Passage: 2 Samuel 11, 12 (RSV)

2 Samuel 11

1In the spring of the year, the time when kings go forth to battle, David sent Jo'ab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.
2It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking upon the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful.
3And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, "Is not this Bathshe'ba, the daughter of Eli'am, the wife of Uri'ah the Hittite?"
4So David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house.
5And the woman conceived; and she sent and told David, "I am with child."
6So David sent word to Jo'ab, "Send me Uri'ah the Hittite." And Jo'ab sent Uri'ah to David.
7When Uri'ah came to him, David asked how Jo'ab was doing, and how the people fared, and how the war prospered.
8Then David said to Uri'ah, "Go down to your house, and wash your feet." And Uri'ah went out of the king's house, and there followed him a present from the king.
9But Uri'ah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house.
10When they told David, "Uri'ah did not go down to his house," David said to Uri'ah, "Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?"
11Uri'ah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah dwell in booths; and my lord Jo'ab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing."
12Then David said to Uri'ah, "Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will let you depart." So Uri'ah remained in Jerusalem that day, and the next.
13And David invited him, and he ate in his presence and drank, so that he made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.
14In the morning David wrote a letter to Jo'ab, and sent it by the hand of Uri'ah.
15In the letter he wrote, "Set Uri'ah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die."
16And as Jo'ab was besieging the city, he assigned Uri'ah to the place where he knew there were valiant men.
17And the men of the city came out and fought with Jo'ab; and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uri'ah the Hittite was slain also.
18Then Jo'ab sent and told David all the news about the fighting;
19and he instructed the messenger, "When you have finished telling all the news about the fighting to the king,
20then, if the king's anger rises, and if he says to you, `Why did you go so near the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall?
21Who killed Abim'elech the son of Jerub'besheth? Did not a woman cast an upper millstone upon him from the wall, so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?' then you shall say, `Your servant Uri'ah the Hittite is dead also.'"
22So the messenger went, and came and told David all that Jo'ab had sent him to tell.
23The messenger said to David, "The men gained an advantage over us, and came out against us in the field; but we drove them back to the entrance of the gate.
24Then the archers shot at your servants from the wall; some of the king's servants are dead; and your servant Uri'ah the Hittite is dead also."
25David said to the messenger, "Thus shall you say to Jo'ab, `Do not let this matter trouble you, for the sword devours now one and now another; strengthen your attack upon the city, and overthrow it.' And encourage him."
26When the wife of Uri'ah heard that Uri'ah her husband was dead, she made lamentation for her husband.
27And 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 12

1And the LORD sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, "There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor.
2The rich man had very many flocks and herds;
3but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his morsel, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him.
4Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb, and prepared it for the man who had come to him."
5Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, "As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die;
6and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity."
7Nathan said to David, "You are the man. Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, `I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul;
8and I gave you your master's house, and your master's wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if this were too little, I would add to you as much more.
9Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have smitten Uri'ah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have slain him with the sword of the Ammonites.
10Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uri'ah the Hittite to be your wife.'
11Thus says the LORD, `Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.
12For you did it secretly; but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.'"
13David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.
14Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child that is born to you shall die."
15Then Nathan went to his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uri'ah's wife bore to David, and it became sick.
16David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in and lay all night upon the ground.
17And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground; but he would not, nor did he eat food with them.
18On the seventh day the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead; for they said, "Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us; how then can we say to him the child is dead? He may do himself some harm."
19But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was dead; and David said to his servants, "Is the child dead?" They said, "He is dead."
20Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the LORD, and worshiped; he then went to his own house; and when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate.
21Then his servants said to him, "What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while it was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food."
22He said, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, `Who knows whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?'
23But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me."
24Then David comforted his wife, Bathshe'ba, and went in to her, and lay with her; and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the LORD loved him,
25and sent a message by Nathan the prophet; so he called his name Jedidi'ah, because of the LORD.
26Now Jo'ab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites, and took the royal city.
27And Jo'ab sent messengers to David, and said, "I have fought against Rabbah; moreover, I have taken the city of waters.
28Now, then, gather the rest of the people together, and encamp against the city, and take it; lest I take the city, and it be called by my name."
29So David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah, and fought against it and took it.
30And he took the crown of their king from his head; the weight of it was a talent of gold, and in it was a precious stone; and it was placed on David's head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city, a very great amount.
31And he brought forth the people who were in it, and set them to labor with saws and iron picks and iron axes, and made them toil at the brickkilns; and thus he did to all the cities of the Ammonites. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.

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