Bathsheba: the wife of someone else - 13 August 2021
By Xanthe Hancox
- 2 Samuel 11:2-3
One day, late in the afternoon, David got up from his nap and went to the palace roof. As he walked about up there, he saw a woman having a bath. She was very beautiful. So he sent a messenger to find out who she was, and learnt that she was Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.
There’s a good chance that you know the story of David and Bathsheba. You probably know that David’s act of adultery ended with the death of Uriah, David’s faithful warrior – and more importantly, Bathsheba’s husband. If you read through Matthew 1, then, it is interesting that Matthew associates Bathsheba with Uriah (“David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife” – Matthew 1:6b, NIV). It seems that whenever Bathsheba is mentioned, so is David’s sin.
We don’t know much about Bathsheba, but she could not have known that she would become a part of the lineage of the Messiah – even if it was because of circumstances outside of her own control. Bathsheba was a faithful wife who caught the eye of a king.
Jerusalem in 980 BC was a very different place for women. She had no choice but to obey David, even if she was already married. I can only begin to imagine the devastation and trauma she suffered. Violated by a man of great power who then had her husband killed on the battlefield, Bathsheba must have felt her life was ruined.
Bathsheba was resilient in the face of multiple accounts of grief – when she lost her husband, and later when she lost her child. Bathsheba is a woman who was initially sought out as the object of David’s desire, but who showed persistence and perseverance and a spirit that isn’t defined by her circumstances.
But the Lord would not be stopped by circumstances such as these. God’s possibilities thrive in impossible situations. Just when it seems as if history is at another dead end, God opens a new path forward. Bathsheba became the mother of Solomon, a king whose glory was exceeded only by Christ himself.
Faith is often a result of ordinary people obeying God despite their circumstances. Bathsheba’s story teaches us that our lives will not always go according to plan. Unexpected circumstances will arrive, but God is constantly and sovereignly working to bring about plans that are bigger than us.
Dead ends are all around us. But God specialises in opening new roads.
Prayer: Lord, some of us have had our lives destroyed by the greed and injustice of others. We don’t know where to turn. Comfort us, and open up a road to your peace, we pray. In your name, Amen