Introduction: Can you point to something in your past and
say, “I made a really big mistake?” I’ll bet that others
helped you make it. This week we look at a grand collision
of mistakes that, at a minimum, cost one man his life, and
created a never-ending problem for another man. Needless to
say, these are the kinds of decisions that we want to
avoid. Let’s jump right into our study of the Bible and see
what we can learn about avoiding life-altering mistakes!

  1. The King’s Folly

    1. Read 2 Samuel 11:1. It is the season for “kings
      [to] go off to war.” Does something seem wrong
      here? (Yes. The king in question has not gone off
      to war. The “king’s men” have gone without the
      leadership of the King.)

    2. Read 2 Samuel 11:2. What seems to be the result of
      idle times for the king? (He is restless.)

    3. Read 2 Samuel 11:3-4. Perhaps it is simply because
      we have not met the right temptation, but it seems
      that most of us do not have a weakness towards all
      sin. Instead, most of us have a weakness towards a
      few sins. What temptations do we find in these

      1. What is the temptation for Bathsheba? (At a
        minimum, a powerful and important man has an
        interest in her. The King thinks she is

        1. What about Uriah’s name might be a clue
          about Bathsheba’s interest in the King?
          (He is a Hittite. He has a foreign
          background, thus his wife might be
          believe that she can “do better.”)

        2. Read Deuteronomy 7:1-4. Was the marriage
          to Uriah a mistake? (As we will see,
          despite his Hittite background, Uriah is
          a follower of God. He has converted.
          But, there might be some society
          prejudice against Uriah which would be a
          mark against Bathsheba.)

      2. What is the temptation for David? (A
        beautiful woman who is not only willing to
        let him watch her bathing, but she is willing
        to have sex with him.)

      3. Notice that Bathsheba follows the laws
        dealing with uncleanness ( Leviticus 15:18).
        Is it easier to enter into sin with someone
        who shares your religious beliefs? Are the
        warning sounds in your head muted?

    4. Read 2 Samuel 11:5. What is the problem with this
      news? (Their secret sin will no longer be a

      1. God knew about the sin. How has this changed
        things? (For some reason, we fear others more
        than God!)

        1. What is the reason for such an illogical
          view of things? (Pride?)

  2. Uriah

    1. Read 2 Samuel 11:6-7. What do you think is going
      through Uriah’s mind? (The King values his opinion
      so much that he asks him about General Joab, the
      morale of the soldiers, and the progress of the
      war. It is a great compliment to a Hittite!)

      1. What should Uriah think about his future in
        the military? (Uriah was already considered
        one of the “mighty men” of David (2 Samuel
        23). He is certainly a man marked for further
        promotion! If I were Uriah I would be very
        excited about this turn of events.)

    2. Read 2 Samuel 11:8-11. What is David’s goal?

      1. Why does Uriah have such devotion to duty?
        (He may have always been a dutiful fellow.
        However, after he learned that the King
        considered him his special advisor on the
        war, I’m sure his devotion to duty soared.)

      2. Does Uriah’s logic make any sense? (Where
        Uriah sleeps does not change the situation
        for the other soldiers. It just makes him
        look more devoted in front of the King.)

      3. Does Uriah have a duty to his wife?

        1. How would you compare his duty to his
          fellow soldiers to his duty to his wife?

        2. Is Uriah a fellow who puts his job ahead
          of his family?

        3. How do you explain that Uriah defied the
          King’s order ( 2 Samuel 11:8) to go to
          his home and see his wife? (Uriah does
          not even go to see Bathsheba.)

        4. How should Uriah’s actions make David
          feel? (Uriah puts loyalty to God’s army
          above loyalty to his wife. David puts
          his interest in someone else’s wife
          ahead of his loyalty to God’s army.)

    3. Read 2 Samuel 11:12-13. Is it more moral to eat
      and drink with the King than it is to eat and
      drink ( 2 Samuel 11:11) with your wife?

      1. Does Uriah have misplaced loyalty? (We don’t
        know enough to make an accurate judgment, but
        Uriah’s “integrity” is to be faithful to his
        job over any consideration for himself or his
        wife. He seems to have a complete disregard
        for his wife.)

        1. Is Uriah obeying God? (Read Proverbs
          24:21-22. I think Uriah is disobeying
          God. If the King tells you to go home
          and visit your wife, then you should
          obey. Uriah’s argument to the contrary
          is just foolishness – unless the goal is
          to impress the King.)

      2. Can you begin to see why Bathsheba might have
        been motivated to bath where the King could
        see her beauty?

        1. If you said a hearty “yes,” to this last
          question, does that justify adultery?
          (No one has a perfect spouse. No one is
          a perfect spouse. Uriah may have had his
          loyalties misplaced, and may have been
          inflexible and unromantic (or maybe even
          uncaring), but that does not justify

        2. Read Proverbs 30:21-23. Is the earth
          trembling in our story?

  3. The Murder Plot

    1. Read 2 Samuel 11:14-15. What do you think Uriah
      thought was in that letter? (A report on the
      faithfulness of Uriah! Uriah stood firm through
      both of the tests given to him by the King. This
      man needed to be promoted!)

      1. What motivates King David to give this order?
        (He wants to keep his sin secret. He prefers
        his life over the life of Uriah.)

        1. Is this the same motive for abortion

      2. What would you say about the propriety of
        David’s order if he had not added the
        “withdraw from him” language to the end?
        (Uriah might have agreed with the order if it
        left off the last part. This is yet another
        opportunity to prove his worth in battle.
        Someone has to be in the fiercest fighting.
        Someone is going to be a hero and someone is
        going to die. Why not give the challenge to
        the guy whose death will make life easier for
        the King?)

    2. Read 2 Samuel 11:16-17. Did General Joab follow
      the King’s orders? (There is no evidence that he
      withdrew and left Uriah on his own.)

      1. Why? (Joab no doubt thought that was murder.)

      2. Was it wrong for Joab to put Uriah in the
        thick of the battle? (No. He had nothing to
        gain. He was just following orders. Some men
        would be in the thick of the battle. It would
        be logical to put a “mighty man” in there to
        inspire the troops.)

    3. Read 2 Samuel 11:18-22. Instead of withdrawing
      from Uriah, what did Joab do instead? (He got his
      men too close to the wall.)

      1. Why should King David be mad at General Joab?
        (Getting too close to the wall was an obvious
        tactical error. In just such a maneuver
        Abimelech, the son of Gideon (the famous
        warrior-leader of Israel), had gotten killed
        by a woman who dropped a stone on his head!
        ( Judges 6:32 & Judges 9:52-54.) A skilled
        general should not forget those kinds of

    4. Read 2 Samuel 11:25. Are David’s words about the
      sword true? (No. This death is not chance. This is
      the directive of the king.)

    5. Read 2 Samuel 11:26-27. Did Bathsheba love Uriah?

      1. Was his death helpful to her? (Yes. I doubt
        the penalty for adultery would be applied in
        this situation, but the penalty was death.
        Leviticus 20:10.)

    6. Friend, sometimes we get into serious problems
      because of our own mistakes and those of others.
      A lack of unselfish love is generally at the
      bottom of these problems. David loved himself
      more than Uriah. Uriah loved himself and his
      career more than Bathsheba. Bathsheba loved
      herself more than Uriah. Will you commit today to
      love others at least as much as you love yourself?

  4. Next week: Abiathar: The Priest.