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BATHSHEBA
A TRUTHFUL ACCOUNT
  
BY ISLEO
Nov 2000


Who is this woman? What comes to mind is a woman who together with King David committed adultery, a figure associated with shame, one who was the cause of the king’s downfall. Other than that, very little is known or spoken about her. If anything else, she is at best, a victim of circumstances, a consenting weak woman who had not resisted an obvious sin or at worst, a shameless, adulterous woman who schemed her way into the high places of the royal palace.

Yet to the astonishment of theologians and historians, God had chosen this controversial woman to bring forth the lineage of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Both, the earthly father and mother of Jesus, Joseph and Mary were her direct descendents. The Scriptures says that Bathsheba borne 4 sons to King David: Solomon, Nathan, Shimea and Shobab and among them, 2 were direct forefathers of Jesus. Joseph, the husband of Mary was from the lineage of Solomon, son born of David and Bathsheba  (Matthew 1:6) and Mary, virgin wife of Joseph, was a direct descendent of Nathan, son also born of David and Bathsheba (Luke 3:31). God makes no mistake in honoring whom He would. Moreover, among all the sons of David, Solomon, the son of Bathsheba was chosen to be the first successor to King David. Why? Why would God choose to honor such a woman of sin throughout the history of His holy nation, Israel, where so much emphasis is placed on genealogical uprightness? There were so many other sons that were borne to those other wives of David who were not tainted with such disrepute, yet God picked this woman of shame to bring forth the successor. Baffled theologians and ministers say it is simply a proof of His grace and mercy. But, it is all too simplistic and sweeping an answer. For God is merciful but not unrighteous and unfair and genealogical birthrights and curses are something that God is always very particular about. He visited sins down the generations. Whatever perception one may have of Bathsheba, this is one character that certainly deserves a closer look. Here is a truthful account that unravels the mystery. Why is a sinful woman so honored by the Holy God?

HER DISPOSITION

2 Samuel 11:2-4
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. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house. NKJV

So it seemed, Bathsheba was one lacking modesty because she was bathing in the open, or in a place opened enough for the king to see her in clear view from his palace. She carefully timed the evening hour when the king would be taking his evening walk on the rooftop of his palace. And she must have moved her naked body in the most seductive manner to arrest his attention when he was in his most vulnerable moments, after the afternoon nap. So this is and what we have been taught and preached at since young and what Hollywood portrayed.

A closer look at the Scriptures reveals a somewhat different picture. Let’s examine. First, it was customary of women in those days to bathe and do their washings at the wells and they did so in the evening when it was the cooler hour of the day, just before dusk set in. It certainly was not an open display in bright day light as assumed. Second, the Scriptures did not say that Bathsheba was bathing in the open. She was the grand daughter of Ahithophel, a high-powered advisor to King David, whose advises were as the oracles of God. Her husband, Uriah was a commander and armor bearer to the chief commander Joab, so the family would most probably have a private well within the compound of their own and she was bathing in her own enclosed courtyard and this was entirely private and legitimate. She did not have totally enclosed bathroom with heater and piped in water like we have, but an open courtyard for the well to receive rainwater from the sky. Even if she did not have a private well of her own, it would be a public well where men were not allowed to peer. It was to be taken in faith that there would be no trespasses and even if there were, the responsibility lied in the trespasses to respect such privacy and not ply in, for it was the way of life for the women to be taking a bath at the wells while doing her washings of the day. Certainly, she was not doing anything out of the ordinary customs and culture of her time. Third, it was also not stated in the Scriptures that she was naked as generally thought. It was not so in olden times and she could very well have bathed with a cloth wrapped round about her, as some Asian women still practice today. Fourth, she would not have known whether if the King was in the palace or would be taking an evening walk on the rooftop. As a commoner woman, it was neither her privilege nor her business to know about the king’s highly confidential schedule.

Looking at the above circumstances, it is clear that the presumption that she was a loose woman is totally unsubstantiated and unjustified. Thus, a closer look, especially at the culture and customs of those days reveals that she had been very much misjudged through the generations.

THE ACT

There was no mention that Bathsheba resisted David. Bathsheba probably did consent, or did she? Whatever happened, there was a tussle between remaining a faithful wife or an obedient subject to the great King of Israel who was known to have loved his country and his God supremely. Also at the time of the king’s summon, it was most probable that the real intention was not made known to her until his advances were made and hard to refuse. Let’s not forget that she was dealing with the champion who had subdued even powerful armies and succeeded in all his endeavors. The Scriptures, 2Sam 12:12 seems to concur with this view. God told David that what he did in secret He will make manifest in the sun before all Israel. Thus, Absalom after usurping the throne forcefully used his newly acquired authority to lay with David’s concubines on the rooftop before all Israel in broad daylight. Under such circumstances, the women’s consents were of least significance.

There are more tangible considerations and bigger issues for us to look at before arriving at any verdict and judgment on the case or her character. It is interesting to study a little the laws by which she was regulated. Here is a technical turn. The Tanach, Mesorah Publications, The Stone edition, pg 746 say that technically, Bathsheba could be considered an unmarried woman, for, as the Talmud, Jewish oral law (shabbos 56b) states, David’s troops always gave their wives conditional divorces, lest a soldier be missing in action leaving his wife unable to remarry. By this rule, Bathsheba could deliver herself out of this situation of shame and sin by quickly divorcing Uriah, who especially was one as such that would not come home to his wife despite the king’s order. She could then demand that David took her as wife now that she was with child. But we see that she did not resort to any of these actions. She had chosen not to divorce Uriah and left her fate in the hands of her king and her God. By not divorcing her husband, she was now caught in the law that finds her guilty of the sin of adultery and she became known throughout history as the woman who had caused the downfall of the king. Why didn’t she renounce her husband and save herself? One might wonder. Is it not because she was a virtuous woman and a faithful wife? Most probably so.

Bathsheba was sent back to her home the next day, probably wondering why God’s chosen king had taken such an act on her. She chose to remain quiet. But she was soon found to be with child and so she sent word to David that she was pregnant. She must have confidence in him enough to know that he would not destroy her. Shouldn’t she send word to her husband at the battlefront? But what would that achieve? So that the disillusioned Uriah would stand up and fight the king? If the matter were made known, wouldn’t the faith of the people on the king be shaken in a time of war as this? She decided to resign her fate into the king’s hand and trust his wisdom to do what would be correct and best.

Would the king own up to his responsibility?

2 Samuel 11:8
And David said to Uriah, "Go down to your house and wash your feet." So Uriah departed from the king's house, and a gift of food from the king followed him. NKJV

2 Samuel 11:13
Now when David called him, he ate and drank before him; and he made him drunk. And at evening he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house. NKJV

Hoping to cover the evidence of the act by recalling Uriah back from the battleground, David aimed to fool Uriah into believing that the child was his. Uriah did not obey the king, but such action would make him liable to death penalty because of his insubordination and disrespect for the king’s order (Tanach, Stone Edition, Pg 747). The response of Uriah might have appeared patriotic, but to be truly kingdom minded is also to be obedient to the king and it makes no sense that even when one is sent back home, one must abstain from loving one’s wife or stop producing children just because one’s fellow comrades are out there fighting battles. His defiance of the order certainly made the king looked bad. However, the case was now determined against David, for God had decided that David’s sin should be exposed through this.

Surely by now she would have heard that Uriah was back but refused to return home to her. What would have run through Bathsheba’s mind at this point? The King had asked for her, had pleasure of her and was now washing his hands off the whole matter. She would have felt used, betrayed and would have turned bitter. We have to salute to Bathsheba that she had quietly left the whole matter entirely to her king and her God. She was caught in a complex situation, which she did not try to deliver herself by her own means. Neither did she resist the plot of David to put her away. If she were vying for high places, she would have protested. There was no bargain, no complaint, no threat and no tears. She displayed tremendous calm and faith. She waited. She stood alone. She left her destiny in the hands of her God. Her latter marriage to David, her role and life in the palace was proof that she had the inner strength to live a life worthy of honor and praise. She was able to lift up her face in dignity, as wife of the king after it was made known that the king had committed adultery with her and murdered her husband. She would have succumbed to public criticism but she struggled on against all odds, and by faith prevailed to be the favored wife and honored mother, as we shall see.

Bathsheba paid for her act. Certainly did, but what act? The act of not resisting the king, or the act of not divorcing her husband and saving herself when she could, or the act of not exposing and publicly dishonoring the king, or the act of not distracting her husband from his dedication to the Kingdom? Only God knows best. The child died. The Lord was sore displeased and the child died as a result. But with whom was He displeased, David or Bathsheba or both? Never had there been any one time we see in the Scriptures that God spoke against Bathsheba on this matter but instead directed all His displeasure and judgment against David. When God spoke through prophet Nathan about her, He considered her a ewe of a poor man, an innocent and helpless sheep and not anything like an evil serpent or something. Sheep is one animal that God would identify with His very own, His people and His Son. The Scriptures said that David comforted her, the quiet aggrieved party. Yet Bathsheba suffered the judgment of the “righteous” people even down right to generations today for a crime and a sin that was never imputed upon her by God. Perhaps, because of her extraordinary virtue and inner strength to hold up and never did at any one time defend or justify herself that she had found such great favor with God, to be counted to be the foremother of both, the earthly father and mother of Jesus Christ. No wonder she was chosen to mother and raise up the wisest king who brought Israel to her full promise and glory. Solomon, who in his reign would honor her by standing up and commanding for a throne to be put by his right hand side whenever she walked in. If she had not been virtuous, how would she be so honored in such manner? Why would he be so proud of her, if she had been a woman of shame? 

THE BELOVED WIFE OF DAVID

In what way was Bathsheba the beloved wife of David? And in the first place, was that legitimate before God? It was evident that David respected and favored her. He was the king and he was surrounded with countless beauties but here was a woman who had pleased him so much throughout his life, not only in the natural as presumed but also in the spiritual.  The Talmud (the oral law) says that David recognized that Bathsheba was his Divinely intended mate (the Talmud - Sanhedrin 107b), The Tanach, Stone Edition, pg 746. The love and marriage in this couple indeed lasted a lifetime (1Kings 1). The man, who is after God’s own heart would not have taken such lifetime delight in a scheming woman simply because of her body, which we know also aged with time. It is also too simplistic and shallow to think that David was drawn to Bathsheba by pure lust of the body for it is basically an undermining of his character strength to assume that the everlasting king of Israel could not see anything beyond skin deep for the rest of his life. To repeat again, the Talmud, Sanhedrin 107b (Jewish oral law) says that David recognized that Bathsheba was his Divinely intended mate. This is reflected in the deep relationship which they shared till old age, or the whole affair would have been over before its time.

So what was wrong in this relationship that made God angry? How could a man’s wife be a divinely intended mate for another? Isn’t this fallacy? Here is the answer. It was not the relationship; it was David’s act that angered God. For unlike what took place in the case of Abigail where it was God who took the life of Naboh the scoundrel and gave his wife to David, David now took the matter into his own hands and did what mortal man should not do or even think of doing, that is to sleep with Bathsheba while she was another man’s wife and then killed her husband. For this, David paid heavily. Yet God would still not allow this to disrupt his Divine plan nor deprive David of this divinely appointed wife, who had been the wife of Uriah (Mat 1:8) and then became the wife of David (2Sam 12:24). King David, a worthy descendant of Kingdom minded Boaz and Ruth would need a suitable helpmate of compatible depths to preserve the Messianic lineage and Bathsheba was the chosen one among all his wives given by God. For through no other but this virtuous woman, God had determined 2 of her sons to be the direct forefathers of Christ the Messiah. But even holy and chosen vessels are not spared of the full fury of His anger when they violate His laws, but through it all, in His mercy, if they are willing, He uses the fiery trials to purify them to the highest degree to accomplish that which He had divinely in stored for them. This is grace of the magnanimous God Almighty. He is merciful, but not unrighteous.

1 Kings 1:12, 15, 16
Now therefore come, let me, I pray thee, give thee counsel, that thou mayest save thine own life, and the life of thy son Solomon… And Bathsheba went in unto the king into the chamber: and the king was very old;  … and did obeisance unto the king. And the king said, What wouldest thou? KJV

Patiently, in full faith and trust, awaiting to the last moment and only upon the bidding of Nathan the prophet to save Solomon’s and her own life from Adonijah who was attempting to usurp the throne, she went and prostrated herself in homage and adoration, reminding the king of his promises and warned him of the promises of God falling into the wrong hands. Her composure and her calm were extraordinary and such would not be possible unless by the Spirit of God. It shows that power was the least that she could care for, totally opposite to the Jezebelic nature. Such would not likely be the actions of an evil schemer. In contrast with the defiance of Micah the first wife to David, or the insolence of Jezebel to Ahab, her obeisance reflected the consistency of her faith, trust, reverence and submission that she rendered to her king husband, even into his old age. We will see more of such virtue of hers in respecting authority.

Adonijah failed in usurping the throne but did not relent to get close to it and one way was to marry Abishag, the “concubine” of David. The kindness of Bathsheba was evident enough for Adonijah to know that he could even get her to help him to talk to Solomon who had just ascended to the throne. Truly a forgiving and magnanimous woman with no guile, she went to Solomon to plead on his behalf. She was truly a ewe as God had described her, one that was chosen to be the foremother of the innocent Sheep that was led to the slaughterhouse to die for all mankind. Solomon, however, having discerned the intent of Adonijah flatly refused and finally put him to death. And now, Bathsheba recognizing God’s authority upon her son as king, also submitted herself to it. Such is truly the graciousness of a godly woman.

AN HONORED QUEEN MOTHER

1 Kings 2:18
Bathsheba therefore went to King Solomon.... And the king rose up to meet her and bowed down to her, and sat down on his throne and had a throne set for the king's mother; so she sat at his right hand. NKJV

Careful study of the Word reveals the depth and height Bathsheba had arrived. There is no mother queen mentioned in the Bible that was treated with as much honor and respect as Bathsheba, to have a throne placed on the right hand of the King, a place of great honor. The wisest man that ever lived knew that others would look at her as a figure of shame, but he chose to uphold her with unsurpassed respect. It was not because he had to do it as a son but because he understood life and knew who his mother really was. Solomon’s respect and vindication of her is a testimony to the kind of life Bathsheba led. To what extent was the role of Bathsheba in Solomon's life and even in his ascension to the throne? Whether figuratively or literally, this is the record of the Scriptures:

Go forth, O daughters of Zion, 
And see King Solomon with the crown
 
With which his mother crowned him
On the day of his wedding,
The day of the gladness of his heart.
Song of Solomon 3:11 NKJV

This passage has been alluded to either Solomon's nuptial crown which his mother crowned him to adorn the solemnity of his wedding or the king's crown which she rightly intercepted for him, or both, that Solomon's coronation, a  period which would have also included his wedding (as reflected in the Hebraic Yom Teruah - Feast of Trumpets). Whichever, they all point to Christ the King taking the gentile Bride, being first crowned with a wreath of thorns at Calvary, where He was betrothed and then will be gloriously crowned King of kings on the Great Day of His wedding in the book of Revelation. Thus, Solomon was a type of the glorious Christ-Groom in search of the perfect Bride, who first took Pharaoh's daughter, a gentile princess and then countless virgins, but only found His perfect one in the exemplary Shulamite, one who would love him selflessly and supremely, one which he found full delight in. And with such a one, his godly Queen Mother Bathsheba was pleased to crown him. Whatever, it shows that the influence of Bathsheba upon King Solomon was spiritual and prophetic. 

Now back to Bathsheba. Did she scheme and politick for her son and herself to the highest place in the kingdom? The Scriptures says that Nathan, the righteous and bold prophet, who in God’s Name pronounced the sentence on their affair was also the same one who upheld the words of Bathsheba on the crowning of Solomon. Not only that, he advised her on how she should approach the king on this matter and then he came in thereafter to support her in her claim. Was the prophet also carried away by her? No, the Scriptures also say that God loved Solomon and has determined that he should succeed the throne and build for Him the holy temple. Was God also taken in then? Yes, but by righteous means of course. In no uncertain terms, she must have moved God and prevailed with Him. Ironically, God is also for her. There are more to her merit, but not as obvious to the natural eye. Let’s examine further.

PROVERB 31

Proverb 31 is well known for being a standard and a teaching for a virtuous woman and a perfect wife. Verse 1 says that it was the instructions of a mother to her king son and author (of the same proverb), Lemuel. But who could this wise and godly mother be, whose instructions became the standard through the generations, even to this day? Beyond any doubt she had to be someone of godliness and great spiritual depth. Well, the Stone Tanach says that it was "the prophecy with which his mother disciplined him" and states that the author Solomon was also called Lemuel. Strong's Concordance states that "Lemuel" was the symbolic name for Solomon. New Ungers and Nelson Bible Dictionary says that many of the rabbis agree that Lemuel was Solomon. Thus, the person behind this Proverb was none other than his mother, Bathsheba. In Verse 1-9, the queen mother advised her son, King Solomon to rule with dignity and justice and not be drunk with wine or swayed by women. And the rest of the proverb (V10-31) emphasizes on the role and significance of a wise and virtuous woman, the ideal wife. 

If Bathsheba had not been a virtuous woman, she would not have been able to impart such truths to her son. The oracle which Bathsheba taught her son in Proverbs 31:30 says, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Bathsheba was certainly a God-fearing woman. Could this be the substance of a woman of weak morale and values. Proverb 31 is a proverb that many quote as a standard for a perfect woman, mother and wife, but few would imagine or reconcile that it can the an oracle of Bathsheba to her son, King Solomon. 

THE POWERFUL TRUTH

But why is Bathsheba so badly or even cruelly misunderstood? Because her life carries a truth, a key that will defeat the enemy and so he concocted every possible lie and shame to tarnish her name. In so doing he keeps the truths of God hidden and the people crippled and blinded and so he remains the winner. It means everything to him, victory or defeat to the kingdom of darkness or the Kingdom of God. Yet, few would care to reach for the necessary depth of true spirituality and godliness and be willing to pay the price to uncover the truth and live by it, a key hidden in her life. But it is still the truth that will restore and establish the everlasting Kingdom of God. What then is this Key? Read on. 

FINALLY - THE REVELATION

Acts 8:32, Isa 53:9
"He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth… He had done no violence. Nor was there deceit in His mouth. 

Why was the suffering of Bathsheba so silent?

No where else in God's Word is another specific known person other than Christ that is identified as a sheep. Christ is the Lamb and Bathsheba was the ewe, a fully-grown female sheep. She is His foremother and carries the characteristic of her son and Master who was led as a sheep to the slaughter and yet remained silent, but in her there was no violence nor deceit and she awaited only for God to resurrect and lift her up, even as to be seated on the right hand of Christ who is crowned King. God made no mistake in genealogical birthrights. She is divinely chosen to be the foremother of both the earthly father and mother of the Messiah. In contrast, we see the opposite anti-type, Jezebel the other evil queen mother who now sits on the throne over many waters and has influence over the nations. But Bathsheba is to be the true queen mother over mankind, no wonder her image is so marred and despised by Jezebel.

This is but a truthful account, an account of the Truth hidden in the Holy Bible, the Talmud (the oral law) and the Tanach (the Jewish Bible).

Bathsheba remains to this day as one of the most controversial and most misunderstood women ever lived. It was said that she did not utter careless and aimless words, and certainly would not justify or defend herself but the influence of her calm and tranquility of her quiet spirit as a woman, wife, mother and queen has immeasurable effect upon history, people and nations, yet unknown to most. However, she will always remain in eternity as the virtuous woman who prevailed well with God, as the divinely appointed and most beloved wife of David, as the honored mother of the wisest king and she represents the finest and most exquisite qualities of the female race. She was virtuous wife, perfectly entrained to her king husband. She was the compatible reward to King David, as the submissive Bride would be to the loving Christ, who, like the Bride, completely abandons Herself into Christ and she has every characteristic that is the exact opposite to that of Jezebel, the evil woman who now sits on many waters and accuses her. No wonder the Lord rebuked David that because of his error, he had given great occasion to the enemy to blaspheme the Name of God (2Sam 12:14), even to this day. Bathsheba, her mandate and all that she was to carry and represent were completely marred. Yet, truths remain truths and for a very important purpose, the truth about her will have to be restored….

The Truth about Bathsheba is a revelation and mystery that will change the lives of many, for she is the final challenge to Jezebel and with her true children in the Spirit she will defeat Jezebel. It is now being revealed in these last days. The spirit of Bathsheba will defeat the spirit of Jezebel, for she is but the spirit of the Bride of Christ that is destined to be on the throne at the right hand of God. Just as Bathsheba was to David, so the Bride is to Christ. Until we see Bathsheba this way, and grasp this revelation, we will not be able to understand the true and full characteristics of the Bride of Christ. To the last in the book of Revelation, the Bride says,
“ Come, Lord Jesus, come.”

 - END -

Copyright © Israel CS Lim, Nov 2000

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