Bathsheba: Glorious Redemption

Posted on March 25, 2019

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By David Ettinger

Note: This is a fictional story based on the biblical account.

“So Undeserving”
Bathsheba knew it was time to put Solomon down so he could sleep more comfortably, but she could not bring herself to let go of him.

Alice Krige as Bathsheba in the 1985 movie “King David”

“Oh Lord,” she quietly prayed, “I still cannot believe You have given him to me. Even after two weeks I still cannot believe it.”

She kissed the infant softly, lowered him toward his bed, hesitated, kissed him again, then finally forced herself to lay the child down. As she watched him sleep, Bathsheba continued to marvel. “My sin, Lord, was so grievous and blatant, and yet …” She caressed the child’s tiny body. “I am so undeserving, Lord. So undeserving.”

She was. The daughter of Eliam, among Israel’s finest soldiers and one of King David’s elite fighting force of 37 warriors, Bathsheba was raised in affluence. When she reached her upper teen years, Eliam knew it was time to find a husband for her.

He did not have far to look. One of the younger of David’s elite fighters was a man named Uriah, whose faithfulness to the king and courage on the battlefield caught Eliam’s attention. Eliam identified Uriah as a worthy husband for Bathsheba, and when his daughter was old enough to marry, Eliam made the arrangements.

Bathsheba was certainly not displeased. Uriah was tall, strong, handsome, brave, considerate, and loyal. He was devoted to Bathsheba and thrilled to be married to her.

She felt the same way about Uriah. At first. Though she appreciated his devotion to her, Bathsheba was not nearly as enamored with Uriah’s devotion to David. Yes, Uriah was a loyal husband, but he was far more a loyal soldier who would sacrifice his life for his king before he would lay it down for his wife. Uriah’s loyalty to David kept him away from home often, whether for a few extra hours of training or fighting on the frontlines of battle.

After five years, Bathsheba was sad. She knew that Uriah would never stop loving her, but the problem was that he was hardly ever around to show it. She longed for him to one day come home early from a day of training, take her hand and vow to dedicate more time to building their love and marriage. However, she knew this would never happen as Uriah was hopelessly faithful to the king and always would be.

A Fateful Night
Bathsheba had become lonely, neglected, angry and shunned. She felt abandoned. She longed for love and attention. She longed for someone to tell her how beautiful and desirable she was. It had been a long time. Then, one evening when Uriah was on the battlefield and as the sun was setting, she decided to bathe on her porch. She and Uriah lived in one of the tangle of houses and courtyards nestled in the shadow of David’s palace, at which she often looked up and saw the king as he entertained guests, always wishing she could be one of them.

As her attendants assisted her, Bathsheba’s mind was occupied, and she lingered at her bathing much longer than necessary. Her maids noted that her dalliance made her a visual target for those living in homes situated higher up the hill and that perhaps it would be wise to go inside.

She agreed, and went into the house. However, as she dressed in her nightclothes, she heard a knock on the door. “Odd that someone should be visiting at this time,” she said, talking to herself having become a habit long ago.

She waited in the main living quarters of her house to find out who was at the door. “Madam,” one of her attendants said, entering, “a messenger from King David is in the entryway.”

At the mention of the king’s name, Bathsheba began to feel a surge of excitement swirl through her. She rose quickly. “What does he want?”

“He said that the king has invited you to join him for a late dinner.”

Bathsheba was astonished. She did not even know that David knew she existed. “Is he not at war with his troops?”

“I only know what the messenger told me, madam.”

Bathsheba could hardly contain herself. “Please inform the messenger that I need twenty minutes to make myself presentable, and then I will accompany him to the palace.”

As Bathsheba hurriedly fixed her hair and applied a generous amount of perfume and cosmetics, she felt as giddy as the day she met Uriah. “What a strange turn of events,” she mused. “What will I say to the king? Which wife will accompany him as he greets me? Perhaps Abigail. I have heard so many good things about her.”

Her musings would soon be answered as she made her way to the palace and was ushered into the king’s presence. David – who was alone – smiled and approached her. “Daughter of Eliam,” he said, taking her hand, “I welcome you to my palace. Please be at ease.”

The king’s touch ignited Bathsheba with shivers of exhilaration. From the instant she met his eyes, she knew exactly what would happen that night.

The Aftermath
As she returned home before dawn the following morning, she was still filled with elation. The king had fulfilled her every desire.

A few days later, Bathsheba realized she was pregnant, and sent word to David. “I will handle this, Bathsheba,” was the reply.

A week later, Uriah was dead. A week after that – when Bathsheba’s time of mourning was over – David asked her to become his wife. And was wretchedly miserable.

What had happened? she wondered, cold, harsh reality cascading over her in waves.

She had an adulterous night with the king. Became pregnant. Uriah had conveniently died on the battlefield – the unholy maneuverings of David, to whom she was now married to him.

What had happened? 

“What have I done, Lord? What have I done? Poor, poor Uriah. My husband. Oh Uriah. What have I done?”

She was consumed by guilt and longed for the birth of her and David’s baby. “New life, new hope,” she tried to convince herself.

But as the baby was being delivered, Bathsheba looked at the midwife and knew something was wrong. “The boy has a terrible fever,” she told Bathsheba.

One week later, he was dead. And Bathsheba was shattered. “Surely, Lord, this is punishment for my blatant sin. You are just, Lord, but why did You take this child’s life and not mine?”

Her soul was in misery, as was David’s, who spent several days comforting her. “What have we done, David? What have we done?”

“Our sin is great indeed, Bathsheba. The fault is mine. I have brought this ruin upon us.”

“Now what, my husband? What do we do now?”

“We throw ourselves upon the Lord’s mercy. It is abundant.”

“But, my husband, how abundant? Uriah … Oh, David, what have we done to Uriah? And our child …”

“We must pray, Bathsheba. We must pray.”

Redemption
And pray she did. Bathsheba, kept herself secluded, spending hours in prayer and refusing to eat at the king’s table. She felt unworthy to do so. “Oh Lord,” she cried out in her anguish. “What right do I have to even be alive when Uriah and my son have perished? What have I done, Lord? What have I done?”

That night, for the first time since the child’s death, Bathsheba and David lay together. A few days later, Bathsheba was pregnant.

And trembled. “Oh Lord, no, not again. I cannot endure it. I cannot lose another child. Oh Lord, if you must take a life for my horrible sin, then take mine and spare this child.”

The next nine months were grueling for Bathsheba, who prayed daily for the life of the child, fearing that he would encounter the same fate as his brother.

As Bathsheba delivered the child, she terrifyingly looked at the midwife. The woman was smiling broadly. “He is perfect, madam,” she said.

David and Bathsheba called him Solomon.

Two days later, as Bathsheba held the blessed child, David came to see her. “I have just spoken to the prophet Nathan,” he said, a tear trickling down his cheek. “He gave me this message from God: ‘You may continue to call your child Solomon, but I have also given him a name, Jedidiah.’ Tell me, Bathsheba, is this not a wonderful name? Is our Lord not a wonderful and merciful God?”

Bathsheba thought for a second. Jedidiah. “Loved by the Lord.”

She smiled. “Yes, my husband, He is wonderful and merciful. Far more than I ever could have dreamed.”

And now, one week later, as Bathsheba sat watching tiny Solomon – Jedidiah – sleep, she could not contain herself. She rose quickly and left the room. “I am overwhelmed, Lord. Why have you bestowed this goodness upon such a vile sinner as myself? I am so unworthy, Lord. So unworthy.” She wiped her tears and composed herself. “I know, Lord, that I will never understand this unfathomable grace of Yours, but I humbly accept it. I know I can never repay You, but may I ever walk before You in righteousness. Oh Lord, You are too wonderful for me to comprehend. Too wonderful!”

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