Uriah's Wife
By Susan E. Todd
(2 Samuel chapters 11 and 12; 1 Kings chapters 1 and 2)

What do we know about Bathsheba?

  • She was a wicked woman.
  • She seduced David and forced him to marry her.
  • She had her husband Uriah killed because she didn't really love him.
  • Because of her adulterous affair with David her first child died.

Is that what you think? If you do, then you are wrong! Let's look at the Scriptures and see what we can find out from them about Bathsheba.

  • Bathsheba lived near the palace.
    (2 Samuel 11:2) "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." I think it is safe to conclude this from the fact that David could see her easily from the roof of his palace. Not only could he see her house but he could also see that she was a very beautiful woman. So she must have been pretty close to him. I don't think that he needed binoculars to be able to see her either. I'm sure he had good eyesight and was able to look directly down upon her without a lot of trees or shrubbery or other things interfering with his line of vision. As a matter of fact Bathsheba may very well have lived in a house within the palace walls. Wherever she lived, we know from verse two, that her house could be seen from the king's house.
  • Bathsheba was married to a man of power and integrity.
    I believe that Bathsheba and her husband may have been somewhat wealthy. Uriah was a captain in David's army. He is listed in the twenty-third chapter of the book of second Samuel as one of David's thirty mightiest men. (2 Samuel 23:8.39) "These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: . Uriah the Hittite: thirty and seven in all."
  • So from this we know that Uriah was not just an ordinary soldier but one of the best soldiers in the service of the king. And to be named as one of the king's "mightiest men" he had to possess certain attributes. First and foremost he had to be loyal to the king. David had to be able to trust him with his very life. This is a bit ironic, don't you think, because David would not only prove to be disloyal to Uriah but would also take Uriah's life in order to cover his own sin.

    Uriah would have also had to prove himself courageous and successful in battle. In return for his bravery and loyalty the king would have handsomely rewarded him.

    And Uriah was a loyal soldier. This is evident from 2 Samuel 11:11, "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."

    After David received word that Bathsheba was pregnant with his child, he tried to entice Uriah away from the battle and into the arms of Bathsheba in the hopes that Uriah would think the child was his. But Uriah was an honorable man and wouldn't take any pleasure, even in his own wife, until the battle was won.

  • Bathsheba possessed great beauty.
    Look at verse two again.
  • The Bible records many beautiful women:

  • Eve who was created by God had to have been a very beautiful woman
  • Sarah was so beautiful that her own husband told her to pretend she was his sister and not his wife in order to spare his life
  • Rachel was so beautiful that Jacob was willing to work fourteen years in order to take her as his wife
  • Abigail who the Bible says was "a woman of good understanding and of a beautiful countenance"
  • Esther who "obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her."
  • And Bathsheba who was very beautiful to look upon. But in the case of Bathsheba I don't think it was her face that David was looking at here. Go back and look at verse two again and see what she was doing. (2 Samuel 11:2) "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." The Bible says she was washing herself. I'll explain in a minute exactly what kind of washing this was but for now it is important to understand that she was bathing.

    Now you must remember that a woman is stirred sexually by the touch of a man but a man is "turned on" by the sight of a woman. Especially a beautiful naked woman. And Bathsheba was not only beautiful as we have already seen but at the time David saw her she was naked. That's all it took for him. He lusted. (James 1:14) "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed."

    David was the one that lusted, not Bathsheba. That was his first sin. (Matthew 5:27-28) "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." He was about to fulfil those evil desires in the flesh.

    That is why it is so important as Christian women that we dress modestly. The Bible admonishes us to do this in 1 Timothy 2:9-10, "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works."

  • Bathsheba was more than likely a heathen woman and not a Jew.
    (2 Samuel 11:3) "And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?"
  • The Hittites are first mentioned in the Bible in connection with Abraham. It was Ephron, the Hittite, who sold Abraham his field that contained the cave of Machpelah where Sarah was buried.

  • Bathsheba's act of washing was one of purification.
    Bathsheba was not just washing her face or taking an ordinary bath. She was performing a cleansing ritual. Now I'm sure this will lead to some debate and that many of you will disagree with me on this but let us look at what the Bible says and compare Scripture with Scripture. (1 Corinthians 2:12-13) "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."
  • (2 Samuel 11:4) "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." Most people teach that this means after Bathsheba had sex with David she purified herself. The "uncleanness" mentioned here they say refers to her act of fornication. Not so!! Let's look at the reasons why and back them up with Scripture.

    First, notice the punctuation in the sentence. If you took out the phrase "for she was purified from her uncleanness" the sentence would read as follows: And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her and she returned unto her house. That makes perfect sense because that is exactly what happened.

    Also, it says, "and he lay with her," which is the present tense, "for she was purified from her uncleanness," which is the past tense. Putting it another way, she was first purified and then he lay with her, not the other way around.

    Now before you accuse me of "correcting the Book" let me finish.

    The question here is what is meant by her uncleanness. If you say that it was her fornication then there is something missing. It takes two people to fornicate. Why didn't the Bible mention David's uncleanness and his purification? After all the story of David and Bathsheba is really David's story. He is the central character not Bathsheba. The Bible doesn't say anything here about what David was required to do and he was also required to do something. (Leviticus 15:16) "And if any man's seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even."

    David sinned in that he lusted after another man's wife and he had sex with a married woman. David knew the penalty for adultery was death. David knew the law. He would have also known about his rite of purification.

    No, Bathsheba was not purifying herself from fornication. The purification mentioned in verse four refers back to her actions in verse two. David was on the roof watching her when she was purifying herself and that was BEFORE she fornicated with him. The purification mentioned in verse four refers to her purification after having had her period.

    (Leviticus 15:19) "And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even."

    (Leviticus 15:28) "But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean."

    (Leviticus 15:33) "And of her that is sick of her flowers, and of him that hath an issue, of the man, and of the woman, and of him that lieth with her that is unclean."

    Read the entire fifteenth chapter of Leviticus. It talks about uncleanness from both having a period and having sex.

    (Ezekiel 18:6) "And hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour's wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman," A woman who was having her period was considered unclean. After her period was over there were certain things that she had to do.

    Now why does the Bible mention this at all? You will see why this is so significant in a minute.

    Bathsheba's greatest mistake was not in living close to the palace; it was not in being wealthy; it was not because she was married to a man of integrity, being a beautiful woman or the fact that she was not a Jew. Bathsheba's greatest mistake was in being careless.

    She chose to perform a normal activity but in the wrong location at the wrong time of day. The Bible says she was washing or cleansing herself. There is nothing improper or immoral in that. As a matter of fact a great deal of the Levitical law dealt with cleansing, being clean, purification and so forth.

    However, Bathsheba chose a place to wash where she could easily be seen from the palace. The fact that the Bible doesn't say or even mention that she had ever been seen before when the palace was bustling with people leads me to believe that this may not have been her usual location for bathing. It doesn't really matter. The point is that she was indiscreet in her behaviour. Bathing should be a very private matter.

    It was also "eveningtide." According to the dictionary evening commences at the setting of the sun. This was probably just around dusk when the sun was beginning to set but it was still light enough to be able to see clearly from a short distance without much trouble. This is another reason why I believe Bathsheba lived close to the palace. David was able to see her clearly not in full sunlight but in setting sunlight.

    That in a nutshell is what Bathsheba did wrong. She knew all the men were gone to battle including her own husband. So she felt relatively safe in deciding to take her bath where she did. But she didn't know that the king was still around. However, that is no excuse for not taking precautions concerning modest behaviour especially in regards to something as personal as bathing.

    David was not where he should have been in the first place. In 2 Samuel 11:1 it says, "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."

    Oops! David was supposed to be out fighting. Instead he was all alone with nothing to do but get into trouble. And he got himself in a lot of trouble. Trouble that would follow him a lifetime. (Numbers 14:18) "The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation."

    It is important that you are where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there doing what you are supposed to be doing. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong thing can and usually will get you into trouble.

  • You should be in church when the church has services. You should not be out shopping or at the movies.
  • You should be reading your Bible instead of reading trashy romance novels. This includes so-called Christian romance novels. What is the difference between a secular romance novel and a Christian romance novel? A secular romance novel is written by a lost person. A Christian romance novel is supposedly written by a so-called Christian but actually ghost-written by a lost person. Do you see any difference? I don't.
  • You should be on your knees in prayer before God instead of on your butt in front of the television set.
  • You should be handing out tracts instead of handing out unscriptural advice.
  • You should be listening to godly edifying gospel music instead of on the phone listening to gossip.
  • Ouch!! Every head bowed, every eye closed!! AMEN and AMEN and AMEN!!!

    You have to remember one thing. David was king. When the king sent for you, you went. When the king told you to do something, you did it. David sent for Bathsheba and she went to him. As a matter of fact the Bible says in 2 Samuel 11:4, "And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her;..."

    David wanted her and she gave herself to him. The Bible does not say if she protested or not. It really would not have mattered if she had. David was the king and the king was going to get what he wanted. And what he wanted was Bathsheba.

  • Bathsheba had a good reputation.
    Bathsheba was not known for being unfaithful to her husband. There is no record in the Bible of her having ever been with another man other than her husband up until this incident. So when she sent word to David that she was pregnant he did not question whether or not the child was his or someone else's. He knew it was his. And Bathsheba knew it too. (2 Samuel 11:5) "And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child."
  • Remember the "washing" that she was doing when David saw her from his roof? David was the first person she had sex with after her purification from her period. He was the only person who could be the father of her child. Now do you see the importance of what kind of purifying Bathsheba was performing that day? This is why it is important to compare Scripture with Scripture. Any other type of purifying would not make sense here.

    Once David realized the significance of his sin he took steps to cover it. (2 Samuel 11:6-13) "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."

    David tried everything he could think of to get Uriah to sleep with his wife so he would think the baby she was going to have was his but Uriah, unwittingly, foiled every attempt. So as a last resort David planned Uriah's death.

    Bathsheba had nothing to do with planning or executing the death of her husband. David alone was responsible for the death of Uriah. (2 Samuel 11:14-15) "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."

    Uriah was killed, not because of anything that he did, but because David sinned. (2 Samuel 11:16) "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." You can never cover one sin with another.

    We will never know how our actions, good or bad, will affect the lives of others. Make sure whatever you do is for the good and the edification of others and not for the bad and for their destruction.

    Bathsheba did not know David's plans. The Bible says in verse 26 "And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband." Why? Because he was her husband. As far as we know, Bathsheba's sin with David was the first time she had betrayed Uriah. If it hadn't been I'm sure we would have read about it. Uriah was a good man. We have already noted that he was loyal, courageous, and brave and, verse 16 says, valiant. Bathsheba mourned because she loved Uriah. And her mourning was genuine.

    It is important to note that God does not hold Bathsheba responsible for the sin of adultery and the murder of her husband. (2 Samuel 11:27) "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."

    God holds David responsible. (2 Samuel 12:15) "And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it was very sick." (2 Samuel 12:18) "And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?"

    God punishes David by taking the life of his son. But he is not the only one that has to pay that price. The child was also Bathsheba's. The Bible does not say if she had any children by Uriah so this was probably her first baby.

    But wait a minute. This child HAD to die. Why? Because of the sex sin that they committed? No. Because of who David was. What do I mean by that? Let me explain.

    Turn to Deuteronomy 23:2 "A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD."

    What is a bastard? A bastard is a child begotten out of lawful matrimony; an illegitimate child. It is the child that is a result of sex outside of marriage. Bathsheba was Uriah's wife when she conceived a child with David. That child was illegitimate. It was a bastard.

    David was not only the king but he was in the messianic line of the King of Kings, Jesus Christ. Everybody knows that. Read Matthew chapter 1 if you have any questions about it. Therefore this child would have also been a part of Christ's lineage. According to Scripture he couldn't even be considered a part or included in the congregation. If the child had lived he would have been, so he had to die.

    After Uriah's death, David took Bathsheba as his legitimate wife and she and David had the son that was entitled to be in the messianic line. The Lord took away Bathsheba's reproach and made her legitimate son the heir of both an earthly throne and a heavenly kingdom.

    (2 Samuel 12:24) "And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved him."

    Now this was not intended to be a study of David but one of Bathsheba. Let me just say this. Don't judge a person without knowing all the facts. The world says, "Don't judge a book by its cover." The Bible says, in 1 Samuel 16:7, ". for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart."

    I think you can see that David was guilty for most everything that happened here. He broke four of the Ten Commandments in one rash sin.

  • Thou shalt not kill                                    6th commandment (Exodus 20:13)
  • Thou shalt not commit adultery	           7th commandment (Exodus 20:14)
  • Thou shalt not steal                                  8th commandment (Exodus 20:15)
  • Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife  10th commandment (Exodus 20:17)
  • Just remember three things.

  • You can never cover up one sin with another. It won't work.
    (Numbers 32:23) "But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out."
  • (Proverbs 15:3) "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good."

    (Job 34:21-22) "For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings. There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves."

    One of God's attributes is that of omniscience. That means that He has universal knowledge or knowledge of all things; He is infinitely knowing; He is all seeing.

  • When we sin it affects other people.
    Even though David was held responsible for what happened because he initiated it all Bathsheba still had to pay a price, the death of her firstborn son. And an innocent child had to die.
  • (Romans 14:7) "For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself."

  • Confess your sins immediately.
    (1 John 1:9) "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
  • When David was confronted with his sin by Nathan, the prophet sent by God, he immediately acknowledged it and asked God to forgive him. (2 Samuel 12:13) "And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die."

    David was one of the greatest sinners in the Bible. Adultery and murder were two sins that were unpardonable in God's eyes. Both demanded the death penalty. And David knew this. But David was also probably THE greatest repenter in the Bible. David loved the Lord and God loved David. (Acts 13:22) "And when he (GOD) had removed him (SAUL), he (GOD) raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will."

    While true repentance brings forgiveness from God it does not eliminate the consequences of sin.

    Now some people believe that if they confess their sins then God will not punish them. I don't believe that. I do believe that if we confess our sins and truly repent of them that our punishment will not be as great as if we try to ignore our sins or are not truly sorry for them. God is a just God. But God hates sin and He has to punish it.

    Can God bless us after we repent? Of course He can. Will He? Let's see what happened with David and Bathsheba.

    (1 Chronicles 3:1-9) "Now these were the sons of David, which were born unto him in Hebron; the firstborn Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; the second Daniel, of Abigail the Carmelitess: The third, Absalom the son of Maachah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur: the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith: The fifth, Shephatiah of Abital: the sixth, Ithream by Eglah his wife. These six were born unto him in Hebron; and there he reigned seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years. And these were born unto him in Jerusalem; Shimea, and Shobab, and Nathan, and Solomon, four, of Bathshua the daughter of Ammiel: Ibhar also, and Elishama, and Eliphelet, And Nogah, and Nepheg, and Japhia, And Elishama, and Eliada, and Eliphelet, nine. These were all the sons of David, beside the sons of the concubines, and Tamar their sister."

    The eldest son and firstborn male child was entitled to inherit the throne once his father died. If that son died then the next in line by birth order succeeded to the throne and so on. In David's family there were six sons born to him by six wives before Bathsheba even came on the scene. Yet Solomon was named to be David's successor. Solomon was David and Bathsheba's son. Bathsheba bore him three sons before Solomon was born. Why did David allow this?

    David didn't have anything to do with it. (1 Chronicles 28:1-7) "And David assembled all the princes of Israel, the princes of the tribes, and the captains of the companies that ministered to the king by course, and the captains over the thousands, and captains over the hundreds, and the stewards over all the substance and possession of the king, and of his sons, with the officers, and with the mighty men, and with all the valiant men, unto Jerusalem. Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building: But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood. Howbeit the LORD God of Israel chose me before all the house of my father to be king over Israel for ever: for he hath chosen Judah to be the ruler; and of the house of Judah, the house of my father; and among the sons of my father he liked me to make me king over all Israel: And of all my sons, (for the LORD hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel. And he said unto me, Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts: for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father. Moreover I will establish his kingdom for ever, if he be constant to do my commandments and my judgments, as at this day." God chose Solomon to be king.

    (Matthew 1:6) "And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; Why wasn't Bathsheba mentioned here by name? Tamar, Rahab and Ruth are all mentioned by name but Bathsheba is refered to as the wife of Uriah."

    It was to show that Uriah was dead when Bathsheba married David and conceived Solomon. It was to give both Bathsheba and Solomon legitimacy according to the law. (Romans 7:1-3) "Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man."

    Yes, God can bless after you sin IF you truly repent. Of all the sons that could and should have sat on the throne God chose the son of David and Bathsheba.

    If you are saved and if you are in sin now or have any unconfessed sin in your live let me strongly urge you to repent of it and ask God's forgiveness. Don't wait another minute. The Bible says that He is faithful and just to forgive your sin. Yes, you will be punished but don't let that keep you from getting things right with God. God does not want to lose fellowship with you but when you are in sin that fellowship with Him is broken. The only way to restore it is through heartfelt repentance.

    Won't you do it today?