David & Bathsheba its RAPE not adultery

Posted: May 6, 2012 by Ty in Musings, Spirituality
Tags: , , , , , , ,

2 Samuel 11

New King James Version (NKJV)

David, Bathsheba, and Uriah

11 It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.

Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house. And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.”

Then David sent to Joab, saying, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah had come to him, David asked how Joab was doing, and how the people were doing, and how the war prospered. And David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah departed from the king’s house, and a gift of food from the king followed him. But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. 10 So when they told David, saying, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Did you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?”

11 And Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields. Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.”

12 Then David said to Uriah, “Wait here today also, and tomorrow I will let you depart.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 Now when David called him, he ate and drank before him; and he made him drunk. And at evening he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.

14 In the morning it happened that David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die.” 16 So it was, while Joab besieged the city, that he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew there were valiant men. 17 Then the men of the city came out and fought with Joab. And some of the people of the servants of David fell; and Uriah the Hittite died also.

18 Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war, 19 and charged the messenger, saying, “When you have finished telling the matters of the war to the king, 20 if it happens that the king’s wrath rises, and he says to you: ‘Why did you approach so near to the city when you fought? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? 21 Who struck Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth?[a] Was it not a woman who cast a piece of a millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you go near the wall?’—then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.’”

22 So the messenger went, and came and told David all that Joab had sent by him. 23 And the messenger said to David, “Surely the men prevailed against us and came out to us in the field; then we drove them back as far as the entrance of the gate. 24 The archers shot from the wall at your servants; and some of the king’s servants are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.”

25 Then David said to the messenger, “Thus you shall say to Joab: ‘Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another. Strengthen your attack against the city, and overthrow it.’ So encourage him.”

26 When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband. 27 And when her mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.

When I learned to be a spiritual director, one exercise they gave us was to re-write stories from the Bible from each perspective of the characters involved. I found it easy to writer from the noble mindset of Uriah; from the fear of a woman being called to be raped without power in her world to argue against her ruler.

The one I found it hard to write from was that of King David. You see in my world I find it hard to relate to a misogynistic sexual deviant.

Harsh language some would say. But let’s be honest here, David knew what he was doing when he ascended to the rooftop. He knew he was going to see naked women, and he knew his position of authority. He knew that when he saw one that would arouse him sexually he would be able to have her without complaint (for is she complained she would be killed)… a textbook serial rapist (so speaketh the psychologist in me).

Then carefully plotting the murder of Uriah (the husband) when he refused to cover up the pregnancy caused by the rape. David became a murderer, and with God stating the blood on David’s hands would stop him from building the temple one has to ponder if it was because David was a warlord, or because Bathsheba was not the first this stunt had happened with?

Then what? From abuse of power; sexual abuse; murder and to the next step when Bathsheba was spiritually raped once more for under Levitical Law she was defiled and as such became the property of her rapist.

Totally without voice abused multiple times, she gives birth to a child, that dies mysteriously…some historians believe King David in a fit of anger after being confronted by the Prophet Nathan killed the baby for the first born was to be sacrificed to the Lord (a rather literal understanding of the Isaac and Abraham story).

Some would say though why did Bathsheba stay with her rapist? What options did she have? Death as a sex trade worker? Stoned by the priests? Death at her own hand? She was conditioned to understand that she was nothing more than property under the Patriarchal system, and as such if she chose any other option she would not be with God because David ruled by divine right…God anointed. She had no options as a devout Israelite but to stay for that was her role as property.

Where is the hope in this story that has survived in the Bible? A text of hate and torture for all that have endured Rape, Spiritual Abuse, political abuse and loss of child? Is it these actions that show a God of love? A holy king?

 

No.

 

It is a story of redemption for Bathsheba for it was through her tortured life that Jesus was born into the world. It was Solomon, the second child that the line of the Messiah was started, the redemption of the devil seed David. Bathsheba named and honoured in the Genealogy of our Lord Christ Jesus in Matthew. She had no options but to survive.

 

Did she like it? No. Did she complain about it? How could she? She did what a good mum does, she protected her son, Solomon, so he could be the best and answer his calling from God. She did what the system of her time allowed her to do.

 

Do we look at this story and see adulter? No, it is rape.

Do we look at this story and say that an abused should stay with their abuser today?

HELL NO.

Our system is different, we have more options, what we need to do is look at Bathsheba and say she did what the system allowed her to do to live and prosper.

What does our system today allow for a women (or anyone in dire straights) to escape and survive from a monster like David?

Shelters; Social Services; Child care; medical care; health care; psychological care; spiritual care; safe houses…

If you know of a Bathsheba in your life, PLEASE help her to realize there is a better choice than enduring, that system is no longer valid.

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