2 Samuel 11-12
Chapter 11: David Lies with Bath-sheba
The start of the chapter begins with David and his men going into battle to destroy the children of Ammon, and Rabbah. While in Jerusalem, David (from the roof top) notices a very beautiful woman bathing, her name; Bath-sheba.
David decides that he really likes this woman and has she called into see him. He “lies” with her and she ends up conceiving a child. David calls for the Bath-sheba’s husband and has him come to his home. There he gives him food and tells him to wait with him, until the morning. So Uriah (husband to Bath-sheba) stays with David, in the morning David has it arranged so Uriah will go back to battle and puts him on the front lines so that he will surely die in battle, and he does. Now David can be with Bath-sheba and have her, for himself!
Chapter 12: Plural Marriage
This chapter follows directly from the last chapter, where essentially David lusted after another man’s life (against the 10 commandments) and took her to be his wife, after he arranged for her husband to be “killed” in battle.
The Lord is not happy with this, so he sends Nathan to talk to David and this is what David said;
“…there were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: but the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb (a young female sheep), which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveler unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man who was come to him,” (2 Samuel 12:1-4)
So to sum it up, this story is about one rich man and one poor man. The rich man had everything and the poor man had nothing, except one lamb. So the rich man, instead of killing one of his own lambs for a feast decides to kill the one the poor man has and take everything from him.
When David hears this, he is outraged and tells Nathan that the man who had done this must die! Nathan tells David that HE IS THAT MAN! Nathan tells David that the Lord had given him everything, the Lord anointed him King over Israel, gave him wives, cattle, sheep and a home. But he still had to go and despise God, by breaking one of his commandments and lusting after another man’s wife. Not only did he lust after her, he committed adultery with her and then had her husband “killed” in battle so he could have her.
So the Lord tells Nathan that because of this, he will take everything from David and his wives will be given to his neighbors. The Lord says that David committed adultery in secret, but he will punish him openly and publicly.
So here is a question; is plural marriage bad? The LDS church practiced plural marriage from about 1850 to 1890, the LDS church practiced plural marriage for about 4 decades. Many people condemned the church for this practice, but right here in the Bible it gives us an insight into plural marriage. We know that David had many wives, but he got in trouble for taking another wife. Why? Was it because of plural marriage? No, because David already had wives which the Lord had given him. So we learn that when God authorizes plural marriage it is ok. In the case of plural marriage in the LDS church, often times the woman (after having their husbands killed to mobs, who disliked the church) were left as widows. In the 1800’s being a widow was not a good thing, because woman had very few rights. So the wealthier more prominent and righteous men took them into their own homes as their “wives”, this gave them a place to live and a status in that era. Most of the time, the men still only had sexual relations with their original wife. Not all men in the church could have plural marriage, the prophet through the guidance of God would choose who could and could not have multiple wives. This was due to the fact that the Lord knew certain men would abuse this.
So, moving on… David repents and feels really bad for having committed this sin. But the Lord causes the child he had with Bath-sheba to come down with a sickness. So David fasts for several days and lays himself on the earth in prayer and sadness. Even with all this prayer and fasting, the Lord’s will was different from David’s and his son still passed away. But David arose from the earth, washed and anointed himself in the temple, changed his clothing and worshiped the Lord (2 Samuel 12:20) – this shows the importance of Temples, something that the LDS church has today.
Bath-sheba was really upset (and rightfully so, her son had just died), but David comforts her and “lies down” with her, and she conceives another son, and they name the son; Solomon. The Lord is pleased with Solomon and blesses him. David conquers the Royal City of the Ammonites.