Summary: "Thou shalt not commit adultery". Sermon focusing on the adultery between David and Bathsheba.

Exodus 20:14 and 2 Samuel 11 & 12


Adultery is big business. There are websites organizing adultery. Let’s name them and shame them. ‘IllicitEncounters’, ‘meet2cheat’, ’klub46’. There are others. Adultery is widespread in public life. Think of the affairs Prince Charles and Princess Diana engaged in.

There are different kinds of adultery. We have mentioned physical adultery but what about spiritual adultery? Many churches have committed it. The new president of the Methodist Church in Ireland was installed in a Roman Catholic church! Hindu prayers have been chanted in the US Senate! The Koran has been placed alongside the Bible in the UK Parliament! These are examples of spiritual adultery.

But let’s focus on physical adultery. David and Bathsheba are the guilty pair.


(a) The laziness. "David tarried still at Jerusalem. And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed". David should have been fighting the Ammonites. Lazy people are cannon fodder for the devil. We live in a lazy world. No wonder there is so much adultery.

(b) The lady. "He saw a woman washing herself". It takes two to tango. Two things of note here. Firstly, Bathsheba should not have washed herself in view of others. Secondly, when David sent for her, there is no record that she resisted.

(c) The little. One of the saddest things about this story is the involvement of children. "The poor man had nothing, save one little ewe grew up together with him, and with his children". Little ones are damaged by the sin of their parents. Let there be no doubt about this. Broken homes lead to broken hearts.

(d) The look. David looked lustfully at Bathsheba. It was not just a glance but a stare. The king had committed adultery long before he got into bed with her. Matthew 5:27 "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart".


(a) Mercy. "And the LORD sent Nathan unto David". O the mercy of God! David had sinned grievously yet God showed great mercy in sending someone to bring him back into the right path. Sitting under the ministry of a faithful preacher is a great mercy.

(b) Messiah. Nathan’s preaching reminds us of Christ’s preaching. Nathan used a parable. The Saviour used many parables - 39 in total. Nathan spoke of sheep. So did our Lord on a number of occasions.

(c) Method. "Thou art the man". Nathan gets straight to the point. It is a pity more preachers were not like this.


"The rich man...spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd...but took the poor man’s lamb". David was not only an adulterer and a murderer. He was a robber too. Adultery is robbery.

Let’s focus on the lamb mentioned in the parable.

(a) The humanity shown by the lamb. "Grew", "eat",

"drank", "lay". We are reminded of the humanity of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. He was God but He was a real human being too.

(b) The inhumanity shown to the lamb. The rich man "dressed it" i.e. slaughtered it. Everyone of us had a hand in the slaughter of the Lamb of God. Our sins nailed Him to the tree. We must admit in the words of the hymn:

Who, who, my Saviour, this hath done?

Who could Thy sacred body wound?

No guilt Thy spotless heart hath known,

No guile hath in Thy lips been found.

I, I alone, have done the deed!

’Tis I Thy sacred flesh have torn;

My sins have caused Thee, Lord, to bleed,

Pointed the nail, and fixed the thorn.

But thank God we can also say in the words of another hymn:

Wash me, O Lamb of God, Wash me from sin!

By Thine atoning blood, O make me clean!

Purge me from ev’ry stain, Let me Thine image gain,

In love and mercy reign O’er all within!

Wash me, O Lamb of God, Wash me from sin!

I long to be like Thee, All pure within.

Now let the crimson tide, Shed from Thy wounded side,

Be to my heart applied, And make me clean.

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