12 July 2016

2 Samuel 11:1-10

"It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful." (v. 2)

Psalm: Psalm 118:19-29


This is the first part of a story about David. To read the whole tale you will need to look at tomorrow's passage as well.

In the meantime it seems a strange collection of verses to find in Scripture. But the Bible does not ignore the faults and foibles of its heroes whether it is the drunkenness of Noah (Genesis 9:20-23) or in this case King David.

Reading these verses it is easy to come to the conclusion that David is the guilty party who takes advantage of the innocent victim, Bathsheda. But could it also not be the case that Bathsheba knew what she was doing and ensnared David by exposing herself in order to produce a desired effect. (This does not, however, excuse David's subsequent actions.) It may also be worth remembering that it was the same Bathsheba who conspired with the prophet Nathan to make sure that her son Solomon would succeed David (1 Kings 1:13-31). Depending on how we approach the passage, different meanings can emerge. Who is to say which is right or, for that matter, which is wrong? 

Leaping to Bathsheba's defence we read that, with the exception of verse 5, she does not speak. Does this cast her as the silent victim? And likewise we have to make assumptions about what she is thinking or feeling. Again that can be interpreted in different ways. Or alternatively it could be the fault of the writer who silences women.

To Ponder

  • How do you view Bathsheba? Innocent victim or guilty temptress? What are your reasons for thinking so?
  • What assumptions do you bring to your reading of the Bible?
  • We hear very little of Bathsheba words, and nothing of her thoughts or emotions. Who would you like to hear more from in the Bible? And what questions would you like to ask them?


Bible notes author

Ken Kingston

Ken Kingston preaches in the High Wycombe Circuit. He has worked for the Connexional Team since 1992 in a variety of roles and has been involved in 'Called by Name' and 'Time to Talk of God' amongst others.