a proselytite Israeli, was the daughter of Eliam. Her father was one of
King David’s heroic officers, a brave warrior and a foreign mercenary.
of God's Mercy-
Although her given name is
Canaanite, and being of non-Israelite
origin, she came
from a God-fearing family. Ahithopel, Bathsheba’s
grandfather, was a Gilonite from the hills of Judah who became
King David’s Counselor and analyzed a situation, then gave advice to
David who had the responsibility for making a decision. Later in his
life he joined forces with David’s son Absolom to take over the throne
as revenge for disgracing his granddaughter.
husband Uriah, was a high ranking weapon-bearer. He was a
Hittite mercenary, a nobleman of Hittite ancestry, in King David's army
as a loyal member of David's elite warriors. Hittites appear
among the cultural groups living in urban dwellings or as individuals
in Canaan interacting with the Israelites from patriarchal times.
Uriah and Bathsheba enjoyed the
prosperous rewards that came with the life of a hired soldier. She had
been a young virginal bride, but not newly married, as soldiers were
freed from military service and duties for a year following their
A woman of unique physical beauty,
Bathsheba enjoyed having fulfillment in varied tasks. She gave of
herself to care for her household and servants. She followed the Laws of Moses and
was expected to be a helper to her husband, to look after him. Even
though a woman was to obey her husband, she was not inferior to him and
equally respected. Israelite society at that time believed that a
woman’s place was in the home, to find life most enjoyable as a wife
and she accepted that role willingly.
She now lived in Jerusalem where David was the monarch of a major
territorial unit; especially whose position is hereditary and who
rules for life. Uniting all Israel under him, he had led the
capture of Jerusalem and made it his capital. Kingship includes the
position, office, and dignity of a king. David was also a figure much
in the likeness of the judges with a charismatic personality.
The Israelites were at war with
the Ammonites. Being a brave king who had always shown himself to be
victorious in battles, every one assumed David was away with his men,
but he had left the risks to his officers and rested at his palace in
One evening David got up from his
bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a
woman bathing. Israelites considered cleanliness not only a
physical necessity but a moral characteristic. Her bath was a ritual
purification wash as under the law of Moses.
Because the woman was unusually very beautiful,
David sent someone to find out about her and summoned for her. David
coveted and seduced her while her husband was off fighting. As a
subject, Bathsheba had to obey the request to go to the King which
resulted with the sin he committed against her. During Uriah’s absence
in the wars David forced her to commit adultery which put her in a
difficult situation. The penalty for both parties was death by stoning.
Bathsheba being pregnant from this
incident, leaving no doubt that the child is David’s, he ordered Uriah
to the heaviest fighting at the frontline of the battle. He had
embarked on a course of deceit unbeknown to Bathsheba, that led finally
to the heartless death of her husband Uriah. She never realized that
her innocent husband’s death was a result of deliberate instructions by
David. David’s lust, adultery, deceit, treachery and murder followed in
had no part in the plot that followed which eventually led to the
killing of her husband. She greatly mourned his death. David then took
Bathsheba as his wife in the palace which emphasised the abuse of royal
power that David exercised for these things were done in secrecy.
Temporarily oblivious to the divine displeasure, all David’s shocking
actions were punishable by death.
The king functioned as military
leader and priest It was clearly understood that the king
was not exempt from observing civil laws nor was the king the absolute
lord of life and death, a power David assumed in his murder of
David was a giant among godly
leaders, but he remained human as his sins against both Bathsheba and
Uriah showed. He spied Bathsheba bathing, desired her, and after
committing adultery with her when he could cover the event no longer,
engineered the murder of her faithful warrior husband, who had
displayed more character and morality than did the king.
Through Nathan the prophet God
confronted David with his sins, and David confessed his wrongdoing. The
newborn child of David and Bathsheba died within a week of his birth.
David acknowledged his helplessness in the situation, repenting
Bathsheba conceived again and God ultimately blessed her with four other
sons, two of whom are in the
ancestral line of Jesus, including herself. Solomon, whose line
became cursed was the line of Joseph and his brother Nathan for the
line of Mary. These were born to her in Jerusalem. Being a good wife
and mother was extremely important to Hebrew women.
As Queen however she became aware
of political intrigue which occurred when David’s other sons vied with
each other for the succession of his throne, and she was politically
astute enough to get David’s promise that their son Solomon would
inherit the throne.
With the help of the prophet
Nathan she defeated the plot of Adonijah and another time her own
grandfather with Absolom to usurp the kingdom. She was a woman of
resourcefulness and energy, and retained her influence over David until
Nathan the prophet and Bathsheba
both worked to insure Solomon became the next king. When David
passed the power of the kingship along to his son Solomon,
Solomon esteemed his mother for what she had done. The mother of the
king was an important and influential person in Judah.
The Queen Mother played a
significant role in the government plus the society and enjoyed
additional respect along with the authority she exercised over
other women in Solomon’s household.
Bathsheba lived a long life, and
her experiences encompassed many of humanity’s circumstances, but her
legacy was being the mother of the wisest king of Israel and being
forgiven and restored by God.
Her sorrow for wrongdoing was
genuine and God blessed her. Evidence and expression of God’s pardoning
love for her is Bathsheba’s inclusion in the genealogy of Jesus.
Restored to divine favour, and now virtuous and wise as well as
beautiful. Another sign that God had completely forgiven her sins was
the fact that her sons Nathan and Solomon were both ancestors of Jesus
A lesson learned from Bathsheba is
that being assured of God’s forgiveness she did not let her one sin
ruin her entire life. Repentant, she used her mistake as a guide to her
future. Great was her gratitude for God’s forgiveness and His gracious
was an intelligent woman and Jewish history credits her with the
writings and poem of Proverbs 31and counsel to Solomon on his
marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter. All the warnings against the flatteries
of strange women with which Proverbs abounds can be understood from her
According to this poem, the ideal
wife has many talents. She knows how to cook and to sew. She never
wastes her time with gossip, but spends her time in more important
tasks. She has a knack for seeing what needs to be done and doing it.
She has a good understanding of business, knowing how to buy and sell
wisely. However, she is not selfish. She helps the needy and gives
advice to those who are less wise. She also has deep reverence for God.
She tries in every way to be a ‘helper fit’ for her husband. The poem
ends by saying that if she does all these things, her husband will be
lifted to an important place in the eyes of the community.
The virtuous woman speaks of
excellence, moral worth, ability and nobility, works not to get rich,
but to give to the poor. She can be concerned for others because she
has provided for her family.
The virtuous woman’s own clothing
is far richer than linen or silk; she is dressed in strength and
honour –she takes care to speak well; is blessed by her family –
by her children as well as her husband and Fear of the Lord.
Nothing is known about King
Lemuel. Jewish history identifies him as Solomon and the advice as from
Bathsheba. Her value is derived form her character of godly wisdom that
is beneficial to her family and to the community as a whole. The woman
of noble character, captures the ideals of wisdom that have filled the
The woman in Proverbs chapter 31 by Bathsheba is
a symbol of wisdom.
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