Monday, January 16, 2012

Sluts, Schemers, And Other Shockingly Interesting Women Of The Bible #5 – Bathsheba

Disclaimer: I am doing this as a way to share what I learn about these gals. I’m not saying what I discover and write about here is the absolute truth about them. I’m not thinking I’m going to discover some revolutionary truth that nobody’s heard before, nor am I looking to start legalistic fights. This is more about me being curious and wanting to learn more about these gals, and saying “Here’s what I learned in my Bible readings today!”

Which One Is She?

Bathsheba was married to King David, and bore him a son, King “I Wrote Most Of Proverbs” Solomon.

Conservative religious chuckleheads would say that Bathsheba is a Slut for going along with King David’s adulterous wishes. I disagree. She’s actually a Schemer for what she does after the fact.

Who Could Be Her Celebrity Counterpart?

Because she is the only woman in the Bible who is described in Hebrew as “maod towb” which means “very beautiful”, let’s go ahead and say she’s Angelina Jolie, who is one of the most beautiful women in the world and always looks like she’s got mega scheming plans behind those big eyes. We are lucky that those plans are usually about helping Serbian orphans or adopting another child from an impoverished country, because she could be scheming to bring about the zombie apocalypse. I mean, look at her – doesn’t she look like she could convince any scientist in the world to unleash a zombie virus if she really wanted to?

So really, people, we’re only alive because Angelina Jolie wants us to be.

Where Is She In The Bible?

The part of the story that everyone remembers is 2 Samuel, Chapter 11 and 12. That’s where King David sees Bathsheba, grabs her, impregnates her, and then sends her husband Uriah to the front line of the war so he’s killed quicker so King David can marry Bathsheba and claim the kid as his. That kid dies, by the way, as God’s punishment on King David (and some say Bathsheba too).

But King David must’ve really really loved Bathsheba, because he stuck with her forever. He could’ve booted her after the first kid died, but nope, she sticks around. But again, she’s Angelina Jolie beautiful. Who wouldn’t want a gal like that to stick around?

BUT! She also has a small adventure in 1 Kings, Chapters 1 and 2.

And when you look at her actions in both of those stories, you realize she’s a Schemer.

What Did You Already Know About Her Before This?

Everybody knows she’s the chick bathing naked on the roof when King David saw her. Everybody knows King David fell into such lust for her that he purposefully schemed to get Uriah, her husband, killed in battle so he could marry her because she was already pregnant with King David’s kid. And the bulk of this story falls upon King David and his actions, because yes, he’s the bigger sinner here.

I used to like to get into debates in various small groups whenever anyone said that Bathsheba bore some of the blame of the sin of adultery by going to King David when he “sent messengers to get her” (Ch.11:4), even though she was married to Uriah.

But hello!

When a King “sends messengers to get” you, how do you think he’d do it? HE USES SOLDIERS. Big burly men with swords and battle axes and other weapons that not-so-subtly indicate that It’s Best You Come With Us And Sleep With Your King Serve Your Country.

Because a King is only going to accept one answer here. And Bathsheba is a woman of the Bible whose husband happens to not be at home ‘cause he’s fighting in the war, and she’s got zero options.

Put another way - If the Secret Service comes knocking on your door and says “The President Would Like A Word With You,” you don’t really get to say no. Any movie will show you that you get your ass tackled if your answer is anything other than yes.

So nope, Bathsheba didn’t have a choice, and any conservative religious chucklehead who argues that she did is usually #1) a guy or #2) someone who likes to blame women a lot. Back away slowly from those folks. The zombies will get them in their time when Angelina gives the say so.

What’s Her Story?

After Bathsheba gets pregnant by King David, and after Uriah gets killed in battle, King David is courteous enough to wait - “after the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son.” (Ch11:27) Oh yeah, NOW he can wait. Couldn’t wait before, but NOW he can. Heh.

So here comes Nathan the prophet, who essentially tells King David God knows what you did, you bad bad person! Calamity approacheth! King David, to his credit, instantly confesses, and Calamity averted, but the kid (who never gets a name, poor little bugger) dies after seven days. Because sin has consequences.

As usual, the Bible spends zippo time checking in on its women, in this case Bathsheba, and what she must be feeling/thinking. Her husband Uriah is dead. Her firstborn (if she had kids with Uriah, the Bible would’ve said something about them) is dead. The King who got her into all of this mess is still alive, and now she’s married to him.

And yet, she still stays with him. She doesn’t run away, she doesn’t pull a Cleopatra and Asps Away! She doesn’t even kill him. Why? The only thing I can think of is that she must love him. Or he must be really hot. Like, Brad Pitt hot. Maybe that’s the series I do next – Life Of King David As Played By Brad Pitt.

It must also be noted that God wanted these crazy kids together, because she gets pregnant with David’s kid again and in Ch.12:24-26 “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 Jeddiah.” Jeddiah means “loved by the Lord.” And God really loves Solomon, because he is also in the bloodline that will eventually produce Jesus.

So let’s skip the parts where David has other kids by other wives, and they’re obviously not Bathsheba’s kids, because they’re all screwed up and raping their half sister (Amnon), or killing their brother because they raped their half sister, and trying to take the throne from David (Absalom). I like to think Bathsheba is just trying to raise baby Solomon, and giving him all the wisdom that he’ll need to write Proverbs later (which could quite possibly be as simple as “don’t do anything you see any of your father’s sons doing.”)

But she pops up again where not a lot of people expect her to do so, in 1 Kings, Chapters 1 and 2.

At this point, David’s son Adonijah (who is NOT Bathsheba’s son) decides he’s gonna jump over the whole succession thing (which dictates that Solomon would be King when David died) and claim himself King because David is way too old, and too busy trying to get it up with young virgins named Abishag (yeah, when the Bible says “he could not keep warm,” that’s a gentle euphemism for “I cannot perform sexually to produce more heirs and thus prove I can still be King”) to fight him off.

So Nathan the prophet, yes, the same prophet who told David that his firstborn son by Bathsheba was gonna die because of his adultery sin, finds Bathsheba and says, “You wanna do something about this or else Solomon’s not getting the throne.”

And seriously, can you imagine Bathsheba looking at this guy, this prophet, the same guy who told David (I’m guessing she was either in the room or nearby) that their firstborn son was gonna die because of the sin that David kinda sorta coerced her to participate in, THIS guy, is now coming to her saying “Yo, need your help.”

Nathan the prophet needs Bathsheba’s help, because he’s already figured out that if he went by himself to talk to King David, his words wouldn’t be heard.

But if King David’s not gonna listen to the prophet who was right in the past about his firstborn son dying, then who would King David listen to?

BATHSHEBA. Which is why Nathan went to her to ask King David first. If Nathan could’ve done it by himself, he would’ve. But nope, he needs the one woman who, when she speaks, KINGS listen.

(We are not brain-eating-zombies only because Angelina Jolie loves her kids and Brad Pitt too much to give the order.)

Nathan instructs Bathsheba to go to elderly King David (whose throne is probably a hospital bed at this point) and say something to the effect of, “What the hell, you said Solomon would be king, and Adonijah’s just sent out a press release saying he’s taking the throne.”

Bathsheba does him one better, and tells King David that not only has Adonijah sent the press release, he’s excluded Solomon and Bathsheba from the victory dinner, and they’re most likely gonna die soon.

So King David quickly crowns Solomon as king, while Adonijah is at his victory dinner, and since what King David says still goes, Solomon is now king, and Adonijah sulks away, because Solomon, in his wisdom, doesn’t kill him.

That doesn’t stop Adonijah from requesting through Bathsheba for Solomon to grant “I Don’t Like Being Known As The Virgin That King David Couldn’t Get it Up With” Abishag as his wife. Bathsheba allegedly innocently carries the request to Solomon, who promptly kills Adonijah for his request (because if Adonijah could get it up with a virgin that his own father couldn’t, that means Adonijah has conquered Virgin Territory And Thus Deserves To Be King. Gross and stupid.)

See I bet, I just bet, that Bathsheba knew that would happen. This is her chance to get rid of the pesky Son Who’s Not Her Son Who Tried To Take The Throne From HER Son once and for all.

Why would Adonijah ask Bathsheba for help with his dumb request? Because when Bathsheba speaks, KINGS listen.

Oooooooh, she’s crafty, she is.

Whatchoo Thinking About?

At first glance, it looks like Bathsheba is nothing more than a pawn in other men’s schemes – King David must have her, Prophet Nathan needs her to talk to David, Adonijah needs her to talk to King Solomon.

But how she not only survives those plans, but often times does them one better, is kinda awesome.

Everyone wrote off Bathsheba as a beautiful woman and nothing more. I think just about everyone has more going on under the surface. Sometimes not a ton more. But something more. Look beneath the surface of everyone

What did you learn?

Don’t have a victory dinner until after you’ve taken the throne.

Never ever underestimate the persuasiveness of a beautiful woman (who, by the way, was verbally persuasive with King David and King Solomon. Again, more than meets the eye.)

Brad Pitt is staring in the movie version of World War Z, which is about the zombie apocalypse. Coincidence? I THINK NOT.

1 comment:

ac said...

Interesting interpretation. You should add the part about when King David tried to get her husband drunk first because he did want Uriah to claim the child. David's first idea was for Uriah to lay with his wife so that he could claim the child, but he felt that he could not splurge in intimacy with his wife while his fellow mates fought in a heated battle. Uriah, showing more integrity than king David was then sent to the front lines to be killed in war.