When you hear the name Bathsheba, what are your immediate thoughts of her? Most likely, they are not favorable. When I did a search of her name online, she was more often than not listed as a ďbad girlĒ of the Bible and there were multiple artistís images that portrayed her in the nude or at the least, in a sensual, provocative pose.
Yet, what does the Bible tell us about her?
Indeed, there is the story of her bathing on her roof or walled garden, of an evening spent with David and the resulting pregnancy, of David murdering her husband to cover up the deed, and of her becoming one of Davidís wives.
How sad it is when we allow the story to finish at that point.
Letís go a little deeper. Bathsheba was married to Uriah, one of King Davidís most trusted men. She was the daughter of Eliam, one of his thirty mighty warriors. She was the granddaughter of Ahithophel, one of Davidís closest advisors. These were men of the tribe of Judah, Davidís tribe. She was not just an ordinary woman. Bathshebaís family was associated with royalty. As her name translates, she was a daughter of abundance. A beautiful, beloved, protected wife, daughter, and granddaughter who had been instructed in the ways of Jehovah since childhood.
When summoned by David, it is doubtful Bathsheba had much choice but to obey the Kingís order. As I researched various commentaries, sermons, and articles on this subject, the viewpoints ranged from the idea that Bathsheba was a seductress determined to catch the eye of a king to calling David a rapist as well as a murderer. A few opined that David and Bathsheba had noticed each other during her customary attendance at palace affairs and as such, their passion was already simmering. At the least, David had the most culpability in the matter, especially in the murder of Uriah.
Yet, it appears Bathsheba suffered consequences right along with David.
After Nathan, the prophet startles David into recognizing the depths of depravity to which his lust has taken them, David repents ~ profusely ~ which was the key that unlocked the mercy of God. Although it is Davidís heart cry that we read of in Psalms ~ Bathsheba, as his favorite wife, must have been involved in that wrenching process of facing the consequences that resulted from passion unbridled. Their lives now become inexorably intermingled as the precious child conceived during that night takes ill and soon dies.
Nevertheless, the important point of their story is not about the sin, who was at fault or the resulting punishment, rather it is about the redeeming work of Godís grace. In spite of the tragic circumstances surrounding their lives, the Bible tells us that David loved Bathsheba. Eventually, she bore him four more sons, including one named Solomon.
Solomon who ascended his fatherís throne and erected a majestic, magnificent temple in glorious tribute to his God. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived. Wisdom shared with us in the book of Proverbs. And who is it that Solomon credits with teaching him so much about Godly wisdom? His mother Bathsheba, the woman he describes in Proverbs 31.
It is in the New Testament that Godís plan of redemption and grace is culminated with the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Matthew starts it all with a genealogy about the ancestry of Jesus, listing many who were seemingly unworthy recipients of that grace. Bathsheba, as Solomonís mother, is an honored part of that genealogy.
Godís unconditional love for her was greater than the horrific sin.
During this season of love, it is such a comfort to remember that the love of friends and even family can ebb and flo, but the love of Jesus Christ stands forever settled for us in heaven. Not because we have earned it or because we can do enough to keep it. Instead, it is because Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, loves us with an everlasting love that will never change or fade.
What a glorious thought to revel in each and every day. What a challenge to love other people in that very same way.