Category Archives: Rapine

The violation of Bathsheba

Wages of fear
Wages of fear

Bathsheba was the daughter of Eliam. Her father was Eliam son of Ahithophel, who is described as the Gilonite. Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah the Hittite, and afterward of David, by whom she gave birth to Solomon, who succeeded David as king.

David’s seduction of Bathsheba is omitted in the Books of Chronicles. ┬áDavid, while walking on the roof of his palace, saw Bathsheba, who was then the wife of Uriah, having a bath. He desired her and later made her pregnant. In an effort to conceal his sin, and save Bathsheba from punishment for adultery, David summoned Uriah from the army (with whom he was on campaign) in the hope that Uriah would re-consummate his marriage and think that the child was his.

But Uriah was unwilling to violate the ancient kingdom rule applying to warriors in active service. Rather than go home to his own bed, he preferred to remain with the palace troops. After repeated efforts to convince Uriah to have sex with Bathsheba, the king gave the order to his general, Joab, that Uriah should be placed on the front lines of the battle, where Uriah would be more likely to die. David had Uriah himself carry the message that led to his death. After Uriah was dead, David married the now widowed Bathsheba.

David’s action was displeasing to the Lord, who accordingly sent Nathan the prophet to reprove the king. After relating the parable of the rich man who took away the one little ewe lamb of his poor neighbor, and exciting the king’s anger against the unrighteous act, the prophet applied the case directly to David’s action with regard to Bathsheba. The king at once confessed his sin and expressed sincere repentance.

Bathsheba’s first child by David was struck with a severe illness and died, unnamed, a few days after birth, which the king accepted as his punishment. Nathan also noted that David’s house would be punished to avenge Uriah’s murder. Bathsheba later gave birth to David’s son Solomon.

David’s punishment came to pass years later when one of David’s much-loved sons, Absalom, led an insurrection that plunged the kingdom into civil war. Moreover, to manifest his claim to be the new king, Absalom had sexual intercourse in public with ten of his father’s concubines, which could be considered a direct, tenfold divine retribution for David’s taking the woman of another man.