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The sin that David
committed and which God was really angry about was the murder of a faithful
believer, not adultery.
Murder and adultery are
both specifically mentioned in the ten commandments, and both were capital
crimes, carrying the death penalty. You may say that David's adultery was not a
sin or not that big a sin, but David did not feel that way. He knew what he did
was wrong and tried to cover it up. When his initial scheme to cover his sin of
adultery by getting Uriah to have sexual intercourse with Bathsheba did not
work, he finally covered it by committing the sin of murder.
God is no respecter of
persons. To say that it was all right with God for a king to commit adultery
because he was king is to say that God elevates the position of king above His
Word. That is patently false. In God's sight, it is a sin to break any
commandment. If it was all right with God for David to break God's commandment
and commit adultery because he was the king, then it would have been all right
for David to break any other commandment because he was king, including the
commandment "Thou shalt not kill" (Heb. ratsach =
"murder"). Then Nathan could not have reproved David at all. In fact,
when Nathan did reprove David, he mentioned both sins: adultery and murder -
each mentioned twice. In II Samuel 12:9, Uriah's murder is mentioned twice and
David's adultery once, and then in verse 10, David's adultery is mentioned a
second time. If David's adultery was not an issue with God, then why was it brought
up at all? The adultery was a sin in God's eyes.
There are three kings
mentioned in the Word of God who unknowingly placed themselves in the position
of committing adultery: Pharaoh (Genesis 12), Abimelech (Genesis 20), and a
different Abimelech more than 60 years later (Genesis 26).
"Abimelech" was an official title for the kings of Gerar, just as
"Pharaoh" was the official title for the kings of Egypt.
In Genesis 12 Abraham
went to Egypt because there
was a famine in the land
of Israel. He told
Pharaoh that Sarah was his sister, and did not let Pharaoh know that Sarah was
also his wife, because he was afraid (Genesis 12:11-13). Pharaoh, thinking
Sarah was unmarried, took Sarah to his house (Genesis 12:15). When Pharaoh
found out that Sarah was Abraham's wife, he was upset with Abraham (verses 18
and 19), and he was upset that he might have had intercourse with Sarah (verse
19). Pharaoh then sent both Abraham and Sarah out of his kingdom (verses 19 and
20). Pharaoh knew adultery was wrong and was upset that Abraham had placed him
in a position of unknowingly committing adultery.
Abraham journeyed into
Gerar in Genesis chapter 20. Abraham told Abimelech, the king of Gerar, the
same thing he told Pharaoh - years earlier - that Sarah was his sister, not
mentioning that she was also his wife. Like Pharaoh, Abimelech took Sarah. God
came to Abimelech in a dream and told him "Behold, thou art but a dead
man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife."
Abimelech was the king. If the king was above the law, then Abimelech could
have taken Sarah and had no problem with God or man. The word of God clearly
indicates that it was not all right with God. He revealed to Abimelech that
Sarah was another man's wife, and it was not all right to take her. This was
true even though Abimelech was a king and lived before the Mosaic law.
Abimelech was upset when
he found out he had unknowingly taken another man's wife. He answered God and
said, "Said he (Abraham) not unto me, She is my sister? and she (Sarah)
even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and the
innocency of my hands have I done this." Abimelech did not know that Sarah
was already married, and he obviously did not think he had any right to another
man's wife. Abimelech was very upset with Abraham and confronted him.
Then Abimelech called
Abraham, and said unto him, "What hast thou done unto us? and what have I
offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? Thou
hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done."
It is noteworthy that
even though Abimelech had never had sexual intercourse with Sarah (Genesis
20:4), he considered the fact that he had even taken her into his house (20:2)
a "great sin" both "on me" and "on my kingdom" (20:9).
Abraham was not the only
patriarch to spend time in Gerar. Isaac went to Gerar and, being afraid for his
life, lied to the people, telling them Rebekah was his sister.
And the men of the place
(Gerar) asked him of his wife; and he said "She is my sister," for he
feared to say "She was my wife;" "Lest," said he "The
men of this place should kill me for Rebekah;" for she was fair to look
Isaac's lie was
discovered by the king when he looked out a window and saw Isaac "sporting
with," i.e., sexually caressing, his wife (Genesis 25:8). Abimelech called
Isaac and reproved him because if one of his people had had intercourse with
Rebekah "Thou should have brought guiltiness upon us." Thus Abimelech
clearly recognized that adultery was a sin and that it made people guilty.
Abimelech then gave a command, saying, "He that toucheth this man or his
wife shall surely be put to death."
It is obvious from the
fact that David tried so hard to cover his adultery that he considered it a
sin. It is also obvious that other kings thought that adultery was a sin, both
for them and for their people. The evidence is thus conclusive: adultery was a
sin, no matter what "position" or "title" a person held.*