Beginning of the End


David’s Sin of Adultery and His Repentance

This chapter is based on 2 Samuel 11; 12.

The Bible has little to say in praise of human beings. All the good qualities that people possess are the gift of God; their good deeds are performed by the grace of God through Christ. They are only instruments in His hands. All the lessons of Bible history teach that it is dangerous to praise people, because when we lose sight of our entire dependence on God, we are sure to fall. The Bible teaches distrust of human power and encourages trust in divine power. BOE 362.1

The spirit of self-confidence and exaltation prepared the way for David’s fall. Flattery, power, and luxury had their effect on him. According to the usual customs among Eastern rulers, crimes that were not tolerated in common people were overlooked in the king. All this tended to lessen David’s sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin. He began to trust in his own wisdom and might. BOE 362.2

As soon as Satan can separate a person from God, he will arouse the unholy desires of man’s carnal nature. The work of the enemy does not begin with something sudden and startling. It begins in apparently small things—neglect to fully rely on God, the tendency to follow the customs of the world. BOE 362.3

Before the end of the war, David returned to Jerusalem. The Syrians had already surrendered, and the complete defeat of the Ammonites appeared certain. David was surrounded by the fruits of victory and the honors of his wise rule. Now the tempter seized the opportunity to occupy his mind. In ease and self-security, David yielded to Satan and brought upon himself the stain of guilt. He himself, the Heaven-appointed leader of the nation, chosen by God to uphold His law, trampled on its precepts. By his own act, he who should have been a terror to evildoers strengthened their hands. BOE 362.4

Guilty and unrepentant, David did not ask guidance from Heaven, but tried to disentangle himself from the dangers in which sin had involved him. Bathsheba, whose fatal beauty had become a trap to the king, was the wife of Uriah the Hittite, one of David’s bravest and most faithful officers. The law of God pronounced the adulterer guilty of death, and the proud-spirited soldier, so shamefully wronged, might take revenge for himself by taking the life of the king or by leading the nation in revolt. BOE 362.5

Every effort that David made to hide his guilt was unsuccessful. He had betrayed himself into the power of Satan; danger surrounded him, and dishonor more bitter than death loomed before him. There appeared to be only one way of escape—to add the sin of murder to that of adultery. David reasoned that if Uriah were killed in battle, the guilt of his death could not be traced to the king. Bathsheba would be free to become David’s wife, and he could avoid suspicion and maintain the royal honor. BOE 363.1

Uriah was made the carrier of his own death warrant. In a letter sent by David’s hand to Joab, the king commanded, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die.” Joab, already stained with the guilt of one murder, did not hesitate to obey the king’s instructions, and Uriah was killed by the sword of the Ammonites. BOE 363.2