Posts Tagged ‘Bathsheba’

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 49

Absalom immediately went to his father, the king, expecting justice. He was almost shouting with rage as he said, “He raped her! Tamar told me she struggled to get away, but there was nothing that she could do! This is outrageous!” 

“Calm down Absalom,” said David.

Calm down? He ordered her out of his house! He shouted at her and told her to ‘Get up, go away!’ as if she was one of his slaves to do his bidding. She felt so bereft and violated she refused. She no longer had any place to go. She could not bring herself to return to the palace as if nothing had happened.

He had an opportunity to show integrity and compassion! All he showed her was contempt. He just called his servant and ordered him to throw her out and to lock the door behind her! To abuse her and throw her out like that is pure wickedness! He wouldn’t listen to her.

She made it known publically that she had been violated by putting ashes on her head, and she tore the long-sleeved garment that she wore. You should have seen her. She was so distressed and she was crying out loudly for help. Everyone around her saw how distressed and shocked she was. That’s the state in which I found her.”

David said, “Where is she now?”

I took her to my house so she’ll be safe.”

He did not mention to David that when Tamar had explained all that happened, he had said, “I want you to keep silent about this, Tamar.”

But that doesn’t mean that I will not seek retribution.

“If I know Amnon, he’ll try to blame her and she will be the one who’ll end up being punished. But the facts are clear.” I intend to get justice.

David was very angry, and Absalom expected that Amnon would be taken before the elders of the city for judgement.

The elders will probably force him to take her into his household as his wife to avoid royal disgrace. That’s not enough. Charges must be laid. Rape carries a death sentence. Absalom was not sure that they would allow a prince to be charged with rape? Surely he will not escape the consequences of breaking the law simply because he is a prince. 

But David did nothing. He was unwilling to act in terms of justice and discipline. Perhaps as David thought about his own sin with Bathsheba and how he had escaped with his life, he thought that Amnon deserved to live also. But nothing at all was done.

Absalom resented David for not acting and hated Amnon all the more for raping his sister and getting away with it. He wouldn’t speak to Amnon or anyone else about the matter in any way.

You will pay! Absalom would find a way to give vent to the hate that festered within him both for his father and for Amnon. After two years it became white hot, hammered and tempered with iron teeth into the shape of revenge.

Pastor Ross

P.S.

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WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 40

“You shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child that is born to you shall surely die.”

As the day came for Bathsheba to deliver her second child, the words of Nathan the prophet returned to taunt David repeatedly. He did not share his concerns with her. She looks so radiant. Will the Lord let this child live?

When David knew that Bathsheba had given birth to a son, his concerns only deepened. He spent much time in prayer. How can I ever hope to understand your mercy and judgments, Lord? My past weighs heavily upon my conscience. All I can ask is, in Your love and forgiveness, You might see fit to extend this little one’s life?

Then it seemed that his worst fears might be realised! A message came from Nathan! David froze as he anticipated what God might say through the prophet. The mercy of God’s Love or the justice I deserve? Will this son also be taken from me?

“The child that is born to you,” said the messenger. David winced noticeably, closing his eyes, “… is loved by the Lord, as a ewe lamb is loved by a poor shepherd.” Nathan’s message came with words of hope and destiny.

In that moment, David understood. Every life is a gift and precious in Your sight, Oh God. Only You can give life and only You can take it away. Your justice is hard to bear but Your mercy is born from it.

Bathsheba heard an exhilarated shout and then release of laughter. She walked through the open door and curiously looked for its source. David was standing by the window as the bewildered messenger took his leave. As she came to him, David was still laughing, but there was something strange about his laughter and when he turned to her touch she realised that his eyes were glistening with tears. He held her close as relief flowed over him like spring rain and the peace of the Lord descended upon him.

He knew then that he would call his son “Solomon,” because the name “Solomon” means “Peace”. It gives testimony to the peace that comes from God’s total and absolute forgiveness. Nathan would give him a prophetic name as well – “Jedidiah”, which meant “Loved by the Lord”. The prophet Nathan would also become Solomon’s personal tutor in the years ahead.

Absalom was quiet that day. He held the baby, and said all the right words, but felt uneasy by the presence of this little one, even threatened in some way. A twinge of jealousy rose up within him. No word from the prophet had come at his birth to say that he was loved by the Lord. Perhaps he perceived in the Spirit that this baby would one day… He handed the baby back to Bathsheba.

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 39

Those in court seem to instinctively and collectively step back towards the door to distance themselves from the presence of God as Nathan speaks. The courtroom empties as David slumps forward from his throne with nowhere to escape but to his knees, tears streaming down his face, the full weight of months gone, now pressing upon his shoulders. Only Absalom and the amanuensis remain, but they are in the shadows. The spotlight of God’s presence rests heavily upon David’s conscience. He speaks, but the words are no more than a groan that comes from somewhere deep within,

“I have sinned against the Lord.”

Silence envelopes the room and it seems that God reaches down and touches David, for his body trembles as Nathan says, “The Lord also has taken away your sin. You shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child that is born to you shall surely die.” Absalom slips from the room unnoticed. Nathan is gone almost as quickly as he had come and David lies prostrate before the Lord for some time.

As predicted, the child that Uriah’s widow bore to David became very sick.

Grief-stricken, David retreated in prayer for his child; He fasted and lay prostrate before the Lord all that night on the ground. Friends and counsellors in his palace encouraged him to eat but he was unwilling. As kings advisor, Absalom came to David and said “Your people are waiting for you to judge their cases. Why won’t you listen to them?” David remained silent, prostrate before the Lord. He had lost the power to act at all on behalf of his people. Then he murmured with a voice of deep anguish, “How can I seek justice for my people when the judgement of God still rests heavily upon me and upon my innocent son? You don’t seem to understand that he is dying in my place. Now leave me.” Absalom left and pondered this situation to see if he could gain any advantage.

It seemed that David lost his interest in hearing the cases of his people in court from that time on. Absalom’s interest, however, increased. As one of the kings sons and advisors, he determined to judge their cases. It will be good practise for when I am king. For now, I cannot do it from the throne of course, but in time…

Each night the others who sat at the king’s table were quiet, waiting to see what would happen. David, absent from the table, continued his fasting and praying day after day while the child lingered. Then, on the seventh day, the circumstances of the child changed.

The servants were afraid to tell David at first. They were afraid that he might do something to harm himself. But David noticed his servants whispering together and understood that the child was dead.

When he knew for sure, he got up, washed, anointed himself, changed his clothes; and went into the Tabernacle to worship the Lord. He accepted fully the consequences of his sin and thanked the Lord for His justice mixed with His mercy. His life had been spared yet forgiveness had come with so great a price. Then he went back to his own house, and requested food. When Absalom saw the change in David, he was confused. He asked the servants what had happened to bring the king back to his right mind. They related David’s words to him,

“While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; because I thought, ‘Who knows, the Lord may be gracious to me, and the child may live.’ But now he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again?”

For a while he had thought that his father may have lost his sanity. Certainly, he thought, he had completely lost his ability to rule. In David’s absence, it had been he who had been hearing the cases of the people. He felt that he was the only one aware of what was needed in the kingdom. In conceding that his father was well again, he said simply to David,

“Despite your absence, you will find your kingdom is still intact. We have not lost the war with the Ammonites and your people’s needs are still being cared for”.

David said “Thankyou, my son. I knew that I could rely on you.” The comment was fleeting as David left the room to be with Bathsheba in her time of need.

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 38

Nathan brushed past Absalom that day as he strode into David’s presence with a message from the Lord. David was involved in hearing the various legal matters of his people. An amanuensis stood by the throne recording the various pronouncements. The people sensed something of the importance of Nathan’s presence and they parted as he walked towards the king. His eyes were fixed upon David and he wasted no time in bringing his matter to the king’s attention.

The Lord is a storyteller and Nathan is now His narrator. He weaves the message into a story that touches David’s emotions as no other story could. The story is of a rich man and a poor man. The rich man has many flocks and herds. David’s mind immediately relates to being a Shepherd and his interest begins to rise from the mundane issues that he has been dealing with.

“The poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb which he had spent all his money to purchase and he nourished it and it grew up with him and his children. It ate and slept with the poor man and obviously gave him and his family much joy. It was much loved, like a daughter.”

“Now a traveller came to the rich man,” said Nathan, “And he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd to feed the traveller, so instead he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”

David is furious. He is now in a just frame of mind, completely enraged by a man who would do this. As a shepherd, he could not see how such injustice could be perpetrated against the poor man. He says to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. And he must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because of his lack of compassion.”

The air in the courtroom where David has been seeking to deal justly with the cases of his people suddenly becomes charged. Absalom waits by the door and listens carefully. He wonders why Nathan should advocate for such a case. Nathan looks directly into David’s eyes and with a voice of impending doom that only a prophet could use face to face with his king says,

“You are the man!” David’s eyes are wide and he stares with sudden realisation of his plight as Nathan the prophet of God continues. “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these! Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of your enemies.”

Absalom couldn’t help but admire the way Nathan was handling this situation. How clever a way to bring the truth of David’s actions to him. His disgust for his father, king David, returned and he listened for the sentence that Nathan would pronounce from God. God may even demand the death sentence!

Nathan continued, “Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.”

No-one but Absalom and David’s servants know the full implications of what Nathan is pronouncing. Afterall, what is wrong with David taking a widow for his wife? But now Nathan’s words seem to fill every crevice of the room “Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes, and give them to someone who is close to you, and he shall lie with your wives in broad daylight. Indeed, you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.'”

Absalom saw the irreparable damage that was done in this situation and despised his father for bringing such disrepute to his family. It stood in his mind as a written testimony in history. Who would want an episode such as this for all to read?

This was not the first time David had forsaken the law concerning a woman. Once, David had married a Gittite woman for the sake of an alliance to a rebellious people. The offspring of this unwise marriage was Absalom. But here was another son conceived through direct disobedience to God’s law and whose life was to be short-lived.

The sin’s of the fathers…

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls 

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 37

Not long after Uriah returned to the ranks, he and a number of other valiant men found themselves in hand to hand combat with some Ammonite soldiers, but strangely, just as the battle reached its height the Ammonites had sounded a retreat. Uriah, not wanting to miss the opportunity, shouted for his men to pursue, pure adrenalin fueling their desire for victory.

It was as they approached the city gate that they realised they were trapped. Archers appeared on the walls. Someone sounded a retreat but for Uriah it was drowned in the turmoil that followed. A rain of shafts fell with deadly intent upon them. He was left exposed by the withdrawal and his men were being decimated.

“I can’t walk! Help me!” shouted a man close to Uriah. With an arrow in his back and one protruding from his thigh he was trying to drag himself out of danger. Another man lay dead beside him.

“Help me!” he said with eyes full of fear. Uriah took hold of him and began to drag him to the nearest tree but an iron-tipped shaft sliced its way through his arm. Recoiling in pain he turned, only to face another volley from the wall. With his arm flailing, he caught sight briefly of the arrow that pierced his heart.

A number of other men died with Uriah that day but a few escaped back to Joab. Looking at the crumpled message which lay nearby where he had thrown it, Joab knew that David’s request had been fulfilled. The message read,

“Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”

David was not only responsible for Uriah’s death but in the days ahead, many widows would mourn. None of them would be taken into the palace except Bathsheba.

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

“…and some of our men were killed when they came too close to the wall.” King David had looked at the messenger from Joab with fire in his eyes. Absalom was also listening intensely to the report of the war. As an advisor to the king he had to keep up to date with what was happening.

Then suddenly the messenger said to David.

“…and your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead.”

Everyone else ignored the comment except David and Absalom. It’s significance seized Absalom and he walked from the room, feeling sick with realisation and disgust. As he did he heard his father say with measured words, “Say this to Joab: ‘Don’t let this upset you. The sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.’ Say this to encourage Joab.” Finally rumours about David and Bathsheba would be vindicated by the death of Uriah. A twinge of remorse swept over David but then was gone.

Bathsheba mourned for her husband for the acceptable time, and then she became David’s wife, and bore him a son. No-one but Absalom and the guards and servants at the gate of the palace thought much about it.

David thought he had won the battle that had raged as guilt within his soul, but he had yet to face the One whom he had offended even more than Uriah.

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 36

Uriah the Hittite thought for a moment that he could see something like helplessness in the clear, handsome eyes of his king, but it was gone in an instant.

When David spoke he said, “Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back.”

So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. Absalom spent some time with Uriah in the hope that he might talk, but Uriah was obviously uncomfortable in the company of royalty.

Late in the afternoon, Uriah was summoned by the king. In fact he was invited to eat with the king, a rare privilege. Eating and drinking with someone in the ancient world spoke of being in covenant with them. But here, where a covenant had been violated, Uriah would eat and drink. Only God could protect him from participating in the cover-up of David’s sin.

Uriah could tell that David was trying to make him drunk. Surely it is a sin to get drunk in the presence of my king, but I cannot refuse his hospitality. Bathsheba had not refused to obey the king. Sin upon sin. Tonight he would become intoxicated. It would help to ease the confusion he felt inside. Mephibosheth was also at the king’s table that night, as always. Absalom was watching and participating in the conversation, seeking to make his father uncomfortable but not being too obvious.

“I propose a toast to these two men who have been esteemed in such a special way by my father, our king, tonight”.

One man’s honour is another man’s dishonour thought Uriah absently. He did not know why. He succumbed to drunkenness but determined not to come under the influence of David.

When evening came Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants. He did not go home.

David was in a war with his circumstances and he was not accustomed to losing, but his perfect solution to the Bathsheba problem was not working. Uriah is still a threat to my reputation. Never-the-less, his goals were plain and he was flexible enough to have an alternate plan.

“What would you do with a man who threatens your kingdom?” he asked Absalom.

“You execute him…” He paused “… if you have proof and witnesses.”

“And if you don’t?”

“You find a way that will bring least harm or upheaval to the people.”

If Absalom could have spelled it out he would have said, “Step down, and let me rule your kingdom! I won’t make such foolish mistakes as you have made!”

But David did not even consider stepping down. Instead, he personally penned a letter to Joab, his general, as you do when you are involved in a war. Writing the letter several times, and burning each discarded copy with a candle, finally, in frustration he penned a final message which he sealed.

David could not entrust the letter into the hand of a servant in case it’s contents were to be revealed. He would place it in Uriah’s own hand. Uriah had been the messenger from Joab after all. If Uriah breaks the seal and reads this letter it will be a treasonable crime. Even to question it’s contents would bring down upon him the wrath of the kingdom. This is my only course of action left. Things have gone too far. I have no choice.

Uriah obeyed David but on reading the letter, Joab looked at Uriah and seemed annoyed. Did the king tell him that I was drunk in his presence? Uriah suspected that the letter was somehow related to himself and his visit to David’s court, but he was willing to distance himself from such thoughts.

His confusion would go as he fought for his family, his king and his God. Perhaps God would be gracious and he would be a mighty man in battle, honoured as a hero of war. Joab gave him his orders.

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 35

The servants are afraid that their words might somehow get back to David. Absalom has a good relationship with all in the court. He has a way with people. They tell him things. Their grievances. Their dreams. Absalom is on their side. Still, the servants quieten down as Absalom walks past the gate.

Absalom stays awhile as usual to talk with the men and notices Uriah. Why is he here? Why didn’t he go home? He begins asking questions of the servants furthest away from him, but he can see that there is a reluctance to answer. The atmosphere is awkward for a time but Absalom diverts the conversation to other things – weather, war, politics and matters of law and justice, until they open up. He is known as one who investigates cases worthy of justice for the people. One of the more forthright and foolish servants is curious since they are talking of the law.

“I know of a man whose wife has been unfaithful? What will he do?” Other servants begin to withdraw from the conversation.

“He should bring charges and demand justice. She must be stoned as the law demands. The man must be found and stoned as well,” he replies.

“And what if the man responsible were powerful and there was no proof, except a pregnancy, and he was trying to cover it up?”

A hushed silence ensued as Absalom sought to find a context for the question.

“How can you cover up a pregnancy?” he asks.

“The husband will sleep with his wife and it will look as if the child is his.” The servant has said too much.

Absalom considers what he is being told and replies slowly,

“No man should get away with adultery because of his position.” He pauses, thinking of the rumours of the beautiful woman in court some time ago and adds,

“I would not give the man opportunity to cover up his sin if I could help it at all. That’s all the advice that I am willing to give you. Perhaps it would be wiser of you hold your peace until this man you know is willing to lay charges.”

“Yes sir.” The servant backs away, knowing that he has overstepped the limit of discussion.

Absalom leaves, but in the ensuing conversation it is agreed that Uriah is right to stay at the king’s gate where there are plenty of witnesses, and he is wise not even to speak with his wife.

Absalom came to the king that day. He spoke of trivial things and David was not at all interested in the conversation until he happened to mention, in passing, that Uriah had slept in the guard’s and servant’s quarters at the king’s gate. David’s face paled as Absalom continued. David was not hearing him. Why didn’t Uriah go home? What was happening to his plan? He came out of his daze as Absalom said,

“Why didn’t you allow Uriah to go home? He lives next door after all?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Absalom, I didn’t force him to stay at court! I encouraged him to go home. Bring him to me at once.”

There seemed to be some tension in the king’s voice as he spoke with Uriah, “Uriah, you have come a long way to get here, yet I hear that you did not go home last night. Why?”

Uriah had had all night to reflect on his answer. He looked to the floor and then briefly glanced over at Absalom, but he too was obviously interested in his answer. Uriah the Hittite looked into the eyes of David as he replied,

“The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lords men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”

The answer cut deeply into David’s soul. As long as I live? He fleetingly thought of the penalties of adultery in the law as he gazed at Uriah, not knowing what to say.

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 34

“Why did you send for Uriah the Hittite?” Absalom asked. Uriah was ushered in before his father had an opportunity to answer.

David dismissed all the preliminary greetings and said, “Tell me about the war. How much progress is being made and what is happening with Joab and my army?” He did not look directly at Uriah as he spoke and he could feel the blood rushing to his cheeks.

The conversation that ensues feigns interest in the welfare of Joab but fails to seek the forgiveness of Uriah. Superficially concerned about the welfare of his people who are at war, David knows that he is neglecting the welfare of his soul, and he is desperately fighting a battle that is raging within. His unfaithfulness was to God, not only to his wives. He pushes these thoughts into the small dark corridors of his mind and tries to seal them off.

David sends Uriah to his house. He will sleep with his wife, and think the baby is his. He even sends him a gift. By this time Uriah is confused. He heard Absalom speak as he was ushered in to see the king and he begins to ask himself the same question, Why would the king summon me back from a war zone to relate how the battle is progressing? He has special emissaries for this. He seems agitated or nervous. Why did he not send me straight back to the battle?

He had not gone to his wife and did not to send for her. Married only one year, she had been so demanding that he give her a child. Having a child is so important to a woman. Bathsheba had argued with him before leaving to go to battle as if it were his fault. She makes me feel less than a man. In order to cope with this, he had poured his life wholeheartedly into his military service. At least, I am regarded with respect by my fellow soldiers. It didn’t seem right to leave his friends fighting without him, but he would remain in the palace until given permission to return to the battle. His wife need not know he was here.

Uriah lived next door to the king but he stayed the first night with the servants, the same servants who had been sent to take Bathsheba to the king. No-one wants to talk tonight. How unusual. They don’t even ask about the battle. He felt out of place and confused. Talk was not what he needed. He must sleep. He would spend the night here at the door with the servants. He could not realise that he had come from one battle zone to the next.

Somewhere in the space between wakefulness and sleep, vague shadows darted from his unconscious mind, menacing and deceptive, taunting him to vigilance. Yet strangely, Uriah had a fleeting thought that life was no longer important. He just needed to sleep and perhaps in the morning he could return to the battle. He gave way to the shadows.

He slept at the door where the king’s guards had seen his beautiful wife, Bathsheba, ushered into court so late at night, and where now these same servants looked upon her husband.

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 33

“I still think that a king should lead his men into battle!” Absalom had insisted. David’s other sons had been discreetly silent on this point but it was obvious that they were in agreement.

Weakly David had tried to defend his position,

“Joab is my most trusted general. He is certainly able to lead my men to victory.” He walked out of the room annoyed, yet the truth of Absalom’s words persisted.

The Lord had given David rest from his enemies for a while, until he had decided to show some sympathy to Hanun the Ammonite at the death of his father. That kindness had been abused and now he was at war again. The major part of the war had been won but the Ammonite capital itself was still resisting.

David had built a comfortable palace for his family, and he was discouraged at the prospect of yet another battle. Was it this that made him stay at home? He wasn’t sure. Perhaps he could fast and pray? In any event it was Joab who went to battle for him while he remained in Jerusalem. He wanted to be alone, and have opportunity to think through the issues of his kingdom. He had also hoped that his sons would agree with his decision, but this wasn’t to be. Absalom had criticised him for staying at home. He had snapped back at Absalom for his insolence and left the room even more depressed.

With the stress of all, he had to bear David wasn’t feeling well of late. He would get away from matters of war and judgmental counsellors. It was late afternoon when he rested on his bed. He was alone and the weight of his kingdom in war was heavy on his mind, despite Absalom’s inference that he was not leading his men as he should.

When the sun’s heat had gone, he walked around on the roof of the palace that he had built for his family, to catch the cool evening breezes. From this vantage point he saw a woman bathing. She was a very beautiful woman. The law required that after menstruation a woman wait 7 days and then bath ceremonially as a sign of her being clean once again. She was bathing, as the law required. The inner law of discretion, however, would have prevented her from being in a place so easily observed by the king.

Bathsheba knew that David was still at home. She had seen him walk on the roof of the palace on a number of occasions and knowing that her husband and all the men were at war, she decided to risk the attention of the king as she bathed in the cool evening breezes on the roof of her house. Her grandfather, Ahithophel was away for a few days attending to some matters of intelligence concerning the war and she was alone.

If she had examined her motives, Bathsheba would have found that she desired David much more than she wanted to believe. She was a beautiful and desirable woman and had often dreamed of what it would have been like to marry a king, especially a handsome king like David, but destiny had not permitted her dream to be a reality. The closest she had come was to live beside the palace, married to a man chosen by the family.

She would bathe where she liked and dream of what could have been, and if she attracted David’s attention from the palace roof, so be it. She longed for an opportunity to get closer to this man she had come to love as her king. This night, she succeeded in getting too much of David’s attention. David lusted for another man’s wife.

On that same night Absalom was brooding in his room and lusted for another man’s kingdom. The war that raged in his heart was not dissimilar to the battle that waged within David. His war was also against his God. He warred in his spirit with his desire to rule a kingdom which was never intended to be his. He warred against the feelings he had against his father for being God’s anointed. He warred with his legalistic attitudes that left him embittered rather than discerning when he encountered injustice.

At this moment, king David, known for his discernment, was exercising none of it. Home when he should have been at war, he was susceptible to temptation. He would make inquiries about this woman, to see if she was single. He discovered that she was the wife of Uriah, the Hittite. That’s when his enquiries should have stopped. But of course, Uriah was away at war and her company seemed to be irresistible.

Two wars continued to rage that day. For David it would have been preferable for him to have been at war with the Ammonites than to be at war with his own spirit, and ultimately with God.

David forged ahead with his intentions to sleep with this woman, despite the fact that she was married. He sent messengers to get her. She came willingly to her king and into a situation that led her to his bed.

Bathsheba ceremonially purified herself of her uncleanness afterwards and returned home.  If charges were laid, the law demanded stoning those who were unfaithful, but the law only highlighted David’s lack of defence, and he would try desperately to cover the stain of his sin. David did not return to his kingly office that night purified, ceremonially or otherwise and concealment and excuses would continue to dog his waking steps. Confession and repentance became faded shadows in the dimly lit corridors of his soul.

A month or so had passed, but the evidence of David and Bathsheba’s lust was still present in a tiny life which had come into being that night. Bathsheba, in distress, told David that she was pregnant.