Bathsheba - Women of the Bible

Bathsheba = "daughter of the oath"

Bathsheba remains one of the most maligned women of the Bible. Despite Bible repeatedly placing blame on David, commentators, preachers and lay people continue to heap the blame squarely on her shoulders.

In the spring of the year, 960 B.C., David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.

942 B.C.

The Bible tells us David stayed home, while everyone else went to war. Obviously, he was not were he was supposed to be, which always opens the door for trouble in our lives.

2 Samuel 11:1 And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle (i.e. the next spring), that David sent Joab (= whose father is Yahaveh), and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the sons of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah (= great. The capital of Ammon [Deut. 3:11 Josh. 13:25]).

11:-1-5. David and Bath-sheba.

But David tarried still at Jerusalem (note the contrast with "kings" going forth, above, and this word "But". When your at the top be careful. Flesh is weak. Chapters 11 & 12 will show that weakness in David.)

It happened on afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful.

This one line has been used to create romantic stories of love, passion and seduction, but read the verse again. David was walking on the roof of the king's house. Which mean he was far above all that occurred around him. The Bible does not tell us where Bathsheba was bathing. She may have been close for David decides she is beautiful. Yet, as we all know, men are more than capable of determining a woman's beauty even at a distance. Nowhere does the Bible state Bathsheba knew David watched her, or that she "flaunted" herself at him. More, David does not fall in love with Bathsheba, he just thinks she is beautiful. Finally, to return to verse 1, if David were too old to be going into battle, then he would no longer have been the good-looking sexy young man Michal watched from her window.

2 Samuel 11:2 And it came to pass in an evening-tide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman bathing herself (probably in the court below); and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. (Was she tempting David? We will never know.)

David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, 'This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.

Here we encounter another problem with placing the blame on Bathsheba. If we assume that she brazenly enticed David, and he relented in a fit of passion, we find that David actually had to track Bathsheba down--he had to investigate her. At that point he learns she is married, yet that does not stop him.

2 Samuel 11:3 And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bath-sheba (= daughter of the oath. Called Bath-shua, 1 Chron. 3:5), the daughter of Eliam (called "Ammiel", 1 Chron. 3:5. The son of Ahithophel [23:34]), the wife of Uriah (= light of Yahaveh. One of David' faithful soldiers [23:39]. Married the daughter of Eliam [11:3], who was the son of Ahithophel [23:34]. This relationship probably led to Ahithophel's disloyalty [15:12]) the Hittite?” (refers to geographical location, NOT blood-line)
4: And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; and when she was purified from her uncleanness (cp. Lev.15:18. It is possible to be more punctilious about the ceremonial Law than the Moral Law): and she returned to her house. (Did she put up a fight? Was this love at first sight?)

If any blame at all could be placed on Bathsheba, it would be because "she came". Yet, could she have defied the King? Notice that David sent "messengers" to get her. Not only had the king commanded her presence (the messengers were sent to get her, not to convey an invitation) , but he sent more than one person to rely that command. David did not keep her after having intercourse with her, she went back home. Certainly,she was not the greedy manipulator often portrayed.

2 Samuel 11:5: And the woman conceived, and sent and told David (that David might shield her from the death penalty [Lev.20:10]), and said, “I am with child.”

Imagine her panic. Her husband is off to battle, and she becomes pregnant. She has to send to the king, the child's father, and hope for help.

6-24. David and Uriah.

6. Message to Joab.
7-13. Uriah's reception.
14,15. Letter to Joab.
16-24. Uriah's death.

2 Samuel 11:6 And David sent to Joab, saying, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David. 7: And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the People did, and how the war prospered. (Double talk to cause Uriah to think that he [Uriah] is the messenger of the king)

The Bible contrasts what David has been doing with Uriah's honor. While David has been home, bedding Uriah's wife, Uriah has been warring for Israel.

2 Samuel 11:8 And David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house, and wash your feet.” And Uriah departed out of the king's house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king. (Pregnancy would be explainable if Uriah spent time with his wife)

2 Samuel 11:9 But Uriah slept at the entrance of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house. (Uriah did this out of loyalty to his troops) 10: And when they had told David, saying, “Uriah went not down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Did you not come from your journey? why then did you not go down to your house?”

David had things worked out, but Uriah was not co-operating with David's plans.

2 Samuel 11:11 And Uriah said to David, “The Ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as you live, and as your soul (= you [emp.]) live, I will not do this thing.” (Shows his loyalty to the Ark of God which could be in danger)

While Uriah concerns himself with the ark and God's people, David has concerned himself with his own desires. Like the Samaritan in Jesus' parable, true honor and true dishonor were found where least expected.

At this point, David has to change tactics, and had Uriah killed in the name of battle.

2 Samuel 11:26 And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she made lamentations for her husband.
27: And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house (not till 9 months after), and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.

At this point, Bathsheba becomes David's wife. Quite often we assume that Bathsheba arranged or instigated all this, but the Bible tells us David planned and implemented the liaison, the deception and the murder....then finally the marriage.

However, David's scheme had not gone un-noticed. Nathan brought a message of rebuke cloaked in a parable, and a prophecy.

2 Samuel 12:9 Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? you have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword (not Joab, or the Ammonites), and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have slain him with the sword of the sons of Ammon.

10: Now therefore the sword (Fig., put for manifested hostility) shall never depart from your house (Fig. put for a part of time, i.e. lifetime); because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’
11: Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house (disgraced by one son [13:14], banished by another [15:19], revolted against by a third [1 Kings 2], bearded by his servant, betrayed by his friends, deserted by his People, bereaved of his children), and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbor (prophecy. See 16:21,22. God is in control), and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.
12: For you did it secretly (see v.9): but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.’ ”

Often we remember that David was a man after God's own heart, yet forget that God said David had "despised" God. Good people can to very bad things. For all David was a great man of worship, he was also a man of great deceit and sin. God punished David for the sin David committed.

2 Samuel 12:13 And David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” (Ps.51 is the expansion of this)

And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; therefore you shall not die. (Divine forgiveness instantly follows the sinner's confession [1 John 1:9]. Cp. Job 42:6,8,10. Isa. 6:5,6, "then flew". Luke 15:18,20, "his father ran", &c.)
14: However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme (this is noted in the Massorah as one of the emendations of the Sopherim, who altered the primitive text out of mistaken reverence for David and Yehovah. The original reading was "you have greatly blasphemed Yehovah"), the child also that is born to you shall surely die.”

"The LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and it became very ill. David therefore pleaded with God for the child; David fasted, and went in and lay all night on the ground."

Why did God have this child die? I don't know. I don't know why an innocent child suffered for his father's sin.

940 B.C.

2 Samuel 12:24: And David comforted Bath-sheba his wife, and went in to her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called (some codices read "she", in contrast with "he" in next verse) his name Solomon (= Pacific or Peaceful. Cp. 7:13): and the Lord loved him.
25: And He sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and He called (i.e. Yahaveh, by the hand of Nathan, in contrast with Bath-shba. See v.24) his name Jedidiah (= beloved of Yah), for the Lord's sake.
Then David consoled his wife Bathsheba, and went to her, and lay with her; and she bore a son, and she named him Solomon. The LORD loved him.

David and Bathsheba had been punished with the death of their son, but the Lord offered restoration with another son, who found favor in His sight. However, Nathan's prophecy would continue to be fulfilled.

11-14. Nahan and Bath-sheba. Counteraction.

11. Bath-sheba. Danger.
12. Advice for David.
13. Advice for Bath-sheba.
14. Bath-sheba. Support.

11: Wherefore Nathan spoke to Bath-sheba the mother of Solomon, saying, “Have you not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith does reign, and David our lord knows it not?

12: Now therefore come, let me, I pray you, give you counsel, that you may save your own soul, and the life of your son Solomon.

13: Go and get you in to king David, and say to him, “Did not you, my lord, O king, swear to your handmaid, saying, ‘Assuredly Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne?’ why then does Adonijah reign?

14: And behold, while you yet talk there with the king, I also will come in after you, and confirm your words.”

This strange scene raises several questions. Why did Nathan go to Bathsheba instead of approaching David himself? Did David really promise that Solomon would be king? Was Nathan acting on the Lord's command?

16-27. Nathan and Bath-sheba. Counteraction.

16. Obeisance of Bath-sheba. Nathan's advice
17. Rightful successor? Followed.
18. Adonijah. "
19. Feast. "
20,21. Expectation. "

16: And Bath-sheba bowed, and did obeisance to the king. And the king said to her, “What do you want?”

17: And she said to him, “My lord o king, you swore by the Lord your to your handmaid, saying, ‘Assuredly Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne.’

18: And now, behold, Adonijah reigns; and now, my lord the king, you know it not:”

19: And he has slain oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and has called all the sons of the king, and Abiathar the priest, and Joab the captain of the host: but Solomon your servant has he not called.

20: And now, my lord, O king, the eyes of all Israel are upon you, that you should tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him.
21: Otherwise it shall come to pass, when my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers (see Deut. 31:16), that I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders” (Heb. chăt’ă. See Lev.4:2). Surprisingly, in all the catalogs of Bathsheba's devious deeds, this conversation is usually forgotten. Here we see a woman using verbal manipulation to gain her own end. She reminded David of a promise he supposedly made--and elaborates far more than Nathan had instructed. She indicates that not only has Adonijah claimed the throne, but he has excluded Solomon from any form of participation. Then she added that not only Solomon would be endangered, but she would also be threatened. While Michal and other women had become pawns in political intrigue, Bathsheba has turned the tables. She makes David her pawn in gaining power not only for her son, but for her through her son.

22,23. Obeisance of Nathan. Nathan's promise

1 Kings 1:22: And, lo, while she yet talked with the king, Nathan the prophet also came in. 23: And they told the king, saying, “Behold Nathan the prophet.” And when he was come in before the king, he bowed himself before the king with his face to the ground.

Nathan completes his plan, and verifies everything Bathsheba has said.

28. Call for Bath-sheba (David).
29,30. Command. Given.
31. Acquiescence. Reverence.

1 Kings 1: 28: Then king David answered and said, “Call me Bath-sheba.” And she came into the king's presence, and stood before the king.

29: And the king swore, and said, “As the Lord lives, that has redeemed my soul out of all distress,
30: Even according as I swore to you by the Lord God (Yahaveh Elohim) of Israel, saying, ‘Assuredly Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead;’ even so will I certainly do this day.”

31: Then Bath-sheba bowed with her face to the earth, and did reverence to the king, and said, “Let my lord king David live for ever.”

We learn in chapter two that David has died.

13-25. Execution. Adonijah.

13-16. Bath-sheba. Approached by Adonijah.
17. Adonijah's request.
18. Promise made.

1 Kings 2:13: And Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bath-sheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, “Do you come peaceably?” And he said, “Peaceably.”
14: He said moreover, “I have somewhat to say to you.” And she said to him, “Say on.”
15: And he said, “You know that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel set their faces on me, that I should reign: however the kingdom is turned about, and is become my brother's: for it was his from the Lord.
16: And now I ask one petition of you, deny me not.” (Heb. idiom = "turn not away my face": face being put for whole person) And she said to him, “Say on.”

17: And he said, “Speak, I pray you, to Solomon the king, {for he will not say turn away your face,} that he give me Abishag the Shunammite to wife.”

18: And Bath-sheba said, “Good; I will speak for you to the king.”

Adonijab goes to Bathsheba hoping she will use her influence on the king to gain his request. His approach to her almost seems like a political advance, and in fact it was. As with Reuben sleeping with his father's concubine, Adonijab wants his father's concubine to gain political advantage. Why he thought Bathsheba would help him gain this advantage is unclear, though he does seem aware that she has something to do with his lose of the throne. She promises to go to the king and speak on Adonijab's behalf.

19,20. Bath-sheba. Approach to Solomon.
21. Adonijah's request.
22-25. Promise fulfilled. Result.

1 Kings 2:19: Bath-sheba therefore went to king Solomon, to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself to her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a throne to be set for the king's mother; and she sat on his right hand.

Bathsheba approached her son. The king not only rises to meet her, but bowed down before her. The verse tells us the extent of Bathsheba's personal power at the time. The king of Israel bowed down to her ; then he had a throne brought for his mother which he placed at his right. Being on the right was a place of honor, and an indication of shared power.

1 Kings 2:20: Then she said, “I desire one small petition of you; I pray you, say to me not no.” And the king said to her, “Ask on, my mother: for I will not say to you no.”

21: And she said, “Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah your brother to wife” (the verb is masc., as it usually is when a woman acts a man's part).

22: And king Solomon answered and said to his mother, “And why do you ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? ask for him the kingdom also; for he is my elder brother; even for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah.”
23: Then king Solomon swore by the Lord, saying, “God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah has not spoken this word against his own soul.
24: Now therefore, according as the Lord lives, Which has established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and Who has made me an house, as He promised (cp. 2 Sam. 7:12,15), Adonijah shall be put to death this day.”
25: And king Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he fell upon him that he died. Solomon does not grant Bathsheba's request. He lays blame for the intrigue solidly at the feet of Adonijab. He sees the request as a challenge to his throne.

1 Chronicles 3:5 And these were born to him in Jerusalem (cp. 2 Sam. 5:13-16); Shimea, and Shobab, and Nathan (The son through whom the genealogy of Joseph is traced in Luke 3; and in Matt. 1, after Solomon's line failed in Jeconiah. See v. 17), and Solomon (through whom the line is traced in Matt. 1), four, of Bathshua (another name for Beth-sheba. Cp. 2 Sam. 11:3) the daughter of Ammiel (or Eliam, cp. 2 Sam 11:3):

Bathsheba might have just been a forgot name in history, just another scandal in a scandal ridden monarchy. But, like many other women in the Old Testament, she has an important part in one of the major events in history.

Matthew 1:6 And Jesse begat David the king; (Ruth 4:22. This addition to the name of David is because of the object of Matthew's Gospel)

and David the king begat Solomon (2 Sam. 12:24. The line in Matt. is the Regal line through Solomon, exhausted in Joseph. The line in Luke is the legal line through Nathan, an elder brother [2 Sam. 5:14], exhausted in Mary. If Christ be not risen, therefore, all prophecies must fail) of her that had been the wife of Uriah; (2 Sam. 12:24)