David And Bathsheba
IT was the time when kings go forth to battle,
and David sent Joab, his general,and his servants with him,
and they destroyed the children of Ammon and besieged Rabbah.
But David remained in Jerusalem.
One evening he rose from his bed and walked on the roof of his palace.
He saw a very beautiful woman and sent to ask who she was.
He was told: "She is Bathsheba,the daughter of Eliam,the wife of Uriah the Hittite."
David fell in love with Bathsheba,
and he sent to Joab, saying: "Send me Uriah the Hittite."
So Joab sent Uriah to David,
and when he came the king asked how Joab and the army were,and how the war prospered. Then he gave Uriah food and told him he could go to his own home.
But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord.
The next morning David asked him why he had not gong to his own home,
and Uriah answered: "The ark and Israel and Judah live in tents,
and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields.
Shall I go home to my wife to eat and drink and sleep in comfort?
As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I cannot do such a thing."
David said: "Wait until tomorrow and I shall let you go back."
Then David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it to him by the hand of Uriah.
In it he said: "Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle,
and withdraw from him, so that he may be smitten and die."
When Joab was besieging the city,
he assigned Uriah to a place where the bravest defenders were.
The men of the city came out and fought with Joab,
and some of his soldiers were killed,
and among them was Uriah the Hittite.
When Bathsheba learned that Uriah was dead she wept for him.
But when the days of her mourning were past,
David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son.
But the thing that David had dons displeased the Lord.
And the Lord sent Nathan to David.
DAVID JUDGES HIMSELF
Nathan came and said to him:"There were two men in one city,one rich and the other poor. The rich man had many flocks and herds,
but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and reared, so that it grew up with him and his children.
It ate from his hand and drank from his cup, and he carried it in his arms,
and it was like a daughter to him.
And a traveller came to the rich man and asked for a meal.
His host spared his own flocks and herds,
but he took the poor man's lamb and killed and cooked it for the wayfarer."
When David heard this he was very angry,
and he said to Nathan:"As the Lord lives,the man that has done this thing must surely die.
And he must relund the value of the lamb four times over,
because he did this thing and had no pity."
And Nathan said to David: "You are the man! The Lord God of Israel has given you so much, why have you disregarded the commandment of the Lord and done evil in his sight? You killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the children of Ammon and took his wife to be your wife."
David said to Nathan: "I have sinned before the Lord."
Nathan said: "The Lord has forgiven you your sin, and you shall not die.
But because this deed has given rise to talk among the enemies of the Lord,
the child that has been born to you will surely die."
Having said this, Nathan went back to his own home.
The child of Bathsheba and David fell sick, and David prayed to God,and fasted,
and lay all night on the ground.
He would neither eat nor drink, but on the seventh day the child died.
The servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead,
for they said: "While the child was still alive he would not listen when we spoke to him, so how will he be when we tell him that it is dead?"
But David saw that his servants were whispering together,
and he knew that the child was dead.
He asked them if it was so, and they said: "He is dead."
Then David arose and washed and anointed himself,
and changed his clothes and came into the house of the Lord and worshipped.
Then he went into his own house and when he required,
they set bread before him and he sat down to eat.
His servants asked him: "How is it that you fasted
and wept for the child while it was alive,
and now that it is dead, you get up and eat again?"
He said: "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept,
for I thought 'Who can tell whether God will be gracious unto me,
and allow the child to live?' But now that he is dead,
why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him,
but he cant'rot return to me."
Then David consoled Bathsheba his wife,
and in due course they had another son whom they called Solomon,
and the Lord loved him.
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