David and Bathsheba – The Complicated Story of the Wife of Uriah
By Steph Nickel
How can any good ever come out of a bad situation? Steph takes a look at the story of David and Bathsheba, another evidence of God’s mercy and grace.
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The Wife of Uriah
Last time we discussed Tamar, the first woman mentioned in Jesus’s genealogy. Hers was a story of heartache, loneliness, and abandonment. It included unfulfilled obligations, broken promises, and opportunistic deception. Yet, through it all, God was working out His plans and purposes. Tamar would be remembered to this day, thousands of years after she lived and died.
The same is true of Bathsheba, referred to in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1 simply as “the wife of Uriah.” Her story may be familiar to most of us. However, hers is yet another evidence of God’s mercy and grace, of Him, bringing unbelievable good out of an unbelievably bad situation.
King David and Bathsheba’s story is one of romance, crime, and tragedy. Still, God was at work and named them both in the Messiah’s ancestral line.
David and Bathsheba
Here’s the synopsis of their story.
Both of them were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Instead of leading his troops, David had stayed behind and sent them off to battle. So he was there to see Bathsheba bathing on her rooftop. David lusted after her and made plans to have her for his own.
David set in motion a plan even more elaborate than the plot of a mystery novel. He sent Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, off to battle. Considering his ulterior motive, that was bad enough. But what was truly criminal is what happened next.
The king had his troops withdraw from the frontlines. But he made sure no one passed along the word to Uriah and the inevitable happened. This man who, a short time before, had been going about his day-to-day life, was killed.
David’s plans were “a success.” He was now free to take Bathsheba as his wife. Although it seems few, if any, knew exactly what had transpired, God knew. The Lord also let the prophet Nathan in on the situation.
The Prophet Nathan
Nathan came to the king and told him a story, the story of a wealthy man who possessed far more than he needed and a poor man with only one little lamb. The wealthy man arranged things so he ended up adding the man’s lamb to his own massive flock.
The king was livid. How could anyone do such a thing? This poor man deserved justice. And David was the one to mete out that justice.
Nathan went on to explain this was David’s story. The realization. The shame. The repentance.
Because of how King David responded to the Lord’s rebuke is, in all likelihood, one reason God says, in Acts 13:22, “… he [God] raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will’” (ESV).
Perhaps you can relate to Bathsheba. She would likely have been devastated and heartbroken, feelings familiar to women who have lost a child. She didn’t ask to be in that situation. After all, what the king wanted, he got … at least from a human perspective. But when God is involved, things often don’t go as we want them to—or as we expect them to.
Eventually, Bathsheba had a son, a son who became the exceedingly wise King Solomon. (Yes, Solomon didn’t continue on the straight and narrow, but he did accomplish much, including authoring part of the Scriptures. He also built the temple, a privilege that had been denied his father because of David’s sin.)
I’m sure Bathsheba’s life was a rollercoaster ride of emotions, something we can all likely relate to for one reason or another. I can imagine over the years she experienced sorrow, wonder, excitement, anticipation, heartache, renewed hope, joy, pride …
But I wonder how she would have felt if she realized she would be mentioned in the Messiah’s genealogy. It is my suspicion that the Lord saw to it that Matthew referred to her simply as “the wife of Uriah” to remind readers that God can work through anyone, even a sinful king like David, who made Bathsheba his wife through intrigue and brutality.
Bathsheba Was Just Like Us
Is your situation messed up—perhaps primarily because of someone else’s doing? Are you experiencing a myriad of emotions? Do you feel conflicted and confused?
In these ways, Bathsheba was just like us. If the Lord could use her situation to accomplish His purposes, to accomplish something far beyond her imagining, He can certainly do the same in our life.
Let’s seek Him this day. Let’s surrender our situation to Him. Let’s dig into His Word and get to know Him better. We can trust God’s promises, including those in Isaiah 55:6-7: “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
And if you want to read more of Bathsheba’s story, you can begin in 2 Samuel 11.
Let’s thank God that, just as He did in Bathsheba’s life, He can bring about good from even the most messed up situations in our life.
Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance writer and editor. She is the coauthor of Paralympian Deb Willows’ award-winning memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances, published by Castle Quay Books.
Steph is a member of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship and The Word Guild. She and her husband of over 30 years live in Southwestern Ontario, Canada.
Steph’s goal is to nurture and inspire. She blogs at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests. She also guest posts regularly on the topics of Christian living, writing, and fitness. You can visit her website, stephbethnickel.com, to learn more about her.
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