2 Samuel 11:1-27: "But the thing David had done displeased the Lord"

2 Samuel 11:1-27: "But the thing David had done displeased the Lord"


2 Samuel 11:1-27

This time David sends Joab out to fight the wars while he stays behind and acts like a king. Tragically, he acts the way Samuel had prophesied the king would act when Israel asked for one; he cares for his own desires more than he cares for the people (1 Samuel 8:10-18). David no longer is running from his enemies, forced to rely on God’s protection. Instead he lies comfortably on his bed in the palace, until he decides to take a stroll on the roof. There he sees a beautiful woman, finds out her name is Bathsheba and that she is married, sends for her, sleeps with her, and soon receives word she is pregnant.

To try and cover up his sin, David summons Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba, from fighting Israel’s battles. Twice David tries to get Uriah to go home and sleep with Bathesheba (the second time even getting him drunk), so people will think the coming child is Uriah’s. But Uriah, the Hittite (a foreigner in Israel) is more righteous than David the king; he will not break God’s law that soldiers in battle must purify themselves sexually (Deuteronomy 23:9; see 1 Samuel 21:5 where David himself keeps this law).

Since this cover up will not work, David resorts to a more drastic solution to his problem. He orders Joab to put Uriah in the front line of against the Ammonites, then to have his men withdraw from the battle, leaving Uriah to fight alone and be killed. Joab complies. When he reports the death of Uriah to David, the king tells him “Don’t let this upset you” (literally, “Do not let this thing be evil in your sight”). “But the thing David had done displeased the Lord” (v. 27, literally, “was evil in the sight of the Lord”). What David calls “not bad,” God calls evil.

Next Steps

Listen to Jo Morton’s sermon on how the story of David, Uriah, and Bathsheba relates to some of today’s concerns for sexual harassment and abuse, and Jo tells her own story as well.


God of love, keep us from sins that harm others and ourselves.

Dr. Gary Holloway is guest writing for The Journey Bible Project Blog.


Gary Holloway is Executive Director of the World Convention. Holding degrees from Freed-Hardeman, Harding, The University of Texas, and Emory University, he has written or edited thirty books, including (with Douglas Foster) Renewing God’s World: A Concise Global History of the Stone-Campbell Movement from ACU Press. He is married to Deb Rogers Holloway. 

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