Bathsheba was the wife of King David and the mother of Solomon. She is one of just five women mentioned in the genealogy of Christ (Matthew 1:1-17), making her a pretty important woman. She must have done something right! But she was also the wife of Uriah before David. She cheated on her husband with David and fell pregnant, and when Uriah didn’t go along with David’s plan to cover up the baby’s parentage, David made his death in battle fairly unavoidable.
I said she did something right – I didn’t say she did everything right…
‘The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.’ 2 Samuel 12:13-14
As the prophet Nathan predicted, Bathsheba and David paid for their sins – their firstborn child, who was conceived out of wedlock, died just a week after he was born, and as the newest in the harem Bathsheba most likely received no sympathy from David’s other wives. But when she and David repented of their sins the Lord blessed them with more sons whom ‘the Lord loved’ (2 Samuel 12:24).
‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ 1 John 1:9
David was tempted, and Bathsheba was his temptress. In other words, they were both human! They both had flaws, and at times they were both beaten by the innate weakness of humanity. It goes without saying that ‘the thing David has done displeased the Lord’ (2 Samuel 1:27), because his ultimate plan for creation is greatness, not weakness. But as a result of the fall of Adam and Eve we, like David and Bathsheba, don’t always live up to that standard. God knows that. And God forgives.
Bathsheba made serious mistakes which inevitably cost her her reputation and threatened the future of the whole line of David, but by His grace God restored that lineage. In fact, He raised it up to be the most important family line in history which culminated in God Himself being made man. He saw a sinner truly repented, and He not only gave her back what she had lost through her own sin but added to it abundantly more blessings. It wasn’t about the nature or extent of her sin. It was about the depth of her repentance. That’s ultimate forgiveness!
Though never proven, it is rumoured that it was Bathsheba who composed Proverbs 31 as her offering of advice to her son Solomon on his marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter. I don’t know about you, but I love that! It utterly removes the pressure to be perfect women that we often feel from that verse. Bathsheba knew she wasn’t all of the things she told Solomon to seek in a woman, but she never lowered the bar when it came to the woman she hoped to become. The idea that the perfect woman was drawn by an imperfect woman reminds us that all we can do in this life is ENDEAVOUR. Endeavouring doesn’t mean success or even reaching the finish. It means trying our best – accepting when we fail, but nevertheless always striving to become more like God’s vision of us – because that’s all we can ever do.
Sometimes we get it wrong. God loves us anyway.
Bathsheba was a sinner. We are ALL sinners. But instead of brooding on her past mistakes, she was guided by the lessons she had learned from them and continually aimed to live in accordance with God’s will. With God’s help we can do the same!