II Samuel 11:26-12:15
The warrior-king is at home. His troops are on the battlefield, defending the land against its most recent invaders, but the king is at home. He’s older now, perhaps a little heavier than he once was, a little slower – still handsome, but a bit softer, certainly less agile and strong. In his younger days he would have been leading the troops, but he’s the king now and no longer needs to go out with his armies; he can monitor the battles from the situation room in the palace. He’s not the man he once was, so perhaps it’s best he’s not embarrassing himself or his officers by displaying his diminished skills for all to see.
If the truth be told, he’s bored. He’s accomplished all he set out to accomplish. He has consolidated the kingdom, built up the holy city, brought justice and peace to the land. No doubt he misses the excitement of battle, to say nothing of the notoriety and public affirmation it brought him. It’s been some time now since the crowds shouted his name: “Saul has killed his thousands, but David his tens of thousands!” (I Sam 18:7) He’s missing the thrill of conquest. Ruling and governing has its perks, but it’s not the same.