David stole another man’s wife
At that time, long ago, the big bosses of those nations used to wait for the end of the cold weather to finish every year, then they used to get their soldiers together, and the big bosses went with their soldiers to fight with other nations. That was their way.*
One year, at that time, David told his boss soldier Joab, “Gather the soldiers from Israel together. Go again to fight with the Ammon mob.” So they went, and they met up with the soldiers from Ammon, and they beat them properly. Then they went to the town called Rabbah in Ammon country and stood in a circle around it. The Rabbah people couldn’t get out of their town, because the Israel soldiers blocked the gates.
But David didn’t go with his soldiers to that town. He stayed home, in Jerusalem.
One day, in the late afternoon, David woke up from a sleep, and he went up and stood on the flat roof of his house. As he looked down at the other houses, he saw a woman. She was having a bath, and she was very pretty.
He sent a messenger to ask, “Who is this woman?”
The messenger came back and told him, “She is Bathsheba, Eliam’s daughter. Her husband is Uriah, who belongs to the Heth mob.”
He was an Israel soldier, and he was fighting at Rabbah. So David sent messengers to get Bathsheba and bring her to him. You see, she just finished her washing ceremony, the one that women used to do to clean themselves every month. So Bathsheba did what David told her to do. She went to him, and he slept with her, as a man does with his wife. Then she went back to her home.
Some weeks later, that woman knew that she was going to have a baby. So she sent a message to tell David, “I’m going to have your baby.”
David heard her message, and then he sent a message to the boss soldier Joab. He was with the army, fighting at Rabbah. David told him, “Send Uriah to me.” So Joab sent Uriah back to Jerusalem.
Uriah came, and David said, “Hello, Uriah. Tell me, how’s Joab? Is he all right? Are the soldiers from Israel all right? Are they fighting hard with the Ammon mob?”
Uriah answered his questions. Then David said to him, “You can go home to your wife. Have a wash and a rest. Go back to Joab tomorrow.” You see, David wanted people to think that the baby was Uriah’s. As Uriah left the big house, David sent a working man with some fresh meat for Uriah and his wife to eat. But Uriah didn’t go back to sleep at his own house. He went and slept outside, where David’s working men used to sleep.
10 The next day, one working man told David, “Uriah did not go and sleep at his own house.”
David said, “Go and get him.”
Uriah came, and David asked him, “Why didn’t you go home and have a rest? You need a break from the fighting.”
11 He answered, “I can’t go back to my house. There are big mobs of our soldiers still over there, fighting the Ammon mob. The big boss soldier Joab, and the other boss soldiers, and all the other soldiers from Judah and from all of Israel, they are all camped out in the dry country. God’s special box is there too. I can’t go back to my house. I can’t go and eat meat and drink wine. I can’t go back and sleep with my wife. I’m telling you straight, with God listening, I can’t do that.”
12 David said to him, “All right. You can stay with me. I’ll send you back tomorrow.”
So Uriah stayed 2 nights in Jerusalem. 13 David gave him lots of food and wine to make him confused. He kept on saying, “Drink some more of this.” So Uriah got properly drunk.
But still he didn’t go home to his wife. He went and slept outside with the working men, like before.
14 The next morning, David heard the same story. So he wrote a letter to Joab. He gave it to Uriah, and he said, “Give this letter to your boss, Joab.” So Uriah took the paper with him, but he didn’t know what it said. 15 That message said this, “Send Uriah to the really hard fighting, close to the Ammon mob. Tell the other soldiers to stand back away from him and leave him alone. Then the enemy will kill him dead.”
16 You see, the Israel soldiers were still at that same place, there at Rabbah. They still stood in a circle around the town. Joab knew that the best Ammon soldiers were in one place, so he sent Uriah and some other soldiers there, to shoot arrows at them from close to the wall of the town. 17 But those Ammon soldiers suddenly came out from behind the wall and killed dead some Israel soldiers. And they killed Uriah dead too.
18 Joab sent a messenger to tell David about the fighting at Rabbah. 19 He told the messenger, “After you tell the big boss all about the fighting, 20 he might think that those soldiers died for nothing. He might get angry. He might ask you, ‘Why did you mob go close to the wall? You knew the Ammon mob will shoot arrows at you from the wall. 21 Maybe you forgot that story about Abimelek, Gideon’s son. One time he fought against the people of the town called Thebez. A woman threw a big stone from the top of the wall, and it hit him, and he died. So why did you mob get so close to that wall?’ If the big boss asks you that, you can tell him this, ‘Uriah died too.’ ”*
22 So the messenger went to Jerusalem. After he got there, he told David the story. 23 This is what he said, “The Ammon mob came out from that town, Rabbah, to fight with us. We chased them back into their town. 24 Then their soldiers on the wall of the town shot arrows at us from close up. They killed dead some of your soldiers. One of them was Uriah, he is dead too.”
25 David heard it and said, “Go back and say this to Joab, ‘Don’t be upset about this. Fighting a war is like that. Some die, some stay alive. Keep going. Keep attacking the town. Knock all the houses down.’ Tell Joab that message, so he will not get upset.”
26 Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, heard the bad news that her husband was dead, and she cried for him. 27 She cried for him for 7 days, as that Israel mob used to do. After she finished crying for him, David sent a messenger to bring her to his house, and David married her. Later she had a little boy.
But God saw everything. He was not happy about what David did.
* 11:1 1 Chronicles 20:1 * 11:21 Judges 9:53