September 23 – Bathsheba

We have just looked at the sad and tragic story of David’s daughter Tamar, and today’s devotional is about one of King David’s wives; Bathsheba, the infamous woman bathing on the roof within sight of the palace, and eventual mother to King Solomon.  Her story is found in 2 Samuel 11.

“In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war… David remained in Jerusalem.” (2 Sam 11:1)  The trouble began because King David was not where he was supposed to be, doing the things he was supposed to be doing.  It was the time of the year when kings go off to war, and instead, “One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace.  From the roof he saw a woman bathing.  The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her…Then David sent messengers to get her.”  (2 Sam 11:2-4)

We all know the story of how Bathsheba became pregnant from this encounter, and in order to cover up the truth that this was his child, David put into place an elaborate scheme to first trick Bathsheba’s husband, and when that didn’t work,  put him (Uriah) on the front lines to ensure that he was killed and the truth never known.  But God knows.  The chapter ends with ‘But the thing David had done displeased the LORD.’ (2 Sam 11:27)  

David saw Bathsheba, wanted her even though she was the wife of another, and took her.1  We don’t know what say Bathsheba had in all of this, but she lived in a time when women were seen not as individuals but as property.  The word ‘took’ means seize, take captive, to be captured, in the original Hebrew.  In addition, when the King sent his men to get her to come to the palace, she wouldn’t have the right to say no.  We know that when Nathan the prophet confronted King David (2 Sam 12:1-10) it was King David who was accused and found guilty.  Nothing was said of Bathsheba.

When Uriah died, Bathsheba grieved for him.  (2 Sam. 11:26)  He had gone off to war, she was pregnant against her will and now she was an expectant widow, all alone.

King David took her to the palace and married her.  She gave birth to a son but only 7 days after David was confronted about his sin of taking another man’s wife, the baby boy died.  Once again, she grieved.  If she knew David’s hand in the murder of her husband and the consequences of sin as a king, it would be hard to not be biased against him.

David went in to comfort his wife, and within 9 months she gave birth to Solomon, the one who would build the earthly temple for God.  God loved Solomon and renamed him Jedidiah meaning beloved by the LORD.  (2 Sam. 12:24)  God redeemed Bathsheba’s pain and heartache by giving her another son.  It didn’t remove the grief but did add joy to it.

When Bathsheba was included in the lineage of Jesus in Matthew 1:6  it wasn’t by name.  It never says, Bathsheba but rather ‘ David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife.’  I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t some sweet tribute to Bathsheba as a wife; a recognition that she loved and wrongly  lost her first spouse.  We assume she loved David and was ok with all that happened to her, but from her perspective she lost her husband and was taken to marry the man who was responsible for that death.  Tamar’s name is not silenced, and neither is Uriah’s.  Bathsheba; it isn’t forgotten that she was Uriah’s wife; and perhaps this is how she wanted to be known.

Nothing is hidden from God.  We may think our secrets are safe, but God loves too greatly to sweep anything under the carpet.  We are never forgotten nor abandoned to our ways.

When God disciplines us, let us remember that it is because He loves us and truly wants what is best for each and every one.  

1  Yesterday we looked at Amnon, the son of David.  He saw his sister Tamar and without any thought of her, took her for himself and destroyed her life.  It is interesting that the son follows the father’s example of lust and greed.

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