Rethinking David’s Sin

We tend to view David’s adultery with Bathsheba and his related murder of Uriah as a case of a righteous man caught by Satan at a weak moment.

Further consideration, however, reveals that David set himself up for this sin. Deuteronomy 17:17 instructs Israel that their king should not “multiply wives for himself.” Scripture records that David had eight wives and 10 concubines.

Scriptural accounts of David’s various marriages give no overt hint that he was acting sinfully, thus leaving the impression that his marrying multiple women was okay. David was a man after God’s heart who behaved righteously in dealing with Saul and other situations. Therefore, mention of these marriages waves no red flags.

Nonetheless, these choices violated God’s instructions for Israel’s king. This disobedience may have creating in David’s heart the prideful impression that as king he was above God’s law. This attitude likely came into play the night he spotted Bathsheba. If his kingship assigned him the prerogative to take multiple wives despite the commandment of Scripture, he should likewise be free to take whatever woman he wanted, regardless of her marital status. Consequently, David rather than being an innocent man ensnared by sin, was a person whose past indifference to God’s commandment made him vulnerable to this transgression.

This account should cause us all great concern. Am I being negligent regarding some instruction of Scripture that is setting me up for a major fall? David seemed to have gotten away with these preliminary transgressions, but ultimately they caught up with him. Likewise, we may conclude, “My current lifestyle must be okay with God because all is going smoothly.” However, if it includes unbiblical practices, they make us vulnerable to a life-decimating fall. Scripture warns, “Be sure your sin will find you out.”

2 comments on “Rethinking David’s Sin
  1. Wow great article, and great perspective!

  2. Wayne Y. says:

    Whether or not this is true of David, and it may be, it is certainly relevant to the rest of us. Thanks for another great article.

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