Bathsheba, mother of Solomon, named in the genealogy of our Lord Jesus Christ as “her that had been the wife of Uriah” (Matthew 1:6) inferring adultery. Bathsheba has been portrayed as a temptress, but what is the truth of what really happened?
2 Samuel 11:1-5 “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. 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. And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? 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. And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.”
Bathsheba is introduced at a time when King David should have been to battle, but he sent Joab instead. V1 “But David tarried still at Jerusalem” Whenever you see that little word “But” you know that something is going to happen. One evening V2 “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.” The lust of the eye, the temptation of the flesh, but one in the foreknowledge, who works all things together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called, according to his purpose..(Romans 8:28) Here is the beginning of events that will bring sorrow to David for many years to come. Matthew 5:28 “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart“.
But why was Bathsheba there at evening? Perhaps it was because Bathsheba would not think that anyone would be watching her at time. But David did see her, and as the book of James tells us in Chapter 1:14-15 “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” Truthful words of what would follow.
And so King David enquired as to who this beautiful woman was (V2), and he learned that she was Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite. Her father’s name, Eliam, means “God is gracious” so we know that she came from a family that knew the LORD. Her husband was one of David’s soldiers.
Nevertheless, David exercised his authority as King and sent for Bathsheba, who had no choice in the matter. V4″and David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her“. And next we learn the whole truth of why Bathsheba was on the roof bathing “for she was purified from her uncleanness“.(V4) Leviticus 15:19,28 “And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even. But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean.”
Afterward, Bathsheba does not stay with David, she returns to her own house (V4). She came to the king with the messengers because she was commanded to do so, why she did not know. And after David was with her, she went back home.
In V5 we are told that “the woman conceived”, but she did not go to David, she sent word that “I am with child”, leaving him to deal with the matter. Her husband was away with David’s army, so she knew that the child within her was David’s.
David desired that Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, would think that the child was his, so he V6 “sent to Joab, saying send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David.” David made the excuse to Uriah that he wanted to know “how Joab did, and how the war prospered.” David makes many attempts to have Uriah go to his house and to his wife, but Uriah is above all, a loyal soldier. First V8 “go down to thy house, and wash thy feet.” V9 “but Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house.” When David inquires why he did not go to his own house, Uriah answers V11 “And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.” Uriah is a very honorable man. Next David tries food and drink (V13) “And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house.” Finally David commits the sin of murder, though not by his own hand. He writes a letter to Joab and has Uriah carry this letter to Joab not knowing that the instructions within were for Uriah to be killed. V15-17 “And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die. And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah into a place where he knew that valiant men were. And the men of the city went out and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also.” Because of his lust, and the consequences thereof, he has killed a man as surely as if he did it by his own hand.
Bathsheba is told of her husband’s death and V26 tells us “when the wife of Uriah heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.” Further testimony that her relationship with David was by his command, and not by her desire. V27 tells us “when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son.” He “fetched” her. Again, David’s desire, not Bathsheba’s.
Because of these actions 2 Samuel 12:9 (the words of the prophet Nathan to David) “Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife..” V15 is the consequence of David’s actions “..And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.” V18 “And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died”. But then we learn a most wonderful truth of the mercy of our Lord! After the child died David said V23 “But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” Surely these are comforting words for every parent who has lost a little one, to know that their precious baby is with the Lord, and that if they know the Lord Jesus as their Saviour, they will see their precious child again when they are united together with Him in glory! Praise the Lord!!!
V24 “And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the Lord loved him.” Even though this most sad occasion has occurred, the death of her little baby, Bathsheba is blessed with being the mother of Solomon, the wisest King of all, and we are told that “the Lord loved him”.
When next we read of Bathsheba, it is in 1 Kings 1:15-21, when she entreats David to have Solomon become King after his death. Even still Bathsheba is very submissive to David V16 “And Bathsheba bowed, and did obeisance unto the king. And the king said, What wouldest thou?”
After the death of David, when Solomon is King, Bathsheba goes to him on behalf of Adonijah, and Solomon shows her the greatest respect 1 Kings 2:19 “Bathsheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right hand“, What great honor and respect he had for his mother. How many sons show their mothers the same respect. Exodus 20:12 “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”
From being the wife of Uriah, then taken by David not of her own free will, to being David’s wife, to losing her infant son by David, and then by bearing Solomon,a child who was to become the wisest king of all, to being named in the genealogy of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is Bathsheba’s story.