Join Publishing Director Morgan Farr as she shares the lasting impact of Bathsheba: Lust, Sin, and Redemption in Military Life.
Bathsheba: Lust, Sin, and Redemption in Military Life
by Morgan Farr
Bathsheba is one of the Bible’s most controversial and fascinating figures. Her story is one of lust, sin, consequences, and redemption.
Bathsheba was the daughter of Eliam, one of David’s mighty men. She is also married to Uriah the Hittite, a soldier in David’s army. This makes her both a military kid and a military wife. Later on, Bathsheba marries King David, one of the greatest kings in the history of Isreal.
Lust and Logic
We see Bathsheba first mentioned in 2 Samuel chapter 11. David is walking on the roof of his palace and sees her bathing. People often say Bathsheba was on the rooftop, tempting David to sin.
But, if you read 2 Samuel 11 for yourself, you will see that David is on the rooftop, not Bathsheba. The Bible never says where Bathsheba was, just that she participated in a monthly cleansing ritual. It is worth mentioning that Orthodox Jews practice this to this day, and it is a very modest event, not seductive or sensual.
Bathesba gets a bad reputation in many Christian circles, but I don’t believe it is warranted. Authors and preachers have called her a temptress and an adulterer, but the question of intent and power matters here. Bathsheba was exactly where she was supposed to be, doing exactly what she was supposed to be doing. David, meanwhile, was supposed to be at war with his men but stayed home instead. He then fell prey to his lust and sent messengers to bring Bathsheba to him.
Sin and Scandal
Bathsheba was already married, but David was the king. This power dynamic brings into question the concept of consent in this interaction. We know that in other portions of the Bible, when a woman refuses a king, there is often a steep price, like in the book of Esther.
An important note is that David was already married to two other women. He would also go on to have at least five more wives before his death, and that is to say nothing about the concubines he kept.
Court and Consequences
We don’t know how long Bathsheba was with David or if the sex was consensual. What we know for sure is that David impregnants Bathsheba. When Bathsheba tells David, he calls Uriah home from the war, hoping he will sleep with Bathsheba. The goal here was that Uriah would think the child was his own. However, Uriah was a loyal soldier who refused to go home and sleep with his wife while his fellow soldiers were still at war.
When David realized he couldn’t trick Uriah, he made an evil plan. David then sent Uriah to the front lines of battle, murdering him to cover up the sin. David then took Bathsheba as his wife. Bathsheba gave birth to a son that would ultimately die due to David’s sin.
Repentance and Redemption.
Bathsheba’s story is complex, raising many questions about her role in the affair and her relationship with David. The Bible does not give us much insight into Bathsheba’s thoughts and feelings, but it is clear that she suffered greatly due to David’s actions.
Despite the tragic circumstances of her life, Bathsheba played an important role in the history of Israel. She was the mother of Solomon, who would become one of the greatest kings of Israel and build the Temple in Jerusalem. Bathsheba’s son would also be known for his wisdom, and he would write many of the Proverbs we study even today. Solomon would be a king of peace where his father wages war and fought in many battles.
Bathsheba’s story is a powerful reminder of the destructive power of sin and the importance of repentance and redemption. Her story reminds us that God can turn a horrible loss into his glory.
Heavenly Father, thank you for Bathsheba and the mother she was to King Solomon. Thank you for showing us that you can use the evil deeds of men to bring about your glory. In your name, we pray, amen.
Links and Resources
- Read this post to learn why we care about Christian women in military history.
- Read all of our Women of the Word Wednesday posts here.
- How many wives did King David have?
- Why Was David Allowed to Take So Many Wives (and Who Were They)?
- 2 Samuel 11
- Bathsheba Was Not on the Roof: And Here’s Why That Is Important
- King David Timeline – Second King of Israel in Biblical History