It’s amazing to see people take five verses of a Bible narrative and read into it competing assumptions of motives and actions. Parties on both sides of the argument over whether Bathsheba deliberately seduced David or David raped Bathsheba depend more on what Scripture doesn’t say than on what it actually records, resulting in vicious fighting that rivals a seventh grade food fight.
Before we examine what the story doesn’t say, I think we ought to read the story itself:
Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.
2 Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance. 3 So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 4 David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house. 5 The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, “I am pregnant.” ~~2 Samuel 11:1-5 (NASB95)
Of course the account continues with David’s attempts to cover up the origin of the pregnancy, his murder of Uriah so that he could marry Bathsheba, the prophet Nathan’s confrontation of David and David’s genuine repentance for his sins. And really, the main point of the entire account is that, as heinous as David’s sins were, God forgave him when he repented. David and Bathsheba’s second son carried on the royal line, culminating in the birth of Christ.
For the purposes of this article, however, we must confine ourselves to just the account of David’s sexual encounter with Bathsheba. The debate lies within these five verses, so it’s best to stay inside of those boundaries.Read More »