The following commentary covers Chapters 11, 12, and 13.
great sin and its consequences
The history of David and
the wife of Uriah follows. David is no longer acting by
faith in God's service. When the time comes at which
kings go forth to war, he stays at home at his ease, and
sends others in his place to fight Jehovah's battles. At
ease and in indolence he falls readily into sin, as was
the case when he sought for rest among the Philistines.
He was no longer standing by faith.
The nearer David was to
God, the more ineffectual were his attempts to conceal
his sin. Given up to himself for the time in chastisement,
he adds a second transgression to the first; he completes
it, and enjoys its fruit, now that the removal of every
obstacle gives a semblance of lawfulness to his course.
What a sad history! What unworthiness! He forgets his
position as king, and a king from God. Was it reigning in
righteousness to take advantage of his royal power to
oppress Uriah? He makes himself a slave to the wretched
Joab by rendering him accessory to his crime. How
degrading! How much happier was he, when, though hunted
like a partridge in the mountains, he had a living faith
and a good conscience! But who can shun the eye of God?
Accordingly God, who knows and loves him, fails not to
visit his sin.
This was a very great sin:
David committed it in secret; God punishes it in the
sight of all Israel. If David knew not how to glorify God,
norwhile reigning in His nameto maintain a
true testimony as to the nature of God's kingdom; if he
had on the contrary falsified its character, God Himself
will know how, in the sight of all men, to retrace its
features through the chastisement He will send upon the
man who has thus dishonoured Him, and who had taken away
the only witness to His government which God had set up
The work of the
This history shews us how
far sin can blind the heart, even while the moral
judgment continues sound; it shews also the power of the
faithful word of God. God manifests at the same time the
sovereignty of His grace; for although He chastened David
by the child's death, it is another son of Bathsheba who
was the elect of God, who became king and the head of the
royal family, the man of peace and blessing, the beloved
of Jehovah. David submits himself under the hand of God;
his heart bows under it in the depth of its affections.
He understands it better than his servants do, although
more guilty than they. He acts becomingly according to
spiritual intelligence. There was confidence in God and
intimacy with Him; and therefore David can lay open the
tenderest part of his heart to God, the part in which God
had wounded him; but when the will of God is manifest, he
We see here the evident
work of the Spirit. It is the same Spirit who wrought in
Jesus at Gethsemane, although both the occasion and the
extent of the suffering were not only different, but far
otherwise important; but the heart is opened to God
completely and the submission complete when God's will is
The sin of David has been
extremely great; but we can plainly see in him the
precious work of the Spirit. Confounded by the simple
faithfulness of Uriah, he cannot escape the hand of God!
David is pardoned, for he confesses his sin; but as to
His government, God shews Himself to be inflexible, and
while sparing the kingfor he deserved deathHe
announces to him that the sword shall never depart out of
his house. We have seen a similar case in Jacob's
unfaithfulness. David's punishment also answers to his
sins (compare vers. 10, 12 with the history of Absalom).
As to David's affections, the chastisement was in the
death of his child, a chastisement which he deeply felt;
and the public government of God was manifested in that
which was done, according to His word, before all Israel
and before the sun.
The judgment of
It is possible that the
children of Ammon deserved severe judgment, and that this
period was the time of their judgment; they were the
insolent enemies of the king whom God had set up, and who
had given proof of his kind feeling towards them. But as
to his personal condition, I know not whether David would
have treated his enemies in this manner when he was
walking in the narrow path of faith. As a type, this
judgment brings to mind the righteous judgment of the
Messiah, and the dreadful consequences of having despised
and insulted Him even in His glory. We learn from it also,
that when a people are ripe for judgment, God will bring
it upon them, even although others may seek to act in
The bitter and
sorrowful fruits of sin
When David had shewn that
he had forgotten God, and had failed in his entire
dependence upon Him, the evils in his house soon broke
out. He had added to the number of his wives. The root of
bitterness buds and brings forth bitter fruits.
Although in the main David's
heart was upright before God and deeply acknowledged Him,
yet, when once out of that path of humble dependence
which is produced by faith and the sense of God's
presence, he embittered the remainder of his days through
following his own will in the midst of his blessings.
There is sin in his house, wrath on account of the sin,
vacillation through partiality for Absalom. Joab appears
on the scene, as is the case every time that these
matters of intrigue and wickedness recur in the history.
This is all that need be said of the sorrowful story of
Amnon and Absalom.