I have a treat for you today! My friend, Sharonda, is guest posting. I know you will be blessed by her insights and her careful handling of truth. If you’re new to the site today and would like to read the other lessons that have been posted on the Women in the Lineage of Jesus, they can be found here, here, and here.
“A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife, …and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” Matthew 1:1-6, 16 [highlight mine]
Who’s Who in the Story
Bathsheba: Beautiful young woman
David: Powerful King
Uriah: Husband of Bathsheba and a top soldier in King David’s Army
The Story in a Nutshell
Young, beautiful Bathsheba was married to Uriah, one of the top soldiers in King David’s army. One spring evening while her husband was away in battle, she was bathing. King David, about 50 years old, saw her, lusted after her, and sent for her. We don’t know all of the details, but we do know she went to him and they had sex.
We don’t know if Bathsheba was inside bathing and David saw her through an uncurtained window; if she was in a courtyard she thought was private; or if she was intentionally courting his attention. But we do know that Bathsheba was not soaking in a tub of bubbles the way we might imagine. This incident took place in the desert and water was not wasted. Her “tub” would have been a small basin of water that she used to sponge herself clean. Was Bathsheba simply bathing and unaware that she was being watched or was she vying for the King’s attention? Interestingly, the Bible says that David saw her, but it does not mention that she saw HIM. Was she brought against her will? Or did she come willingly, excited to have the King’s attention? We don’t know but we do know David had the authority to command her presence; no questions asked.
Later, Bathsheba discovered she was pregnant and sent a message to the King to let him know of their situation. Her husband, Uriah, was away with the army and would know the baby was not his. In an effort to conceal his sin, King David sent for Uriah to leave the fighting and return to Jerusalem. David’s hope was that Uriah would sleep with Bathsheba and be fooled into thinking that he had fathered the child. But Uriah was unwilling to violate the ancient kingdom rule applying to warriors in service that forbade intimacy.
After his repeated refusal to sleep with Bathsheba, King David gave the order for Uriah to be placed on the front lines of battle, the most dangerous position. Uriah was killed leaving Bathsheba a widow. David then married Bathsheba. God is not pleased with David and scripture records that his and Bathsheba’s child is “struck by God” (2 Samuel 12:15), becomes ill, and, ultimately, dies.(2 Samuel 12:18) Bathsheba, later comforted by David, gives birth to a son, Solomon. (2 Samuel 12:24)
- As the King of Israel, David should have been with his troops but scripture tells us he stayed home from war. Why do you think he chose to remain home instead of serving as a military leader?
- Why do you think that Bathsheba’s thoughts and words are not recorded?
- What about Bathsheba made David disobey God’s clear teaching on adultery? Was it a matter of control? Forbidden fruit? Pure lust?
- If you had been Bathsheba, would you have accepted David’s invitation? Would the proposition have been easy to turn down or would you have been tempted?
- Scripture tells us that Bathsheba mourned for her husband. Do you think this information changes the story?
- Do you think the entire situation may have been planned and calculated by Bathsheba in an attempt to have the King’s child?
- What is your impression of Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband? Was he the victim of a scheming king? Or did he bring this situation upon himself?
- Does another option exist for King David to resolve the situation other than moving Uriah to the front line?
- 2 Samuel 11:27 says that “the thing David had done displeased the LORD.” Which “thing” do you think this refers to?
- What do you think the spiritual take-away is from the story of Bathsheba?
- Does the story have a happy ending? Do you feel the story is one of warning or one of redemption?
Bathsheba’s Story in Scripture
2 Samuel 11:1-27 NIV:
1 Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. 2 Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance. 3 So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 4 David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house. 5 The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, “I am pregnant.” 6Then David sent to Joab, saying, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent Uriah to David. 7 When Uriah came to him, David asked concerning the welfare of Joab and the people and the state of the war. 8 Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house, and wash your feet.” And Uriah went out of the king’s house, and a present from the king was sent out after him. 9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. 10 Now when they told David, saying, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?” 11 Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in temporary shelters, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? By your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing.” 12 Then David said to Uriah, “Stay here today also, and tomorrow I will let you go.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 Now David called him, and he ate and drank before him, and he made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his bed with his lord’s servants, but he did not go down to his house. 14 Now in the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 He had written in the letter, saying, “Place Uriah in the front line of the fiercest battle and withdraw from him, so that he may be struck down and die.” 16 So it was as Joab kept watch on the city, that he put Uriah at the place where he knew there were valiant men. 17 The men of the city went out and fought against Joab, and some of the people among David’s servants fell; and Uriah the Hittite also died. 18 Then Joab sent and reported to David all the events of the war. 19 He charged the messenger, saying, “When you have finished telling all the events of the war to the king, 20 and if it happens that the king’s wrath rises and he says to you, ‘Why did you go so near to the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? 21 ‘Who struck down Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Did not a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?’—then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.’” 22 So the messenger departed and came and reported to David all that Joab had sent him to tell. 23 The messenger said to David, “The men prevailed against us and came out against us in the field, but we pressed them as far as the entrance of the gate. 24 “Moreover, the archers shot at your servants from the wall; so some of the king’s servants are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead.” 25 Then David said to the messenger, “Thus you shall say to Joab, ‘Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another; make your battle against the city stronger and overthrow it’; and so encourage him.”26 Now when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband. 27 When the time of mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house and she became his wife; then she bore him a son. But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the LORD. But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the LORD.
2 Samuel 12:1-25 NIV
1 The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. 4 “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.” 5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.” 7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. 9 Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’ 11 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’ ” 13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt fora the Lord, the son born to you will die.” 15 After Nathan had gone home, the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. 16 David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground. 17 The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them. 18 On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.” 19 David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.” 20 Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. 21 His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!” 22 He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23 But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” 24 Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The Lord loved him; 25 and because the Lord loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah.