How King David Sinned

David was a good king over the Israelites. He led his army in many victories over their enemies. He brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem and put it in a special tent there. He wanted to build a house for it, but God told him through the prophet Nathan that his son was the one who should build the house. One spring he sent the army to fight the Ammonite people at the city of Rabbah. But instead of leading the army himself he put his general Jacob in command. He stayed at Jerusalem himself. One afternoon he was walking on top of the flat roof of his large house. In the city he saw a beautiful woman taking a bath. David asked one of his servants who she was and he found out. "She is Bathsheba," he told David, "The wife of Uriah the Hittite." Now Uriah was in David's army. David sent a message to the woman to come to him. She came and he committed adultery with her.

Later she sent word to David that she was going to have a baby. David had Uriah sent home so that he would think that it was his baby. But Uriah would not go home. So David sent him back to fight at the city of Rabbah. And he sent a message to the general Jacob to put Uriah up in the front of the fight and then pull back so that he would be killed. Jacob did this, and Uriah was killed. Then David brought Bathsheba to his home and married her. But he already had several other wives; because in those days God had not said to marry only one wife. A son was born to David and Bathsheba, but God was not pleased with what David had done.

So God sent the prophet Nathan to David. Nathan told a story: "There was a rich man and a poor man who lived in the same town. The rich man had many cattle and sheep, but the poor man had only one lamb. It grew up in his home with his children. He would let it drink from a cup and hold it in his lap. It was like a daughter to him. Now the rich man had someone come to see him. He didn't want to kill any of his animals, so he took the poor mans lamb and cooked it for his guest." When David heard this, he said, "That man ought to die." Nathan said, "You are that man! Listen to what God says: I made you king over the Israelites. You have many wives. Why have you done this evil thing? You had Uriah killed in battle and you have taken his wife for yourself. As punishment your own family is going to bring trouble on you."

David said, "I have sinned against the Lord." Nathan said, "God has forgiven your sin. You will not die. But the child that has been born will die."

Later the child became very sick. David started praying to God to have the child get well. He stopped eating food and lay on the floor crying and praying. On the seventh day the child died. David's servants were afraid to tell him because they said, "If he acts like this when the child is sick, what will he do to hurt himself when he learns the child is dead?" But David saw them talking to each other, and he asked, "Is the child dead?" When they said "yes," he got up, took a bath, put on clean cloths, and went to worship God. Then he went home and ate some food. His servants were surprised and they asked him, "Why do you eat when the child is dead?" He said, "I cried and didn't eat while the child was still alive. But now that he is dead, why should I not eat? Can I bring him back to life? No, someday I will go to be with him, but he cannot come back to me."

After this David comforted his wife Bathsheba. She had another son and this child was named Solomon. He would grow up to become the next king of Israel.

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