The life of Bathsheba in the Bible, that would make the perfect modern TV drama. In this character study of Bathsheba we will explore the life of this woman whose story cannot be told without mentioning the warrior-king David.
Bathsheba rarely says anything early in her story. She seems to be buried under the actions of David and swept along by the decisions he makes. But her story evolves over time.
Bathsheba’s life has so many lessons about faith, life, and marriage.
Bathsheba in the Bible verses
Because David is such a pivotal character in Scripture, Bathsheba also shows up a number of times in his narrative.
It’s impossible to tell Bathsheba’s story without David because it is due to his actions why we get to know about her.
Here are the Scripture passages which detail the account of her life:
- 2 Samuel 11
- 1 Chronicles 3:5
- 2 Samuel 12:24
- 1 Kings 1:11
- 2 Samuel 12:15-25
- 1 Kings 2:10-25
- Psalm 51:1
- Matthew 1:6
Summary of David and Bathsheba story
It was springtime. Spring and summer were the ideal seasons for war. In fact a war was going on. But David did not lead his troops into battle that year.
Instead, he stayed home. This decision was to be his downfall.
One evening, David goes up on his roof to chill out and what did he see?
A woman bathing.
Some extra details are necessary here.
David’s palace was on a hill in the city of Jerusalem. From this hill he could look down at the entire city, its homes, and citizens.
So there was this woman bathing and the Bible says she was beautiful. David could not resist.
Although he knew Bathsheba was married, David still wanted her. Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, was a loyal bodyguard to David. But again, David didn’t care.
In the moment, he was overcome and overtaken with sexual desire.
He sent messengers to go get Bathsheba. She went to David and he had sex with her. Then some time later, Bathsheba reported to David that she was pregnant.
David tried to get Uriah to sleep with his wife but he wouldn’t bite the bait. This was war season and Uriah was loyal to David and his fellow soldiers.
When that plan failed, David concocted an elaborate, sinister plan and it worked. David had Uriah placed at the front of the battle and there he was killed.
As soon as David heard Uriah was dead, he took Bathsheba and married her. She lived as his wife from that time till his death and played a prominent role in his reign.
Talk about lust, affair, murder, and cover up.
What can we learn from the story of David and Bathsheba
Bathsheba is quiet throughout much of the story.
But we get glimpses of the kind of marriage they had.
Keep in mind that Bathsheba was not the only wife of David.
Marriage lessons from David and Bathsheba
There was ALOT going with Bathsheba when she is ushered into a brand new marriage with David.
Marriage is challenging all on its own. But when you add multiple events and drama, the odds are stacked even higher.
What can we learn from Bathsheba about her marriage with David?
Bathsheba made her marriage work
A marital affair. Betrayal. Murder. Cover up. Postnatal death of her first baby. Spousal loss.
All of these marked the beginning of Bathsheba’s marriage to David.
That’s a whole lot of baggage.
By all accounts, this marriage should never have been successful.
And by success I mean that the stress of all this should have exploded and caused them to argue and even become bitter towards each other.
This wasn’t the case though.
By the time David is dying from old age, we see a marriage filled with affection, love, and respect.
Somehow, Bathsheba got herself to a place in David’s heart where he would listen to her, where she could influence him.
She had multiple children with David. This is a stark contrast to Michel, the very first woman he married. That marriage disintegrated so badly that David stopped having sex with her and they had no children together.
Bathsheba learned that the beginning of her marriage was not easy but she clearly resolved to improve it.
She didn’t have much of a choice in the beginning but she chose what she wanted the rest of her story to look like.
It’s not about how you start. It’s about how you end up. But you have to do the work.
Many marriages start off on the wrong footing for the wrong reasons. In some cases, not all, with doing the work, those marriages can become a blessing.
Marry a man who has an authentic relationship with God
David was a lot of things. Impulsive. Prideful. Lustful. Murderous. Manipulative.
We could go on.
But there is one thing that I respect most about him – his relationship with God.
David had such a strong relationship with God that he was not too proud to accept rebuke from a friend or admit his sin.
This, my friend, is what every godly woman needs in her man.
A man who isn’t afraid to admit when he is wrong and say he’s sorry and truly mean it.
Many marriages fall apart because of pride and hardness of heart.
Bathsheba didn’t have a choice in this matter. She had to marry David or be stoned to death for adultery.
But for those of us living in today’s Western world and we have a choice about who to marry, choose a man whose heart truly belongs to God.
Mary the mother of Jesus had such a blessing as well in her husband Joseph.
Spiritual and Life lessons from David and Bathsheba
The story of David and Bathsheba is so filled with human emotion and drama that we could pluck it from the Bible and easily squeeze life lessons from it.
Here are just a few…
Our decisions and actions have consequences
Whether in the spiritual or natural world, actions have consequences.
The consequences of David sleeping with Bathsheba were many and far reaching. That decision of David literally changed the course of history.
The first and immediate consequence was that the baby that resulted from the affair died soon after birth…
The long term consequence was family dysfunction, sibling wars,
Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’ “This is what the LORD says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel. 2 Samuel 12:10-12
Bathsheba was caught right in the middle of all that, having never asked for any of it in the first place.
Which takes me to the next lesson.
Even when we are wronged, God can use it for His glory
Bathsheba’s story shows God’s grace.
Bathsheba was abused by David. She didn’t have a say in what happened to her.
David abused his power when he sent for her to have sex with him. He abused his power when he arranged for Uriah to die so that Bathsheba lost her husband.
But God showed up for Bathsheba. After all that tragedy, God allowed Bathsheba to get pregnant again and she gave birth to another baby whom they named Solomon.
From the very beginning, Solomon was special:
Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The LORD loved him; and because the LORD loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah. 2 Samuel 12:24-25
Solomon becomes the successor to David’s throne. He builds the most beautiful and elaborate template ever in Jewish history.
And in Christianity he is deemed the wisest man who ever lived.
But most importantly, it is through Solomon that the birth of Jesus happens generations later.
Bathsheba is one of 5 women who is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus (See Matthew 1:5).
Over and over we see God showing up in the lives of those we would consider the worst sinners of the Bible.
And he shows up with healing and restoration for those who have been abused.
He’s always redeeming and restoring.
God doesn’t hold our sin against us.
So we have already seen that God showed up for David and Bathsheba despite the sins committed.
They suffered consequences but God lifted up their heads again.
Once God has forgiven us, he has no more interest in keeping your sins as daily reminders of your weaknesses.
And anyone who does that is not of God.
God expects us to move on with our lives after repentance and prayer.
He does not wish for us to spend the rest of our lives trying to atone for something we did days, weeks, months, years or decades ago.
God does not wish for you to punish yourself over and over again.
He’s forgiven you. Full and free forgiveness. Full stop.
All the works in the world will not make you more or less deserving of God’s forgiveness.
What God wants to do now is to give you a life full of freedom and abundance.
Bathsheba went on to have 4 sons with David. Such a blessing that was.
What blessings have you been holding out on because you can’t move on?
Lessons from Bathsheba in the Bible
Bathsheba becomes a powerful, influential queen mother when Solomon assumes the throne.
Although it is difficult to separate Bathsheba from David, there are a couple of lessons we can learn from her as a character.
Do the right thing whether or not people are watching
David does not get to be excused from what he did. When his eyes caught Bathsheba, he should have turned away.
In fact, the opportunity for sin would not have presented itself if he had been busy doing what was on the yearly calendar – going off to war.
But, Bathsheba also needs to share in taking some responsibility.
What was she doing bathing where she could be seen by someone outside of her home?
Some may argue that she didn’t expect men to be around because of the war but it’s also not proper to do such a private thing where you can be seen.
The lesson here is this: As believer, have some concern for causing others to stumble.
Don’t be a temptation. Don’t invite temptation.
Because once that ball gets rolling, well, we’ve seen how ugly the turns can get.
You just never know who is watching you and whose soul is in danger just because their eyes are on you.
So, just do the right thing to begin with. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Grow where you are planted
In the beginning when we just meet Bathsheba, we don’t hear much from her, except when she sends a message to David about her pregnancy.
But after about 20 years of marriage, motherhood, and royal life, she seems to change.
As David lays dying of old age, Bathsheba asserts her influence to ensure Solomon is crowned as king before his brother Adonijah can usurp it the crown.
Bathsheba speaks up to David on Solomon’s behalf.
Bathsheba knows that if her son becomes king, she becomes the queen’s mother. And that is a grand position to have.
Bathsheba’s beginning at the palace was rocky. But as time passed, she embraced her new life.
She owned the soil where she had been planted.
And she bloomed.
Have courage in difficult times
Bathsheba was looking at getting murdered if her step-son Adonijah was successful in overthrowing David and usurping the thrown.
It took a great deal of courage to approach David and to nudge him to declare Solomon as king.
She had the option of remaining passive but that would result in the loss of her life as well as her sons’.
In those days, whenever a new king took over, he would murder anyone who could potentially be a contestant for the thrown.
This was Bathsheba’s reality. And she spoke up.
Speaking up to the king could possibly mean the end of her life. Like Esther, going to speak with the king without an invitation is trouble.
But Bathsheba braved it anyway.
Because desperate times call for desperate, radical, fearless measures.
Solomon’s destiny was in trouble.
Importance of Bathsheba in the Bible
In the story of Bathsheba, there is a message of grace and hope.
Bathsheba represents women who have been abused, victimized, taken advantage of.
Women whose husbands were prematurely and unjustly taken from them.
God is the lifter of the heads of women who have been through these things.
Bathsheba’s presence in the Bible is encouraging. God restores.
FAQs about Bathsheba in the Bible
Here are a few more details about Bathsheba.
How did Bathsheba die?
There is no record in the Scriptures about the death of Bathsheba.
Meaning of Bathsheba in the Bible.
Bathsheba means Daughter of an oath.
Where was Bathsheba from?
Bathsheba’s father was Eliam who was one of David’s mighty men in battle (2 Samuel 23:34). Her grandfather was Ahithophel, a counselor to David’s chief counselors (2 Samuel 23:34, 2 Samuel 15:12).
How many children did David and Bathsheba have?
They had five sons: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon (1 Chronicles 3:6) and the unnamed baby who died shortly after birth.
Final words on Bathsheba in the Bible
Bathsheba experienced a lot in life.
Sexual exploitation. Marrying someone to avoid being stoned to death. Grief twice over, for a husband and a baby, all within a few months.
But God’s grace shows up in her life. She goes on to live a full life.
She gave birth to and raised a king who was also the wisest man of his time.
Eventually, she becomes a powerhouse of a queen mother.
Bathsheba has much to teach us about picking up the pieces.
I pray that God will give you strength and grace and power to do the same.