Scripture Reference: 1 Samuel chapters 11- 12
Suggested Emphasis: When we see a friend do something wrong, we should talk to him/her and help them be good.
Although David was a good king, there came a time when he did not choose to follow the Lord. When he looked across from the roof of his palace, he saw a beautiful woman, Bathsheba, bathing. This led David to commit adultery with Bathsheba. When Bathsheba became pregnant, David arranged to have her husband murdered so that he could marry her. The prophet, Nathan, confronted David with his sin. David’s heart was such that he repented of his sin and asked the Lord to forgive him.
Things were going well in Israel. David was a good king. He was still the man Samuel had described to Saul as a “man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). David had a large family, lived in a magnificent palace, and held sole possession of power in Israel. The following story is a harsh reminder to us that no one is immune to temptation.
David’s army was out of Jerusalem fighting a battle with the Ammonites. For some reason David decided not to go with them. Perhaps he was being lazy or giving himself a vacation. Whatever the reason, it proved disastrous for David to skip the usual spring military expedition. Instead, David ended up at the palace in Jerusalem with a lot of time on his hands. In his leisure, David saw an attractive married woman, Bathsheba as she was taking a bath on the roof of her house. Bathsheba’s husband was away fighting the Ammonites so she was alone. David had her brought to the palace and had a love affair with her.
When she became pregnant, David sent word that Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah the Hittite, be sent home from battle (supposedly to come and give the king a report). David hoped that Uriah would sleep with his wife and would think that the baby was his. Instead, Uriah turned out to be a more honourable man than David. After reporting to the king, he refused to sleep with his wife because he felt that he could not do that while all of his comrades were still in battle. David even tried getting him drunk but Uriah still did not sleep with Bathsheba.
David then sent Uriah back to the battle and arranged for him to be killed. To everyone else, it just seemed like another casualty of war. David’s secret seemed safe so he married Bathsheba. (See I1 Samuel 11)
In the months that passed between his twin sins of adultery and murder and the birth of his son by Bathsheba, David evidently was able to keep the lid on his conscience. But God knew there was unfinished business between Him and the guilty king. So He sent the prophet Nathan to David. The prophet’s parable effectively awakened David’s sense of justice (12:1-10). And when David learned that he was the rich man, Uriah was the poor man, and Bathsheba was the ewe lamb, it went straight to his heart. Now he knew he could not hide his sins from the Lord; he had to own up (12:13 and Psalms 32 and 51).
But even confessed sin has consequences. In David’s case, the consequences did not include the sinner’s own death (12:13). But Nathan said, “The sword will never depart from our house” (12:10) – a prophecy that began t be fulfilled when three of David’s sons died violently. In a sense, this prophecy was even fulfilled in the death of David’s greatest descendant, Jesus.) Furthermore, David would be humiliated in public (12:11-12), and his son by Bathsheba would die of an illness (12:14).
Even so, the next king of Israel, Solomon, was later born to David and Bathsheba (12:24).
- What happened before this story?
- What happens after this story?
- List of all Bible stories and themes on this website.
Way to Introduce the Story:
Show some wedding photos and talk about the promises that we make at weddings. Discuss how that we promise to stay faithful only to our mate. We promise to never have another girlfriend or boyfriend other than the person we marry. “In today’s story we are going to learn about a time when someone did not keep their marriage promises.”
David was a good king. He loved God and he tried to be kind to people. David tried to do the things that God said. But he was not always good. One time he made a very big mistake.
During the springtime of the year the army of Israel went off to fight a battle with their enemies, the Ammonites. Usually, King David went along with the army but this time he decided to stay home at his palace in Jerusalem. One night David could not sleep so he decided to take a walk. The roof of his palace was nice and cool. It was flat and it was a good place to walk. David began to stroll around on the flat roof. While he was there, David saw something moving on another roof of another house. He looked more closely and realized that it was a woman taking a bath. David told his servant to go and tell the woman to come to his palace.
The woman’s name was Bathsheba. Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah the Hittite, was away fighting in the battles with David’s army. David and Bathsheba became boyfriend and girlfriend. Bathsheba was already married so what they did was wrong.
David sent a message to his army general. He asked the army general to send Uriah home to Bathsheba. That way everyone would see Bathsheba and her husband together and they would never guess that she and David had done anything wrong.
But Uriah was a good man. He went straight to King David and told him all about the battles. He was so worried about all of the soldiers that he had left in battle that he did not even go to see Bathsheba. Uriah thought it would not be fair if he got to see his wife but none of the other soldiers got to see their wives. David even tried to trick Uriah into going to see Bathsheba. He got him drunk, but still Uriah would not go and see Bathsheba.
Finally, David did another terrible thing. He wrote a letter to his army general. He told the general to order Uriah to fight in a battle. When the fighting go really tough, the general should tell all of the other soldiers to step back and stop helping Uriah fight. The general did just as David asked and Uriah was killed in the battle.
When David heard the news, he sent for Bathsheba and married her. Very soon Bathsheba had a baby. David thought no one would ever find out what he had done. But God knew what David had done.
Nathan was a prophet of the Lord. He followed God and he taught others how to be good. God told Nathan to go and see King David. The Lord wanted Nathan to tell the king that what he was doing was wrong. Sometimes other people have to help us notice when we are not doing what we should.
David was happy to see Nathan. He did not think that Nathan knew about what he and Bathsheba did so he acted like everything was alright. Nathan told David a story. He said that once there were two men that lived in a town. One of the men was rich. He had lots of sheep and cattle. The other man was very poor. All he had was one little ewe lamb that he had bought. The lamb was a pet. He and his children loved the little lamb. It ate food from the man’s table and even slept in the same bed as the man.
One day the rich man had a visitor who was very hungry. The rich man had lots of sheep of his own but decided to go and steal the little pet lamb from his neighbour’s house. He stole the lamb and then killed it and cooked it for the visitor to eat.
David was very angry. He told Nathan that the rich man was very bad. What he did was wrong and he should be punished.
Then Nathan looked straight at David and said, “You are the man! The Lord has told me to tell you that you are just as bad as that rich man. You will be punished for the sin you committed against Uriah. You had all of the riches of the kingdom and Uriah was poor and only had his wife that he loved. You took his wife away and you had him killed. Because of your sin bad things will now happen to you. Your family will always fight and your child will die.”
The bad things did happen to David. The baby that Bathsheba had just had died. David’s sons began to dislike him and there was always fighting.
David was very sorry for what he had done. He prayed to the Lord and asked him to forgive him for his sins. The Lord knew what was in David’s heart. He did not just say he was sorry. David really was sorry for what he had done. The Lord forgave David of his sin. Soon David and Bathsheba had another son. His name was Solomon.
Ways to Tell the Story:
This story can be told using a variety of methods. Always remain true to the facts found in the Bible but help children connect to its meaning by using drama, visual aids, voice inflection, student interaction and/or emotion.
Click here for visual aids and story-telling methods.
- What was Bathsheba doing when David first saw her? Taking a bath at night on her roof
- Why was it wrong for Bathsheba to be David’s girlfriend? She was married to Uriah, the Hittite
- How did Uriah die? David ordered his general to put him in a battle and then leave him alone so that he would be killed.
- What prophet told David a story about a little lamb? Nathan
- After their first baby died, what was the name of David and Bathsheba’s second baby? Solomon
Learning Activities and Crafts:
- Look up the seventh commandment (Exodus 20:14) and discuss it. Younger children can understand adultery to mean having a boyfriend or girlfriend other than your husband or wife.
- Discuss situations when a friend pointed out something you were doing wrong. Did they tell you nicely? Were you embarrassed? Did you stop doing the wrong thing? Are you still friends.
- Name people who help us be good: police, teachers, principal, preacher, doctor, etc.
- Make a heart craft and talk about how David’s heart was hard and then turned soft when Nathan rebuked him.
- Older children can discuss the differences between criticizing (pointing out faults with not suggestions to be better) and rebuking like Nathan did (pointing out a fault and helping someone be better)
- Make any lamb craft and discuss Nathan’s parable.
- Choose a confident student to help you with this idea. Ask the student a question about the story and then let them answer (they can answer correctly or incorrectly – their choice). Once they have answered tell everyone who agrees to stand up. Everyone who disagrees should sit on the floor. Then tell them tell you the correct answer. Ask a number of questions this way. Usually children love this one.
- Check the Teaching Ideas page on this website for ideas that are adaptable to any lesson.
- Find other ideas on the Pinterest Board: “United Kingdom“
Other Online Resources:
- Crossword puzzle at http://biblequizzes.org.uk/
- Worksheets: There are a number of Old Testament worksheets on the following link. You will need to scroll down quite far to “Samuel/Kings/Chronicles Sunday School Worksheets” and then scroll down to the next one- “King David”. The link is http://www.squidoo.com/
- Puzzles and pictures in a booklet. A little had with the King James but you mind find it helpful at http://kidsclubs4jesus.com/
- Activity suggestions at http://www.ehow.com/
- Craft: This struck me as humorous. Try making soap to remember BATHsheba and her fateful bath. Ideas for making soap at http://crafts.kaboose.com/