The Anatomy of David's Affair
“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin…” (James 1:14-15a ESV)
“And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said ‘Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’- (2 Sam 11:3)The moment David saw the beautiful Bathsheba and chose to behold her for too long, he (as in the words of Jesus) “had already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt 5:28). David had already sinned. He had the option to repent of it right there, confess it to God and to turn away (perhaps literally) from his sin. The woman David had seen piqued his interest, so he sent some people to go find out about her. They told David she was Uriah the Hittite’s wife. Uriah the Hittite was no stranger to David, in fact Uriah was one of the top thirty men in all of David’s army (1 Chr 11:41)!
The identification of Bathsheba as Uriah’s wife wasn’t something that David could just brush off. David would have had a personal relationship with Uriah and would have known him well (this is evidenced by David’s later meeting with Uriah). Despite David having heard this was the wife of one of his best soldiers, he still went ahead with his sin. Ironically, Bathsheba was bathing as part of the ritual cleansing after a woman underwent her menstruation period (2 Sam 11:4a, Lev 15:19-23). A woman performing a cleansing ritual for both religious (honoring God) and cultural (pleasing others) reasons, was the object of David’s unclean desires.
“So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her”- 2 Sam 11:4.David did not have to continue the lust he had began in his heart. He lusted after Bathsheba, asked of her and then was given another opportunity to repent. David was so set in his lust, he ignored sense that would tell him not to have an affair, especially with the wife of one his best men. We don’t know whether or not Bathsheba consented to this or if she did this out of fear. The text here focuses on David’s actions, it has little concern as to what Bathsheba did (only how it affected her). David is the subject, while Bathsheba is the direct object here. This is chiefly ascribed as David’s sin, as the focus of the Book of Samuel was on David.
“And the woman conceived and she sent and told David, ‘I am pregnant’”- 2 Sam 11:5.After it was all said and done, David sent Bathsheba home. David acted as if nothing had happened. Sending her home was as if David was sending the consequences of his actions away from his life. Then he received word, she was pregnant. David’s actions weren’t going to go away with a walk home and pretending nothing occurred.
So what made up David’s affair? He desired and lusted after Bathsheba (which crept in while he was idle at home). The adultery of his heart progressed into actionable curiosity. Finally, David had her brought into the bedroom, David committed the act, then he sent her home as if nothing happened. David’s affair consisted of intentional, willful choices throughout the entire process. At any given point he had the opportunity to stop and repent, but he chose to keep going.
Don’t let sin catch you off guard, but remember- you can always walk away before it's too late.