Women of the Word: Bathsheba


David and Bathsheba is one of the most well-known stories in the Bible. But most times we tend to focus on David’s sin and consequences instead of Bathsheba, who is equally guilty of committing adultery. If she had done some things differently, David might not have been tempted to sin at all. Bathsheba is mentioned in the books of 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 1 Chronicles, and once in Psalm as David pleaded with God to have mercy and compassion on him despite his sin. Before getting with David, Bathsheba was married to Uriah the Hittite who as a soldier in the army of Israel. Here are three things we can learn from the life of the beautiful Bathsheba.

1. Bathsheba was not always modest. 2 Samuel 11:2 tells us: ‘the woman was very beautiful to behold.’ Certainly there is nothing wrong with this because God created all His girls beautiful and we should be proud of our uniqueness and femininity. Bathsheba knew she had a beautiful body and to undress and then bathe in full view of being seen by people from the rooftops was just asking for trouble. She probably didn’t purposely set out to grab David’s attention, but because she was immodest (at least in this particular scene) she certainly did.

Most guys, even those who love God and try to do right, are attracted to skin. As Christian girls, it is our responsibility to cover up and not be revealing lest we end up “pulling a Bathsheba” and causing the Davids around us to stumble.

2. Bathsheba did not remain loyal to right convictions. In Bible times, women did not have as many rights and freedoms as we do today. Whatever the king said to do, had to be done. To disobey could mean death. But Bathsheba was not a single girl, she was married; and once she found out what David wanted to do with her, she should have refused and said ‘NO’ – loud and clear.

Even though Vashti does not appear until later in the Bible, this is one situation in which her stubborn refusal to appear before the king should have been used. There is no indication that David forced Bathsheba to do what they did. She went willingly. Bathsheba failed to be loyal to her first husband. She failed to be true to herself. She did not stand by right convictions.

No matter how temptingly good something may look, we must remember that sin is always sin. Wrong is always wrong. Even if a person who wields power tries to get us to do what we know is wrong, we must learn to say ‘NO’ and choose to do right. As in the case of David and Bathsheba, sin only brings humiliation, death, and painful consequences.

3. Bathsheba repented. After her husband had been killed and their sin discovered, 2 Samuel 12:13 tells us: “So David said to Nathan: ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ While the Bible does not tell us exactly, I think it is safe to say that Bathsheba joined David in his acknowledgement of their sin and his cries to God for forgiveness.

They could not go back and change what they had done. But Bathsheba accepted God’s forgiveness, she forgave David and continued to love him, she forgave herself, and went on to live a blessed life as queen of Israel and give birth to a prince, future king, and the wisest man in the history of ever – Solomon. Because Bathsheba did not let that one mistake ruin the rest of her life, God honored her and she is just one of five women listed in the ancestry of Jesus the Christ – the Savior of the world.

We should go ahead and accept the fact that we’re going to screw up sometimes because no one is perfect. Romans 3:10 says: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” Being a Christian doesn’t make us perfect. We’re still sinners; albeit, saved ones. Do not dwell in your failures. When you sin, be like Bathsheba and repent, accept God’s forgiveness and forgive yourself, and move on with your life. 1 John 1:9 says: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

God delights in making masterpieces out of messes, beautiful things out of broken things, and sparking futures out of sinful pasts.

7 thoughts on “Women of the Word: Bathsheba

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  5. This “immodesty” as you refer to it, is not that at all. She is not taking a “bath” but a Mikvah. Read IN SPITE OF IT ALL by Patty Nun for a better understanding of what really happened in Jerusalem that night.

  6. You have made a few mistakes in your understanding of this passage.

    Bathsheba was not bating on the roof. King David was walking around his roof, probably the highest in the city, and saw a woman bathing. There is no mention of where she was. He could have looked through a window or down into a courtyard. There was no indoor plumbing in ancient times, so there were some limitations on where women could bathe. There was no mention that she was bathing in full view of the public.

    In addition, she was doing a purification ritual after having her period, so, again, this might have required a designated space.

    In olden times, the penalty for adultery was death, often by stoning. Rape was still considered adultery for the victim.

    There is absolutely no indication in the text at all that Bathsheba was the aggressor. There is no mention at all if she was willing, unwilling, tied up, forced, or if she said no. All it says is that David lay with her. A woman’s consent in those days was not particularly important to men in general, but most especially a king. In fact, the text says that he sent his messengers to take her. This was long, long ago. She was a powerless woman in the house of the most powerful man in her world, surrounded by servants who would do his bidding, including and up to the deliberate murder of his faithful servant, her husband. She had no power, no recourse, and no voice at all in this situation.

    It is sad and terribly unkind to harshly judge Bathsheba, who was clearly the victim in this story. Even the author viewed King David as solely responsible. God never spoke of his wrath for Bathsheba, but he sent a messenger to express his extreme displeasure with King David.

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