If you’ve spent very much time at all reading the Bible, you’ll probably recognize this beginning to one of the most infamous stories in Scripture: “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. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful.” (2 Samuel 11:1-2)
It was Spring, “the time when kings go out to battle” (verse 1), so where was David, the king? Verse 2 finds him on his royal “gluteus maximus”. He sent General Joab and his servants and all the men of Israel into battle – while he sat on his couch! Now, let’s don’t be too hard on David. He IS the king. Not only is he the king, but he has been a very successful king. Just a quick survey of the preceding few chapters reveals several huge military victories, the establishment of Jerusalem as the political and spiritual capital of the nation, and the Lord’s covenant with David to establish his throne forever. I’d call that a successful monarchy! Perhaps David knew that the battle with the Ammonites was well in-hand, and that Joab could handle it on his own. No doubt, he felt that he needed some well-deserved rest. And, what’s wrong with a little relaxation on the couch when everything is going so well? Doesn’t even the Lord command rest? The problem wasn’t David taking time off to rest, the problem was that he did it in the Spring, “when kings go out to battle.” He wasn’t where he was supposed to be. And that one act of not being where he, as king, was supposed to be led to lust, adultery, and murder. Because, from his couch, it was just a few steps to the roof. If you don’t remember how the rest of the story goes down, it isn’t pretty. You can read it here.