Open Your Bible
2 Samuel 11:1-17, 2 Samuel 11:26-27, 2 Samuel 12:7-25, 1 Kings 1:1, 1 Kings 1:5-31
BY Guest Writer
Editor’s Note: Some passages in Scripture deal in subject matter which might be especially painful for some readers. Though many of the wounds we receive in this life are deeply personal and unimaginably painful, when they appear in God’s Word, we are reminded that He sees them. Whenever sin is addressed in Scripture—whether through teaching or story—it comes to us in the context of God’s unwavering commitment to bring an end to all evil in this world through the finished work of Christ (Revelation 21:3–4). We are praying for and with you as you read.
One of the most scandalous stories recorded in Scripture involves King David and Bathsheba, the wife of one of his trusted warriors. David’s sexual sin against Bathsheba is condemned by Nathan and confessed by David himself. His blame has never been in question. Often called “an affair,” Bathsheba’s involvement is less than clear, however. Helpfully, Scripture offers valuable context to help us navigate the culture of that time.
Scripture records a detail that tells us something important about Bathsheba; she was bathing to cleanse herself after her monthly cycle (2 Samuel 11:4). For women practicing the Jewish faith, this was commanded, to bathe after monthly menstruation. This is important because it tells us that Bathsheba had chosen to obey the commandments of the covenant and honor Yahweh. We know Bathsheba lived protected within the city because David was able to see her bathing on her rooftop from the comfort of his own home.
Let’s take a minute to remind ourselves that this woman wasn’t a character in a story or an actor in a movie. Bathsheba was a real woman, living in the ancient Near East under the militaristic, political, and cultural control of King David. Bathsheba had real fears, life pressures, and hopeful expectations. Like us, Bathsheba was likely both strong and fearful. Like us, she probably wanted to make a life, build a family, and care for her friends. She likely worried about her future and her reputation.
I imagine Bathsheba never envisioned the turn her life would take. She would lose her first husband and bury her first son with David. Sadly, much of Bathsheba’s story is shaped by what was likely the hardest season of her life, when she was swept up into the center of scandal, shame, and heartache. Though the circumstances may be different, I suspect many of us know this sting. And in the midst of that kind of turmoil, we can all be tempted to wonder things like:
Where is God?
Why has He allowed this to happen?
Can He redeem even this?
But Bathsheba’s story wasn’t over. God wasn’t finished working in and through her. Heartache wouldn’t have the last word—not for Bathsheba, and not for you or for me. Mercifully, Scripture records other instances where Bathsheba would help lead, influence, and shape God’s story for His people. Scripture attests to her humility before the Lord and her bravery before King David, as she advocated for her son Solomon take his God-appointed place as king of Israel (1 Kings 1:11–40).
Where Bathsheba looked forward in faith, we have the unbelievable privilege of looking back in gratitude. Because of Jesus, we can be confident that even the darkest days and the most heart-wrenching circumstances can be redeemed. If the cross brought everlasting life, then nothing in our lives can be so ruinous that God can’t use it for our good and His glory.
Whitney Capps is a national speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries. Her first book, Sick of Me (B&H Publishers) and bible study, We Over Me (LifeWay) both release in March 2019. Whitney is the founder of Simple Seminary, a place for the everyday gal to learn theology. She and her husband, Chad, are raising their four boys just outside Atlanta, GA. You can connect with her at whitneycapps.com or on Instagram, @whitneycapps.