and sleeps with her, later finding that he has made her pregnant. Uh oh… David has to think quickly if he is to avert disaster.

David summons Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah the Hittite, who has been fighting in the army. He tries to convince Uriah to go home and sleep with his wife, but Uriah refuses, as active military men are not supposed to engage in such activity. His plan foiled, David writes a letter to Uriah’s commander, Joab, and asks Uriah to deliver it personally. What Uriah doesn’t know is that the letter asks Joab to put Uriah up in the front lines where the fighting is fiercest so that Uriah may die. Uriah delivers the letter and seals his doom, for during the next battle, he is put in the front lines and killed.

That little problem taken care of, David marries Bathsheba, thinking he has gotten away scot free. But God is not so easily deceived and sends Nathan the Prophet to tell David a little story about a rich man who steals a poor man’s lamb to cook for a party instead of using one from his own very large flock. David is incensed and condemns the rich man for his greed and deception. Nathan reveals that David IS the rich man in the story and that David has rightly condemned himself. David realizes that he has committed a grave crime by killing Uriah and taking his wife. As punishment, God says that the baby Bathsheba is carrying will die. As the baby gets sicker and sicker, David gets more desperate, pleading with God to spare the child. But the baby dies anyway, forever a reminder to David of his crime.

David and Bathsheba conceive another child later, whose name is Solomon. He becomes VERY important later…

Discussion:

1. David never forgets the love that he and Jonathan shared. It is this love that drives him to find any of Jonathan’s descendants. There may also be a hint of remorse here—though he had promised to leave Saul’s family alone, the struggle to gain the throne nearly destroyed Saul’s family. What do you think?

2. The seduction of Bathsheba is David’s “Big Oopsie”. By the time the story ends, Uriah is dead, Bathsheba’s baby is dead, and David’s family is cursed with infighting and death—all because David couldn’t appreciate the wives he had and wanted more. David is not without weakness. Are there things in life you regret? How do you handle your regret? Would you do things differently, or not?

3. Some have claimed that the David/Bathsheba incident is, ultimately, Bathsheba’s fault. They argue that no one living that close to the palace would reasonably expect NOT to be seen if bathing out in the open: therefore, Bathsheba wanted to be seen by the king. How do you respond to this claim?

4. “’While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept because I thought, ‘Perhapsthe Lord will show pity and the child will live.’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Am I able to bring him back? I will go to him, but he cannot return to me!’” (2 Samuel 12:22-23). David has to deal with the death of his and Bathsheba’s son. How do you cope with a loved one dying? Have you ever been there when someone died?

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Scripture quoted by permission. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org All rights reserved. This material is available in its entirety as a free download or online web use at http://netbible.org/.

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Author: Pastor Ken

Ken Ranos serves as the pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Three Lakes, WI, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

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