In our study of Bathsheba (in Hebrew Batsheva) part one, we discussed the first five verses of 2 Samuel 11. We delved into some of the misconceptions that surround the story of Batsheva and the shortcomings of David (see part one). Instead of going out to war, David decides to stay behind at the palace. By his not being where he should have been, he sees Batsheva from his rooftop and decides that he must have her. Batsheva is summoned by the King and he takes her, as an abuse of his power.
In 2 Samuel 11:5, Batsheva sends word that she is with child. David makes an attempt to create a solution to the problem of the child, but fails. Uriah refuses to go to his wife while his men are at the front lines in battle. At this point David decides that his only option is to send Uriah to the front of the battle so that he will die. This is the solution to the problem that David creates.
The story continues in vv 26-27, Batsheva mourns for her husband, after the time of mourning is over, she is brought into the palace to be David’s wife but, notice the last verse…”But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord.” The Lord sends the prophet Nathan to David. The prophet tells a story to David and reveals that King David is the one that has taken what doesn’t belong to him. In 2 Samuel 12:13-14 we see David’s repentance to the Lord, and the consequence of his sin. The death of their child occurs, which is so profoundly sad, and now we see something different with David and Batsheva; turn to v.24. Notice that David comforted “his wife Batsheva”. Instead of lust there is now a form of love. Have you noticed that she is still without words? She still has not spoken in our text except for the three words that she sent to David. It is heartbreaking to see what has happened to her during this time. Yet, not a single word has been written down from her viewpoint. Batsheva has gone through tremendous grief, guilt, and shame.
When Uriah dies at the front, the text says she mourned, but I think she mourned along with guilt and shame as she probably suspected that David had Uriah killed. Also, remember that Batsheva is now living in the palace. Can you imagine the gossip going on? There was no way to escape the gossip of the pregnancy and then the death of Uriah. Then the last thing was the death of the child. The guilt and shame that had accumulated over all her experiences must have been choking the life out of her. Guilt and shame are two very powerful emotions. When we disobey God we feel guilt, which is very quickly joined by shame. Shame is what lingers even after forgiveness has been sought and granted. Shame feels like it’s welded onto you, but guilt feels like something outside of you. Shame is commonly found in victims of all kinds of abuse. It’s not uncommon for the victim of sexual assault, (any kind of abuse) to feel more shame than the perpetrator. But, shame can come from a past sin that haunts us (even though we’ve received forgiveness from God). It can come from something that we’ve done, and we can also pass on our shame to others (we feel ashamed of our body so we criticize our own daughters). If we are operating in shame then we find it difficult to connect with others, because if I don’t believe that I can be loved, I’m going to find it impossible to be in real relationships with others. Shame has us pull away and isolate ourselves from others. Shame doesn’t want to let go of us. The voice of shame will be that running tape in our head that says that we are our sin, we are that incident or the sin committed against us! But, we are not! We must echo back our identity in Messiah; we’re whole, we’re new, we’re loved, we’re forgiven, and we’re adopted into His family! Nothing can separate us from the love of God! Romans 8:38-39. Silence, secrecy and judgment grow the flames of shame. Isolation and fear are the fuel! How can we quiet the voice of shame? Shame will fade away when we confess (tell our story), when we connect to a community so we are known, and when we give Yeshua the shame that has kept us captive for years.
We didn’t hear Batsheva’s words throughout this story. But, she had a story, didn’t she? We all have a story and it doesn’t end with our beginning. C.S. Lewis said, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending”. Even though Batsheva couldn’t go back and change her beginning with David, she could live and make a life for herself. She didn’t let her shame overtake her life. Many years later (approximately 20) she intervenes for Solomon with David at the request of Nathan. Nathan comes to her for help to save the kingdom from Davids son Adonijah. She and Nathan make sure that the kingdom would go into the rightful hands of Solomon. She is the only wife that is spoken about in David’s old age. It is also traditionally believed that Batsheva is Solomon’s mother that is referred to in Proverbs 31. It didn’t matter what had happened, how she got there but, she had overcome shame and achieved honor, love, acceptance and peace.
This is an excerpt from Diana’s teaching at the 2019 Neshama Women’s Conference.
Her blogs are featured on http://diana-levine.com and reposted with permission.