David and Bathsheba

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The narrative of David and Bathsheba has been of interest to commentators from all periods. This narrative focuses on the sin of David and gives insight into man’s nature as sinful and fallen, and offers the reader the lesson that this is the nature we possess. The narrative focuses on literary elements including the development of characters, the plot, and setting the narrative. This essay will summarize the narrative of David and Bathsheba and expound on the literary techniques the narrator uses.

Literary Features

The story of 2 Samuel 11:1-27 includes four main characters which are David, Bathsheba, Uriah, and Joab. David is a round character as he is a developed character, with his story starting in 1 Samuel 16. David was chosen by God to be the king of Israel in the place of Saul, who disobeyed and sinned against God with no proper repentance. Bathsheba is another round character in the narrative. She is only mentioned by name once (verse 3) and then referred to as the woman, or, wife of Uriah. She plays an important role as David commits the grievous sin of adultery with Bathsheba. Uriah is a flat character as he portrays one quality in the narrative, and that is dedication to the king, David. 2 Samuel 11:11 reads,

Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in temporary shelters, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink and to lie with my wife? By your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing” (NASB).

Joab’s character as an agent moves the story along. Joab is instructed by David to put Uriah in the front line of battle so he might be killed to cover up David’s sin of adultery. Joab is ...

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...ord. As previously mentioned, as Christians we also must be able to confess our sins to God.


This essay has reviewed the literary elements included in the narrative of David and Bathsheba. These include the development of characters, the plot, and setting the narrative. The story of David and Bathsheba uncovers the sinful nature of man and how it causes destruction in people’s lives. David may have been a man after the heart of God, but he failed when he committed adultery and murder. The story continues to show true repentance is always forgiven by God. Christians can learn from this narrative to seek the will of God and depend on the Holy Spirit to stay away from sin. When sin does occur, the person is to confess it to the Lord and is then forgiven. The narrative also demonstrated God is always in control and His will is always accomplished.
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