David is a king.
Uriah is fighting for him.
As a King David has right to send any of his soldiers to any missions. Presumably that includes suicidal mission.
It is possible that Batsheba is not even technically Uriah's wife. I've heard about something called retroactive divorce.
Let's presume that Batsheba is not technically Uriah's wife at that time. Is what David do technically a sin?
First, remember that David was king, and as king he answered to no one but G-d. He could have ordered Uriah killed on whatever pretext and then taken Bat-Sheva. He had that authority. Instead, what he did was rely on the fact that Jewish soldiers going into battle are required to give their wives conditional retroactive divorce papers which in effect say: "I divorce you effective today if I do not return from war by next month." Babyl. Talmud, Shab. 56a. As king, David could order any of his soldiers on a suicide mission without apology. And because of the retroactive divorce given to Bat-Sheva, David technically did not commit adultery with her as she was divorced. But, as Nathan pointed out, whether or not he was legally permitted to do all that he did, G-d had warned him to be better than that. Accordingly, he owed no apology to anyone (and could not apologize to the deceased Uriah) but G-d.
Now what about if Batsheba is indeed Uriah's wife? Why God demand such a light punishment against Dave? Shouldn't they both be stoned to death?
We probably have issue whether the sex is consensual or rape. Torah seems to punish married rape victim even if the sex is not consensual if the rape happens in town and the woman doesn't scream (reference needed). So Batsheba should be stoned too.
Some think David didn't commit any sin at all http://torahideals.com/essays-and-imaginings/david-and-bathsheba/
When Uriah was called before David, he made reference to his general as “my master, Joab” (2 Samuel 11:11). Although this form of address would have been proper in the presence of his commanding officer, referring to anyone other than the king as master in the presence of the king himself constituted an act of rebellion punishable by death.7 Uriah also disobeyed David’s order to return home to his wife.8 On two separate counts, therefore, Uriah placed himself in the category of mored b’malchus, a rebel against the king. As such, Uriah forfeited his life immediately since the extralegal powers of the monarch include the authority to invoke the death penalty upon rebels without the due process of law.9
We got two possibilities:
- Either David, as king, commit a crime/sin and didn't get punished for it.
- Or a jewish king (like pretty much any king at that time) can pretty much grab anyone's wife without even breaking the law.
Neither is good for the peasant. In any case, which one is right?