When you think of Bathsheba, it’s likely that the image of a conniving seductress comes into view. But if we analyze the text in which her story is told (2 Samuel 11), we notice that Bathsheba is a passive character in this dark chapter of David’s life. At closer inspection, we have much to learn from Uriah’s wife.
Bathsheba was the granddaughter of Ahitophel, a royal counselor, daughter of Eliam, and wife of Uriah, both of whom belonged to David’s elite soldiers. Bathsheba was a noblewoman.
A Lesson in Resilience
David was bored, worried, he had foolishly stayed home from the war and was now pacing on his rooftop, above the city line. He stops and looks into the window of a house below. There is a woman inside, bathing, as is the custom after her time of the month has ended. His eyes linger.
In the following verses, David propels the story. “David sent messengers, and took her;” (verse 4). As king, he abuses his power over his subject. David spies, he lusts, he takes, impregnates, and the tragedy continues. He commits murder, and as a consequence, their child dies.
Due to David’s place in our hearts as the ruddy kid who killed the giant, it’s difficult to reconcile his horrible sin. But Nathan’s parable demonstrates how precious Bathsheba was to Uriah. Throughout the Bible, Bathsheba is referred to as Uriah’s wife, never David’s. Nathan’s parable portrays her as a victim. She was spied on, taken, impregnated, her husband killed, her child lost.
And yet, she carried on.
Only through the grace of God could such trauma be overcome and healing commence. With time and wisdom, Bathsheba became David’s chief royal wife and secured her son as King.
No Grief Too Deep
Bathsheba grieved her husband, then her stillborn child, and God comforted her with a son, whom she named Solomon, which means peace, well-being, wholeness.
There is no grief too big for God to comfort.
A Teachable Spirit
In David’s old age, there was a scramble among his sons for the crown. It was in the midst of this that Nathan, the prophet, devised a plan and counseled Bathsheba to speak to the king. Instead of finding flaws in the plan, cowering in fear, or hesitating, Bathsheba did exactly as he said.
What a virtue to be teachable, to accept counsel. In this, she collaborated with God’s plans to save the kingdom:
The kingdom would have passed under the rule of a despot, who knew not how to rule himself. War and bloodshed would have filled the land.
Ms 6a, 1903, par. 6
God can Use Troubled Family Relationships
David and Bathsheba’s story isn’t one of virtuous passion and romance. It began in sin, and both faced its consequences. Yet, God works beauty out of the direst circumstances. Bathsheba bore the wisest king of Israel. He brought blessings to the nation and was chosen to build the Lord’s temple. Eventually, from Bathsheba’s line, the Messiah was born to save mankind.
There is no sin too ugly for God to forgive. Consequences are an unfortunate reality of sin, but Christ has paid the greatest price to absolve us from the greatest consequence. Your debt has been paid. Allow Him to use you too.