David’s Adultery

2 Samuel 11,12—”How can the Bible say that the Prophet David committed adultery against Uriah’s wife Bathsheba and then covered it up?”

Interestingly, part of this story is found in the Qur’an (38:21-24, 30), and the best Muslim interpreters tell us that David wrongfully taking Uriah’s wife is the correct interpretation of those Qur’anic verses. For example Ibn Abbas writes about Sura 38:23-24 and 26:

(one ewe) i.e. one wife; (and he said: Entrust it to me, and he conquered me in speech) this is a similitude which they struck for David in order for him to understand what he did to Uriah. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs; source)

Click here for more evidence from Islamic sources

Althought this incident was clearly a terrible sin, God used David’s repentance to bring us some of the most beautiful Biblical passages expressing true repentance and remorse:

A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

Have mercy on me, O God,

according to your unfailing love;

according to your great compassion

blot out my transgressions.

Wash away all my iniquity

and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,

and my sin is always before me.

Against you, you only, have I sinned

and done what is evil in your sight,

so that you are proved right when you speak

and justified when you judge.

Surely I was sinful at birth,

sinful from the time my mother conceived me…

Create in me a pure heart, O God,

and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 1

Do not cast me from your presence

or take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation

and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,

and sinners will turn back to you

Among the prophets, only Jesus is the perfectly sinless example that we should imitate ( read more here) — the other prophets are not examples of perfect living, but rather we can learn from their true repentance when they fail. We should imitate their humble repentance.

Related Articles

How can the Bible mention Prophet’s Sins?

Who is the only Sinless Prophet according to the Qur’an and Bible?

  1. much of this is drawn from Sam Shamoun’s article here.

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