Summary: David went down the path of destruction when he sinned with Bathsheba
The Path of Destruction
Essential 100 Series
February 24, 2008
Remember Vinko Bogatej? He was a ski-jumper from Yugoslavia who, while competing in the 1970 World Ski-Flying Championship in Obertsdorf, West Germany, fell off the takeoff ramp and landed on his head. Ever since, the accident has been used to highlight "the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat" on ABC’s "Wide World of Sports." Bogatej was hospitalized after the spill, but he recovered and now works in a foundry in Yugoslavia. Doug Wilson, a producer for ABC, interviewed him last year for a special anniversary edition of the show. "When we told him he’s been on the program ever since 1970," says Wilson, "he couldn’t believe it. He appears on television 130 times a year."
Thomas Rogers in N.Y. Times, quoted in Dec, 1980, Reader’s Digest.
The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat could accurately describe this section on the life of David. David had defeated Goliath, become king of Israel, returned the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem and was the most powerful man in not just Israel but the world. He had more than his share of victories but his greatest defeat did not come from some enemy force but started within.
If you have your Bibles with you, open them with me to 2 Samuel 11, as we look at one of the saddest chapters in the life of King David.
Sin finds its roots in Dormancy
1 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.
There were very few instances when battles occurred in late fall, winter or early spring. The weather conditions would have made it close to impossible to move armies to a field of battle. Most battles in that time were conducted in late spring, summer and early fall. Late spring, in the ancient near east was one of the best times to conduct war. The lands and roads would be dried out from the rains and some of the early crops would be coming out so there would be food to collect. This would be the time when kings would lead their armies out for battle. They might even be able to catch their enemies unprepared and make easy conquests.
This entire sad chapter of David’s life could have been avoided. In fact, it should have been avoided. David was meant to be on the battlefield leading his soldiers. However, David sends Joab out to command the troops and to fight the battle. We do not know the reason that David remains behind but do see the results.
Sin takes on its form in Disobedience
2 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, 3 and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, "Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" 4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home. 5 The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, "I am pregnant."
David is in the palace in Jerusalem and is in the upper chambers. Many of the ancient palaces would have had at least two floors. The upper floor would have contained the royal bed chambers with a rooftop patio that would have allowed the king or queen to look over the city. It would seem that David may have had this type of set up for his palace.
As David walks around the rooftop, he feels the light spring breeze, he hears the splashing of water. He moves to investigate and looks down and he sees a woman taking a bath. The next phrase is important to understand the situation. This woman was not only beautiful, she was very beautiful. We might say today that she was drop dead gorgeous.
This leads me to a question: why is she taking a bath in her backyard? Bathsheba is not acting in appropriate standards of Hebrew modesty. There is a good reason for that, she wasn’t Hebrew. Bathsheba knew that she could be seen from the upper walls of the palace. David cannot help but notice her and that is exactly what Bathsheba wants, noticed. There is no other way to say it, Bathsheba did this intentionally.
David sees her but does not know who she is and so he begins to ask around, not discreetly either. David gets one of the servants and asks who she is. The servant tells David her name, her father’s name to signify her family and her husbands name to signify that she was married. The servant seems to be trying to tell David to forget this because she’s married.