Bath – sheba
There are two women in the Bible, who in my opinion, get a bad rap for things that happened TO them rather than things or behaviors they actually performed.
One is Bathsheba.
One is Mary Magdalene.
Today, we are talking about Bath-sheba. You see, her problem began with an innocent bath.
In the night hours.*
On HER terrace.
While her husband was out fighting a battle.
A battle in which king David should have been fighting.
*[Perhaps David couldn’t sleep because he was feeling guilty that he hadn’t gone out to battle with his troops.]
There lies the problem
King David’s men were out in battle but he was not with them. He was pacing on the rooftop and looking places where he shouldn’t have been looking. (read it all here)
Over the city toward the home of one of his “mighty men” Uriah.
Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, a beautiful woman, was on her own terrace, in her own bathtub, cleansing from her impurity in the evening hours. Perhaps by torchlight – the power company hadn’t been formed then.
David sends for Bathsheba
David sent his servants to the house of Uriah with the clear message to bring Bathsheba back to the palace.
DO NOT for a skinny minute think Bathsheba “got what she asked for.” It was David’s lust that forced Bathsheba to have sex with him – he was the king and she, an innocent woman, who happened to be beautiful and desirable, and let’s not forget – MARRIED.
Was saying no or screaming rape even an option?
The Word tells us he laid with her and then she returned to her house.
Love ’em and leave ’em king David.
The web of deception
Guess what? Bathsheba got pregnant and sent word to the king. Only he could be the father because her husband has been off to war – David’s army, David’s war.
So, what does he do? David sent a message to Captain Joab out on the battlefield and told him to send Uriah home at once. Uriah came home and immediately went in to king David. David asked him all the questions about Joab, the war, the battles and then he ordered him to go home. But, you know what Uriah did? He slept on the front porch of the king’s house and refused to go home to be with his wife, Bathsheba.
When questioned, Uriah told David, “How can I go to the comfort of my home and lie with my wife when my soldiers and comrades are waging war on the front lines.”
Oh the webs we weave when we practice to deceive
David let Uriah stay another day and night – David fed him well and gave him plenty to drink. Even in Uriah’s drunkenness he refused to go home. Another night on the front porch swing.
Let’s make it very clear. David wanted Uriah to go home and sleep with Bathsheba so the baby would appear to be his. He was trying to protect himself from public scandal.
In the meantime, David writes a letter to Captain Joab and orders him to put Uriah on the front line of battle when he returned to the troops.
Uriah dies in battle
Oh David, you are a schemer. Joab did as he was told and in the next battle, Uriah was slain. Joab sent messengers to David to tell him what happened – Joab was distraught because Uriah was a mighty man of battle and now he was dead. But David sent the messenger back to say, “Do not let this thing displease you…” 2 Samuel 11
Bathsheba went into a period of mourning for her husband, Uriah. We can assume the “proper” length of time for mourning was 30 days (Deuteronomy 34.8). There is no record of Uriah having children – Bathsheba mourned alone.
After her time of mourning, David called for her to come live in his house. And, because of the pregnancy, David married beautiful Bathsheba.
…and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased [was evil in the eyes of] the LORD. 2 Samuel 11.27
The baby died
Nathan the prophet visited David (read about that in 2 Samuel 12) – the visit was a harsh rebuke to David from the LORD. Bathsheba’s baby boy died.
Solomon is born
Bathsheba suffered two extreme losses since that night David was where he shouldn’t have been. Her husband Uriah’s death and now her precious baby has died.
The Word states: Then David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in to her and lay with her. So she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. Now the LORD loved him. 2 Samuel 12.24
Bathsheba and David had four sons
1 Chronicles 3.5 tells us they had four sons together:
And these were born to him in Jerusalem: Shimea, Shobab, Nathan, and Solomon—four by Bathshua [Bathsheba] the daughter of Ammiel. (here)
Bathsheba at David’s deathbed
David was an old man and lying on his deathbed – his son Adonijah proclaimed himself king. Remember Nathan the prophet? He summoned Bathsheba to go to David her husband and appeal to and remind him that he had promised Solomon he would succeed him as king. Bathsheba did go to David and she reminded him that if he did not act on this situation that both her life and the life of Solomon would be in danger.
Dying David was moved to action on behalf of his wife Bathsheba – he gathered the strength to publicly anoint Solomon as king, and in so doing he saved Bathsheba from a sure death. (The account is found in 1 Kings chapters 2 and 3)
Takeaway’s from Bathsheba’s story
- Bathsheba’s life is a witness of God’s grace in difficult situations. There is no question that David raped Bathsheba. There is no question that David had Uriah killed, although not by his hand, but nevertheless by his orders.
- Bathsheba could have easily allowed a root of bitterness to grow but she took the lemons, however sour, and made lemonade.
- Bathsheba is a poster woman for courage under extreme pain and duress.
- Bathsheba shows us that even awful things, such as rape and the death of a child, can be redeemed.
- Bathsheba’s life is testament that God makes beauty from ashes.
It all started with an innocent bath…
Click the image below and print out a 14-day devotional on Jonah – remember the guy and the whale?
Happy Dad’s Day Weekend!