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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

2 Samuel 11

 

 

Verses 1-27

2 Samuel 11:1 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.

2 Samuel 11:1 — "And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle" - Comments- Gesenius says the Hebrew word "the year was expired" "tesh-oo-baw"" ( תְּשׁוּבָה) (H 8666), means, "return." Strong says it means "a recurrence, be expired, an answer, return." Anderson translates it "the turn (return) of the year" Within the context of this passage, it means, "completion of a year, return of a year." Anderson says this phrase is generally understood as the springtime. 59] Evidently, kings waged wars during the spring when the weather was most accommodating for outdoors. Cold weather would have brought sickness among the troops as well as putting them at a disadvantage when besieging cities.

59] A. A. Anderson, 2Samuel, in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD- Romans , vol 11, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), comments on 2Samuel .

2 Samuel 11:1 — "that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel" - Comments- Joab was David's military general over the armies of all of Israel.

2 Samuel 11:1 — "and they destroyed the children of Ammon" - Comments- David's war with the Ammonites begins in the previous chapter ( 2 Samuel 10:1-19), so much destruction had already taken place. This addition effort was to put these people in complete submission under David's rule. The battles taking place at this time were occasioned when David sent a delegate to comfort King Hanun of the Ammonites at the death of his father Nahash. The new king humiliated David's men and sent them back to Jerusalem with half their beards shaven, and half their clothes cut off. David replied by waging a battle against the Ammonites and the Syrians who came to their aid ( 2 Samuel 10:1-19).

2 Samuel 11:1 — "and besieged Rabbah" - Comments- The Scriptures call Rabbah the "royal city" ( 2 Samuel 12:26), meaning it was the place where the king of the Ammonites lived. Anderson tells us it was the capital city, located near to where Amman, Jordan is today. 60] The name "Rabbah" ( רַבָּה) (H 7237), means "the great one" and is first mentioned in books of Deuteronomy ( Deuteronomy 3:11) and Joshua ( Joshua 13:25; Joshua 15:60) during the time of Israel's conquest of Canaan. The city of Rabbah is not mentioned again until the time of David's conquest of the surrounding nations ( 2 Samuel 11:1, 26, 27, 29; 17:27, 1 Chronicles 20:1). The later prophets of Israel will make brief references to this city as they prophesy divine judgment against the Ammonites ( Jeremiah 49:2-3, Ezekiel 21:20; Ezekiel 25:5, Amos 1:14).

60] A. A. Anderson, 2Samuel, in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD- Romans , vol 11, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), comments on 2Samuel .

2 Samuel 11:1"But David tarried still at Jerusalem" - Comments- David was idle, which can lead to an opportunity to sin. Note the sin of idleness in Ezekiel 16:49, "Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."

2 Samuel 11:2 And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king"s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.

2 Samuel 11:2Comments- On the roof, David's mind must not have been in prayer. As long as David was being persecuted and needed help from God, his heart was faithful to seek God. When things became easy, idleness came in.

2 Samuel 11:3 And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?

2 Samuel 11:3 — "And David sent and enquired after the woman" - Comments- 2 Samuel 11:3 reveals how David took time to ponder over the idea before taking this woman. He was probably making sure of her identity before taking her so that he could be certain that he could handle the responses of her immediate kin.

2 Samuel 11:3"And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam" - Comments- According to 2 Samuel 23:34, Ahithophel, David's counsellor, had a son named Eliam, who was also one of David's mighty men. According to some Jewish traditions (see Sanhedrin 69b, 107a), and a number of modern scholars, Bathsheba was the granddaughter of Ahithophel. 61]

61] H. M. Speaker, "Bath-Sheba - In Rabbinical Literature," in The Jewish Encyclopedia, vol 2, ed, Isidore Singer (New York: KTAV Publishing House, 1901-4), 594-595.

2 Samuel 23:34, "Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,"

2 Samuel 11:4 And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house.

2 Samuel 11:4Comments- David had a number of wives by now, and instead of this factor decreasing the chance of adultery, it made David less restrained. In Africa, where polygamy is common, local pastors will teach that polygamy tends to cause a man to become sexually out of control.

David quickly found out that her husband was a Hittite (not a Hebrew). With David's passion was aflame, he had found his reasoning justified in taking this man"s wife. The act of adultery began with the eyes, then the lust of the eyes and flesh, then pondering this sin, finding out more about the situation, then came the adultery itself ( 2 Samuel 11:4, James 1:14-15).

2 Samuel 11:4, "And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house."

James 1:14-15, "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."

Just as sure as a man allows his mind to dwell on lustful things, his flesh bursts into flames with desires that are hard to control. This is why a Christian must bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 10:5, "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;"

The Lord gave me this passage of Scripture while I was single, in order to teach me how to stay in control of my vessel.

2 Samuel 11:24 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.

2 Samuel 11:24"some of the king"s servants" - Comments- Other soldiers besides Uriah died in this scheme of David.

2 Samuel 11:24Comments- David's sin cost many other lives besides Uriah. Even years later with the battle of Absalom, this was the result of his sin with Bathsheba.

2 Samuel 12:10, "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."

2 Samuel 11:27 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.

2 Samuel 11:27"But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD" - Scripture Reference- Note:

Proverbs 28:13, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy."

Comments- Note David"s confession:

2 Samuel 12:13, "And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die."


Verses 1-31

David Takes Bathsheba, the Wife of Uriah - 2 Samuel 11:1 to 2 Samuel 12:31 records the story of David's sin of taking Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, as his wife, and the murder of Uriah. In ancient monarchs, a king had the power to take another man's wife within his kingdom. We read in the Scriptures the story of how the Pharaoh took Abraham's wife from him when he journeyed into Egypt ( Genesis 12:10-20), and King Abimelech later took Sarah ( Genesis 20:1-18). Mullins, an Anglican missionary to East Africa, records the customs of the primitive African tribes. He notes how the local kings owned all of the land in their kingdoms, how they had the power of life and death over the people, killing them at the slightest presumption, and how they took as many wives as he desired. 57]

57] J. D. Mullins, The Wonderful Story of Uganda (London: Church Missionary Society, 1908), 194-206.

The narrative material opens and closes with Israel's battle against Rabbah, the capital city of the Ammonites. The preceding chapters record Israel's defeats of all of her enemies around about her borders, of her victories over the Philistines, the Moabites, the Syrians, and the Ammonites. The ministry of King David reaches a peak in the chapters preceding the story of David and Bathsheba. After the king's moral failure with Uriah and Bathsheba, the narrative text records a series of events that weaken the nation of Israel, culminating in civil war and the lost of many Israeli lives, all in fulfilment of Nathan's prophecies. In the remaining chapters of 2Samuel King David will no longer be described as a man of great exploits and territorial expansion, but rather, a man of sorrow and one who extends compassion towards others. Although David had failed to raise his sons with discipline and godly fear, he will now take young Solomon and pour his life and passion for the things of God into this child.

2 Samuel 11:1 to 2 Samuel 12:31 David Takes Bathsheba, the Wife of Uriah (Polygamy in Society) - One reason that Paul limits a Christian man to one wife in the midst of these polygamous societies is that polygamy tends to bring a man into sexual promiscuity ( 1 Timothy 3:2). Polygamy is found in the lives of King David and King Song of Solomon , and because of it, both men sinned against God in this area. For King David, it resulted in adultery and murder. For King Song of Solomon , it resulted in idolatry. Having lived in Africa a number of years, I have seen how polygamy distorts a man's perception of marriage. A man who believes that he can seek additional wives has no way to define adultery. When his poverty moves him into common law relationships where a marriage ceremony is too expensive, how does one distinguish between an adulterous relationship and a common law marriage? It becomes impossible to define. A man with more power in a polygamous society is able to steal another man's wife. How does one define right and wrong is such situation? Was not this King David's sin?

1 Timothy 3:2, "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;"

2 Samuel 11:1 to 2 Samuel 12:31 David Takes Bathsheba, the Wife of Uriah (The Spirit of Adultery and Murder Often Work Together) - It is interesting to compare David's sin of adultery and murder with the testimony of Jack Hayford when he was a young minister. His testimony includes a temptation towards adultery followed by thoughts of murder. As a young minister working at the headquarters of the Four Square Church, he found himself becoming close friends with a female co-worker, even though he was married. After some time a mature co-worker noticed this unhealthy friendship. Hayford tells of his emotional experience, how he both love his wife and yet, felt affections for this new lady. He tells how he entertained the thoughts of his wife dying. As he struggled with his heart and the Spirit of God, he felt tremendous conviction, but did not know what to do. He was feeling thoughts of adultery, followed by thoughts of loosing his wife, which was a spirit of murder. But because of the intercession of others and the work on the Holy Spirit, he came to himself, approached his supervisor and arranged for a separation between himself and this female co-worker. At that point he approached his wife and revealed this struggle with her. Years later, he began to share this testimony from the pulpit and found that it was a frequent struggle with many church leaders and laymen. 58] We find these same two spirits at work in the life of David. He committed adultery, followed by murder.

58] Jack Hayford, The Anatomy of Adultery (Ventura, California: Regal Books, 2004).

It is interesting to note the fact that Lamech, the first polygamist in the Scriptures ( Genesis 4:23), also committed an act of murder. We can note that the religion of Islam, which emphasizes polygamy as a part of hits religious tenets of faith is also characterized as a religion of war and terror and murder. We can note that the African nations are known for their polygamy as well as their internal wars. Thus, there seems to be a relationship between polygamy, or adultery, and the spirit of murder.

2 Samuel 11:1 to 2 Samuel 12:31 David Takes Bathsheba, the Wife of Uriah (The Setting and the Progression of Sin) - Note the setting for this sin in David's life. David has become king and subdued all people around him. In 2 Samuel 7:1 we read that the Lord gave David rest from all his enemies.

2 Samuel 7:1, "And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies;"

Note that the first sin David committed in his sin with Uriah's wife was not adultery, but idleness. In his idleness his imagination found time to lead him down the path of adultery. This journey began with lust when he saw Bathsheba. This lust conceived when David sent for her. His lust turned to sin when he lay with her. This sin resulted in the death of the child that was conceived by this sin of adultery, in the murder of Uriah, and eventually in the deaths of Amnon and Absalom, David's two sons. In the darkness of his sin David pursued murder before judgment fell in his life. Sin had taken its course. Note this progress described in James 1:14-15.

James 1:14-15, "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."

This great process of sins left one black mark on an otherwise upright life ( 1 Kings 15:5).

1 Kings 15:5, "Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite."

 


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These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 11:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/2-samuel-11.html. 2013.

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