Journey Through The Scriptures

David, Part II

Lesson 7: David’s Repentance

(Scripture to Read: 2 Samuel 11:1–27)

Something happened to David on his way to what he must have assumed was a successful cover-up of his affair with Bathsheba and equally shameful murder of her husband. God called His king to account for his sins in the most direct and startling way possible. The prophet Nathan came to David with a story Nathan knew would outrage the king. Once the tale was told, David leaped into the trap, and all Nathan had to do was utter the fateful words: “You are the man!” (v. 7). To his credit, David confessed immediately, showing the repentant spirit we would expect from a man so close to God’s heart.

David even pronounced his own penalty when he said the transgressor should pay back fourfold for what he took. This was fulfilled literally, as David lost four sons to premature deaths — including the unnamed baby (v. 18), Amnon (2 Samuel 13:28–29), Absalom (2 Samuel 18:15), and Adonijah (1 Kings 2:25). But as if to signal to David that he was not finished as king, God gave him another great victory as the Israelite army defeated the Ammonites. But because of David’s sin, he would soon see calamity and chaos engulf his family and kingdom.

Study Questions

  1. Why did David not offer to perform a sacrifice or make some other form of restitution for his sins?
  2. What was particularly painful about the punishment David would have to undergo (v. 12)?
  3. What was David’s hope concerning the unnamed child born to him and Bathsheba?
  4. What purpose might David’s victory over the Ammonites have served, besides signaling to Israel and to David himself that God had not rejected him as king?

Something to Think About

It may seem ironic that the story of David’s confession and humiliation should end with the king returning to Jerusalem in triumph, carrying the spoils of his victory. This serves as a reminder to us that God is both gracious and able to accomplish His sovereign plan despite human weakness and failure. We serve a great God!