“Unit 19: Day 1, 2 Samuel 11:1–12:9,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 19: Day 1,” Old Testament Study Guide
King David committed adultery with a woman named Bathsheba, who became pregnant. Upon learning of Bathsheba’s condition, David tried to cover his sin and eventually arranged for Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, to be killed in battle. After Uriah’s death, the Lord sent the prophet Nathan to confront David about his wicked deeds.
Do you know what a switch point on a railroad track is? It is a piece of a railroad track that can move, allowing train cars to be diverted onto another track.
President Gordon B. Hinckley once worked for a railroad in Utah. One morning he received a call from a railroad worker in the state of New Jersey, who told him that a passenger train had arrived without its baggage car. This resulted in 300 angry passengers with lost baggage. As you read President Hinckley’s account of what had happened, look for what switch points on a train track could represent in our lives.
“We discovered that a baggage car that belonged in Newark, New Jersey, was in fact in New Orleans, Louisiana—1,500 miles from its destination. Just the three-inch movement of the switch in the St. Louis[, Missouri,] yard by a careless employee had started it on the wrong track, and the distance from its true destination increased dramatically. That is the way it is with our lives. Instead of following a steady course, we are pulled by some mistaken idea in another direction. The movement away from our original destination may be ever so small, but, if continued, that very small movement becomes a great gap and we find ourselves far from where we intended to go” (“Words of the Prophet: Seek Learning,” New Era, Sept. 2007, 2).
Considering what President Hinckley said, what do you think a railroad switch point could represent in our lives?
As you study 2 Samuel 11–12, look for principles that can help you make wise decisions. Some decisions we make may appear small or insignificant, but the end consequences of those decisions could greatly affect the course of our lives.
Read 2 Samuel 11:1–5, looking for a series of decisions King David made that led him in the wrong direction. You may want to mark what you find.
In the spaces provided, list some of the decisions David made that led him in a direction away from righteousness:
- One principle we could identify in 2 Samuel 11:1, from David’s choice to stay home during a time when he should have been with his soldiers in battle, is that if we are not where we should be, we can become more susceptible to temptation. In your scripture study journal, write a few examples of situations you have seen that illustrate this principle.
What righteous choice could David have made when he first saw Bathsheba washing herself?
Notice the phrase “the woman was very beautiful to look upon” (2 Samuel 11:2). The implication is that Bathsheba’s beauty led to David being tempted to inquire about her rather than looking away and controlling his thoughts.
At what other points could David have controlled his lustful desires and corrected the direction he was heading?
One principle we can learn from David’s choice to entertain lustful desires is if we choose to entertain lustful desires, we become susceptible to serious sins.
One way some people choose to entertain lustful desires is by using pornography. The word pornography refers to any pictures, videos, books, or song lyrics intended to stimulate sexual desires.
“Pornography in all forms is especially dangerous and addictive. What may begin as an unexpected exposure or a curious exploration can become a destructive habit. Use of pornography is a serious sin and can lead to other sexual transgression. Avoid pornography at all costs. It is a poison that weakens your self-control, destroys your feelings of self-worth, and changes the way you see others. It causes you to lose the guidance of the Spirit and can damage your ability to have a normal relationship with others, especially your future spouse. It limits your ability to feel true love. If you encounter pornography, turn away from it immediately.
“If you are involved in pornography, cease now. Seek the help you need. Your parents and bishop can help you take the steps necessary to repent and rid yourself of this destructive habit” (For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], 12).
Ponder for a moment about what you can do to both avoid and control unwanted thoughts and lustful desires.
Remember that being where you should be, leaving places and situations where you may be susceptible to temptation, and refusing to entertain lustful desires can help you avoid temptation and sin. Happiness can result from learning to control desires. The Lord is willing to help you succeed in doing so.
Imagine you have an opportunity to counsel King David about what he should do regarding his adultery with Bathsheba. What would you counsel him to do?
Read 2 Samuel 11:6–13, looking for what he chose to do instead of repent.
Notice that King David tried to persuade Uriah to go home to spend the night with his wife, Bathsheba, while he was in Jerusalem. Then it would appear that Uriah was responsible for his wife’s pregnancy.
In what ways did Uriah’s actions, motivated by his integrity and devotion to Israel, contrast with David’s actions? Read 2 Samuel 11:14–17, looking for what David eventually did to try to hide his sin of adultery.
What can we learn from David’s attempt to hide his sin? Seeking to hide our sins can lead to .
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: What are some other examples of how hiding sins can lead to more serious sins?
In 2 Samuel 11:18–25 we learn that when a messenger reported the death of several of King David’s soldiers, including Uriah, David replied with indifference, saying, “The sword devoureth one as well as another” (2 Samuel 11:25) and encouraged his army to continue in battle.
Read 2 Samuel 11:26–27, looking for what David did next.
David thought that no one had found out about his sins and that he had successfully hidden them. What truth do we learn from verse 27 that shows the falsehood of the idea that a person can successfully sin in secret?
The Lord sent the prophet Nathan to King David, and Nathan told him a parable (a story with symbolic meaning). Read 2 Samuel 12:1–4, and ponder what Nathan was teaching David.
Notice in verse 4 that the rich man “took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it.” This means he killed it and prepared it as a meal for his guest. Why was this a cruel thing for the rich man to do?
Read 2 Samuel 12:5–6, looking for what David said should happen to the rich man.
Read 2 Samuel 12:7–9, and imagine how it might have felt to be in David’s position as he listened to the prophet tell him this.
If you had been in David’s position, how might you have felt when the prophet Nathan said, “Thou art the man”? How was David like the rich man in the parable?
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What can we learn from this account of Nathan exposing David’s sins?
Considering what you have learned from the account of King David and his sins, why do you think it is important that we admit our mistakes and sins and correct them early?
Ponder how you will apply the truths you have identified in this lesson. Consider carefully where your decisions are leading you. Repent of your sins quickly rather than trying to hide them.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 2 Samuel 11:1–12:9 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: