Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 11

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of 2 Samuel 11)

Verse 1

[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.

After — When that year ended, and the next begun, which was in the spring time.

When kings — Which is, when the ground is fit for the march of soldiers, and brings forth provision for man and beast.

Tarried at Jerusalem — Had he been now in his post, at the head of his forces be had been out of the way of temptation.

Verse 2

[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.

Arose from off his bed — Where he had lain, and slept for some time. And the bed of sloth often proves the bed of lust.

Washing herself — In a bath, which was in her garden. Probably from some ceremonial pollution.

Verse 3

[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?

He inquired — Instead of suppressing that desire which the sight of his eyes had kindled, he seeks rather to feed it; and first enquires who she was; that if she were unmarried, he might make her either his wife or his concubine.

Verse 4

[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.

Took her — From her own house into his palace, not by force, but by persuasion.

Lay with her — See how all the way to sin is down hill! When men begin, they cannot soon stop themselves.

Verse 8

[8] And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king's house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king.

Go down — Not doubting but he would there converse with his wife, and so cover their sin and shame.

Verse 9

[9] But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house.

The servants — With the king's guard. This he did, by the secret direction of God's wise providence, who would bring David's sin to light.

Verse 10

[10] And when they had told David, saying, Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from thy journey? why then didst thou not go down unto thine house?

Camest — Wearied with hard service and travel, nor did I expect or desire that thou shouldest now attend upon my person, or keep the watch.

Verse 11

[11] And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.

The ark — This it seems, was now carried with them for their encouragement and direction, as was usual.

Fields — In tents which are in the fields. His meaning is, now, when God's people are in a doubtful and dangerous condition, it becomes me to sympathize with them, and to abstain even from lawful delights.

Verse 15

[15] And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.

He arose — So far is David from repenting, that he seeks to cover one sin with another. How are the beginnings of sin to be dreaded! For who knows where it will end? David hath sinned, therefore Uriah must die! That innocent, valiant, gallant man, who was ready to die for his prince's honour, must die by his prince's hand! See how fleshly lusts war against the soul, and what devastations they make in that war! How they blind the eyes, fear the conscience, harden the heart, and destroy all sense of honour and justice!

Verse 27

[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.

The mourning — Which was seven days. Nor could the nature of the thing admit of longer delay, lest the too early birth of the child might discover David's sin.

Bare a son — By which it appears, That David continued in the state of impenitency for divers months together; and this notwithstanding his frequent attendance upon God's ordinances. Which is an eminent instance of the corruption of man's nature, of the deceitfulness of sin, and of the tremendous judgment of God in punishing one sin, by delivering a man up to another.

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