Have you ever done something you were ashamed of? How did you respond afterwards? Did you openly admit your sin or did you try to pretend it never happened? Were others impacted by your actions?
In this week’s episode of All God’s Women, we look at Bathsheba, a woman caught in a scandalous situation. Was she an innocent victim or a willing participant? Either way, we can learn from her life’s experiences.
2 Samuel chapter 11 opens with, “It happened in the spring of the year, 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 people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.”
Right off we know that David should have been at the battlefield with his army, but instead, he was hanging around at home. He was not where he was supposed to be.
In verse 2 we’re told, “Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold.”
This brings us to many questions. Where was she bathing? Did she know King David could see her? Could anyone else see her? Why was she bathing out in the open? Did she care that she could be seen?
More than likely, she was bathing in a courtyard attached to her house. But since her home was near the palace and the palace overlooked her courtyard, she would have known that she was in full view of anyone who might be walking around on the palace terrace.
Modesty dictates that bathing is an activity done privately. Which means that Bathsheba was not where she was supposed to be.
The situation could have ended innocently enough, though, with David turning away and Bathsheba quickly covering herself, and no one would be the wiser. But that’s not what happened.
David got so caught up in her sensual beauty that he inquired to find out who she was. He found out that she was Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah. From this he knew that she came from a godly family and that she was married to one of his mighty warriors. That should have been enough to stop him in his tracks. But his desire was roused.
He sent messengers to get her, “and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house.”
She came to him. He sent messengers to her house, and she went with them. She had a choice. Yes, he was king, but she could have resisted. He was known as a kind king. He treated women with respect. Had she stood up to him and rebuked him, much as Abigail did when she warned him not to do something he would regret, how different both of their lives would have been. But she didn’t.
From that point on, their lives went downhill in a hurry. While Uriah was still away at battle, Bathsheba realized that she was pregnant. She sent word to David to let him know.
Hebrew law was clear. Leviticus 2:10 states if a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both man and woman are to be put to death.
With Uriah away and Bathsheba pregnant, the truth would come out. David had to act quickly.
David brought Uriah off the battlefield and invited him to go home, encouraging him to enjoy his wife’s company. But Uriah instead spent the night outside the palace with the king’s servants. When questioned by David, he explained it was not honorable for him to lie with his wife when the ark and Israel and Judah were in tents.
So the next night David got him drunk, but even drunk, he was honorable and remained with the servants.
David got desperate. He sent Uriah back to battle, delivering a message to Joab, the army commander. David told Joab to put Uriah at the front of the lines, then retreat so that he will be killed.”
I’m sure Joab found the message confusing to say the least, but he followed David’s orders to have Uriah killed.
David must have breathed a sigh of relief when he received word that Uriah had died in battle.
We’re told that Bathsheba mourned the death of Uriah.
And why wouldn’t she? He was a good man, an honorable man. And because of her, he was now a dead man.
When her mourning was over, David brought her to the palace and made her his wife. I can imagine the public response was how kind that was for the king to comfort the grieving widow by marrying her.
But God wasn’t fooled. He was quite grieved over David’s actions. God sent the prophet Nathan to confront David of his sin. He warned him of the consequences that would come from this sin for years to come, and that the son who would be born to Bathsheba would die.
Finally, David woke up to what he had done. He acknowledged his sin against God.
We’re not told how Bathsheba responded to all of this. All we know is that when their baby boy became ill, David pleaded to God, fasting and praying at all hours of the night. Then, when the child died, he went to the temple and worshipped. As he explained in chapter 2 Samuel 12 verses 22-23,
“While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”
Those verses are immediately followed with
“And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved him.”
What an incredibly beautiful message of grace and hope.
David comforted Bathsheba.
Perhaps when his eyes were finally opened, he realized all he had put Bathsheba through. Whether she was guilty of bathing in the open or even accepting David’s advances, she certainly didn’t ask for her husband to be killed or for her baby to die. Bathsheba suffered terribly because of David’s sins.
So he comforted her in the only way he knew how, by being a husband to her and providing her with another son.
And, oh how precious to see that God loved that son. And it was through that son that Bathsheba secured a spot in the treasured lineage of Jesus.
We serve a God of second chances. Whatever we’ve done in the past, however vile it might be, God always offers us the opportunity to come clean and start afresh. Sure, there will be consequences that we may live with for the rest of our lives. We may even deal with consequences of other people’s sins. But even those negative consequences can be used for God’s glory.
God loves us. God loves you.
You may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. You may have given into temptation. You may have succumbed to someone stronger than you. You may have a long list of things you’ve done that you regret.
Perhaps you’re thinking that you’re too far gone, that the consequences are too great. But please know. You’re never too far gone. God is always there with open arms waiting for you to turn around and return to Him. Don’t wait. Today is the day to start anew.
Lord God, thank you for including Bathsheba’s story in the Bible so that we might find comfort and encouragement. Thank You for being God of second chances. Thank You for Your love and grace, for Your forgiveness and redemption. Create in us new hearts each day, that we might come to You refreshed and ready to serve You wherever we are. We love You so very much. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
That concludes this week’s episode of All God’s Women. Tune in next week when we look at the wise woman of Tekoah who used her acting skills to reunite a father and son.
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2 Samuel 11-12
1 Kings 1
Bible Study Review
- What should David have been doing instead of walking around on his roof?
- What was the punishment for adultery?
- How did David find out Bathsheba was pregnant?
Thoughts to Ponder
- What might have happened had Bathsheba resisted David’s advances?
- Why did David not mourn when his baby died?
- How was Bathsheba redeemed from her past?
- Do you ever flaunt yourself when you should be more modest?
- Has God given you a second chance in your life?
- How are you alike and different from Bathsheba?
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