David Sinned

 

2 Samuel 11:1-15
Psalm 14
Ephesians 3:14-21
John 6:1-21

 

This story in Samuel—David and Bathsheba—is as straightforward as any in the Bible. David sinned.

There have been many explanations for why David took the woman he did not even know. Around 400 AD, Jerome wrote, even in his own house, a man cannot use his eyes without dangerACCS It was not David’s fault; she should not have been bathing at that time. Others have argued through the centuries that Bathsheba set out to entice David so that she could become his queen.

There is also the argument that the phrase—she had just purified herself after her period JSB—was proof that she was properly baptized and ready to unite with David, the Christ figure. This idea was labored upon about a century after Jerome by Cassiodorus who wrote, Bathsheba manifested a type of the church or of human flesh and…David bore the mark of ChristACCS

In the age of #MeToo, I don’t think this will stand up. I also see nothing in the Bible to support any such notion. Even if Bathsheba wanted to be noticed, that does not excuse David’s actions. If you argue that it was her fault, then you permit me to rape any woman I want.

Some have said that she chose to bath on her roof rather than in hiding. Again, no. Most homes had no other place to bath. People lived on their roofs, ate on the roofs, had parties on the roofs. There is no hint that Bathsheba was at fault. Think about it; if she had not been more beautiful than all his wives, he would have stopped looking and gotten back to work.

For you women readers let me explain. Men instinctively rate the women they see on their sexual attractiveness. We may or may not think about it, but it is there. But here are two important points: most men are lucky to see one Bathsheba in a lifetime, and most are willing to forgo the lust they feel or share it with their wives. Yes, the divorce rates are high, but most men do not marry more beautiful women.

We do not know how many wives David had at that time, but it was significant. (12:8, I gave you your master’s house and possession of your master’s wives.) David sinned.

We should not blame him for taking some time off from the wars or for taking time to relax on his roof. He had duties besides being commander in chief. He had the right to relax.

David had no excuse, he sinned.

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

Yerushalayyim

 

2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10
Psalm 48
2 Corinthians 12:2-10
Mark 6:1-13

 

Jerusalem has existed as a city (or at least a village) for more than 5,000 years (3200 BC). That was about the time the first Egyptian dynasty began. Sumer had been around for a couple of thousand years at that point, but the Sumerians first dynasty did not form until about 2900 BC.

Today’s reading describes the beginning of the city’s history as the City of David, or God’s City, about 1,000 BC. The Bible is the only source explaining how the Hebrews captured the city from the Jebusites, or for that matter, the only source describing the Jebusites. We know that the earliest written record of the city calls it Rushalimum. The Jebusites called it Jebus.

David first renamed it Yerushalem and later, the duel form of Yerushalayyim. The Y is closest to the sound made in Hebrew, but Germans did much of the Biblical scholarship of the Nineteenth Century for whom the J is the proper Hebrew sound. Thus, we have Jerusalem, Jacob, and Jesus, rather than Yerusalem, Yacob, and Yesus.

Why Jebus? Why did David have to conquer the city and move his capital to that particular site? Politically, it was located between the southern and northern tribes. Physically, it was easier to defend from attacks. Religiously, it was believed to be the site of Abraham’s aborted sacrifice of his son Isaac.

Perhaps most important, it was neutral territory, neither Israel nor Judah. The text tells us why a neutral city is so important. David lived in Judah and was from Judah. The leaders of Israel visited him and pledged their loyalty. Only then did David move to Jebus.

The very issue that would split the Hebrews into North and South is already present in this reading. Starting with Saul, all the kings in Jerusalem through to the captivity were from the two southern tribes; Saul from Benjamin and the rest from Judah. The northerners did not trust them. Saul had given them reasons not to trust him, but David set their minds at ease.

Verse 5 tells us that David was only King of Judah for the first seven-plus years, then he became a dual king. In effect, north and south had already split.

We are so used to Jerusalem being the Holy City that we don’t even wonder why David moved from Hebron to the home of the Jebusites. We don’t ask, “did God tell David to do that?”

The question is important because Saul lost God’s favor because he went on his own; he did not listen to God. Did David do God’s will?

In 5:6, we read, David kept growing stronger, for the Lord, the God of Hosts, was with himJSB This verse tells us the answer, though not so directly. If we need more proof—David captured Jebus easily. David was in touch with God. He did not take action until he knew God wanted it.

Because God did not speak, or His words were not recorded, we can only guess His motivation. I think God’s motivations were in part the same as the ones listed for David. But God does not think short-term. He is all about the End Game. For reasons we cannot know, God chose Yerushalayyim as His city on earth. In some way, it represents God’s presence with us. It also represents the Holy City that will be our home after our time here is over.

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence