My story is one that is notorious. Most at the very least, know my name. Bathsheba. The woman bathing on the roof that King David had to have. The harlot who became the king’s wife after her husband was killed in battle at David’s orders so to cover up a scandalous affair and illegitimate pregnancy. An affair in which resulted in the consequences being that of our child’s death and much, much more. The woman who had another son named Solomon.
My name is known for little more by the masses than this. Unless one chooses to read between the lines, there’s not much more to assume. But I’d like to tell you the “more” that many don’t know. For in it is who I really am. The real Bathsheba.
There’s much speculation about what really happened. Were my motives intentional to seduce the king as he watched me bathe? Was I actually innocent and without choice in the matter of being summoned to his bed? Was I aware of the king’s plot to cover the sin of our affair by having my husband killed in battle? The answers to these questions and many others matter not. The reality is, it makes no difference. None of it could be undone, nor could it change the consequences that followed as a result of our transgression. And the consequences were grave, with perpetual aftershocks leaving devastation in their wake for generations to come. To think, one moment of weakness could cause relentless affliction, rebellion and death for so many innocent people and entire nation.
I was just a woman, like any other, with hopes and dreams of a family and happy life. A woman who loved God and her people, her husband and honored her king. I was a woman who desired to please the Lord. And I was a sinner. These are all truths; both before that immoral affair…and after. I have experienced and witnessed so much pain, persecution and loss; more than most do in a lifetime. But I’ve also experienced and witnessed the full weight of God’s forgiveness, grace, love, mercy, blessings and faithfulness; more than most do in a lifetime.
I still recall the endless nights of laying next to my sleeping son, watching the rhythm of his chest rise and fall consistently. I’d learned to keep time by the simple, yet imperative movement of his body inhaling and exhaling his breath again and again, while so many times I caught myself holding mine. A mother’s burden, I suppose, to lay her infant child to sleep and pray he wakes in the morning. Especially after having lost my first son so soon after giving birth to him. The grief from a loss so devastating leaves a permanent scar. One that causes you to never forget what you lost and to do everything in your power to prevent ever experiencing it again. Even upon receiving confirmation from the Lord’s prophet, Nathan, that God loved my son and was to be named accordingly, I still lived with constant fear of losing him too. The sin David and I committed was so great, how could I expect to receive any blessings? Even a repentant heart can’t undo the aftermath of sin. It would be many years before I learned to release the fear that consumed me. Just one of the many lessons I’ve learned in my lifetime.
Solomon was our redemption child, and he was beloved by God. Though far from perfect, he went on to be the wisest king Israel had ever known. And I’m blessed to say it was with my help.
Although others only saw me for my sin, my sin did not define nor govern me. In my darkest moment, I repented and sought the Lord. He not only forgave me, but gave me a new purpose. He gave me sons to raise and influence for His glory. An opportunity to teach them to love Him and His law, and to live by it. To influence them in ways and instill virtues that only a mother can. My legacy would not be that of a harlot, but that of a woman redeemed by the Lord, who’s sons would grow in wisdom, always seeking His heart. And they did.
Solomon recorded those teachings in his 31st chapter of Proverbs. You would know this as the Proverbs 31 woman.
“The sayings of King Lemuel [Solomon] contain this message,[a] which his mother taught him.” Proverbs 31:1
I was never the Proverbs 31 woman that I taught them of, but I am the woman by which all other women should be measured against. In that by what not to do as from my own personal experience, and then also instructions for striving to be the best version of myself that I could possibly be, despite my transgressions. And when I would fail, grace, love and mercy in the Father’s arms abounded. Simply by repenting and looking back to Him.
The real Bathsheba is redeemed, beloved and blessed. My prayer is that you remember me not for my sin, but for what God did through me, despite my sin…and be encouraged. There is nothing He can’t redeem.
Today we’ve prepared 2 posts that share similar insights, to conclude our thoughts on Bathsheba. You don’t want to miss the other, Looking Through The Grid – by Cindy Willingham.
Heather Whidden loves Jesus, is married to her best friend and is mother of 3 blessings. She is a professional photographer and has a heart for ministry. She loves spending time with her family and friends, writing, reading, and traveling. Time and people is what she values most. You can read more about her here.