My dear fellow Proverbs 31 in progress,
I know it’s been a while I haven’t written a post on this blog… I have been very busy and I am currently experiencing some positive changes in my life. However, these changes have kept me away from you! But I promise that it will change and by God’s grace, I hope to more regular in writing posts for you!
And today, as I coming back to write a new post, it will be about a woman who is probably the reason why I started this blog:
Let’s learn from her story now.
Meaning: seventh daughter or daughter of the oath
Lived during the Biblical Times (King David’s and King Solomon’s reigns)
Family: Ahitophel (grandfather), Eliam (father), Uriah the Hittite (first husband), King David (lover/second husband), five sons with King David – including King Solomon, many stepsons and stepdaughters by King David
Her qualities: extremely beautiful, and probably highly intelligent and ambitious, especially for her son Solomon
Her sadness: being the subject of the desire from a king because of her beauty, which resulted in a double adultery; seeing her first husband being assassinated and her son dead as a consequence of this relationship
Bathsheba was the daughter of a man named Eliam, identified as Ahitophel’s son. Ahitophel was one of King David’s most trusted advisors and it is said that his advice had so much authority that consulting him was equivalent to consulting God (2 Samuel 16:23).
Nothing is really known about her, except that she was married to Uriah the Hittite, who was one of King David’s elite soldiers. Therefore, her entourage shows that she evolved in a privileged circle.
Her story in the Bible begins as King David, who was supposed to lead his army to war, gave his instructions and handed down his power to lead the army to Joab, his highest-ranked general; but he stayed in Jerusalem.
One day, as he was having a walk on his roof, King David saw an extraordinarily beautiful woman having a bath. King David, like many Kings of his times, already had a full harem of wives available for his pleasure. But he madly fell for the woman who bathed in front of him and just wanted to possess her.
He then proceed to know her and asked his servants who she was. He was told that her name was Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah the Hittite. He summoned her and had sexual intercourse with her.
The story could have ended here. Unfortunately for both of them, Bathsheba became pregnant and she made it known to King David. So, what did he do? He sent a letter to Joab, where he asked him to send Uriah back to Jerusalem. King David hoped that Uriah would sleep with his wife and that the baby would be considered as Uriah’s; so that their double adultery would be concealed.
Once again, things didn’t exactly happened as King David hoped. Uriah refused to sleep with his wife in solidarity with his fellow soldiers who were suffering on the battlefield. That’s where King David panicked and made the most coward and dreadful actions of his life.
Indeed, he wrote a letter to Joab ordering to put Uriah in the first lines during the battle; so that he would be killed. Moreover, he gave the letter to Uriah, making the poor man the messenger of his own death! Can you imagine something more sadistic than that?
Anyway, Joab obeyed his master’s orders and Uriah ended to be killed. Bathsheba mourned for her husband but after her period of mourning was over, King David decided to marry her. And she gave birth to a son.
The whole matter was greatly displeasing in the eyes of the Lord, who sent the prophet Nathan to reprove King David and make him face the consequences of his adultery on him and his family. King David recognized his sin, and God told him that he won’t die but that his baby boy would die.
It was also during this period that King David composed Psalm 51 (“Have mercy on me, O Lord”).
King David prayed and fasted during seven days to seek God’s mercy. Alas, on the seventh day, the baby died. As his servants murmured, he understood that his son was dead. He then accepted God’s decision and comforted Bathsheba. It is said in the Bible that she conceived a baby and bore a son, who will be known as Solomon (the Peaceful). The child was given to the prophet Nathan for his education; who named Solomon “Yedidya” (beloved of the Lord).
Bathsheba would give three other sons to King David.
After Solomon’s birth, King David would know many political and personal turmoils, which can be interpreted as a direct consequence of the events described above. But this is another story…
Well, I digress. Let’s get back to Bathsheba’s story.
Many years later, King David was an old and sick man on the verge of death. One of son named Adoniyah attempted to proclaim himself king and threw a huge party where he invited almost everyone. Advised and helped by the prophet Nathan, she managed to thwart Adoniyah’s coup and reminded to King David that he promised her that her son Solomon would be king after him.
Then King David swore to her that he would keep his promise. He organized then Solomon’s coronation during his lifetime; so that Solomon would be the legitimate King after his death. Bathsheba won!
Finally, Bathsheba appears in the Bible for the last time as Queen Mother. Adoniyah came to her and asked her to tell Solomon that he wanted to marry one of King David’s concubine. Upon hearing Adoniyah’s request from his mother’s mouth, Solomon understood that Adoniyah still wanted the power. Solomon executed Adoniyah afterwards.
- Bathsheba might be the reason why I started this blog. Indeed, it is very probable that she is the author of Proverbs 31.
- You will notice that Bathsheba’s whole story is told only to highlight King David’s life. We don’t have her point of view. Did she bathe in front of the King on purpose? It’s a mystery. Did she have sex with King David willingly the first time? We can suppose that she was willing to do so – don’t forget that King David was a handsome, powerful and charismatic man, though he was probably middle-aged at that period.
- Somehow, Bathsheba’s story give some little hints that she might have been an intelligent woman and that she probably managed to be King David’s favorite wife
- Bathsheba is the second widow to be married to King David in the Bible, after Abigail
- As Bathsheba is Ahitophel’s granddaughter, we can understand better why Ahitophel joined Absalom’s rebellion against King David. He might have been very upset by the actions of a man he used to serve faithfully.
What we can learn from Bathsheba
Bathsheba’s story is the perfect example of how God can turn a disastrous situation into goods things for the future. Indeed, from a relationship which started in sin, we have the birth of King Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived; and Bathsheba is also an ancestor of Jesus! Amazing!
Bathsheba’s story also shows us the importance of repentance. We have to recognize our sins before God and give them up; so that we’ll allow God to heal us. As King Solomon justly said:
He who keeps his sins secret will not do well; but one who is open about them, and gives them up, will get mercy.
Finally, my sisters, Bathsheba is a perfect example of how a strong woman is. She is surrounded by wise people (i.e. the prophet Nathan), defends the interests of her family and gives wise advice to her children, as shown in Proverbs 31. So if we want to emulate Bathsheba, the main advice here is: seek and pursue wisdom, by all means.
And you, what do you think of Bathsheba’s life lessons? Please share your point of view!