A Rich Man Who Was A Thief
One evening, while Joab was besieging Rabbath Ammon, David rose from his
bed and walked upon the roof of the royal palace. From the roof he saw a
woman bathing; and she was very beautiful. And David sent to ask about
the woman; and some one said, "Is not this Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah
the Hittite?" Then David sent messengers to bring her; and she came to
him, but later returned to her home.
Then David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by Uriah. In the letter,
he said, "Place Uriah in the front line where there is the fiercest
fighting, then draw back from behind him, that he may be struck down and
die." So Joab, in posting guards over the city, sent Uriah to the place
where he knew there were brave men. When the men of the city went out to
fight against Joab, some of the soldiers of David fell, and Uriah the
Hittite was killed.
Then Joab sent to tell David all about the war, and he gave this command
to the messenger: "If, after you have finished telling the ruler all
about the war, he is angry and says to you, 'Why did you go so near to
the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall?
Who struck down Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal? Did not a woman cast an
upper millstone upon him from the wall, so that he died at Thebez? Why
did you go near the wall?' then say, 'Your servant Uriah the Hittite is
So the messenger of Joab went to Jerusalem and told David all that Joab
commanded him. Then David said to the messenger, "Say to Joab, 'Let not
this thing trouble you, for the sword takes one and then another. Go on
fighting against the city and capture it,' and encourage him."
When Bathsheba heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for
him as was the custom. When the mourning was over, David sent for her,
and she became his wife and she had a son.
What David had done displeased Jehovah and he sent the prophet Nathan to
David. Nathan went to him and said, "There were two men in one city, the
one rich and the other poor. The rich man had many flocks and herds; but
the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb which he had bought.
He fed it, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat
of his own small supply of food and drink out of his own cup, and it lay
in his bosom and was like a daughter to him.
"Now a traveller came to the rich man; and he spared his own flock and
did not take an animal from it nor from his own herd to make ready for
the traveller who had come to him, but took the poor man's lamb and
prepared it for the guest who had come."
Then David was very angry, and he said to Nathan, "As surely as Jehovah
lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; he shall repay seven
times the value of the lamb, because he showed no pity."
Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Jehovah the God of Israel
declares: 'I made you ruler over Israel and I delivered you out of the
hand of Saul. I gave you your master's house and your master's wives to
be your own, and I gave you the nations of Israel and Judah. If that
were too little, I would add as much again. Why have you despised
Jehovah by doing that which is wrong in his sight? You have struck down
Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your
wife, and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now,
therefore, the sword shall never cease to smite your family, because you
have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your
David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against Jehovah!" Then Nathan said
to David, "Jehovah has also put away your sin so that you shall not die.
Yet, because by this deed you have shown contempt for Jehovah, the child
that is born shall surely die." Then Nathan went to his house.
And Jehovah smote Bathsheba's child so that it fell sick. David prayed
to God for the child, and ate no food but went in and lay all night in
sackcloth upon the earth. The older men in his house stood over him to
raise him up from the earth; but he would not rise nor eat with them.
When on the seventh day the child died, the servants of David were
afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, "While the
child was yet alive, we spoke to him and he paid no attention to our
voice. How can we tell him that the child is dead, for he will do some
But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, he knew
that the child was dead, and said to his servants, "Is the child dead?"
They replied, "He is dead." Then David rose from the earth, washed and
put oil on himself, changed his clothes, and went into the temple of
Jehovah and worshipped. After that he went to his own house; and he
asked for bread, and when they set it before him, he ate.
His servants said to him, "What is this you have done? You ate no food
and cried for the child while it was alive, but when the child died, you
rose and ate bread." He replied, "While the child was yet alive, I ate
no food and cried aloud, for I said, 'Who knows whether Jehovah will
have mercy, so that the child will live?' But now that he is dead, why
should I eat no food? Can I bring him back? I am going to him, but he
will not come back to me."
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