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 dead also.'|
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 wife.'|
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 harm!|
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.|