Bathsheba; wife, subject & queen
I’ve heard the account of David, Bathsheba and Uriah from different perspectives. Mostly, two characters are easily discussed: David the king and Uriah the husband and soldier.
David was a King of war, leading and conquering many kingdoms. He had a devoted army, and loyal subjects. However, in 2nd Samuel, we see this:
“…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.”
I’ve heard messages that use this scripture to depict David’s lack of focus or steadfastness as a King.
With regards to Uriah, he was a husband and devoted soldier. We see his unwavering dedication later in the chapter when this happens:
“So when they told David, saying, “Uriah did not go down to his house?” David said to Uriah, “Did you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?” And Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields. Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.”” II Samuel 11:10-11
I’ve never heard anyone discuss Bethseba; she performed many roles in the story. She was a wife, the king’s subject and eventually, a queen. That makes me wonder – why is there so much mystery to her? It makes me wonder who she was and how she felt as the events of the story unfold.
I wonder how she must have felt, throughout the process and I imagine she must have felt ten thousand feelings. I imagine she was a good wife. I imagine she was a good woman who kept her home well, awaiting her husband’s return from war.
How did she feel when David called her up to his palace? Did she dress up and put on oils and fragrances? Did she feel special to have been handpicked by the king to come into his chambers? Did she know why he was calling her? What was going through her mind as she responded to the call?
I’ve not got answers.
But then this happens:
“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. And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.”” II Samuel 11:4-5 NKJV
Did David rape her? (I think not, because the Bible didn’t say so…), so it was consensual? Did she have a choice- considering he was her king? What did Bathsheba tell her friends when she got home? How did she feel? Did this change how she went about her daily activities? Was she torn and heartbroken that she had sinned against her husband? Why did she tell David she was pregnant? What did she want him to do with that information?
So many questions!
Again, I have no concrete answers, I can just imagine this scenario playing out, because there are some truths we know from scripture.
I recognise she may have felt some confusion, wonder and mental pressure, being called into the king’s presence. If the president of your country were to specifically send for you with an invitation to come to his house, you’ll be bewildered too.
I understand that as a subject of the king, she did not have an option but to do his bidding.
I do not know how she reacted to David’s invitation to lay with him but I know she did not walk away from that opportunity, even though doing that will be gross “disrespect” to the king.
A lot of us are like Bathsheba.
We are content with our lives until the king (of this world) presents an opportunity “too good” to resist. Sometimes, we don’t even see a way out of the opportunity or see choice once the temptation presents itself.
A lot of us (the church) cannot see and uphold the sacred covenant we have with our husband (Christ), that we easily succumb and surrender to the kings that we have pledge allegiance to. To put it into perspective, I’m talking about the kings of vain glory, laziness, covetousness, lust, illicit sexual escapades, theft, greed, anger, and the list could go on and on.
What king are you bowing to in this season of your life? Think about it.
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