As David is given the throne of Israel after it has been taken from Saul and his descendants by God, all of the tribes of Israel gradually accept him as their King. David becomes the greatest king of Israel by defeating all of Israel’s enemies and bringing the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord into the City of David, Jerusalem. When David desires to give God a house for the Ark to reside in, God refuses and instead promises David that He will make of him and his descendants an everlasting house that will always sit on the throne. Yet, despite David’s faithfulness, he was not without sin. David will commit multiple sins throughout his kingship that will not only affect the palace, but the whole nation of Israel.

The first of the great sins of David is his most famous sin. On a day that his army was out warring against the Ammonites, David was home when he should have been with his army. From his house, he saw a woman named Bathsheba bathing on the roof. She was the wife of Uriah the Hittite, the armor bearer for Joab, the general of David’s army. David sent messengers who took her to him, and David slept with her. She later notified David that she was pregnant. David, wishing for his sin not to be discovered, recalled her husband Uriah from war under the pretext of learning information about the battle. He then instructed Uriah to go home to his wife. Uriah did but did not sleep with her, instead sleeping outside the king’s house in solidarity with his brothers at war. The next night David feasted with Uriah, getting him drunk and urging him to go home with his wife, but Uriah again slept outside the house of the king. It was then that David sent him back to the front lines where the fighting was fierce, and instructed the men around Uriah to step back and allow him to be struck down. After Uriah died, Bathsheba mourned and then was taken into David’s house as his wife and bore him a son. 

In these actions, we see that David was an adulterer and then a murderer in his attempt to cover his sin. To call David to repentance, God sends the prophet Nathan to David who tells the king a parable of a rich man who takes a poor man’s lamb to feed his guest. David is outraged and calls for justice. Nathan utters the harrowing words You are that man, which causes David to repent. However, the child conceived dies despite David’s week-long fast. 

The next sin of David has to do the management of His household. David’s son Amnon loved his sister Tamar very much. He feigned illness and asked her to feed him from his bed. He took the opportunity to rape her and then kicked her out of his presence. Absalom, Tamar’s brother, took her in and comforted her. However, when David heard of the matter, he did nothing to reprove Amnon. Absalom took notice, waited two years, and took justice into his own hands and killed Amnon. This will lead to Absalom’s banishment. After Joab petitions for Absalom’s return, David grants it, but does not allow Absalom to come into his presence. This will lead to Absalom’s rebellion against his father in which many men of Israel die. David is victorious against his son, and Absalom is killed by Joab against David’s wishes. Despite the victory, the mismanagement of his sons caused David not only much strife within the palace walls, but this began the split that would occur in the nation of Israel years later. 

Finally, we see toward the end of his kingship, David decides to take a census. This displeased God. We are not exactly sure why this was a sinful action, but it is believed that David was using the census to gather information on how to use the people of God for either military power, taxes, or something of that nature. Whatever the reason, the prideful numbering of the tribes of Israel was displeasing to God, and He gave David the choice of three inflictions as a result of his sin. David chose a plague of the Lord because he believed that God’s mercy would prevail. The plague occurs but stops at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. David buys the land and builds an altar there. This became the site where David’s son Solomon will build the great temple of the God of Israel. 

We see the results of David’s sins have a great effect on the nation. In the sin with Bathsheba, Israel loses not only Uriah in battle, but also some other good fighters when they take unnecessary risks to put Uriah in a position of heavy fighting. In the mismanagement of his household, we see that the infighting of David’s family caused an uprising against him as king led by his son. Not only was the death toll great in the civil war, but David loses some of the loyalty of the kingdom of Israel. Finally, in the plague as a result of the census, many innocent Israelites died. It cannot be understated the effect the sin of the leaders of a nation have on the people they lead, and David is a foremost example of this. 

Yet, in every instance David was repentant, and God was merciful. God brings forth good things once retribution and repentance have come about. From Bathsheba, comes the heir to the throne, Solomon who would be known for his wisdom. From the rebellion of Absalom, David shows great humility in coming to grips with his sins. From the plague after the census, in God’s mercy David received the spot in which his son would build the temple. None of these good things are an excuse for David’s sins. The sins should have never been committed. However David, who continuously loved God, is the example of how God treats His sinful children who repent and stay true to him. Even when sin is present, God’s mercy abounds all the more for those who return to Him humbly.