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Who Is Bathsheba?

Ken Black
Ken Black

Bathsheba is a figure in the Hebrew Bible; the Tanakh in Judaism and The Old Testament in Christianity. She is best known for being the lover and then wife of King David of Israel. Before being married to David, she was married to Uriah, a Hittite, who was eventually sent to the front lines and killed during a battle with the Ammonites. She had a son who died before he was named, and also was the mother of Solomon and Nathan.

Not much is known about Bathsheba because she is mentioned very little in the actual text. She is most known for her initial encounters with David when, according to the second book of Samuel, King David noticed her bathing on a rooftop, and found her to be very beautiful. He brought her to the palace and eventually slept with her, after which she became pregnant.

Bathsheba is a figure in the Hebrew Bible.
Bathsheba is a figure in the Hebrew Bible.

Once that took place, David tried to cover up the problem by bringing her first husband home from a battle, where he had been serving in David's army. Uriah, however, refused to go home and be with his wife while his fellow soldiers were still on the battlefield, which caused David to look for another solution to the problem. He eventually had Uriah sent to the front lines of the battle, then had the entire army retreat from Uriah, leaving him there to fend for himself.

After Uriah was killed in battle, Bathsheba became David's wife. David and Bathsheba's first-born son died seven days after being born. The Hebrew Bible does not speculate on the type of illness it was, but indicated it was incurable, at least at the time. Solomon eventually went on to succeed David as king over Israel, and was generally considered to be a wise king. She served not only as wife to David, but also as mother and counselor to her sons.

While generally David has been blamed for the adulterous act that took place between the two, some scholars have openly wondered if she also deserved some of the blame. The king's messengers sent for her, but there is not enough information to say whether she was forced to go, or did so willingly. It would likely have been unusual for a female to decline an invitation from the king no matter what the circumstances. At any rate, David and Bathsheba were forever linked together through that one act.

Despite the sin that took place, Bathsheba still has a very high level of regard among women in the Christian Bible. She is one of a total of five women who are mentioned in Christ's lineage. She is part of the lineage of both Mary, the mother of Christ, and Joseph, Mary's husband.

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    • Bathsheba is a figure in the Hebrew Bible.
      Bathsheba is a figure in the Hebrew Bible.