2 Samuel 11:1
In the spring, at the time when kings march out to war, David sent out Joab and his servants with the whole army of Israel. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah, but David remained in Jerusalem.
A Summons to Battle2 Samuel 11:1
Glad Response to the Battle Call2 Samuel 11:1
The Divine Presence an IncentiveSpurgeon, Charles Haddon2 Samuel 11:1
The End of the Old Year: a Help to Begin the New OneT. E. Thoresby.2 Samuel 11:1
The Flight of TimeQuiver.2 Samuel 11:1
David's Fall into SinB. Dale 2 Samuel 11:1-5

2 Samuel 11:1-5. - (THE KING'S PALACE.)
But David tarried still at Jerusalem (ver. 1; 1 Chronicles 20:1).

1. He was about fifty years of age; had been reigning in Jerusalem upwards of twelve years; dwelt in a stately palace on Mount Zion; and possessed numerous sons and daughters, a splendid court and a powerful army. He had been "preserved whithersoever he went," subdued his enemies, and returned in triumph. His natural gifts and fervent piety (Psalm 24:4; Psalm 101:7) were even more extraordinary than his material prosperity; and he now stood on the pinnacle of human greatness and glory.

2. "We might well wish, in our human fashion, that, as he stood at this elevation, he had closed a life hitherto (as far as was possible before Christianity) almost entirely spotless, and bequeathed to posterity a wholly unclouded memory, and the purest type of true royalty. But the ascent of the dizzy height is always attended by the possibility of a slip and then of a headlong fall" (Ewald).

3. "Rising from the couch where he had indulged in his noonday siesta to an undue length, David forthwith ascended to the roof of his house. So ambition commonly follows excess; nor do they whom the contagion of luxury once corrupts readily seek after moderate and lowly ways. But that ascent of David, alas! was a prelude to his deplorable downfall. For he ascended only that he might fall, beholding thence, as from a watchtower, Bathsheba the wife of Uriah, and immediately becoming passionately enamoured of her" (J. Doughty, 'Analecta Sacra:' 1658).

4. It was the turning point of his career, which was henceforth marked by a long series of calamities. And "it is sad to think that the cup of life, alter being filled for him by God and made pure and sweet by previous suffering and self-restraint, should have been recklessly poisoned by his own hand" (Binney).

"His steps were turn'd into deceitful ways:
Following false images of good, that make
No promise perfect."

(Dante.) His fall occurred (serving as an instructive warning to others) -

I. AT A SEASON OF SLOTHFUL RELAXATION. In the spring of the year, "when kings go forth to war," instead of going forth with his army to complete the subjugation of Ammon, "David sent Joab," etc., and abode in Jerusalem. Formerly, when "the Lord had given him rest" (2 Samuel 7:1), he spent his leisure in a worthy manner, and displayed an ardent and even excessive zeal; but now, in choosing rest for himself, he showed a lack of zeal, and his unhappy choice was followed by disastrous consequences. "His actual fall into sin seems to have begun by the abdication of his functions as captain of Israel" (Maclaren); which was itself the effect of "previous relaxation of the girded loins and negligence of the untrimmed lamp." Inactivity (voluntarily chosen, without adequate reason, and regardless of opportunities of useful service) is commonly:

1. Induced by a course of successful enterprise, and the attainment of great prosperity. If adversity has slain its thousands, prosperity has slain its tens of thousands. "When his pillow was the rock and his curtain the cave; when his sword, under Providence, procured him his daily bread from the foes of his country, and the means of existence formed the object and pursuit of life, - he was pious and immovable; he must have been active or he must have resigned his life. But now the case was widely different. He had not only all the necessaries, but all the luxuries which the most refined voluptuousness could devise, attending in rich profusion around him. He had certainly the duty of his charge to impress its importance on his mind; but then he had the opportunity of neglecting it, and even David, it appears, was not proof against the solicitations of this opportunity" (Thompson, 'Davidica').

2. Indicative of a state of spiritual declension.

(1) Of a gradual decay of faith and neglect of watchfulness and prayer, and so leaving his hold of God;

(2) of a defective sense of responsibility to God;

(3) of pride and security, "mortal's chief enemy," so that the self-denying labours and hardships of the battlefield seemed no longer necessary; and

(4) of undue love of ease and sensuous pleasure, fostered in David's case by polygamy. "The sense of delicacy and chastity, which has such a purifying and preserving influence on the life, could not flourish side by side with the polygamy in which he permitted himself" (W.M. Taylor). The majestic forest tree falling suddenly beneath the blast excites our surprise; but, on examination, it will be found to have been undergoing at heart a gradual process of decay, which at length brought the giant to the ground.

3. Conducive to the indulgence of sinful propensities; exposing to the peril of falling into "the snare of the devil." Want of proper occupation tends to develop the hidden evil of the heart. "Standing waters gather filth" (Matthew Henry). "Idle hours bring forth idle thoughts, and idle thoughts are nothing but dry kindling wood that waits only for a spark to be suddenly ablaze" (Disselhoff). "The industrious man hath no leisure to sin; the idle hath no leisure or power to avoid sin" (Hall). David "may have been quite unconscious of bad habits of mind; but they must have been there growing in secret. The tyrannous self-will, which is too often developed by long successes and command; the unscrupulous craft, which is too often developed by long adversity and the necessity of sustaining one's self in a difficult position; - these must have been there. But even they could not have led David to do the deed he did had there not been in him likewise that fearful moral weakness which comes from long indulgence of the passions - a weakness which is reckless of conscience, of public opinion, and of danger either to earthly welfare or everlasting salvation" (C. Kingsley). "This single act can only be regarded as the expression of his whole disposition of mind" (Hengstenberg).

II. UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF STRONG TEMPTATION; or the desire of self-gratification. For "each man is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust [desire], and enticed," etc. (James 1:13-15). "Lust is egoistic desire under the incitement of impulse. But the action is not yet performed; it still lies with the man to combat the lust, or by the free choice of his will to yield himself to it" (Martensen, 'Christian Ethics'). It:

1. Arises in most cases from impressions made upon the senses by external objects. "And it came to pass in an eventide," etc. (ver. 2). The eye is the most common inlet of temptation. "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food," etc. (Genesis 3:6). Achan first saw, then coveted and took (Joshua 7:21). "David at this time had forgotten the prayer, 'Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity.' We see, therefore, how dangerous a thing it is to suffer the eyes to wander. Job made a covenant with his eyes" (Wilier). "They who abuse the eye deserve to have the inward eye darkened" (Gregory).

2. Derives its force from various circumstances; such as

(1) the unexpected, sudden, and deceitful manner of its occurrence;

(2) the power and opportunity of its gratification;

(3) the temperament, predisposition, and besetting sins of its subject;

(4) the entertainment of it in the fancy, which forms false images of good, and invests them with a perilous fascination; and

(5) the delay of endeavour to overcome it, wherein there always lies peculiar and most imminent danger (Genesis 39:9).

3. Becomes by such means an absorbing passion (Matthew 6:28, 29); blinding the mental vision, perverting the moral judgment, and influencing (though not absolutely compelling) the choice of the personal will, by which sin comes into actual existence. "There is a black spot, though it be no bigger than a bean's eye, in every soul, which, if once set a-working, will overcloud the whole man in darkness, and something very like madness, and will hurry him into the night of destruction" (Arabic saying). To escape this fatal issue there is need, not merely of resolute resistance and fervent prayer, but also of instant flight. "The temptation of the flesh is overcome and impure passion mortified by flight, and not by fighting face to face. He then who flies fastest and furthest is most sure of victory. Once more I say to thee, Fly! for thou art as stubble. Therefore fly, fly, if indeed thou wouldest not be overtaken, led captive, and slain!" (Scupoli).

III. AGAINST THE RESTRAINTS OF RECOGNIZED OBLIGATION. "And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba," etc.? (ver. 3). Whilst he knew not who she was, there might be at least some excuse (considering the position of an Oriental monarch, and the common practices of the age) for his passion (2 Samuel 3:1-5); but now that he was informed that she was "the wife of Uriah," the claims of a higher law than his own inclination must have risen up distinctly before him; and he had to choose between renouncing his evil desire or breaking through the numerous restraints placed in his path. These restraints are:

1. Set up by the express commandments of the Divine Law, which says, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife;" "Thou shalt not commit adultery;" "Thou shalt not steal" (2 Samuel 12:4-6).

2. Strengthened by the special responsibilities of peculiar position and relationship; such as David held, as King of Israel, under Jehovah, with respect to his subjects, and more particularly his faithful servant Uriah.

3. Enforced by the terrible consequences threatened against transgressors (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 28:15). It is nevertheless possible to burst through all such restraints. And in the exercise of his freedom and the abuse of his power, David set them at nought, and "despised the commandment of the Lord" (2 Samuel 12:9). "When lust has conceived, every restraint generally increases its vehemence, the thoughts of future consequences and the consideration of the presence, purity, and justice of God are excluded; his Law and authority are disregarded; faith and fear and love are out of exercise; and the enhanced imagination of the satisfaction to be found in indulgence possesses and engrosses the soul" (Scott).

IV. WITH THE PERSISTENCY OF WILFUL PRESUMPTION. "And David sent messengers, and took her," etc. (vers. 4, 5). Regarding himself as a special favourite of Heaven, he perhaps imagined (as others have done) that he might leave the ways of lowly obedience and self-denial, and go whithersoever he pleased, and yet be preserved from harm (Deuteronomy 29:19; Psalm 19:13; Matthew 4:6); and under this delusion he persisted in his purpose, and fell from his moral elevation into the depths of sin and to the verge of destruction. "How are the mighty fallen!" By such persistency:

1. The sinful purpose of the heart is confirmed and completed in outward action.

2. The guilt incurred is aggravated.

3. The natural consequences of sin become more serious and extensive; and, in some respects, they cannot possibly be averted (ch. 12:11-14).


1. No man, however holy, is exempt from the liability of falling into sin. "Be not highminded, but fear;" "Let him that thinketh he standeth," etc. "If such a strong and tall cedar as David fall, how ought weaker Christians to fear and to pray that God would deliver them from temptation!" (Guild).

2. Material prosperity and outward show are frequently associated with moral failure and secret iniquity. Whilst the conquest of Rabbah went forward, David became the victim of his own unfaithfulness.

3. The fall of men into sin is to be attributed to themselves - their voluntary choice of evil; and not to their circumstances, or constitution, or the withholding from them of the help of God. "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God," etc.

4. It is of unspeakable importance to maintain the exercise of the spiritual life in full vigour, and to watch against the first approach of evil. "The narrow way has precipices on both sides; let us walk it awake and watchful, for we are not more exact than David, who by a moment's neglect was precipitated into the very gulf of sin" (Chrysostom).

5. By the record of the sins of good men (1 Samuel 21:2), the truth and worth of the Word of God are plainly shown. "If such a story does not give one a view of the unfathomable depths of sin and of its power, he will never learn what sin is" (Schmid).

6. In the whole course of history One alone has appeared "without sin;" he was tempted and overcame, and he is the Succourer of them that are tempted. - D.

The year was expired.
I. THE END OF THE YEAR PRESENTS A FIT OPPORTUNITY TO ENQUIRE HOW WE REGARD THE DIVINE GOVERNMENT. God governs the world according to natural and moral laws, through the medium of the Gospel, and by the arrangements of His providence. Let us try ourselves in relation to each.

1. Natural law, as seen in the works of His hands. That is not religion, but fanaticism, which pours contempt on these works. Every man should seek them out, and find pleasure in them. His eternal power and Godhead are declared thereby. The whole year, by night and by day, has been teaching you; "day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge." If you have been an attentive student of these great works, you have bowed with lowlier reverence at His footstool, confessing, "In wisdom hast Thou made them all." If you have not, then go and learn with the little child.

2. Moral law. There was a law given from Sinai which has since been repealed; but that which substantially is understood by the moral law never has been, and never can be, abrogated. It is the law of this and all other worlds — the law for angels and men — the law of love. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and soul, and strength; and thy neighbour as thyself."

3. The Gospel. First, the Gospel is free. You need nothing to qualify you to receive its blessings; you may receive them freely, as you are. "All things are ready." The second thing is, the Gospel is full. You need nothing else. "My God shall supply all your need out of His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

4. God governs the world by the arrangements of His providence. These try and determine the temper of our mind very decidedly.

5. But there are other arrangements of God's providence which surround us as individuals, and which try us more accurately.


1. If we are going to heaven, we are nearer there than ever; and this night reminds us how very soon we shall pass the portals of glory. Are we better prepared than at the commencement of the sear for the employment of heaven?

2. Has the experience of the year taught us our weakness and worthlessness, and. humbled us to repentance? "Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent." "Unprofitable servants!"

3. Are we distinctly conscious of pardon for the past?

4. Are we sure there is within us a disposition opposed to all sin? Can we say with the holy Mr. Corbett, "Upon the best judgment that I can make of the nature of sin, and the frame of my own heart, and course of life, I know no sin lying upon me which doth not consist with habitual repentance, and with the hatred of sin, and with an unfeigned consent that God should be my Saviour and Sanctifier, and with the loving of God above all."

5. Has the year left us earnestly and sinerely desiring the accomplishment of all good in us and by us?


1. As to our devotional habits.

2. As to our walking with God.

3. As to our work. Are all our talents employed for God? "Occupy till I come." "The time is short." Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do — do it."

4. As to our amusements. "Use no recreation or delight of sense, but thou canst at that very time desire of God, that it may be sanctified to spiritual ends."


1. Look forward to death.

2. Anticipate the coming of the Lord and the future judgment.

(T. E. Thoresby.)

When Michael Faraday, the celebrated man of science, was a poor apprentice, he used every spare moment for making experiments. In a letter to a boy friend, after telling one of these experiments, he added: "Time is all I require. Oh, that I could purchase at a cheap rate some of our modern gents' spare hours — nay, days! I think it would be a-good bargain, both for them and for me." The youth had learned the first secret of success — not to waste time; not to throw it away on useless persons or useless pursuits. The frivolous think of nothing but pastimes and modes of "killing time;" but a day will come to even the most frivolous when they will value time as much as our own impetuous Queen Elizabeth did when she exclaimed on her death-bed, "My kingdom for a moment."


The time when kings go forth to battle.
There seems to have been in the olden times, among the petty sovereigns of the East, regular seasons for warfare; perhaps they marched forth in the spring, when the grass would afford food for their horses, or possibly in the autumn, when the troops could forage upon the standing crops. These sovereigns of small territories were little better than the captains of hordes of robbers, and their revenues were rather derived from plunder than from legitimate taxation. We may thank God that we live in a happier era, for the miseries of nations were then beyond imagination. Desolating as war now is, its evils are comparatively little compared with those days of perpetual plunder. But I am not about to talk of kings. I must transfer the text to some other and more practical use. There is a time in our hearts when the inner warfare rages with unusual violence. At certain seasons our corruptions break forth with extreme violence; and if for awhile they appear to have formed a truce with us, or to have lost their power, we suddenly find them full of vigour, fierce, and terrible; and hard will be the struggle for us, by prayer and holy watchfulness, to keep ourselves from becoming slaves to our inward enemies. I thought of using the text in reference to Christian activities. There are times when Christians, all of whom are kings unto God, should go forth to battle in a special sense.

I. THE TIME FOR THE KINGS TO GO FORTH TO BATTLE IS COME. The special time for Christian activities is just now. In some senses nay, in the highest sense, believers ought to be always active. There should never be an idle day, or a wasted hour, or even a barren moment to a servant of God.

1. The time for kings to go forth to battle will be always when the king's troops are fit for battle; I mean, the time for spiritual work is when the worker is especially fit for it.

2. Another season of especial work should be, when discerning Christian men feel the motions of the Spirit of God calling them to unusual service. "When thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, then thou shalt bestir thyself," said God to David, and then David did bestir himself, and the Philistines were smitten. Do you not, some of you, hear the sound of the going in the tops of the mulberry trees?

3. One other mark of the time for kings to go forth to battle is surely when the Lord Himself works. The presence of good men with us is encouraging, but oh, the presence of the God of good men should much more stimulate us. Mahomet in one of his first famous battles, stimulated his soldiers to the fight by declaring that he could hear the neighing of the horses of the angels as they rode to the conflict to win the victory for the faithful. We speak not so, but surely the horses of fire and the chariots of fire are round about the faithful servant of God, and faith's discerning eye can see the God of providence moving heaven and earth to help his church, if his church will but arise from the dust and put on her beautiful garments, and resolve to conquer in her Master's name.

II. Since the time for battle has come, IT BEHOVES EVERY SOLDIER NOW TO GO TO THE WARS.

1. All believers belong to Christ. You are His bond servants, you bear in your bodies His brand, the marks of the Lord Christ, for "ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price,"

2. I will add, all of you believers love Christ. Your belonging to Him has wrought in you a true affection for Him.

3. Moreover, let me remind you that there is strength promised for each of you. "As thy days, so shall thy strength be." Shall I say that there is work for all of us to do which lies very close to hand? The preacher will never be without his. God will take care to furnish all His servants with sufficiency of work. I remember to have read in Cotton Mather's book upon plans of usefulness, that he remarks that sometimes at the expense of a shilling, under God's blessing, a soul has been converted. Such books as Alleyne's "Alarm," Baxter's "Call to the Unconverted," and Doddridge's "Rise and Progress," have wrought wonders in years gone by; and at this hour you may have for a penny or less, truths so set forth as to ensure the reader's attention. Mr. Cecil says he had to be very grateful to God for his mother, not so much because she pressed him to read good books, as that she took care to put good books where he was likely to take them up.


1. The first is our King.

2. Remember next the banner under which we fight — the banner of the truth, of the atoning blood.

3. Remember, next, another word — the captives whom it is your hope by the Holy Spirit's power to redeem from the slavery of sin. How our soldiers of the Indian mutiny advanced like lions against the mutineers when they remembered Cawnpore and all the cruelties to which their brethren had been exposed! How unweariedly they marched, how sternly they fought when they were within sight of the foe! After this sort should we fight with those who have enslaved and injured our brethren.

4. Remember, again, and this word ought to stimulate us to fight well, the enemy, the black and cruel enemy.

5. Yet one more encouragement, and that is our reward. "They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever."


1. It is quite certain that God has an elect people still upon the earth; then see ye not that it is hopeful work to find out these elect ones by the preaching of the word?

2. Remember, also, that God has never failed a true worker yet.

3. Remember, too, that if you did not see any souls converted, yet God would he glorified by your exaltation of Christ, and your talking of Christ, and your earnest prayers and tears for the good of others.


( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Even the most disagreeable duty, if done in love, may be a means of blessing. When we come really to believe this great truth we shall seek for no other reward for our service than Christ's glad presence at the goal. We shall go to every task with eager joy, because Christ will await us in it. We shall grow to be like that English soldier in India. The doctor was inspecting the troops to see who were fit to join in the attack of Delhi, and passed by this youth, who looked sick. "Don't say I am unfit for duty," exclaimed the young hero; "it's only a touch of fever, and the sound of the bugle will make me well." Such is the ardour with which we Christians should leap forward at Christ's summons.

"As soldiers fight best in their general's presence, and scholars ply their books most attentively when under their master's eye, so, by living always in the sight of God, we are the more studious to please him. The oftener we consider the Lord, the more we see that no service can be holy enough or good enough for such a God as He is." This needs no comment, but it needs to be realised. See, soldier of the cross, the eye of the Captain of our salvation is fixed upon thee! Jesus cries,, "I know thy works." Will not this incite thee to valorous deeds, and make heroes of them? If not, what will?

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Abimelech, Ammonites, Bathsheba, David, Eliam, Jerubbaal, Jerubbesheth, Joab, Uriah, Urijah
Jerusalem, Rabbah, Thebez
Abode, Ammon, Ammonites, Army, Battle, Bene-ammon, Besieged, David, Destroy, Destroyed, Dwelling, Expired, Forth, Israelite, Jerusalem, Joab, Jo'ab, Kings, King's, Laid, Lay, Messengers, Pass, Position, Rabbah, Ravaged, Return, Revolution, Servants, Shutting, Siege, Sons, Spring, Stayed, Tarried, War, Waste
1. While Joab besieges Rabbah, David commits adultery with Bathsheba
6. Uriah, sent for by David to cover the adultery, would not go home.
14. He carries to Joab the letter of his death
18. Joab sends the news thereof to David
26. David takes Bathsheba as his wife

Dictionary of Bible Themes
2 Samuel 11:1

     4970   seasons, of year
     5529   sieges
     5716   middle age
     7240   Jerusalem, history

2 Samuel 11:1-4

     6241   seduction
     6242   adultery
     6710   privileges

2 Samuel 11:1-5

     5386   leisure, nature of

2 Samuel 11:1-17

     5040   murder

2 Samuel 11:1-27

     5714   men

David's Fall 2Sam 11:27

John Newton—Olney Hymns

How those are to be Admonished with whom Everything Succeeds According to their Wish, and those with whom Nothing Does.
(Admonition 27.) Differently to be admonished are those who prosper in what they desire in temporal matters, and those who covet indeed the things that are of this world, but yet are wearied with the labour of adversity. For those who prosper in what they desire in temporal matters are to be admonished, when all things answer to their wishes, lest, through fixing their heart on what is given, they neglect to seek the giver; lest they love their pilgrimage instead of their country; lest they turn
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

The Sixth Commandment
Thou shalt not kill.' Exod 20: 13. In this commandment is a sin forbidden, which is murder, Thou shalt not kill,' and a duty implied, which is, to preserve our own life, and the life of others. The sin forbidden is murder: Thou shalt not kill.' Here two things are to be understood, the not injuring another, nor ourselves. I. The not injuring another. [1] We must not injure another in his name. A good name is a precious balsam.' It is a great cruelty to murder a man in his name. We injure others in
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

Alike from the literary and the historical point of view, the book[1] of Samuel stands midway between the book of Judges and the book of Kings. As we have already seen, the Deuteronomic book of Judges in all probability ran into Samuel and ended in ch. xii.; while the story of David, begun in Samuel, embraces the first two chapters of the first book of Kings. The book of Samuel is not very happily named, as much of it is devoted to Saul and the greater part to David; yet it is not altogether inappropriate,
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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