“King David:” The Downfall of a Hero

He was called “King David” by the troops.  He had position. Power. Prestige.  He was hailed as a hero.  Loved by his countrymen.  Feared by His enemies.  And jeered by his critics.  His life had been a series of successes from his youth.  And now the revelation of an illicit relationship has brought him to the lowest point in his life.

No, I’m not talking about King David in the Bible, but General David Petraeus.

On Friday General Petraeus resigned as CIA director because of an extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell.  In his statement the General said, “After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair.  Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours.”

The story has been covered by every major news organization. In searching a number of websites, the storyline more often than not involves issues relating to national security.  Benghazi.  The Libyan attacks. What the General knew.  Will he testify before Congress? Did he give Mrs. Broadwell classified information?  And yes, the whole sordid mess has been compared in the media to David and Bathsheba in the Old Testament.

Little has been said about the immorality of the situation.  In fact, some suggested that the President should not have accepted his resignation.  One respected cable news pundit said  “I don’t care about his private life.” Others have said “it’s nobody business.”   Some news sites have treated the affair with bawdy humor.

Rubel Shelly, in his weekly Fax of Life, addressed this issue correctly when he wrote, “David Petraeus seems to have been more upright than his would-be defenders. The military code under which he served for 37 years still regards adultery as a crime when it stands to “bring discredit upon the armed forces.”

However, there is a cruel irony.  On November 5th the Daily Beast shared General Petraeus’ 12 rules for living.  A list that was compiled by–yes, that’s right–Paula Broadwell.  Rule number 5 was “We all will make mistakes. The key is to recognize them and admit them, to learn from them, and to take off the rear- view mirrors—drive on and avoid making them again.”  To the General’s credit, he followed his own advice, at least on that count, if not the others.

What is also missing from the national story is the anguish and pain suffered by his wife, Holly. She has faithfully stood by his side for 37 years.  Raised two children.  Served in the community. And was an accomplished woman in her own right.  In fact, earlier in the year David Petraeus called his wife, “the greatest source of support, wise counsel, and love that any soldier could have.”  What about her hurt?  Her humiliation? Her suffering?

Consider also the impact on the Broadwell family. Paula’s husband, Dr Scott Broadwell, a radiologist. And their two young children.  Neighbors of the Broadwell’s describe them as living “an idyllic life.”  By all accounts they seemed to have a good family life and were involved with their children and in the community.

I know nothing of the faith of either the Petraeuses or Broadwells.  But there are a few things I do know.

Adultery is still wrong.  Regardless of the way society views it.  The Bible calls it a “work of the flesh” (Gal. 5:19) and a sin for which God will bring judgment (Hew 13:4).

When the temptation arises to engage in illicit behavior, we must find the moral will to “Flee fornication” (1 Cor 6:19).

And if there are any of us who look at this self-righteously with judgmental eyes, the apostle Paul warns, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”

While most who fall prey to this snare of Satan will not have their lives played out on a national stage, the personal damage is no less devastating. The rippling effect impacts so many family members. Friends. Neighbors. And fellow-Christians.

Our hope and prayer for them should be for help and healing.  Forgiveness and reconciliation.   Sanctification and salvation.  In fact, these qualities are desperately needed more than ever in our sex-saturated society.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under America, Culture, Morality

6 responses to ““King David:” The Downfall of a Hero

  1. John Grant

    Very well said and veery sad, especially for those who looked to the general as a role model. A wonderful career is in shambles because of lack of moral discipline.

  2. Steve Segrest

    I have a Bible question. The NT always refers to the importance that Christ came from the line of David. But one thing I’ve always thought odd was that this line from David started with Solomon, a child born out of sins of adultry and murder. Is there anything here that’s important with this? Or, is my reaction not really relevant or not understanding something?

    • Thanks for asking Steve. I think there is importance. I take away several things. First, the child born to the illicit union of David and Bathsheba died (2 Samuel 12:19). Secondly, Solomon was conceived and born after David married Bathsheba. (Of course, under the Old Law God allowed multiple wives) (2 Sam. 12:24). Thirdly, David truly repented of his sin which is evidenlty in at least two of his Psalms (32 & 51). Fourth, God uses imperfect people to accomplish His purpose. David is called “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22), although he committed a grievous sin. God forgave him. And Solomon was used by God in a wonderful way in the OT. And, as you mention, through their “seed” Christ came. Of course, all of the people of that lineage sinned in some fashion, which brings home the point that we all need Jesus, the sinless Son of God. I hope that is helpful and answers your question. Thanks for reading and for your interest and question.   Ken

      Ken Weliever 400 NW Highcliffe Dr Lee’s Summit, MO 64081 Home Phone: 816-600-5001 Cell Phone: 813-507-1726 Church Office: 816-761-2659 preacherman@weliever.net web site: http://www.weliever.net/ blog: http://www.thepreachersword.com/ Church web site:  http://hickmanchurch.com/



      • robert (mike) cooner

        Thank you brother Weliever for your posts. I believe todays post points out how needful it is for each of us to hold fast to God’s standard for morality today, and with many of our young married men and woman choosing careers in the military, which often require long periods of separation, this point deserves carful and prayful consideration!

  3. Akaninyene Robert

    Good morning min. Ken, thanks for wonderful reminder, warning us against illicit relationship. Many engaged in this act and see it as nothing, cos the mentality behind this they called it FUN but at the end they secure a broken home and God’s wrath as the end point of their experiment. On contrary, let he who has ear hear what the spirit says through you!

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