Why was David condemned for having sex with Bathsheba when he already had multiple women?



This is a question that came to mind in response to a post about King David. King David had the daughter of Saul and also the widow of the rich man as his wives. My question is why was he only condemned for adultery after he had sex with Bathsheba? He had already had several wives, so I don't think sex really has much to do with adultery when considering this circumstance. It also mentions servants that he had laid with. I just don't understand how sex with one woman is different from having sex with another. Please let me know your thoughts on this. Is a man held to a different standard than a woman regarding sex outside of marriage?


Men and women are held to the same standard. God did allow men to have multiple wives under the Old Testament. We learn from Jesus that God did not consider the situation ideal. "And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate" (Matthew 19:3-5). From the beginning, it was supposed to be one man and one woman married for life. There was even a law that clearly stated that kings were not to have multiple wives. "Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself" (Deuteronomy 17:17). God allowed men some mercy in following His laws prior to Christ, in part, it appears because the whole world was not under a written law. "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30).

But there were limits to what God tolerated. David was married to several women, but he was not married to Bathsheba when he had sex with her. Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah. "So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house" (II Samuel 11:3-4). David knew she was married to another man but had sex with her anyway. He tried to cover up the fact that he got her pregnant and eventually had her husband killed so that he could marry her. It was for this that he was condemned. "Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife'" (II Samuel 12:9-10).

It was just sex with one more woman. It was sex with a woman he was not married to. In regards to David's concubines, these were women who were slaves but were also married to their master (Leviticus 19:20).

"For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man" (Romans 7:2-3).

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