From Eternity Past


Chapter 71—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 men. All the good qualities men possess are the gift of God; their good deeds are performed by the grace of God through Christ. They are but instruments in His hands. All the lessons of Bible history teach that it is a perilous thing to praise men, for if one comes to lose sight of his entire dependence on God, he is sure to fall. The Bible inculcates distrust of human power and encourages trust in divine power. EP 520.1

The spirit of self-exaltation prepared the way for David's fall. Flattery, power, and luxury were not without effect upon him. According to the customs prevailing among Eastern rulers, crimes not to be tolerated in subjects were uncondemned in the king. All this tended to lessen David's sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin. He began to trust to his own wisdom and might. EP 520.2

As soon as Satan can separate the soul from God, he will arouse the unholy desires of man's carnal nature. The work of the enemy is not, at the outset, sudden and startling. It begins in apparently small things—neglect to rely upon God wholly, the disposition to follow the practices of the world. EP 520.3

David returned to Jerusalem. The Syrians had already submitted, and the complete overthrow of the Ammonites appeared certain. David was surrounded by the fruits of victory and the honors of his able rule. Now the tempter seized the opportunity to occupy his mind. In ease and self-security, David yielded to Satan and brought upon his soul the stain of guilt. He, the Heaven-appointed leader of the nation, chosen by God to execute His law, himself trampled upon its precepts. He who should have been a terror to evildoers, by his own act strengthened their hands. EP 520.4

Guilty and unrepentant, David did not ask guidance from Heaven, but sought to extricate himself from the dangers in which sin had involved him. Bathsheba, whose fatal beauty had proved a snare 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 avenge himself by taking the life of the king or by exciting the nation to revolt. EP 521.1

Every effort which David made to conceal his guilt proved unavailing. He had betrayed himself into the power of Satan; danger surrounded him, dishonor more bitter than death was before him. There appeared but one way of escape—to add murder to adultery. David reasoned that if Uriah were slain by the hand of enemies in battle, the guilt of his death could not be traced to the king. Bathsheba would be free to become David's wife, suspicion could be averted, and the royal honor maintained. EP 521.2

Uriah was made the bearer of his own death warrant. The king commanded Joab, “Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.” Joab, already stained with the guilt of one murder, did not hesitate to obey the king's instructions, and Uriah fell by the sword of the children of Ammon. EP 521.3