David’s Sin. 1At the turn of the year,* the time when kings go to war, David sent out Joab along with his officers and all Israel, and they laid waste the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. David himself remained in Jerusalem.a 2One evening David rose from his bed and strolled about on the roof of the king’s house. From the roof he saw a woman bathing; she was very beautiful. 3David sent people to inquire about the woman and was told, “She is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam, and wife of Uriah the Hittite, Joab’s armor-bearer.”b 4Then David sent messengers and took her. When she came to him, he took her to bed, at a time when she was just purified after her period; and she returned to her house.c 5But the woman had become pregnant; she sent a message to inform David, “I am pregnant.”
6So David sent a message to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” Joab sent Uriah to David. 7And when he came, David asked him how Joab was, how the army was, and how the war was going, and Uriah answered that all was well. 8David then said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and bathe your feet.” Uriah left the king’s house, and a portion from the king’s table was sent after him. 9But Uriah slept at the entrance of the king’s house with the other officers of his lord, and did not go down to his own house. 10David was told, “Uriah has not gone down to his house.” So he said to Uriah, “Have you not come from a journey? Why, then, did you not go down to your house?” 11Uriah answered David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my lord Joab and my lord’s servants are encamped in the open field. Can I go home to eat and to drink and to sleep with my wife? As the LORD lives and as you live, I will do no such thing.”d 12Then David said to Uriah, “Stay here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day. On the following day, 13David summoned him, and he ate and drank with David, who got him drunk. But in the evening he went out to sleep on his bed among his lord’s servants, and did not go down to his house. 14The next morning David wrote a letter to Joab which he sent by Uriah. 15This is what he wrote in the letter: “Place Uriah up front, where the fighting is fierce. Then pull back and leave him to be struck down dead.” 16So while Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew the defenders were strong. 17When the men of the city made a sortie against Joab, some officers of David’s army fell, and Uriah the Hittite also died.
18Then Joab sent David a report of all the details of the battle, 19instructing the messenger, “When you have finished giving the king all the details of the battle, 20the king may become angry and say to you: ‘Why did you go near the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall above? 21Who killed Abimelech, son of Jerubbaal? Was it not a woman who threw a millstone down on him from the wall above, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you go near the wall?’ Then you in turn are to say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead.’”e 22The messenger set out, and on his arrival he reported to David everything Joab had sent him to tell.* 23He told David: “The men had the advantage over us and came out into the open against us, but we pushed them back to the entrance of the city gate. 24Then the archers shot at your servants from the wall above, and some of the king’s servants died; and your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead.” 25David said to the messenger: “This is what you shall say to Joab: ‘Do not let this be a great evil in your sight, for the sword devours now here and now there. Strengthen your attack on the city and destroy it.’ Encourage him.”
26When the wife of Uriah heard that her husband had died, she mourned her lord. 27But once the mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her into his house. She became his wife and bore him a son. But in the sight of the LORD what David had done was evil.
* [11:1] At the turn of the year: in the spring.
* [11:22–24] In these verses the Greek text has David, angry with Joab, repeat exactly the questions Joab had foreseen in vv. 20–21. In v. 24 of our oldest Greek text, the messenger specifies that about eighteen men were killed. The Greek is considerably longer than the transmitted Hebrew text, suggesting that the Hebrew may have lost some sentences.
a. [11:1] 2 Sm 10:7; 1 Chr 20:1.
b. [11:3] 2 Sm 23:39.