Bathsheba

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Bathsheba (Hebrew: בַּת שֶׁ֫בַע [Bat Sheva]; Arabic: بثشبع [Bathshaba], ابنة القسم, [Bint al-Qasam]) was the wife and widow of Uriah the Hittite, a queen consort of King David of Israel, and the mother of King Solomon of Israel, Shammua, Shobab, and Nathan. She was the daughter of Eliam.

Biography[edit]

Adultery[edit]

One day, King David saw Bathsheba bathing while walking on his rooftop. He was captivated by Bathsheba's beautiful body and became infatuated with her. David had his servants fetch her, and they had intercourse and conceived.

Meanwhile, Bathsheba's husband Uriah was away, fighting against Israel's enemies. When David learned that he had impregnated Bathsheba, he feared a scandal, since Uriah would know that he could not be the father due to his absence. David recalled Uriah from the campaign and suggested that Uriah should send time at home in hopes that Uriah would have intercourse with his wife and assume that the child in Bathsheba's womb was his instead of David's. Yet Uriah slept with his comrades at the palace's entrance instead of sleeping at home with his wife.

David once again suggested that Uriah should go home, but Uriah stated that we could not in good conscience go home while there were duties to God and his country to perform on the battlefield. David then convinced Uriah to stay at his side for at least one more day. David had Uriah eat and drink until he was drunk in hopes that Uriah would go home and be with his wife in bed. Yet Uriah still remained with his comrades at the palace.

Uriah's death[edit]

David then ordered Joab to place Uriah on the front-line and then abandon Uriah in order to have Uriah killed and removed from the picture. Uriah was killed, and Joab reported the news to David.

Bathsheba mourned over his husband's death. When the period of mourning was finished, David married the widowed Bathsheba, and she gave birth to a son.

God's displeasure[edit]

Qur'annic account[edit]

Two persons suddenly descended from the top of the walls. This frightened David, but the two persons claimed to be disputants with a case to present to David. The case they presented is as follows: They were brothers. One brother owned ninety-nine ewes, and the the other owned a single ewe. The brother with the ninety-nine ewe persuaded or pressured the brother with a single ewe to give him his only ewe.

David recognized the taking of the brother's sole ewe as wrong and passed judgment in the wronged party's favor. David realized that God was testing him (some commentators suggest that the two disputants were angels), recognized his own actions against Uriah as wrong, repented, and prayed for forgiveness.

God then forgave David and reminded David not to stray from Him.

Has the tiding of the dispute come to thee? When they scaled the Sanctuary,

When they entered upon David, and he took fright at them; and they said, Fear not; two disputants we are -- one of us has injured the other; so judge between us justly, and transgress not, and guide us to the right path.

Behold, this my brother has ninety-nine ewes, and I have one ewe. So he said, Give her into my charge; and he overcame me in the argument.

Said he [David], Assuredly he has wronged thee in asking for thy ewe in addition to his sheep; and indeed many intermixers do injury one against the other, save those who believe, and do deeds of righteousness -- and how few they are! And David thought that We had only tried him; therefore he sought forgiveness of his Lord, and he fell down, bowing, and he repented.

Accordingly We forgave him that, and he has a near place in Our presence and a fair resort.

David, behold, We have appointed thee a viceroy in the earth; therefore judge between men justly, and follow not caprice, lest it lead thee astray from the way of God. Surely those who go astray from the way of God -- there awaits them a terrible chastisement, for that they have forgotten the Day of Reckoning.

— Surah 38:21–26 (Arberry)

Biblical account[edit]

God was displeased at David's actions and sent His prophet Nathan to chastised David. Nathan tested David by giving David an account of a rich man with a large flock and a poor man with a single, yet beloved, ewe lamb. The rich man, despite having a large flock, stole the poor man's sole lamb and cook it for a guest.

There were two men in a city, one rich and the other poor.

The rich man had a very large number of flocks and herds,

But the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb
Which he had purchased and nourished;
And it grew up together with him and his children.
It ate his food, drank from his cup, it lay in his arms,
And was like a daughter to him.

Now a traveler (visitor) came to the rich man,
And to avoid taking one from his own flock or herd
To prepare [a meal] for the traveler who had come to him,
He took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for his guest.

— 2 samuel 12:1–12:4 (AMP)

David recognized the actions of the rich man as wrong and cast harsh judgment upon him. Nathan then revealed that the story was a metaphor for what David did and that David was the rich man. Nathan announced God's displeasure at David and said that God would punished David by causing strife within his household. David recognized his actions as sinful, and Nathan told David that God will spare David, but David's newborn son would die.

God struck Bathsheba's and David's son with an illness, and David fasted and pleaded with the Lord to allow his son to live. He refused to eat or to get up, despite the urging of his servants. David did this for seven days, but on the seventh day, Bathsheba's and David's son died. David then cleaned himself and went to the temple to pray to and worship God. Recognizing that no amount of mourning would bring his son back to live, David began to eat again.

Solomon[edit]

David comforted Bathsheba, and they had intercourse and conceived again. Bathsheba gave birth to Solomon, and God approved of the child. God told Nathan about the child, and Nathan called the child Jedidiah ("beloved of the Lord") due to God's love for the child.

At some point, David promised Bathsheba to have Solomon become King after him.

David has Solomon anointed King of Israel[edit]

When David was old, his eldest surviving son Adonijah attempted to usurp the throne. Adonijah invited all his brothers to a feast except for Solomon. The prophet Nathan told Bathsheba about Adonijah's attempt to usurp the throne and the threat Adonijah posed to her son. Nathan instructed Bathsheba to remind David of his promise to make Solomon king and to alert him to how Adonijah is attempting to usurp the throne. Nathan also assured Bathsheba that he would appear to confirm her words to David.

Bathsheba did as Nathan instructed.

My lord, you swore by the Lord your God to your maidservant, saying, Solomon your son shall certainly be king after me and he shall sit on my throne. But now, behold, Adonijah is [acting as] king; and now [as things stand], my lord the king, you do not know it. He has sacrificed oxen and fattened steers and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the king’s sons and Abiathar the priest and Joab the commander of the army [to a feast], but he did not invite your servant Solomon. Now as for you, my lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are on you [waiting for you] to tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. Otherwise it will come about when my lord the king lies down [in death] with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon will be considered political enemies.

— 1 Kings 1:17–1:21 (AMP)

Then Nathan appeared as promised and confirmed the the events transpiring are as Bathsheba states.

David then call Bathsheba back into his room and vowed to have Solomon anointed King of Israel on that very day. Bathsheba then bowed and said, May my lord King David live forever! (1 Kings 1:31 (AMP)).

David had the priest Zadok and the prophet Nathan anoint Solomon as the legitimate King of Israel. They then blew trumpets and shouted, Long live King Solomon! The people then joined in and celebrated. When Adonijah's party learned of this, they deserted Adonijah in order to avoid being accused of treason. Adonijah then fled to the tabernacle for asylum.

Solomon had Adonijah brought to him. Adonijah bowed to Solomon in submission, and Solomon allowed Adonijah to live and return home.

Adonijah's second usurpation plot and execution[edit]

Adonijah approached Bathsheba and asked her to ask Solomon to grant David's nurse Abishag to Adonijah as a wife. Adonijah sought to strengthen his pretensions to the throne by marrying Solomon's former nurse and believed that Solomon would not refuse a request delivered by Bathsheba.

Bathsheba conveyed Adonijah's request to Solomon. Solomon recognized the threat to the throne and had Adonijah executed.

Legacy[edit]

In March 2016, Return of Kings contributor Michael Sebastian listed King David as an example of "3 Men Of The Bible Who Were Undone By Weakness" for allowing his lust for Bathsheba drive him into adultery and arranging Uriah's death and inciting God's wrath.[1]

References[edit]

  1. Sebastian, Michael (2016-03-31). "3 Men Of The Bible Who Were Undone By Weakness". Return of Kings. Retrieved 2016-10-12.