Summary: The Scriptures don't say much about Bathsheba except what's mentioned in connection with her relationship with David and his family. Even so, she had the privilege of being one of the mothers of the Messiah.
Introduction: The line of Messiah Jesus began with Abraham, then Isaac, followed by Jacob and Jacob’s son Judah. Of course each man had children by his wife; except for Judah’s twin sons Pharez and Zerah who were born to his daughter-in-law Tamar of Canaan (see Genesis 38). Rahab was a prostitute in pagan Jericho before she became a believer in the God of Israel and married Salmon of Judah. Their son Boaz married Ruth, a woman of Moab who also had become a believer in the God of Israel. Each of them had at least one son who, in God’s plan, was going to be the link, generation to generation, in preparing the way for the Messiah to come to earth. Matthew 1 gives a list of these generations, 14 each from Abraham to David, David to the last kings of Judah, and from the Babylonian Captivity to Joseph, the foster father of Messiah Jesus.
This message focuses on Bathsheba, one of King David’s wives, whose son Solomon became king after David died. One act of David’s appointed Solomon as king, and made Bathsheba, incredibly, another mother of the Messiah!
1 Bathsheba’s life with her original family
Text, 2 Samuel 23:34. KJV: 34 Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,
Not much is known about Bathsheba’s early life and her original family. According to the text, Bathsheba was the daughter of Eliam, and granddaughter of Ahithophel the Gilonite. Giloh was southwest of Jerusalem, maybe halfway between Bethlehem and Hebron in Judah’s hill country.
A few things are revealed about Eliam and his father, Ahithophel. Ahithophel was known for his wisdom, perhaps maybe his shrewdness. The writer of 2 Samuel recorded that Ahithophel was David’s counselor (2 Sam 15:12) but when Absalom, David’s son, rebelled against his father, Ahithophel seemed to be one of the first to join Absalom (2 Sam 15:31). Ahithophel also gave some counsel to demonstrate once and for all the breach between David and Absalom was beyond repair (2 Sam 16:20-23). Later, when Ahithophel’s advice to take a small group of soldiers to kill David was rejected, Ahithophel went home and committed suicide (2 Sam 17). How this affected Bathsheba, being in the middle of a conflict between her husband and her grandfather is nowhere addressed but could not have been easy to deal with.
Eliam, Bathsheba’s father, is mentioned even less, four times in the Old Testament and three of these list him, by name only, as one of David’s “mighty men”. What he did, and how he reacted to David’s affair with his daughter is kept hidden. It would have been tense, at best, if Eliam was still alive when this took place.
Bathsheba did have a husband, Uriah the Hittite, who was also one of David’s mighty men (2 Sam 23:39). How Uriah came to join David, and how he was able to marry Bathsheba, and if he ever became a believer in the God of Israel is again left unspoken. Given the record of his “last stand” at the Battle of Rabbah in 2 Samuel 11, Uriah seems to be a soldier’s soldier. He was loyal to his king and to his adopted land, even though he paid with his life because of his king’s evil doings.
To summarize Bathsheba’s life with her original family, we know of her father and grandfather, and that she was married to one of David’s mighty men. But that wasn’t the end of the story.
Not by a long shot.
2 Bathsheba’s life as part of David’s family
Text, 2 Samuel 11:1-5, KJV: 1 And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem. 2 And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. 3 And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? 4 And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. 5 And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.
These few verses begin the saddest and worst period of David’s life—and Bathsheba’s. Briefly, David stayed in Jerusalem while Joab and the rest of the army went back to fight at Rabbah in Ammon (site of today’s Amman, Jordan). David looked, lusted, and lay with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba. The result was an unplanned pregnancy—and Bathsheba was still married to Uriah at this time. In the rest of chapter 11, the story is told how David tried to clear himself but eventually sentenced Uriah to death. Per the king’s orders, Joab sent Uriah and some others to where the fiercest combat was taking place. Then they were to withdraw so that Uriah would fight and die alone.