Was David's Sin of Adultery
Minimised by Yahweh?
Q. If adultery is such an abnoxious sin why did Yahweh apparently minimise its seriousness by rewarding David and Bathsheba with a son [Solomon] who would become one of the most illustrious kings of Israel?
This is indeed a very difficult question as it is stated, but one which perhaps oversimplifies things. To begin with, Yahweh made it perfectly clear what He thought of David's murderous and adulterous act with Bathsheba by not only revealing his sin through the prophet Nathan in such a graphical way that he effectively signed his own death warrant (2 Sam.11-12) but ensured that the firstborn child of this wicked relationship died shortly after birth.
Had Uriah not been murdered then there is no doubt that Yahweh would have required David to return Bathesheba to her rightful husband. Indeed, David merited a death sentence twice over and only escaped it physically because of his position as monarch, an institution forbidden by the original Israelite consitution but which was permitted by Yahweh because of the people's waywardness yet which accompanied with it a warning that oppression and injustice would follow such an institition. Arguably he suffered more living with his defiled conscience than any death sentence could have brought him.
However, that aside, let us also remember that one of the characteristics of Yahweh is to turn evil into good, error into success, and sin and repentance into forgiveness. Yahweh is not a Hindu deity where all is controlled by merciless karma. We see the redemption of God at work in so many ways in the Bible. Joseph, son of Jacob, not only redeemed his brothers who had sold him into slavery and a life of misery, but also their posterity, by saving them from annihilation caused by famine. Joseph is a type of Yah'shua (Jesus), the incarnate Elohim (God), who redeemed us inspite of our wickedness. The only condition for forgiveness is repentance, acceptance of Christ as deliverer, and a life consecrated to good. Didn't King David do just that? Inspite of his gross evil, he genuinely repented. And rather than pitilessly throw Bathsheba out, she was permitted to give birth to one of Israel's most illustrious sons (before he himself fell).
God is not as we are. He seeks to redeem the most hopeless situations. It is not because He is unjust but because He is loving and merciful. Punishment was not circumscribed -- David suffered both from a defiled conscience (and we can read of his desperation in some of the Psalms) but suffered calamities throughout his life -- a daughter raped by a half-brother, rebellion by another, his wives defiled by his rebellious son, the death of that son, and much else besides. There is no doubt that David was punished, as was Bathsheba, whom we may presume was not an unwilling victim in the adulterous relationship since she too lost a son who never received a name. But God turned evil into good too. We ought to remember that in our own follies and sinful behaviour, not supposing in "all punishment" or "all grace" -- we reap both when we sin ... and repent.
Think also of Rahab the gentile prostitute who was chosen by God to be an ancestor of Yah'shua (Jesus). In this and other such acts God shows that there is nowhere that His merciful arms do not reach, and nothing too foul to be beyond His redemption.
No, God does not condone adultery or murder one bit, far from it -- He positively hates them -- yet He will redeem the repentant adulterer and murderer, and anyone else who truly turns to Him for a new life. Praise Yahweh!
This page was created on 8 April 1998
Last updated on 8 April 1998
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