2 Samuel 11: Original Sin

The change of pace comes in chapter 11 of the second book of Samuel.  This is indicated by the fresh narration – “in the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel… But David remained at Jerusalem”.  Unlike the preceding verses where we saw the enemies of God flee before the Anointed King, we begin to see implications of David’s typology no longer as that of Christ, the prophesied Son of the Father in 2 Samuel 7 and Psalm 2.  Instead, this is the chapter where we see David’s kingdom being torn apart for the very reason that David is still a son of Adam, at best a shadow representation of Jesus, the son of God.  The beginning of this chapter saw David’s participation not in warfare, but in sin, thus displaying a mark of his failure to lead the spiritual battle against neighbouring nations.  The end of this chapter saw the LORD’s displeasure (v.27).  It is here, that we see the fallout of God’s chosen man as akin to the chosen man in the first garden, Adam:

“He took her unlawfully.  He deceived Uriah and when the deception didn’t work, he killed him.  Desire, deception, unlawful taking and death.  And from this event in 2 Samuel 11, chaos broke out.  David’s kingdom, from this point on, becomes not the mirror of Christ’s Kingdom which it was meant to be.  Instead it becomes a broken mirror, reflecting not Christ’s Kingdom but the wicked kingdoms of this world.  The chapter in front of us is part of that fall-out.”  – Glen Scrivener’s sermon on 2 Samuel 13

Is this pattern not the same as that committed by Adam?  For Jesus in the sermon on the mount (Matthew 7:20-23) described the chaos of this world as being spun out by our lust and murder (c.f. James 4).  And so, we begin to see the layers of shadows and types folding over one another, that even the great king David bears the mark of original sin – the mark of the race of adam which can only be cured and restored by the one who takes on the flesh of adam though descends from the line of Melchizedek (Psalm 110).  If 2 Samuel 7 displayed the very first promise made between the Father and the Son (John 17:24) before creation, then 2 Samuel 8-10 is equally prophetic in displaying the essence of Christ as mediator and the inevitable victory over those who fall away from God.  This therefore takes us to 2 Samuel 11 as a reflection of this ‘broken mirror’ of Christ, this broken mirror being a remnant shard of the fall in Genesis 3.  Could not David’s very actions, lust and murder, bear the same symbolic weight (though not identical) as that of Adam in the garden?

Here is a man who played with his temptation (v.2-4), though it was clear that she had been unclean – and the entire chapter reeks of hypocrisy and reversal: where the king should be fighting, he instead wanders with wandering eyes; where the woman should have been purifying, she is readily invited to bed with the king in an act of uncleanness.  In a matter of a short two verses, the kingdom of Israel has been severely compromised – only to lead to the deaths and rebellion of David’s sons (in chapters 13-18 of 2 Samuel) – it was merely a moment of weakness where he fell for another man’s wife.  Bathsheba, though she has clearly sinned and contributed to the fall of the kingdom, is not the centre of focus here.  Just as Eve was the one who had first tasted of the forbidden fruit, Adam, like David, had the final say as the head of man’s kingdom.  Yet, like Adam, David fell for what was good in man’s sight (Genesis 3:6) – and so the first unnamed son was literally conceived in sin just as Abel and Cain both were products of a fallen race.  To have us remember the prophecy in chapter 7 concerning David’s son, and then to read about the conception of David’s new offspring in chapter 11 is a stark reminder that God’s true Son will not come by the way of man but by His own appointed manner; by a virgin to be engaged in royal wedlock than an act of adultery (Isaiah 7:14).

Just as the focus had been on David’s ‘first’ sin as a reflection of Adam’s first sin, so we see the consequences of the first sin unraveling.  Where in Genesis 3 we see the LORD pronouncing the result of Adam’s fall, from 2 Samuel 11 onwards we see the curse of Genesis 3:14-19 played out in the narrative.

Therefore, what we saw of the surrounding nations in chapter 10 is entirely mirrored by David.  These nations conspired and fought against God, even to hire the Syrians for an expensive price (1 Chronicles 19:6) than to provide a peace offering to Yahweh through David and the Levitical priests. This scheming and conspiring are epitomes of the unbelievers in Psalm 2, against the true Son of God; and yet David himself is the one attacking the true Son of God, conspiring with Joab the man (2 Samuel 3:29) to murder the innocent.

In the midst of this conspiring between David and Joab, look at Uriah’s (Yahweh is my flame) contrast with David, the latter remaining at Jerusalem during a time of battle and the former ever wary (V.11; 1 Peter 5:8).  The latter staying sober while the king is encouraging him to be drunk (v.13; Jeremiah 13:12-13).  And so David would join and bloody his hand with Joab, when in 2 Samuel 3 he had condemned his accomplice for executing Abner like a guilty man (2 Samuel 3:33).  What we see here is David’s hypocrisy – he, too, has dealt in a similar manner to Uriah the Hittite, that he should die like the pagan Ahimelech, son of Jerubbesheth (Judges 9).

Therefore, the chaos which David has woven has begun to spin out of control.  This is the same chaotic darkness (Jeremiah 46:7; 51:55-64) spoken of in Genesis 1, the waters of chaos on day two of creation which was not good .  In the midst of this chaos, we see a glimpse of the gospel but it is not found in the person of David – it is found in Uriah, who was the lamb led to slaughter (Isaiah 53:7).  Uriah’s innocent death is like that of Abel’s innocent death, his blood (Luke 11:48-52) crying from the earth.  Where our Christ died without lifting a finger (Hebrews 13:20; James 3:17; 2 Peter 1:2), the chaos of sin under the headship of Adam instead of Christ has led to the proverb “Do not let this matter trouble you, for the sword devours now one and now another” (Matthew 26:52).  What happened to the David who mourned so much for Abner ?  Who mourned even the death of Saul who had been persecuting him (2 Samuel 3:31)?  Instead, like the Roman soldiers (Luke 23:36) who trampled on Christ, so David trampled on him who obeyed this king of Israel.  Even the swiftness of the mourning (v.26-27) reeks of pretence (Isaiah 58).

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2 Samuel 11: Original Sin

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