Summary: We live in a world where abuse and injustice occur. Through the story of Bathsheba we see that God is able to bring healing to all victims by including them into His family.
Bathsheba – A Reputation Tarnished
When we read through the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel four out the five women in that genealogy appear in verses 3-6. Let’s read through that section.
Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
Did you notice something unusual?
… whose mother was Tamar.
… whose mother was Rahab.
… whose mother was Ruth.
… whose mother had been Uriah’s wife.
Doesn’t it strike you as unusual that Bathsheba is not specifically mentioned by name? Let’s find out what the reason for that could be by turning to 2 Samuel 11:1-27 (Read)
That is the story of Bathsheba ... why isn’t she mentioned by name in Matthew’s Gospel?
Maybe Matthew didn’t like the fact that Uriah is a Hittite - a foreigner. This means that Bathsheba could have been a foreigner herself. But Tamar and Rahab were Canaanites and Ruth was a Moabite – so being a foreigner is not the issue.
Maybe Matthew is hesitant to use her name because she is such an atrocious sinner who has been involved in many sordid sins – but compared to Tamar she is a saint, and Tamar gets mentioned by name. So that is not the issue either.
Rather the issue is one of ownership. Bathsheba rightly belonged to Uriah the Hittite.
She is not a schemer, or an outsider, or a widow.
She is very much a victim … forced into such a position she didn’t want to be because she belonged to Uriah.
All she was doing was taking a bath. Most homes back then had a walled courtyard where they cooked their meals, rested and took their baths. The courtyards had no roof but were usually very private – unless someone was up on an even taller roof looking down. Someone who should have looked the other way. That someone was David. David had built his palace on one of the highest places in the city. It is very likely that he had witnessed other woman taking baths and never gave it a second thought. But this time is different – because David Himself is not in the right frame of mind.
In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.
David is the King – but instead of being out fighting he is at home aimlessly pacing his rooftop porch. There is a saying which goes, “Idol hands are the Devil’s plaything”. That is because when you sit around doing nothing your mind begins to have a chance to wander. David had been king for some 20 years and Israel was enjoying great prosperity and they had great military power in the area. So basically everything was secure and settled. And that is the problem. Instead of being where he should have been and filling his God-given calling, he stayed behind – because he wanted to indulge.
How does stuff like that happen? How do you go from being the fighting warrior to couch potato? Well the lesson here is that falling into sin doesn’t usually happen in a day.
God says this in Deuteronomy 17:17. “The King must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray”. It’s a pretty clear message from God and David should have listened.
• First he married Michal, Saul’s daughter. Then he married Abigail, the widow of Nabal … then Ahinoam of Jezreel.
• When David moved to Hebron he took for himself four more wives:- Maacah, Haggith, Abital and Eglah.
• When he came to Jerusalem David took more wives and he also had concubines.
On that basis it is fair to say that David has ignored God. It seems that David had a thing for women … lots of women. Even woman who were not his to take.
The amazing thing in all of this is that other people are acting with greater integrity than David. Take the servant as an example. “David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.””. (2 Samuel 11:3). Without specifically calling David to account the servant does all he can to bring David to his senses.