When a Righteous Man Falls 

Second Samuel 11–12

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • May 17, In the year of our Lord, 2015


  1. Previously David wanted to show kindness (2Sa 9–10)


  1. Second Samuel 11.1 – David remains in Jerusalem

    11.1 It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.

    1. Somehow we know that last sentence alerts us to danger,
    2. alerting us to a change in the way the story has gone.
  2. Second Samuel 11.2–5 – David and Bathsheba

    2 Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold. 3 So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 4 Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house. 5 And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.”

    1. He must not have been able to sleep and arises.
    2. Then he saw something that would change his life forever.
      1. He saw a very beautiful woman bathing, and
      2. he wanted her and she went to him.
    3. While Israel and Bathsheba’s husband fought in war, David did this.
    4. They could not cover up their sin, because she became pregnant.
  3. Second Samuel 11.6–13 – A Hittite was more honorable than an Israelite

    6 Then David sent to Joab, saying, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David. 7 When Uriah had come to him, David asked how Joab was doing, and how the people were doing, and how the war prospered. 8 And David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah departed from the king’s house, and a gift of food from the king followed him. 9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. 10 So when they told David, saying, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Did you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?” 11 And Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields. Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.” 12 Then David said to Uriah, “Wait here today also, and tomorrow I will let you depart.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 Now when David called him, he ate and drank before him; and he made him drunk. And at evening he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.

    1. David asked Joab to send Uriah to him, and
      1. David acted as though he wanted to know how the war went.
      2. Then David sent Uriah to his home,
        1. telling him to wash his feet, and
        2. David sent food along with Uriah.
    2. Rather than sleeping with his wife,
      1. Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house, not even at his own home.
      2. He stayed the night with the king’s servants.
    3. That baffled David, and
      1. he wanted to know why Uriah did not go in to his wife.
      2. Uriah showed his honorable nature, explaining
        1. that the ark, Israel, and Judah were in tents, and
        2. that Joab and the army were in the open fields.
          1. How then could he go home and
          2. enjoy eating and drinking, and be with his wife?
    4. David invited Uriah to stay another night before returning to the war,
      1. feeding Uriah and making him drunk.
      2. Still he would not go home, but stayed with the servants of the king.
  4. Second Samuel 11.14–21 – David conspires to have Uriah killed

    14 In the morning it happened that David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die.” 16 So it was, while Joab besieged the city, that he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew there were valiant men. 17 Then the men of the city came out and fought with Joab. And some of the people of the servants of David fell; and Uriah the Hittite died also. 18 Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war, 19 and charged the messenger, saying, “When you have finished telling the matters of the war to the king, 20 if it happens that the king’s wrath rises, and he says to you: “Why did you approach so near to the city when you fought? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? 21 Who struck Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Was it not a woman who cast a piece of a millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you go near the wall?’—then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.’”

    1. David conspired with Joab to have Uriah die in battle,
      1. putting him at the front of the hottest battle, and then
      2. retreating from him.
        1. Joab, always willing to kill someone, did as his uncle said.
        2. This also caused some other Israelites to die.
    2. Joab then tells a messenger to report to the king,
      1. anticipating how David would respond,
      2. that he would use an incident from Judges 9 to rebuke Joab,
        1. showing that you cannot get too close to the wall,
        2. lest the archers can hit you.
          1. If David responded with such a rebuke,
          2. Joab instructed the messenger to tell David,
            1. “Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.”
  5. Second Samuel 11.22–25 – David is satisfied that Uriah has died

    22 So the messenger went, and came and told David all that Joab had sent by him. 23 And the messenger said to David, “Surely the men prevailed against us and came out to us in the field; then we drove them back as far as the entrance of the gate. 24 The archers shot from the wall at your servants; and some of the king’s servants are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.” 25 Then David said to the messenger, “Thus you shall say to Joab: ‘Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another. Strengthen your attack against the city, and overthrow it.’ So encourage him.”

    1. The messenger reported to David
      1. that the enemy prevailed against Israel,
      2. that Israel fought back,
        1. driving the enemy back to their own gate, and
        2. getting so close to the wall,
          1. that the archers shot at Israel and
          2. killed Uriah the Hittite.
    2. David told the messenger to instruct Joab
      1. not to be displeased, because
      2. the sword devours one person and then another.
        1. David told Joab to attack the city,
        2. overthrow it, and to be encouraged.
  6. Second Samuel 11.26–27 – Bathsheba mourns for her husband

    26 When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband. 27 And when her mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.

    1. Bathsheba loved her husband and mourned his death.
      1. David allowed enough time for her to mourn, then
      2. he brought her to his home,
        1. she became his wife, and
        2. they had the son.
    2. Then we read that last sentence,
      1. something that we do not typically read concerning David.
      2. “The thing that David had done displeased the Lord.”
    3. Too bad David did not want to show kindness to one of his loyal soldiers…
  7. Second Samuel 12.1–6 – Nathan reveals David’s sin

    12.1 Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. 3 But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. 4 And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” 5 So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! 6 And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.”

    1. Nathan told David a story that
      1. touched the heart of David, and
      2. revealed his sin without him being aware of it.
    2. Two men lived in a city.
      1. One was rich, the other was poor.
        1. The rich man had many flocks and herds.
        2. The poor man only had one little ewe lamb,
          1. which he nourished and
          2. it grew up with his children.
            1. He treated his little ewe lamb like a daughter,
            2. feeing it his food and drink, and it lay in his chest.
      2. One day the rich man had a visitor.
        1. The rich man would not take of his own flock to feed his visitor, but
        2. took the poor man’s little ewe lamb to feed his guest.
    3. David became indignant at the rich man,
      1. ordering his death, and
      2. that he restore fourfold to the poor man.
  8. Second Samuel 12.7–12 – David, you are the rich man

    7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! 9 Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. 10 Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11 Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’”

    1. Nathan pierced the heart of David, saying, “You are the man!”
    2. Then Nathan, by God’s direction, listed some of God’s blessings to David:
      1. The Lord God had anointed David king over Israel.
      2. The Lord God had delivered David from the hand of Saul.
      3. The Lord God gave everything of Saul’s to David.
        1. The Lord would have given David more,
        2. if that was not enough.
    3. Nathan revealed that the Lord God knew what David had done:
      1. He despised the commandment of the Lord,
      2. He did evil in the sight of the Lord,
      3. He killed Uriah with the sword of the people of Ammon,
      4. He took Uriah’s wife.
    4. David would pay heavily for what he had done.
      1. Adversity would arise against him from his own house.
      2. His neighbor would take David’s wives and lie with them in the open.
    5. David did his things in secret, but the Lord would do these things
      1. in the sight of all Israel, and
      2. in the sight of the sun.
  9. Second Samuel 12.13–15 – David confesses his sin

    13 So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14 However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.” 15 Then Nathan departed to his house. And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became ill.

    1. What could David say? he freely confessed that he had sinned.
    2. David was worthy of death, but
      1. the Lord put away David’s sin, and
      2. allowed him to live.
    3. However, David gave the enemies of the Lord reason to blaspheme the Lord.
      1. Therefore, David could not be allowed to enjoy his sin.
      2. The child would die.
    4. After Nathan left,
      1. the Lord struck the son born to David and Bathsheba, and
      2. he became fatally ill.
  10. Second Samuel 12.16–19 – David pleads to God for the child

    16 David therefore pleaded with God for the child, and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. 17 So the elders of his house arose and went to him, to raise him up from the ground. But he would not, nor did he eat food with them. 18 Then on the seventh day it came to pass that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead. For they said, “Indeed, while the child was alive, we spoke to him, and he would not heed our voice. How can we tell him that the child is dead? He may do some harm!” 19 When David saw that his servants were whispering, David perceived that the child was dead. Therefore David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” And they said, “He is dead.”

    1. David presented himself before God,
      1. fasting and laying all night on the ground.
      2. When his elders tried to get him up, he refused.
        1. Now, he was acting more like Uriah.
          1. How could David enjoy comfort
          2. while his son was gravely ill?
        2. He continued fasting.
    2. Seven sad days later, the child died.
      1. His servants feared to tell him, because
      2. they thought his sadness would be even greater.
        1. When he saw them talking,
        2. he could tell that the child had died, and
          1. he asked his servants and they confirmed the worse.
  11. Second Samuel 12.20–23 – David worships the Lord

    20 So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate. 21 Then his servants said to him, “What is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive, but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” 22 And he said, “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ 23 But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”

    1. David did the opposite of what they thought he would do, and
      1. the opposite of what almost all people do today.
      2. He
        1. arose,
        2. washed,
        3. anointed himself,
        4. changed his clothes, and
        5. went to the house of the Lord to worship.
    2. His servants believed that he was not doing the right thing.
      1. People think there are stages of grief you have to experience.
      2. However, David shows why that is not true.
        1. His servants noted that he fasted and wept while the child was alive.
        2. Then the child dies, and he arises and eats.
    3. He explained that he fasted and wept while the child lived, because
      1. he hoped the Lord would show mercy and let the child live.
      2. However, the child was dead,
        1. why should David continue to fast?
        2. He could not bring the child back, but
          1. David would join the child later.
          2. What kind of reunion did they have in heaven?
          3. What kind of reunion did David and Uriah have in heaven?
          4. What kind of reunion did Uriah and Bathsheba have in heaven?
  12. Second Samuel 12.24–25 – Solomon is born

    24 Then David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in to her and lay with her. So she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. Now the Lord loved him, 25 and He sent word by the hand of Nathan the prophet: So he called his name Jedidiah, because of the Lord.

    1. David comforted Bathsheba, for
      1. she also lost a son.
      2. They have another son together,
        1. who becomes great,
        2. writing two books of the Bible and a psalm.
    2. The Lord loved Solomon, naming him Jedidiah, “Beloved of the Lord.”
  13. Second Samuel 12.26–31 – Now David joins the battle

    26 Now Joab fought against Rabbah of the people of Ammon, and took the royal city. 27 And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, “I have fought against Rabbah, and I have taken the city’s water supply. 28 Now therefore, gather the rest of the people together and encamp against the city and take it, lest I take the city and it be called after my name.” 29 So David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah, fought against it, and took it. 30 Then he took their king’s crown from his head. Its weight was a talent of gold, with precious stones. And it was set on David’s head. Also he brought out the spoil of the city in great abundance. 31 And he brought out the people who were in it, and put them to work with saws and iron picks and iron axes, and made them cross over to the brick works. So he did to all the cities of the people of Ammon. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.

    1. Joab successfully routed Rabbah of the people of Ammon, but
      1. he wanted David to get the glory,
      2. explaining how he, Joab, had been victorious.
    2. It only remained now for David to take the final actions against the city.
      1. He took the crown of the defeated king, and
      2. he made the survivors work with brick.
  1. God Knows Everything that We Do 
    1. This can be a plus or a minus.
    2. Pro 15.3
    3. 2Ch 16.9
  2. Learn the Secret of Content 
    1. David had everything a man could want.
    2. Listen to the wisdom of the son of David and Bathsheba,

      20 Hell and Destruction are never full;
      So the eyes of man are never satisfied.
      (Pro 27.20)
    3. Hear him again,

      8b The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
      Nor the ear filled with hearing.
      (Ecc 1.8)
    4. As Paul explained to our Philippian brethren,

      11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phi 4.11–13).

      1. Happy is he who learns the secret of contentment, and
      2. poor is he who can never find satisfaction.
  3. God Forgives, But We May Still Suffer Consequences of Our Sin 
  4. You Are Not Too Strong to Fall 
    1. 1Co 10.12
  5. You Can Recover

    16 …a righteous man may fall seven times
    And rise again,
    But the wicked shall fall by calamity.
    (Pro 24.16)
  6. Jesus Helps You with All These Things