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The Soul of a Nation-The Affair that Started a Civil War

Many powerful leaders have fallen from grace and power due to the uncovering of seemingly private matters. While impeachments have been levied against modern politicians for lying about their illicit activities to the public while under oath, and rising political careers have stopped short or completely ended, few nations have experienced the same fracturing that Israel experienced when its king was seduced by a married woman. This affair not only led to a broken marriage, but destroyed many families, and started a Civil War.

In the springtime, when kings went off to war, King David sent his nephew Joab to command the whole Israelite military, while David remained in the capital city of Jerusalem. During a nightly stroll around the roof of his palace, King David saw a beautiful woman bathing in the moonlight. When inquiring as to who she was, his servant reminded him that the woman was Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam, one of David’s thirty most elite warriors, who had fought beside him when he fled the previous King Saul’s murderous rampages (ref. 2 Samuel 23:34). Bathsheba’s father, Eliam was the son of Ahithophel, one of King David’s most trusted military and political advisors (ref. 2 Samuel 15:12; 16:23). Not only was Bathsheba the daughter of one of David’s most trusted battle companions, and the granddaughter of one of his most wise consultants, she was the wife of Uriah the Hittite another member of King David’s the Thirty who protected David when he had to flee Israel and survive amongst the Philistines as a refugee.

Despite the fact that Bathsheba was related or married to many important men in King David’s inner circle, he still gave in to his lusts and brought her to his palace. David did this while knowing full well that Bathsheba was not some poor peasant girl he could easily turn into a concubine in his haram, but a well-connected and high status woman, part of an influential family network, who not only could have chosen to turn down his sexual advances, but could have created a huge scandal in the courts for David’s attempted abuse of power. But Bathsheba was receptive to David’s invitation for intimacy and became pregnant by him (ref. 2 Samuel 11: 1-5).

In an attempt to cover the affair, David pulled Uriah from the battlefield and twice tried to convince him to go home and sleep with his wife, so that Uriah would believe that the child was actually his. But Uriah had been a trusted battle buddy to David many years ago and this steadfast loyalty extended to his fellow troops as Uriah’s honor code prevented him from enjoying the comforts of home and his wife, while the rest of the men were fighting and dying at war. David ultimately sent Uriah as the messenger of his own execution order, as General Joab was commanded to murder Uriah by proxy, by placing him on the front lines and failing to give his unit the defensive support it needed. Uriah was killed in battle and Bathsheba mourned for her dead husband, but after the time of mourning was over, she went to the castle and became one of David’s wives and bore him a son (ref. 2 Samuel 11:6-27).

But what David had done displeased the Lord, and then began a series of events, which slowly tore David’s reign apart.

Prophet Nathan confronted David regarding his affair with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah, David’s personal friend by way of his military enemies. Nathan declared that because he killed Uriah by the sword, the sword would never depart from David’s house, and out of his own household, the Lord would bring calamity upon David. Just as he had taken the wife of his military companion, David’s wives would be taken away before his very eyes and given to someone close to him. While David’s affair with Bathsheba was done in secret, David’s punishment would be done in broad daylight before all of Israel (ref. 2 Samuel 1-12).

The son whom Bathsheba had borne for David, became gravely ill and died, but would not be the only son of David that would pass.

After the child’s death, King David’s oldest son Prince Amnon became obsessed with his half-sister Tamar. But rather than legitimately asking for her as his wife, which she even suggested as the attack began, Amnon raped his half-sister Princess Tamar before disgracing her and sending her away, rather than marrying, providing for, and redeeming the honor of his victim, which was required by law. In direct contrast to Bathsheba who was made a queen and joined the royal household after her consensual affair with King David; after her sexual assault, David’s daughter Tamar covered her face with ashes and tore her ornate robe which distinguished herself as a virgin daughter of the king, before leaving the palace to live as a disgraced and desolate woman in her brother Prince Absalom’s house (ref. 2 Samuel 13: 1-20).

When King David discovered all this, he was furious, but did not carry out Justice on behalf of his own daughter. Instead, it was her brother, Prince Absalom, who avenged Tamar. Two years later, Absalom took the opportunity to kill his half-brother Prince Amnon before fleeing the country (ref. 2 Samuel 13:21-39). Absalom was banished for three years before being called back to Israel with protection orders placed against anyone avenging Prince Amnon murder. After two years of house arrest, Absalom sought to see his father King David and confront him concerning the fact that if Absalom was guilty of anything, David should be the one to put him to death. But just as David did not punish his son Amnon for the rape of Princess Tamar, David did not reprimand Absalom for the murder of Amnon (ref. 2 Samuel 14).

Having seen that his father, King David, would not treat his own family with equal Fairness and Justice, Prince Absalom approached anyone with a complaint to be placed before the King for a decision, recognized their claims as valid and proper, but explained that there was no representative of the king to hear them. Prince Absalom campaigned that if he were appointed Judge in the land then everyone who had a complaint or case could come to see him and he would ensure they received proper Justice, unlike how his father had proceeded. With his calls for judicial reform, Prince Absalom stole the hearts of the people of Israel. Recognizing that the nation’s people were no longer in support of him, King David left Jerusalem to avoid being overthrown by his son Absalom (ref. 2 Samuel 15).

After Absalom captured the palace, Bathsheba’s grandfather, Ahithophel suggested Absalom sleep with David’s concubines on the roof of the palace as a show of political defiance and dominance against the ousted king. This fulfilling of Nathan’s prophecy that David’s women would be taken from him by someone close to him, on the very same balcony David saw Bathsheba, was a cruel twist of irony (ref. 2 Samuel 15-22).

While King David was on the run, Bathsheba’s grandfather and King David’s personal counselor, advised self-declared King Absalom to strike while David and his men were in retreat. King David’s friend Hushai, acting as a double agent, instead suggested Absalom wait and gather more troops before engaging in a large scale attack. Absalom chose to follow Hushai’s misdirected counsel and this allowed David time to rally a larger fighting force to confront Absalom’s military (ref. 2 Samuel 17:1-14). When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, that the coup would ultimately fail and he would be branded a traitor and executed, Ahithophel went to his hometown to put his affairs in order before hanging himself. Likewise, Absalom’s rebellion failed as his troops were routed and destroyed at the Forest of Ephraim, and in another display of irony, Absalom himself was caught and entangled by his famous hair, also hanging from an oak tree, where he was killed.

While many powerful politicians have gone to great lengths to cover their shadowy conspiracies, God’s Sight is not blinded by their cover-ups and His Justice overwhelms corrupt judges and administrators. Despite being God’s Anointed King, David’s affair with Bathsheba and murdering of his friend Uriah, did not go unpunished and led to David’s newborn son’s death, the rape of his daughter Tamar, the murder of his son Amnon, the suicide of his most trusted advisor, and the rebellion and death of his son Absalom. When Injustice is carried out by a nation’s most influential and dominant leaders, that country suffers, and if God rules over that nation, He will enact Justice on His People’s behalf.

Prepared by, Kent Simpson, Apostolic Prophet & Eric Sepulveda, PMT Administrator

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