Study the following scriptures:
2 Samuel 11. David commits adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah (11:1–5). David fails in his attempt to hide his sin (11:6–13). He arranges the death of Uriah (11:14–17). David marries Bathsheba, and they have a son (11:26–27).
2 Samuel 12:1–23. The prophet Nathan teaches of the severity of David’s sins by telling David a parable (12:1–6). David is told that he will be punished because of his sins (12:7–14; note that in the Joseph Smith Translation of verse 13, Nathan states, “The Lord hath not put away thy sin that thou shalt not die”). The first son of David and Bathsheba dies in infancy (12:15–23).
Psalm 51. A repentant David seeks forgiveness.
David succeeded Saul as king and became one of the greatest kings in the history of Israel. He united the tribes into one nation, secured possession of the land that had been promised to his people, and set up a government based on God’s law. However, the last 20 years of his personal life were marred by the consequences of his sinfulness.
What did David do that led him to commit adultery? (See 2 Samuel 11:2–4.) What might lead people to be tempted to commit sexual sins? What can we do to avoid being tempted to commit sexual sins?
What more serious sin did David commit in an attempt to hide his immorality? (See 2 Samuel 11:14–17.) From whom do you think David thought he could hide his sin? How do people try to cover up sins today? What happens when we try to cover our sins?
In a psalm to the Lord, David expressed a desire to help others repent, saying, “I [will] teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee” (Psalm 51:13). Even though David forfeited his exaltation because he arranged the death of Uriah, we can learn from his repentant attitude as he sought forgiveness for the sin of adultery. His words in Psalm 51 teach many aspects of true repentance. As you study the psalm, look for ways that you can apply David’s repentant example to your life.
Additional reading: 2 Samuel 2–10.