Summary: The temptation to look where we shouldn’t look is hard for most men. What had Bathsheba done wrong? What had David done wrong? And how do we deal with ourselves and others who do those wrong things?
OPEN: The true story is told of a banquet where a famous religious leader found himself seated next to an extremely beautiful woman who was wearing a gown with a perilously low neckline.
Instead of becoming angry or embarrassed or pretending to be unaware of her exposure he offered her an apple.
She was a little surprised, but he explained with a smile, "Please do take it, Madame… it was only after Eve ate the apple that she became aware of how little she had on."
APPLY: We’re going to talk this morning about… exposure. Initially, as I prepared for this sermon I considered approaching this passage totally from perspective of guys. The problem of looking lustfully at women is "a guy thing" and this is an ideal passage to deal with it. However, the deeper I looked at the text, the more I realized there was something in this story for the WHOLE family.
I. First… a little background
2 Samuel 11:3 tells us that “David sent someone to find out about (Bathsheba). The man said, ‘Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’”
Personally, I found it a little hard to believe that David didn’t know who Bathsheba was. After all, she was his neighbor. And the deeper I looked, the harder it became to believe he had no idea who she was. After all, she was:
a. the wife of Uriah the Hittite one of David’s 30 mighty men 2 Samuel 23: 39
b. the daughter of Eliam, who was part of David’s personal bodyguard 2 Samuel 23:34
c. and the granddaughter of Ahithophel, the most respected man in David’s cabinet 2 Samuel 23:34
So, I began to wonder what was going on here. But then I realized that women of that day were much more modest (as a rule)… than those of our day. Not only did their garments cover more of their bodies, but women generally covered their face with a veil when they were out in public. So as David looked over to her rooftop, he was seeing a WHOLE lot more of Bathsheba than he’d ever seen in public.
ILLUS: Many commentators believe that Bathsheba was basically innocent in this matter. For example, one person wrote: “Bathsheba was simply doing what most women of her time and social status did at that time of day. In late afternoon the water in the rooftop rain barrels was at its warmest. Men were usually away from the living quarters at that time of day--or should have been! It was the best time of day for a woman to take a bath.”
That sounds good… but it doesn’t wash.
Think about it. Do you seriously believe that a culture that covered every square inch of their women’s bodies would have “looked the other way” when those same women bathed naked on their roof tops. At the very least - if this woman had been modest she would have erected a curtain to avoid anyone watching from next door.
ILLUS: In our house, my wife’s bathroom is on the 2nd floor. There is only one window in that bathroom and it looks out on a fairly large tree. In order for someone to peek into her bathroom, they would need to be a lumberjack, or have access to a remote control model helicopter, with a little camera underneath, that could hover outside the window. And yet, whenever my wife takes a shower, what do you think she does? That’s right, she closes the curtain. Why does she do that? Because my wife is modest. She has no desire that anybody would even have the slightest chance of looking in her window.
Bathsheba was NOT a modest woman.
NOW do you think Bathsheba knew WHO lived next door? Would you know if the President of the United States lived next door to you? Of course you would.
Do you think she knew that David was at home? Of course she did… everybody in Jerusalem knew he was home.
I submit that Bathsheba knew exactly what she was doing. I submit that she was immodest because she liked the idea that the king would be:
Looking at her
You don’t have to look too far – even in our own culture - to realize that there are women out there who have a desire to tempt men with their womanly beauty.
ILLUS: One wit observed that the reason a female is are called a “Woman” is because men so often say “Whoa, Man!”
God designed the woman to look good to the husband.
He designed the woman so that her husband would go “Whoa!”
And there are women who realize that… and they dress accordingly, but not for husbands they have. They dress that way for husbands they’d LIKE to have… for men that they don’t believe they can obtain any other way.