Did She Or Did She Not Sin?

“She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” (2 Samuel 11:3a)

My devotional Our Daily Journey led me to this well-known tragedy in the Bible where the man after God’s own heart becomes a voyeur, home wrecker and murderer in one blow.  I used to read this passage (11:1-17) in light of David’s sin and crooked thinking. This morning, however, I found myself questioning a gray issue:

Did Bathsheba sin?

At first glance, the answer would be an outright no. Her bathing in the roof was was not an act of seduction for the architecture of houses then in ancient Israel accommodated hygienic activities in the roof.

“…From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful….” (11:2b)

(source: http://guildofbezalel.blogspot.com/2010/11/hcsbsb-iron-age-israelite-home.html)

Although the Bible did not explicitly state her harboring any ulterior motives during her evening bath, Bathsheba was only complying with custom practicing hygiene by bathing after her monthly period (verse 4 indicated that she just purified herself from her monthly uncleanness, a.k.a, period). It also wasn’t her fault she was beautiful (for this reason I am always alert; beautiful people are prone to danger :)) There seems to be no evidence proving that Bathsheba sinned. However, another story in the same book came to my mind as I pondered on Bathsheba’s case: Amnon and Tamar’s story found 2 chapters later.

Here’s the gist of the story: half-brother falls madly and deeply in love with half-sister. His friends told him to act sick and ask their father, who happened to be King David, to command half-sister to be his personal nurse. When his hot sister and nurse arrived, half-brother raped her.

Tamar was coerced when she was raped; Bathsheba chose to take part in adultery. Yet anyone who refuses to appear before the king when summoned risked immediate execution, so how could Bathsheba have refused David’s invitation? This was the part where I placed myself in Bathsheba’s shoes (retaining her beauty) during that cool evening in Jerusalem sans the rated R scenes.

I went up into our roof, way too excited to shower. My monthly discharge had stopped; too bad my husband, Uriah, had just gone off to war. Nevertheless, I rid myself of my uncleanness, allowing the cold water to cascade my smooth skin.

At this point I realize that it would be judging to pronounce statements of Bathsheba’s reasons for bathing. She could have just bathed for the joy and cleanness that a cool bath brought or she may have desired to seduce a man watching her from afar. In any case, it’s not my role to judge.

After 10 minutes, I wrapped myself with a coarse cloth made of sheep skin (a.k.a. a towel) and headed downstairs to dress up. About 15 minutes later, I heard a knock on my door.  A man dressed as a messenger from the royal palace greeted me warmly and asked how I was. I forgot his name but I remembered him as one of the messengers my father, Eliam, and husband, Uriah, ordered to deliver messages to different people. After a few minutes, he waved goodbye and left. It was only when I went back to my room that I realized the messenger did not mention his reason for his visit.

I walked to the kitchen and poured myself a glass of water. I sure do miss Uriah. The warm breeze compelled me to hug myself tightly with my veil. I was walking to my room when another knock startled me. And another. What now?

More messengers! They told me that the king ordered me to appear in his presence. It was springtime, wasn’t it? Why is the king in his palace? Shouldn’t he be in the battlefield? As if I can lecture the king on occupational neglect! I obeyed his agents and went with them to the palace. Something was not right. Was Uriah hurt?

I was led to the private chamber of the king. This must be bad news. My arms are suddenly covered with goosebumps. Maybe it’s the cool breeze. I coiled myself tightly with my shawl. It was quiet–awfully quiet. Where was the king?

“Bathsheba. I’m here. Come to me.”

I followed the sound as the path became darker and darker. Why does this feel so wrong?

I’ll stop here. Now that narration was just a product of my imagination and my personal response were I in Bathsheba’s place. I wonder:

  • Did she feel her intuition waving the red flag at her, telling her to stop and think before taking the next step? God surely must have been with her! David may have chosen to sin deliberately, but before she was touched by him, Bathsheba had a choice not to have unlawful relations with the king. God gave women  intuition which they could use in circumstances such as this.
  • What if Bathsheba decided not to lie in bed with David? Wouldn’t David have realized the gravity of his sin? Right there and then he would be exposed, only this time, no sin would be committed by either party.
  • A perfect example for contrasting would be Abigail (1 Samuel 25). Unlike Bathsheba who had a wonderful, loyal and good husband in Uriah, Abby’s prince, Nabal, was far from charming and wonderful. He was a drunkard, impatient, unruly and harsh. He refused to serve David’s servants. Thankfully, he married a smart woman who acted wisely and quickly. She appeased David’s anger using her gastronomic skills. After her husband died of a heart attack, Abigail became Mrs. King David.

So what is the verdict for Bathsheba’s actions that night–guilty or not guilty? I, the juror of this blog, find the defendant guilty. Why? Because she chose to commit adultery with  David. She could have prayed right there and then (even if David was already undressed) and asked God to keep them from sinning. Everyone in Israel was well versed on the 10 Commandments, so lack of information was negligible. Although Bathsheba’s motives cannot be known or fully understood, her act was still sinful.

PS: In spite of man’s unfaithfulness, God is still faithful! 🙂 Bathsheba’s first child died, but her 2 boys that followed  (after her marriage to David) brought her much joy. Solomon became the wisest man on earth while Nathan was the ancestor of Mary who became the mother of the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ. 🙂


5 thoughts on “Did She Or Did She Not Sin?

  1. I agree with you and you are prudent. I wonder if most people would have known David was home because of his fame and status. Did those attributes have a quality that Bathsheba found alluring? And, some food for thought: In the military there is a saying that goes “if you can see the ennemy, the ennemy can see you”. How close would have David had to be to not only see her naked, but to be able to tell that she was beautiful, or perhaps how visible was the palace roof from her roof? Be blessed

    1. Indeed, David was famous and highly regarded and respected. He still is considered as Israel’s greatest king. I agree: Bathsheba may consider it an honor to be specially requested by the most powerful man in her country. However, I realize just now that we can look at this story from this different angles so I think we shouldn’t draw conclusions based on our opinions. Let our opinions remain as they are. But still, I think Bathsheba sinned. Joseph ran from Potiphar’s wife when she invited him to have sex with her. Why didn’t she run?

      So the lesson remains unchanged: Make sure that no one sees you when you take a bath. =)))

      God bless you, too! 😀

  2. I think you’re not far from the truth. I’ll really stir the pot (no kidding this is real from the Talmud) with the following (as you read think of Solomon):
    A baby who feeds from the breast of an immodest woman will suffer from excessive sexual desire in later life, because the milk in the breasts is formed from congealed blood (Bekhorot 6a) and the impurities in the blood of an immodest woman will harm the suckling child, engendering the passion in the heart that causes excessive desire.

  3. This question is a lightning rod for the xx chromosome and xy to contend endlessly.

    Bathsheba did consent to sin (rape was not charged to David) and in the genealogy of the kings it is always David, Bathsheba (wife of Uriah the Hitite) as a constant reminder.

    As with Adam and Eve there were consequences for David and Bathsheba. The child (xy) was born and lived seven days (the eighth day would have been circumcision-the child died) this was a personal loss not a loss of the fetus but live birth.
    Think back to when David was on the run from king Saul and when to get food from NABAL whos name means Foolish and he refused; David was going to execute all the males but ABIGAIL interceeded.

    My point is that Abigail was a better wife to a Drunk and Foolish man than Bathsheba was to her FAITHFUL HUSBAND (nothing negative is mentioned in scripture about Uriah) who was serving on the front lines (where David should have been for it was spring time, the time when kings go to war.

    Uriah the Hitite was more FAITHFUL to GOD and king than David was; even drunk (Davids attempt to cover the pregnancy) Uriah was Faithful and carried with him (not knowing) his own death warrant.

    FAITHFULNESS does not involve, “Not Being Killed” but by INTEGRITY (what one does when no one else can see me).

    BUT here is a question that comes from an observation. In the Old Testament women are not judged seperate from their husband. Mrs. Job told her husband to curse the Lord and die; but nowhere do I read that she was told to repent and infact it was through her that their second group of children were born. Why is this so?

    In the New Testament, the woman caught in the act of adultery was singled out by the pharasees in order to trap both her and Jesus…(where was the man? Stoning requires that testimony of two witnesses and the ones who witness must be the ones to cast the first stones…so as not to get the blood of a dead person on them as well).

    The N.T. church is compared to beith a “woman” and it seems that the Husband (Christ) is always faithful and as long as the church-woman remain in covenant telationship, the nakedness is covered.

    If anyone reads these things let me know what you think!

  4. A lot of human speculation is written in these lines. I certainly can see the points of criticism against Bathsheba. However, it is all David who is reprimanded and punished for the situation; Bathsheba is never even scolded verbally by Nathan, the prophet. In fact, her only recorded words were, “I am pregnant.” Bathsheba did reap the consequences of her part in the sin, and that was the death of the baby which was conceived out of adultery. Surely that was a thing of grief.(?) It is easy to sit in judgment of the woman. We (women) were not in her shoes, so we (I) don’t know what we (I) would have done.

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