By July 8, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

2 Samuel 11-12

The Hebrew Bible
11At the turn of the year, the season when kings go out [to battle], David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him, and they devastated Ammon and besieged Rabbah; David remained in Jerusalem. 2Late one afternoon, David rose from his couch and strolled on the roof of the royal palace; and from the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, 3and the king sent someone to make inquiries about the woman. He reported, “She is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam [and] wife of Uriah the Hittite.” 4David sent messengers to fetch her; she came to him and he lay with her—she had just purified herself after her period—and she went back home. 5The woman conceived, and she sent word to David, “I am pregnant.” 6Thereupon David sent a message to Joab, “Send Uriah the Hittite to me”; and Joab sent Uriah to David.

7When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab and the troops were faring and how the war was going. 8Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and bathe your feet.” When Uriah left the royal palace, a present from the king followed him. 9But Uriah slept at the entrance of the royal palace, along with the other officers of his lord, and did not go down to his house. 10When David was told that Uriah had not gone down to his house, he said to Uriah, “You just came from a journey; why didn’t you go down to your house?” 11Uriah answered David, “The Ark and Israel and Judah are located at Succoth, and my master Joab and Your Majesty’s men are camped in the open; how can I go home and eat and drink and sleep with my wife? As you live, by your very life, I will not do this!” 12David said to Uriah, “Stay here today also, and tomorrow I will send you off.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day. The next day, 13David summoned him, and he ate and drank with him until he got him drunk; but in the evening, [Uriah] went out to sleep in the same place, with his lord’s officers; he did not go down to his home.

14In the morning, David wrote a letter to Joab, which he sent with Uriah. 15He wrote in the letter as follows- “Place Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest; then fall back so that he may be killed.” 16So when Joab was besieging the city, he stationed Uriah at the point where he knew that there were able warriors. 17The men of the city sallied out and attacked Joab, and some of David’s officers among the troops fell; Uriah the Hittite was among those who died.

18Joab sent a full report of the battle to David. 19He instructed the messenger as follows- “When you finish reporting to the king all about the battle, 20the king may get angry and say to you, ‘Why did you come so close to the city to attack it? Didn’t you know that they would shoot from the wall? 21Who struck down Abimelech son of Jerubbesheth? Was it not a woman who dropped an upper millstone on him from the wall at Thebez, from which he died? Why did you come so close to the wall?’ Then say- ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite was among those killed.’”

22The messenger set out; he came and told David all that Joab had sent him to say. 23The messenger said to David, “First the men prevailed against us and sallied out against us into the open; then we drove them back up to the entrance to the gate. 24But the archers shot at your men from the wall and some of Your Majesty’s men fell; your servant Uriah the Hittite also fell.” 25Whereupon David said to the messenger, “Give Joab this message- ‘Do not be distressed about the matter. The sword always takes its toll. Press your attack on the city and destroy it!’ Encourage him!”

26When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband Uriah was dead, she lamented over her husband. 27After the period of mourning was over, David sent and had her brought into his palace; she became his wife and she bore him a son.

12But the Lord was displeased with what David had done, 1and the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said, “There were two men in the same city, one rich and one poor. 2The rich man had very large flocks and herds, 3but the poor man had only one little ewe lamb that he had bought. He tended it and it grew up together with him and his children- it used to share his morsel of bread, drink from his cup, and nestle in his bosom; it was like a daughter to him. 4One day, a traveler came to the rich man, but he was loath to take anything from his own flocks or herds to prepare a meal for the guest who had come to him; so he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”

5David flew into a rage against the man, and said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! 6He shall pay for the lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and showed no pity.” 7And Nathan said to David, “That man is you! Thus said the Lord, the God of Israel- ‘It was I who anointed you king over Israel and it was I who rescued you from the hand of Saul. 8I gave you your master’s house and possession of your master’s wives; and I gave you the House of Israel and Judah; and if that were not enough, I would give you twice as much more. 9Why then have you flouted the command of the Lord and done what displeases Him? You have put Uriah the Hittite to the sword; you took his wife and made her your wife and had him killed by the sword of the Ammonites. 10Therefore the sword shall never depart from your House—because you spurned Me by taking the wife of Uriah the Hittite and making her your wife.’ 11Thus said the Lord- ‘I will make a calamity rise against you from within your own house; I will take your wives and give them to another man before your very eyes and he shall sleep with your wives under this very sun. 12You acted in secret, but I will make this happen in the sight of all Israel and in broad daylight.’”
13David said to Nathan, “I stand guilty before the Lord!” And Nathan replied to David, “The Lord has remitted your sin; you shall not die. 14However, since you have spurned the enemies of the Lord by this deed, even the child about to be born to you shall die.”

15Nathan went home, and the Lord afflicted the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and it became critically ill. 16David entreated God for the boy; David fasted, and he went in and spent the night lying on the ground. 17The senior servants of his household tried to induce him to get up from the ground; but he refused, nor would he partake of food with them. 18On the seventh day the child died. David’s servants were afraid to tell David that the child was dead; for they said, “We spoke to him when the child was alive and he wouldn’t listen to us; how can we tell him that the child is dead? He might do something terrible.” 19When David saw his servants talking in whispers, David understood that the child was dead; David asked his servants, “Is the child dead?” “Yes,” they replied.

20Thereupon David rose from the ground; he bathed and anointed himself, and he changed his clothes. He went into the House of the Lord and prostrated himself. Then he went home and asked for food, which they set before him, and he ate. 21His courtiers asked him, “Why have you acted in this manner? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept; but now that the child is dead, you rise and take food!” 22He replied, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept because I thought- ‘Who knows? The Lord may have pity on me, and the child may live.’ 23But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will never come back to me.”
24David consoled his wife Bathsheba; he went to her and lay with her. She bore a son and she named him Solomon. The Lord favored him, 25and He sent a message through the prophet Nathan; and he was named Jedidiah at the instance of the Lord.

26Joab attacked Rabbah of Ammon and captured the royal city. 27Joab sent messengers to David and said, “I have attacked Rabbah and I have already captured the water city. 28Now muster the rest of the troops and besiege the city and capture it; otherwise I will capture the city myself, and my name will be connected with it.” 29David mustered all the troops and marched on Rabbah, and he attacked it and captured it. 30The crown was taken from the head of their king and it was placed on David’s head—it weighed a talent of gold, and [on it] were precious stones. He also carried off a vast amount of booty from the city. 31He led out the people who lived there and set them to work with saws, iron threshing boards, and iron axes, or assigned them to brickmaking; David did this to all the towns of Ammon. Then David and all the troops returned to Jerusalem.

Tanakh, The Holy Scriptures, (Philadelphia, Jerusalem- Jewish Publication Society) 1985.

Post a Comment