Bible Women: Bathsheba

The next story comes from the second part of the Book of Samuel, and it is about David, now King of Israel. He is already a married man (for the wives of David, see Wikipedia), but he sees the beautiful Bathsheba and falls in love with her. The consequences are serious. The child conceived in this story dies; for the sad story of David and Bathsheba's first child, see 2 Samuel 12. David and Bathsheba will have a second child together, Solomon, who will become the king after David's death; for more about Solomon, see Wikipedia. Bathsheba will be very much embroiled in the intrigue of the succession surrounding David's death; you can read more about Bathsheba in her article at Wikipedia.

Meanwhile, in the story below, you will see about David's love for Bathsheba at first sight, as it were, but quite different from the other stories of love at first sight such as the story of Jacob and Rachel which you read earlier.

Meanwhile, for the most ingenious adaptation of the story of Bathsheba that I have ever seen, you might want to watch the Veggie Tales version. Honestly, who would have thought there could be a child-friendly version of the story of David and Bathsheba? But the guys at Veggie Tales figured it out: King George and the Ducky.

Meanwhile, the way that Uriah carries a letter which contains the orders for his own execution is a famous folktale motif, going all the way back to the the letter of Bellerophon in ancient Greece. The phrase eventually became a proverb; here it is in Latin: Bellerophontis litteras, "(to carry) a letter of Bellerophon," a letter which contains the order for your own execution.

So, as the story opens, King David's army, led by Joab, the general of his army, is at war with the Ammonites. . .

[Notes by LKG]

This story is part of the Bible Women unit. Story source: King James Bible (1611): 2 Samuel 11 [LIBRIVOX AUDIO].


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 inquired after the woman.

And one said, "Is not this Bath-sheba, 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."

And David sent to Joab, saying, "Send me Uriah the Hittite."

And Joab sent Uriah to David.

And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered.

And David said to Uriah, "Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet."

And Uriah departed out of the king's house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king. 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.

And when they had told David, saying, "Uriah went not down unto his house," David said unto Uriah, "Camest thou not from thy journey? why then didst thou not go down unto thine house?"

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."

And David said to Uriah, "Tarry here to day also, and to morrow I will let thee depart."

So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow.

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.

And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 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 unto 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.

[Joab sends the news back to David in Jerusalem.]

And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.

And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.

Next: Esther

(600 words)