Many notable events in the life of David are recorded in the Scriptures. Perhaps the two which most define his life were battles with giants. In the first, he slew Goliath, the great champion of the Philistines. This event displayed his great faith in God, and was the first of many successful battles he would fight. In fact, there is no indication in Scriptures that he lost even one conflict. Every time he stepped on a battlefield, he walked away the victor.
However, when David came face to face with another giant, he was unprepared. He entered the arena with a foe he should have ruled over (Genesis 4:7), but instead he would suffer a defeat that would haunt him for the rest of his life. He lost, not to a man of brute strength, but to the unlawful desires of his own heart.
The problem first appears in 2 Samuel 5:13. Though he was wonderfully blessed by God, we're told that he took many wives to himself, both from Hebron and Jerusalem. This was a direct violation of Deuteronomy 17:14-17. The giant in David's life was lust. He had strong sexual desires, and looked to satisfy them by accumulating women. But he would not be satisfied.
It is a common strategy in sports to patiently wait for your opponent to make a mistake, and then pounce. Lust and it's associate (fornication) is much the same. When a window of opportunity is open, when a weakness is exposed, it strikes. That's exactly what happened between David and Bathsheba.
David should have been leading his men in battle, but he chose to stay home instead. He neglected his duty. As a result, he had too much free time. It is true, an idle mind is the devil's workshop. Perhaps David was glorying in the victories of the past, and figured that he deserved a break. Sometimes success gives a false confidence in those who have enjoyed it. David did all but roll out the red carpet for the giant that was growing in his heart. He was willing and ready to be drawn away and enticed (James 1:14-15).
The battleground was set, and David has slanted the field against himself. One evening, he went out on his rooftop patio. As he gazed below, he saw a woman bathing. The text tells us "the woman was very beautiful to behold" (2 Samuel 11:2). His roof afforded him the privacy to watch without fear of being discovered. But his lust was not satisfied by the eye alone. He asked about her and then sent for her. It didn't matter that she was another man's wife. Julius Caesar is credited with writing, >'veni 'vidi 'viti [I came, I saw, I conquered]. Such was the case with David that night. Nothing would keep him from this young woman, not even the fact that she was married.
To say that David knew better is an understatement. He was the sweet psalmist of Israel - God had blessed him with a kingdom, and had spoken to him by His Spirit. From his pen came dozens and dozens of songs about victory in the Lord over enemies. But he surrendered himself to a growing enemy housed in his own mind. When wickedness takes up residence in the mind, all thought of God and His will are put out.
His lust being satisfied, it is likely that David set it out of his mind and went about life as normal. Just a handful knew about his indiscretion that night, he no doubt trusted them to keep it to themselves. As Israel prepared to receive the land of Canaan, the eastern tribes promised to help their brethren as they battled in the land. Moses warned them not to go back on their word, for if they did
...you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your will will find you out. (Numbers 32:23)
Sin has consequences. In time, Bathsheba informed David that she was with child. That wasn't part of the plan. He had satisfied his desire - but the giant within wasn't done with him yet. Sin's purpose is not to pleasure us, it is to destroy us! Now, for him to keep his sin hidden, he would need to go down a road he would have never imaged possible. First, he tried deception - seeking to cover his sin by having Uriah come back from the battle, in hope that he would lie with his wife. He did not. When deception didn't work, David devised a plan against Uriah's life. Joab set this valiant soldier at the front of the battle, and then commanded his men to fall back. Uriah and other valiant men died at the command of David, so he could cover his sin.
David allowed Bathsheba a time to mourn Uriah, and then brought her to his house, that she might also be his wife. However, "the thing that David had done displeased the LORD" (2 Samuel 11:27).
David's defeat to this giant sin that took charge of his life came at great costs; men lost their lives, women lost their husbands, children lost their fathers. Being guilty of adultery, David should have been put to death, but the Lord spared his life (2 Samuel 12:13). However, the child in Bathsheba's womb would die (12:14). His sin brought so much trouble to so many, and it would tear his own family apart. His firstborn son, Amnon, would rape his daughter Tamar (13:14). When David did not have Amnon put to death for his crime, another son of David, Absalom rose up and killed him (13:32). Eventually, Absalom stole the hearts of the people from his father, and took the kingdom (15:13-14).
What a huge price was paid by David and all who were near him - for one night of illicit pleasure. If only he had overcome this giant as he did Goliath!
Friend, we all face giants like this in life. For some, like David, it may be lust. For others, it may be greed, jealously, pride, indifference; the list of possible giants that we carry with us goes on and on. If we are going to be victorious, it is essential to identify the giant we face, and to not make any provision or door of opportunity. Know the tactics that sin will use to defeat you, and prepare your-self to stand. Guard the mind! The mind is the first battlefield with sin. If it falls, all our other defenses will tumble like dominoes.
...put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Romans 13:14)
What did Judas do with the silver? Acts 1:18 says that he bought a field with it, but Matthew 27:5 says he threw it on the ground. Is there a contradiction?
Matthew tells us:
...he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed (Matthew 27:5)
Judas didn't keep the silver or purchase anything with it. He returned it to those who gave it to him (Matthew 27:3). When they did not share his concern that the Lord was condemned, he threw it down before the Jewish leaders and left.
What should they do with it? It could not go back to the treasury, it was blood money (Matthew 27:6). So they used it to buy a field in which to bury strangers (Matthew 27:7). Matthew says the land was called the Field of Blood (27:8). Luke also tells us it was called this. He records,
...it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood (Acts 1:19)
It seems the origin of the money used to buy the field was known among the general populace, and thus the name Field of Blood.
Matthew tells us the chief priests purchased the field, but Luke says of Judas,
...this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity... (Acts 1:18)
How do we reconcile the two accounts? Judas may have told the chief priests when they paid him for his betrayal that he planned to buy a field with the money. He may have already had a contract in place. If so, the leaders simply did what he had intended to do. Or, it may be that they chose to buy the field simply as a way to discard the blood money. It is likely that when they purchased the field, they did so in Judas' name - on his behalf, as it were. This would explain why Luke's account says the purchase was Judas', not the chief priests. It was his money, not theirs.
The difference in the texts is a matter of perspective and logistics. There is no contradiction.
A.T.A. - How should a man who has sex with a menstruating woman be punished?
A.T.A. - Where did Moses receive the Ten Commandments?