When this war was raging, David was at home. He sees a beautiful woman bathing – Bathsheba. David lies with her and makes her pregnant. To cover his sin, David tries to get Uriah to return home to lie with his wife, but he refuses while a military campaign is being waged, so David sends Uriah out in the vanguard of battle, where he dies. Bathsheba becomes David’s wife, but God is displeased with David.
Nathan’s parable – a rich man with many flocks takes the sole lamb from a poor man to feed a traveller. Nathan points out the applicability of the story to David, and says that the sword shall never depart from David’s house. David repents, and is forgiven. Bathsheba’s child dies, but she fives birth to another son, Solomon. Israel conquers Rabbah, and puts the people to forced labour.
Amnon, David’s son, becomes infatuated with Tamar, his half sister. Amnon’s friend Jonadab advises him to pretend to be ill, and make a request for Tamar to tend to him. Amnon does so, and rapes Tamar before dismissing her. Absalom, Tamar’s brother, has Amnon killed at a feast. Absalom flees to Geshur; David mourns.
Joab arranges for a woman called Tekoa to dress as a widow. She tells David that one of her sons has killed another, and she is anxious that her remaining son will be killed at the request of her family. David assures her that he will protect her son. The woman applies her story to David, and admits that she commanded to tell it by Joab. David recalls Absalom to Jerusalem, but does not want to see him. Absalom was handsome and had long flowing hair which was sold at a high price when he cut it. Frustrated, Absalom burns a field of barley belonging to Joab. David and Absalom are finally reconciled.
Absalom wins the hearts of people of Israel, and starts to judge between them. Absalom asks permission to go to Hebron to serve the Lord in gratitude for being allowed back to Jerusalem. The request is granted, but Absalom uses Hebron as his power base, and plans to take over all Israel. Ahitophel, David’s counsellor, defects to Absalom’s side. As the rebellion grows, David flees from Jerusalem with Ittai the Gittite and his men. The high priest, Zadok, and the Levites also accompany him. Zadok goes with his sons and the ark back to Jerusalem to gather information. David weeps on the Mount of Olives. Hushai agrees to go undercover for David as the servant of Absalom.
Ziba, Mephibosheth’s servant, brings supplies to David. Ziba tells David that Mephibosheth is in Jerusalem, waiting to come to power after David and Absalom destroy each other. Shimei, of the house of Saul, curses David. David suffers the cursing stoically. Absalom receives Hushai as an advisor. Ahithophel advises Absalom to sleep with David’s concubines.