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Poetry for Scholars-1- Beautiful Bathsheba
by Fenny West
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Beautiful Babe- Bathsheba Ė for scholars
7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
1 1John1:7-9
Beautiful Babe, Bathsheba

Beautiful Bathsheba
Was having a bath;
Naked and alluring,
She was irresistible.

When kings should be at war,
David stayed at home.
Idle mind became devils workshop;
And idle hands, his tools.

David looked, longingly
Lust of the eyes
Brought lust of the flesh.
And soon he was sinning.
Scheming, conniving,
Diving and ducking,
Deceiving, coveting,
Inducing, plotting,
Murdering, giving
Ammunition to enemies.

He was pregnant with sin.
Bathsheba was pregnant too,
He gave birth to death;
She gave birth to a baby that died.

David died!

Resurrection came after repentance
Recognition, contrition, acceptance
Of guilt, fall from grace, disgrace.

Restoration came after repentance
Pardon came after confession.
Compassion came after admission.
Freedom came after confession.

Sin is powerful to separate,
But Godís unfailing love
Is more than enough
For any sinner who repents

Psalm 51
For the choir director: A psalm of David, regarding the time Nathan the prophet came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
2 Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
3 For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.[
5 For I was born a sinneró
yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
6 But you desire honesty from the womb,
teaching me wisdom even there.
7 Purify me from my sins,[c] and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken meó
now let me rejoice.
9 Donít keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
and donít take your Holy Spirit[d] from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels,
and they will return to you.
14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
15 Unseal my lips, O Lord,
that my mouth may praise you.
16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
You do not want a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
18 Look with favor on Zion and help her;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spiritó
with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings.
Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar.
This is a classic resource, remedy, prescription and recipe for sin-sickness. We are all sinners by nature and by what we do. David has given us a gem to use, an example to emulate when (not if) we sin against God.

Questions for students of poetry or English literature.
Please Support your answers with a reference from the Psalm or the story behind the Psalm.

1. What is the structure and form of this poem?
2. Who wrote the poem and who wrote the Psalm?
3. When was the Psalm written?
4. What does the poem tell us about the character of God?
5. What is the mood and tone of the poem.
6. What is the theme of the poem?
7. Write a short description of what the poem is about.
8. Does the Poem make use of humour or irony?
9. Comment on the metre/rhythm used in the poem if any.
10. What literary devices such as: symbolisms, metaphors, alliterations, similes or rhyme schemes has the author used, why and how effective were they?
11. What does the author mean when he says, ĎDavid diedí?
12. Do you agree that one sin can lead to another? Why? Support your argument with evidence from the life of David or other evidence.
13. Take any part of the poem and write an extended stanza of at least four lines.
14. What does the poem tell you about the enormity of sin?
15. What contribution has David made to humanity by writing this poem?
16. What does the poem tell you about the power of God?
17. What does it tell you about the love of God?
18. What hope does this poem give anyone who sins?
19. What aspect of the poem do you find particularly interesting and why?
20. Why do you think David did not mention Bathsheba or Uriah or others who connived with him in the Psalm?

21. What is the role of sacrifices when we sin?
22. Why does a sacrifice not matter in this instance?

23. How does the Psalm or the story behind the Psalm tell us that our sins affect others?

24. When are we most vulnerable to sin according to the story behind this psalm?
25. What does the story behind the poem tell us about covering up sin?
26. Who is sin primarily against? What is the nature of sin?
27. Are we sinners by nature or by what we do? Support your answer with reference to the Psalm.
28. Who are the other accomplices in this story? Why?

29. What imageries relating to sin has the poet or David used?
30. Catalogue all the sins of David you can identify from the story or the Psalm.
31. What are your opinions about the poem or the Psalm?
32. Write a prose clearly showing events leading up to Davidís adultery, his attempt to cover it up and how he was exposed and how he handled it.
33. Write your own poem of confession assuming you are David or the poet.
34. Write a poem from the point of view of Uriah- Bathshebaís husband.
35. What literary device has the poet used in the title of the poem? Give an alternative title to the poem.
36. What does this poem tell you about the poet?
37. What does the Psalm tell you about Bathsheba?
38. What does the psalm tell you about Uriah?
39. Can you think of any other prayer or poem of repentance in the Bible or elsewhere?
40. Compare and contrast that poem or psalm to Psalm51

The author has included questions covering various levels of ability and does not expect anyone to answer these questions in one sitting. The questions are designed to challenge students to use their minds and discover hidden truths and be able to support their arguments with corroborative evidence.

Apart from Psalm 51, 2 Sam11and 12 will be useful texts to help students.

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