Q&A: Did David only sin once?

Did David only sin once?

Question

Did David only sin once? - 1 Kings 15:5

Answer

1 Kings 15:5 For David had done what was right in the eyes of the LORD and had not failed to keep any of the LORD's commands all the days of his life - except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.

David was a sinner (Rom. 3:23). For the most part, he was faithful to the covenant of God. However, though he was for the most part faithful, he still sinned and had to repent of sin continuously (1 John 1:8-10). Moreover, he committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband, Uriah the Hittite. But he lived a life of repentance. David repented of his transgressions, including his adultery and murder - Psalm 51.

Though David was a sinner, he was also a model king (1 Kings 11:4). The passage above is making a comparison between Abijah and David. In context, Abijah was not as fully devoted to the Lord as David had been (1 Kings 15:3). Abijah committed all the sins his father (Rehoboam) had done before him. Though both were sinners, David was a repenting sinner. But God was still faithful to David's seed (1 Kings 15:4). As House says:

Abijah succeeds his father and governs in Jerusalem only three years (ca. 913-910). He too opposes Jeroboam throughout his reign. In fact, 2 Chr 13:1-20 states that Abijah defeated Jeroboam in Ephraim (ca. 912 B.C.), then took Bethel, Jeshanah and Ephron, with their surrounding villages (13:19). Thus, he was able to gain some relief from the northern threat. Still, he commits all the sins his father practiced (cf. 1 Kgs 14:25-28). Why, then, does God allow him to rule at all? Why does God abide Judahs existence? Again, the answer lies in the Lords grace and his covenant with David. The Lord will continue Davids dynasty and protect Jerusalem because of Davids faithfulness. Certainly David sinned in the Bathsheba/Uriah incident, yet he never turned to idols as Solomon, Rehoboam, and now Abijah have done. God keeps his promises even when Davids descendants do not.

Reference

House, P.R., The New American Commentary Vol. 8, 1, 2 Kings. In Logos Library System electronic ed. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).