Shmuel 2-Chapter 11:  Dovid and Batsheva

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Chapter 11:  Dovid and Batsheva

1. A second battle against Amon:

  • And it was in the summer when the kings would go out to the field[1] that Dovid sent Yoev and his army to wage war against the nation of Amon. They destroyed the nation of Amon although it took a long time to battle them.
  • Dovid remained in Yerushalayim at the time [and did not come to the battlefield to help his brothers in war[2]].

2. Dovid sleeps with Batsheva:

  • Dovid sees her bathing: Towards evening, Dovid arose from his bed and went to the roof of the palace and from above his roof saw a very beautiful woman bathing [and immersing for her Nida impurity[3] inside her home[4]]. [Batsheva was bathing modestly under a hovering, although the Satan came along in the appearance of a deer or bird and caused Dovid to shoot an arrow and accidently take down the partition, thus revealing her body to Dovid.[5]]
  • Dovid inquires as to who she is: After seeing her, Dovid summoned his guards to ask her to appear before him. The woman told Dovid that she is Batsheva, the daughter of Eliam [the son of Achitofel[6]], and is the wife of Uriah Hachiti [one of the 37 warriors of Dovid[7], who was awarded to marry Batsheva due to his help in decapitating Golias[8]].
  • Dovid summoned her and sleeps with her: Dovid sent messengers and took her. She arrived to him and he slept with her, and when he saw her bathing, she was sanctifying herself from her Nida impurity [and thus it ends up that Dovid did not sleep with a Nida.]. After he lay with her, she returned home.
  • She becomes pregnant: She became pregnant [from the encounter with Dovid, and knew so right away being that her womb was moist[9]].
  • The cover up plan: She informed Dovid of her pregnancy [in order so he urge her husband Uriah to return home and cover up the pregnancy[10]]. [After hearing this news,] Dovid sent his general Yoav a telegram telling him that Uriah Hachiti should be sent back home, to Dovid [in order so he be intimate with his wife, and the pregnancy not be traced back to him[11]]. So Yoav sent Uriah to Dovid.
  • Uriah arrives and refuses to go home to be intimate with his wife: Uriah arrived to Dovid and Dovid asked him as to the peace of Yoav, and the peace of the nation and of the situation by the battlefield. Dovid [then] said to Uriah, “Go down to your home and wash your feet” [which is a metaphor to being intimate with his wife[12]]. Uriah left the home of the king only after having been given a large feast with festive eating and drinking [in order to arouse his desire to go home and be intimate with his wife[13]]. Uriah however did not return home and instead remained by the palace entrance together with the palace guards. [The next day,] Dovid was informed that Uriah had not gone down to his home and so Dovid said to Uriah, “Have you not arrived from a journey, why have you not returned home?” Uriah replied to Dovid, “The ark and the Jewish people and Judea are dwelling in temporary homes, and my master Yoav, and the servants of my master, are dwelling in the field, and so how can I go to my home and eat and drink and lie with my wife [i.e. he did not feel it was morally right for him to return home and be intimate with his wife when the Jewish people were out at war and in a state of suffering].
  • Uriah is told to remain by the palace: Dovid told Uriah to remain in the area of the palace for that day, and the next day he would be summoned. So, Uriah remained in Yerushalayim that day and the next day. The next day, Dovid called Uriah to a meal and he ate with Dovid and was given to drink to the point of drunkenness. That evening, instead of Uriah going home [as Dovid intended], once again Uriah remained by the palace gates with the guards.
  • Dovid arranges the death of Uriah: In the morning [after realizing that his plan was not going to work], Dovid wrote a letter to Yoav and had it sent with Uriah to bring to him. Dovid requested [of Yoav his general] in the letter to position Uriah on the front lines of a heavy battle and when the battle gets fierce, the other soldiers are to abandon him, thus causing him to be killed. [This was done in order so Dovid can then Halachically marry Batsheva and cover up the pregnancy.[14]] [Yoav did as he was told,] and Yoav went to guard the [enemy] city and positioned Uriah in an area where he knew that the soldiers were found, and the people of the city came out and fought with Yoav, and servants of Dovid fell in the battle, and Uriah Hachiti was killed.
  • Dovid is informed of the outcome of the war: Yoav sent a messenger to inform Dovid of all the details of the war. He instructed the messenger saying, that when he finishes telling the king all about the details of the war, then if the wrath of the king is ignited and he says to you, “Why did you approach the city, as you should’ve known better that they would’ve had the archery set up on top of the walls in order to shoot arrows at you and kill you, who else had killed Avimelech the son of Yerubashes [i.e. Gidon[15]], had not a woman thrown onto him a weal of a wagon from the wall and he died, so why would you go and approach the wall [as you did and cause so many of my soldiers to die]?” If he says this to you then you should answer the king that also your servant Uriah Hachiti was killed. So, the messenger went and arrived and informed Dovid of all that Yoav had sent him to tell the king. The messenger said to Dovid, that when the enemy overcame us and ambushed us in the field, we were able to overcome them and push them back until the gate of the city. However, the archers who were on top of the wall of the city shot arrows at your servants and many of the king’s servants died including your servant Uriah Hachiti who was also killed. Dovid replied to the messenger, this is what you should tell Yoav, “Don’t be discouraged by what happened as it is normal that people die during the war. Strengthen yourself in the war against the city and destroy it.” Dovid then instructed the messenger to say words of comfort and encouragement to Yoav to strengthen him.
  • Dovid marries Batsheva: The wife of Uriah heard about the death of her husband Uriah, and she eulogized her husband and mourned his death. After the period of mourning passed, Dovid sent for Batsheva to be brought to him and he gathered her into his home and married her, taking her as his wife, and they had a son [seven months later]. The matter that Dovid had done was evil in the eyes of Hashem.


[1] Rashi 11:1; Ralbag 11:1; Alternatively, this refers to the anniversary of the war with Amon the previous year. [Metzudos Dovid11:1]

[2] Radak 11:1

[3] Pasuk 4; Rashi 11:4; Radak 11:4; Mahariy Karo; Ralbag; Metzudas David 11:4

[4] Radak 11:2

[5] Sanhedrin 107a [bird]; Yalkut Shimoni 148 [deer]

[6] Shmuel Beis 23:24 “Eliam the son of Achitofel”; Yalkut Shimoni 148; Student of Rav Sadya Gaon in Otzer Hageonim on Kiddushin 76b

[7] Shmuel Beis 23:39

[8] Alshich Maros Hatzevaos Shmuel 2:12-1 and Keli Yakar Shmuel 2:11-3 in name of Midrash

[9] Ralbag 11:5

[10] Mahariy Karo 11:5

[11] Rashi 11:6; Radak 11:6

[12] Metzudos David 11:8

[13] Mahariy Karo 11:8; Metzudos David 11:8

[14] Metzudos David 11:15; Rashi 11:15 that the Get was given retroactively, and it would hence remove the sin of Eishes Ish from the incident.

[15] Rashi 11:21

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