Summary: In this talk I look in more detail at 2 Samuel 11 Verse 1. Inn the spring at the time that kings go off to war....David remained in Jerusalem
I would like to focus on one verse from our Old Testament lesson that Maddy read so well for us ;
The one that reads
1 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, …..David remained in Jerusalem.
At first blush it seems an insignificant verse, but it is the key to understanding the whole story.
When we read the Bible, I believe it is important that we give the Bible its plain meaning.
In other words, if you presented the passage to a judge in a Court of Law, how would he interpret it.
I want to say that plain meaning doesn’t always mean its literal meaning to us.
But in our present case it does have its literal historical meaning.
To understand the plain meaning, my hypothetical judge would first look to see what the original text said.
This has been done by many scholars and is called “textual criticism”
And out of textual criticism we have a large number of English translations of the Bible.
So the best way to try and understand what the original text says is to take a look at a few different translations of the Bible.
3. Literary Genre
Then the hypothetical judge would look at the literary Genre and there are at least 14 different Genres in the Bible.
Genres like History, Poetry, Revelation, Parables and Hyperbole.
Then my hypothetical judge would then ask “ What was the meaning of the passage to the first recipients of the text”
And here he would take into account their culture and what would be assumed by the first hearers.
What I mean by assumed by the first hearers is what is implicit in their culture that isn’t implicit in our culture today.
It is only after asking these questions that we can start to try to consider how the passage applies to our ever day lives.
Clearly its plain meaning is literal and historical.
In the culture of David’s day, kings were expected to lead their troops into battle.
Mary J Evans in her book The Message of Samuel puts it well when she said
…It must be remembered that the main function of a king in this period was as a military ruler.
Saul had been appointed in order to remove the Philistine threat and David inherited the role.
She goes on to say
…in staying at home, David was ceasing to behave as a king. (The Message of Samuel by Mary J Evans p. 208)
In 2 Samuel 12:26-29: we see David’s successful general Joab reminding David of responsibility as the King to be the military commander of the troops
Let me read the text to you
26 Meanwhile Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites and captured the royal citadel.
27 Joab then sent messengers to David, saying, “I have fought against Rabbah and taken its water supply.
28 Now muster the rest of the troops and besiege the city and capture it.
Otherwise I will take the city, and it will be named after me.”
29 So David mustered the entire army and went to Rabbah, and attacked and captured it
So what is it all about?
2 Samuel 11:1 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, …...David remained in Jerusalem.
Once we understand the responsibility of the King to be the military commander in the field, we can see clearly how this verse shows us how David came to commit adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.
He was in the wrong place at the wrong time
Unfortunately for David his one-night stand with Bathsheba resulted in her becoming pregnant.
And so David tried to pass off the baby as Uriah’s.
However, Uriah smelt a rat and didn’t play ball, so David had Uriah murdered.
Let us now look at the story in more detail
However King David didn’t just commit adultery with Uriah the Hittite’s wife.
David compounded his felony by having Uriah murdered, so that David could be free marry Bathsheba.
And he hoped that no one would be the wiser as to when the baby was conceived.
This is one of the most notorious acts of treachery in the Old Testament.
And that is saying something
What makes this event so despicable is that Uriah wasn’t just any old soldier.
He was one of David’s special SAS force - known as the Thirty Chiefs - who had been with David from the days of Adullum’s Cave (2 Sam 23: 39).
In other words Uriah was a trusty companion of David’s.
A friend even. And David had him killed!
I haven’t come across anyone who could break so many of the 10 commandments at one sitting!
As far as I can make out David managed to break at least 4, possibly 5 of the 10 commandments