The story of King David and Bathsheba is one we are all familiar with, yet there is something deeper going on here that scripture doesn’t describe in great detail. Many Bible scholars believe David and Bathsheba’s relationship goes much farther back than the rooftop.
Bathsheba was the daughter of Eliam, one of David’s chief soldiers, who spent time with him in the wilderness before David became king. Her grandfather, Ahithophel was one of David’s chief counsellors. So, clearly there is history between them. Granted, Bathsheba was considerably young when she met David while living in the wilderness with her family.
Imagine being a young girl, slowly coming into your womanhood and being surrounded by a man like David. He was admired, assumably good-looking and an honorable man of God. We’d all probably grow weak in the knees at his presence. So, it could be said Bathsheba had a little crush on our king-to-be.
Flash-forward to the evening that changed everything. Bathsheba had just said goodbye to her husband Uriah, a soldier of the king, as he accepted orders into battle. Her emotions were already fragile and her heart crushed, for she might not see Uriah again. So, naturally she had her handmaiden draw her a bath in the courtyard. If most of us had the choice to take a bath in perfect weather under the sky we probably would, right?
Although, as we know this act of purification was anything but as David caught a glimpse of her.
“One evening David got up from his bed and strolled around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing — a very beautiful woman. So David sent someone to inquire about her, and he said, “Isn’t this Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah the Hethite?” 2 Samuel 11:2-3
David was filled with lust for Bathsheba from the moment his eyes fell upon her. At this point, he was willing to do whatever it took to bring her into his private chambers. He was king, so he deserved whomever he desired… Right? David was so blinded by sin, there was no controlling him. Deceived by passion, David sent for her.
When a messenger of the king knocked on Bathsheba’s door, she was probably caught off guard. What’s wrong? Did something happen to Uriah? Is he alright? This was most likely a rare occurrence, so what was she to think? After decades of admiring David, her childhood crush, she never thought she would be the one summoned by the king. There were probably times in her life when she found herself dreaming of this very moment. However, she was married now and if she betrayed her husband, all sorts of shame, even death, would fall upon her. When faced with the decision to decline David’s offer or follow his soldiers into the palace, she chose the latter. Who would dare turn down the king? Let alone the man she loved from afar?
The Bible gives no inclination that Bathsheba fought David on what sin they were about to commit. While we don’t know for sure if she tried to refuse the king’s advances, we could assume she too was overcome with desire for the man she secretly loved. This one night of intimacy would cost them everything.
“David sent messengers to get her, and when she came to him, he slept with her. Now she had just been purifying herself from uncleanness. Afterward, she returned home. The woman conceived and sent word to inform David: “I am pregnant.” 2 Samuel 11:4-5
The child Bathsheba carried, conceived in sinful passion, would be her downfall. While David promised to care for her and keep their secret safe, he was ultimately looking out for himself. After a failed attempt to encourage Uriah to sleep with his wife for one night, David sent the soldier back into battle. This was ultimately Uriah’s death sentence and Bathsheba would suffer the weight of becoming a widow and harlot of the king.
All seems hopeless at this point in their story yet God, being the great Redeemer He is, showed up. From the loss of their first child to the birth of four more, Bathsheba would bear Israel’s next heir — Solomon.
A relationship denied from the start yet forced later in life was made beautiful in the sight of the Lord. He blessed the union between King David and Bathsheba by giving them a son who would come to take David’s throne.
Our mighty God has the commanding power and unconditional mercy to restore damage caused by sin. While David and Bathsheba ignored the Law, God’s goodness was enough to correct their mistakes. Only God can create purpose out of loss and shortcomings. The best news is the God of King David and Bathsheba is the same God we humbly serve today.
Featured image by Allison Mims