Bathsheba the Bathing Beauty (2 Samuel 11-12)

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Service Notes

  • Order of Service: Evening Prayer (HS98) / Responsive Prayer 2
  • Hymns: LSB #357, 343

Theme Verse

When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband. And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD. (2 Samuel 11:26-27)

Sermon Text

The story of David and Bathsheba is one of the favorites for confirmands. Not for the sexual content. For the fact that all Ten Commandments are blatantly broken in this story. But this story also gives us the birth of Solomon.[1] The author of three books of the Bible. The wisest and richest king to ever live.[2] This story also gives us the fourth, and most controversial woman, in Jesus' genealogy. She is so controversial, Matthew doesn't even give her name. Calls her “the wife of Uriah.”[3] No matter how many Uriah's anyone knew, everyone knew Bathsheba as “the [only] wife of Uriah.” God takes this controversial scenario and makes it work for your good.”[4] Only divine intervention and direction could cause something good to come out of such great evil. It is a story that is unusual for the Christmas season, but it is in the heart of the season.

Everything begins seemingly innocent enough. "In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and beseiged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem."[5] While he was supposed to be leading his troops into battle, David stayed behind. Little did he know that this departure from kingly etiquette, and breaking of the Fourth Commandment, would cause such great harm.

One late afternoon, David was out taking a walk on his roof.[6] Being the king's house, its roof was the highest in all Jerusalem. While he was walking around the roof, surveying the capital city of his kingdom, he happened to see into the courtyard of a neighboring house. His gaze lingered at that house. The house of one of his soldiers. The house where a beautiful woman was bathing. Cleansing herself after her monthly cycle.[7] A woman who would soon find out that she had become the center of the universe for the King of Israel.

A little walk conceived a lustful, longing gaze. That gaze led to a desire to have this bathing beauty. This desire wasn't quenched when he found out she was married. This knowledge only intensified his desire for her. She became all he could think about. The center of his universe. David's living, breathing idol. David was obsessed with her. The desire conceived and gave birth to the sin of adultery. The sin grew into the death of the son conceived by their adultery.[8]

Now, Bathsheba's not without blame in this account. Certainly she isn't to blame because she took a bath. Under Levitical law, a woman is unclean for two weeks after beginning her monthly period.[9] She didn't know that the king would be watching her. Her blame comes as David's servants knocked on her door and she immediately, and without a second thought, obeyed the king.

But they were unclean. And long before David and Bathsheba had sex. Not only because of original sin but the actual sins they committed. David and Bathsheba both coveted their neighbor's spouse. Bathsheba was married to a high-ranking officer in the Israelite army. David was married to at least two women at that point. David's longing gaze at the bathing beauty led him to covet. David's message through his messengers caused Bathsheba to covet the king who had shown interest in her. David's mystique as king led Bathsheba to readily do whatever the king asked of her.

God punished David and Bathsheba's sins through the death of their firstborn son.[10] God also provided salvation through their union. The birth of their second son Solomon. Solomon would reign after David. The Savior would come through Solomon. Nathan the prophet confronted David about his sin and urged him to repent.[11] When David realized the magnitude of his sin, Nathan pronounced Absolution upon him: "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die."[12] God put away David's sin because he repented. How is that? How can God just overlook David and Bathsheba's horrible sins? Jesus.

Jesus, the firstborn Son of the Father, came into the world to save sinners who repent. He did this for those who walked alongside him throughout His ministry in the first century. He did this for those who were before Him, like David and Bathsheba. He does this for those who live long after His ascension into Heaven, like you and me. David and Bathsheba blatantly broke all Ten Commandments. Jesus perfectly fulfilled all Ten Commandments. David and Bathsheba coveted each other. Jesus coveted nothing. He counted everything as nothing.[13] He made Himself nothing, taking on the form of a little baby, and lived a perfect life so that He could take away your sins.[14] He was submissive and obedient in everything so that He might cover your haughtiness and your self-exaltation. He died and suffered the torments of Hell so that you might live forever in the eternal bliss of Heaven.

The little baby lying in the manger lay there for David and Bathsheba. The same David in whose city He was born.[15] The shepherd who became king was saved by a King who became a shepherd.[16]

Little baby Jesus didn't just die for David and Bathsheba. He died for their son whom God had refused entrance into His covenant people.[17] Jesus died for those who never had a chance because of their ancestry. Just like you and me. Probably not very many drops of Jewish blood in this congregation. We're all Gentiles. But Jesus died for you as well. Even those who were supposed to be exterminated according to His divine command when Israel conquered the Promised Land. But they failed in their mission. They grew complacent. They refused to listen to God's command. Jesus died for them as well. He died to give unholy sinners God's bliss and happiness.

God's bliss and happiness aren't fleeting moments. God's bliss and happiness are the knowledge of knowing Jesus Christ and believing that everything He did in His life, death and resurrection was for you. God's bliss and happiness are yours because Jesus came into the world through David and Bathsheba's line so that you might hear the same words they heard: "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die."[18] As we come to the celebration of our Lord's birth, rejoice in the fact that your sin has been put away. Rejoice that you shall not die. Rejoice that you will spend eternity with your Savior. Amen.


  1. 2 Samuel 12:25
  2. 1 Kings 3:12-13
  3. Matthew 1:6
  4. Romans 8:28
  5. 2 Samuel 11:1
  6. 2 Samuel 11:2
  7. 2 Samuel 11:4
  8. James 1:15; 2 Samuel 12:14
  9. Leviticus 12:5
  10. 2 Samuel 12:14
  11. 2 Samuel 12:1-6
  12. 2 Samuel 12:13
  13. cf. Philippians 3:8
  14. Philippians 2:7
  15. Luke 2:4-7; Matthew 2:5-6; Micah 5:2
  16. 1 Peter 2:21-25
  17. 2 Samuel 12:18
  18. 2 Samuel 12:13