David could still taste sweet victory on his lips. Lying on his royal bed, he stared at the high ceiling as memories of his mighty defeat of the Ammonites swirled through his mind. He tried to find sleep, but his body said no. Energy roared through his spirit like the thunder of sword against shield.
The King rose from his bed. He would, he thought, visit one of his wives. But a warm spring breeze beckoned him from the window. As he stepped onto the roof he deeply inhaled the night air and admired the fullness of a bright moon.
David’s Kingdom lay before him. Silently, he thanked God for setting him on the throne of Israel. He was gazing into the peaceful city when his eyes abruptly halted on a vision more beautiful than all of Jerusalem.
On a lower rooftop the moon gave light to a raven haired woman. She was bathing. Through the lattice David could see ebony hair flowing down the deep curves of her back, cascading over shoulders that appeared smoother than the finest silk. He tried to look away, but the fluid movement of her body held him captive. David’s eyes followed the path of her sponge, desire flooding his flesh.
Suddenly the woman’s gaze fixed on his. For a moment, shame fell over him. But then a slow smile crossed her lips. She held his gaze for what seemed like hours - and then she disappeared. In that instant, David allowed lust to devour his soul.
Early the next morning David sent one of his men to inquire about the identity of the woman. “She is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah,” the man told David upon his return.
“She is married? Are you sure of this?” David asked.
“Yes, Uriah the Hittite is her husband, he is at the battle as we speak.”
David spent the rest of that day losing a battle in his mind. He watched his wives preparing meals and he drank in their loveliness. He purposely busied his own hands. But he was unable to banish Bathsheba from his thoughts. Every vision of her lingered longer than the one before, until he was once again consumed with desire.
That evening David sent for his messenger again and told him, “Bring me Bathsheba so I may meet her.”
Three days passed before David and Bathsheba met in secret. Night fell hard around them and soon the dawn’s light spilled over the King’s bed. “David, David, it’s morning – I must go,” Bathsheba spoke close to his ear.
David awoke and brushed Bathsheba’s hair from her face, “Yes, I will walk you,” he said.
“No, it is too dangerous. I should go alone.”
“I will not send you away in such a fashion.”
Together they hurried in silence through the still sleepy streets of Jerusalem. Only when they arrived at Bathsheba’s door did she speak, “Will I come to you again?”
The King hesitated, “I will send you word,” he said. He then turned and left her.
David pulled his coat tightly around his frame as he walked back to the palace. The cool morning breeze accused him, whispering fragments of deceit and disgrace in his ears. David shut out the murmurings, but could not stop the single tear that escaped his eye.
Several weeks had passed when David received a letter from Bathsheba:
I am with child. Uriah has been at war for almost one year. This child I carry belongs to the King. Please do not hesitate in sending word of what I shall do. I am sorely frightened.
The words of the law clanged in David’s mind. If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife - the wife of his neighbor - both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.*
David lay prostrate on the floor of his bedroom that night. He wept bitterly before the Lord because he knew not what he could do to erase this growing nightmare. Repentance struggled to form in David’s heart, but he pushed those thoughts aside with schemes and plans of his own device.
David assured himself that he loved his God and the laws He had given. But death’s servant won victoriously the next day when David sent word to Joab in a letter.
“Send me Uriah the Hittite.”
*Leviticus 20:10 NIV
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